49ers, Seahawks QBs on alert amid bad blocking

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SANTA CLARA – As the 49ers’ annual trip to Seattle approaches, they returned to the practice field Wednesday and tried moving past their season-opening loss to Carolina. Here are the top three things we learned:

San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brian Hoyer (2) sits on the field after being sacked against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter of their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, September 10, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

1. Quarterback pressure: Neither the 49ers nor Seattle Seahawks scored a touchdown in their respective, season-opening losses. Taking the brunt of the blame: Their offensive lines.

But because neither team’s line will instantly improve by Sunday when the Seahawks host the 49ers, the onus is on their quarterbacks to avoid trouble.

That’s nothing new to Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who’s parlayed magical escapes from the pocket into a 6-0 record against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field.

“For him, it’s interesting,” 49ers safety Eric Reid said. “He does great passing the ball, but he really has his best plays when the play breaks down. You have a good play on defense, you think you’re about to get a sack, then he breaks the pocket and it turns into a touchdown.”

Hoyer is not the mobile, zone-read specialist like Wilson nor Hoyer’s 49ers predecessors, Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. After Sunday’s two-turnover debut, Hoyer has wise intentions for his first career visit to Seattle’s noise-challenging venue.

“Protecting the football and not getting behind on down and distance,” Hoyer said of this week’s goals. “That’s when this (Seahawks) defense will really get you. If you get behind on these guys, they don’t have to blitz anybody. Those four pass rushers can get after you without a blitz.”

By halftime of Sunday’s 23-13 loss, the Panthers sacked Hoyer four times, producing a fumble on the first sack and converting it later into a touchdown and 7-0 lead.

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 14: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by outside linebacker K.J. Wright #50 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 14, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/)
Then-49res quarterback Colin Kaepernick is sacked by outside linebacker K.J. Wright in a 17-7 loss at Seattle in December 2014. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/) 

Such turnovers doomed the 2012-13 49ers in Seattle during their title-contending visits. Kaepernick accounted for eight turnovers (six interceptions, two fumbles) as the 49ers lost 42-13 there in 2012, 29-3 in 2013 and 23-17 in the 2013 season’s NFC Championship Game.

“You have to realize there’s going to be times — I don’t care who your team is – that you’re not going to block them, and when you don’t, what happens?” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan asked. “You can survive a sack. You prefer an incompletion. But it’s hard to survive a bunch of turnovers against this team, especially there.”

Wilson has thrown 11 touchdown passes and only three interceptions in his home wins over the 49ers, who’ve been outscored 177-71 and never had closer than a 10-point loss since 2012. The Seahawks lost their opener 17-9 at Green Bay, and Wilson although got sacked three times, he had a 29-yard scramble to set up a field goal.

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2014, file photo, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll holds the the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl game against the Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8. The Seahawks have called a news conference for Friday morning, April 4, amid a report they have reached a contract extension with Carroll. NFL Network reported Thursday night, citing a "source," that Carroll and the Seahawks had reached agreement on a contract extension. Carroll's original five-year deal with Seattle was set to expire after the 2014 season. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
After beating the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, Pete Carroll coached the 2013 Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) 

2. Spying on Pete Carroll? General manager John Lynch says he was only doing his job as a Fox broadcaster when he dug for information in pre-game production meetings, and that goes for the 17 Seahawks games he called since Pete Carroll became Seattle’s coach in 2010.

“He wanted to know why and what you think and all that stuff,” Carroll said. “I didn’t really put it together. I thought he was going to be doing the ‘Monday Night Football’ or something someday.”

Carroll half-jokingly razed Lynch when they crossed paths at NFL functions this offseason. “One thing from being a broadcaster, you get invited into people’s buildings, and, like I’ve said, this wasn’t like I’m sitting in there taking notes, stealing institutional knowledge,” Lynch said upon becoming 49ers GM on Jan. 30.



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