Five 49ers to watch against the Seahawks in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season

Five 49ers to watch against the Seahawks in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season

How will they recover? Five 49ers to watch against Seahawks appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea

After a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears, the 49ers are ready for Sunday’s home opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

While it’s too early in the season to call this a “must-win” game, the 49ers need to leave Week 2 with a win over their NFC West rival, not least to keep their playoff hopes intact , but also to calm everyone down. of external noise.

Coach Kyle Shanahan is adamant that the pressure from those outside the building doesn’t reach the inner sanctum of the team’s headquarters, but there’s no doubt the players and staff feel an extra sense of urgency after leaving Soldier Field with a loss to to start the season. .

“Honestly, we’re not listening to the outside noise,” Shanahan said Friday. “Whenever you lose, there’s a lot of outside noise. Every time you win, there’s a lot of outside noise telling you how good you are. You can’t react to the noise and that’s hard to do, but that’s why you don’t see it that way.”

How the 49ers can bounce back from their Week 1 performance makes for an intriguing matchup on Sunday. The Seahawks had a short week after an emotional win over the Denver Broncos, led by former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.

Can the 49ers take advantage of the situation and catch the Seahawks after a sloppy showing in Chicago? All 46 active players on the day should do their part, but there are a few who could tip the scales with an outstanding performance.

Here are five players to watch in the 49ers’ first game at Levi’s Stadium:

LB Dre Greenlaw

Greenlaw has been an important part of the 49ers’ defense since arriving in Santa Clara, but his debut in 2022 wasn’t his best showing. The fourth lineman was called for two penalties that kept Bears drives alive and led to scores.

Greenlaw also allowed four receptions on four targets in coverage, one for a touchdown. The Arkansas product will need to play a cleaner game, once again facing a mobile quarterback in Seattle’s Geno Smith.

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.

The fifth-straight quarterback will likely be used as the 49ers’ starter in the opener after Elijah Mitchell was placed on injured reserve. Wilson had a breakout training camp a year removed from a meniscus injury that sidelined him for much of the 2021 season.

Wilson wasn’t able to gain much ground in the club’s loss to the Bears, but he served as a reliable target for Trey Lance by catching both passes thrown his way. The Texas native has been known to get called for “option runs” in goal line situations and could also help the young quarterback as a check-down target.

The 49ers gained 176 yards on the ground against the Bears in Week 1, but only 63 of those yards came from their two rushes. If Wilson can help jump-start the running game on Sunday, it will help take the pressure off Lance — especially considering the weather could include rain again.

WR Brandon Aiyuk

After spending much of the offseason working with Lance, Aiyuk was slated to begin the 2022 NFL season. But mother nature took a toll on his production in Week 1, as the third-year wideout caught two of his three targets for 40 yards and carried the ball once for a seven-yard gain.

The chemistry that Aiyuk has developed with Lance has yet to be highlighted in a regular season game, but there is no doubt that the Arizona State product will be a top producer this season. Aiyuk will have the added challenge of a second straight game in the rain, though the wideout’s ability to gain yards on short passes could be key for the 49ers.

The Seahawks’ secondary will be without All-Pro Jamal Adams, but Aiyuk told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday that the safety’s absence doesn’t change his mental preparation at all. Dealing with Seattle’s defense will still be a challenge with safety Quandre Diggs on the field.

DE Nick Bosa

Bosa started strong out of the gates in Week 1, but monsoon conditions kept the Bears’ offensive game mostly on the ground. Without many passing opportunities in the second half, it appeared to end the game quietly.

Bosa closed the season opener with five tackles: one solo, one sack and two quarterback hits. The Ohio State product’s job doesn’t get any easier this week with another mobile quarterback on deck.

It will be imperative for Bosa and the defensive line to stay disciplined and not lose Smith’s containment as he struggles. With the weather again a factor on Sunday, Bosa’s ability to impact the run game could be a key factor in stopping the Seahawks.

QB Trey Lance

Of course all eyes will be on Lance in his second game since being named the club’s starting quarterback. How the sophomore rebounds from his Week 1 loss will be analyzed through a microscope.

Lance closed his 2022 debut as the team’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 54 yards to go along with 13 of 28 passing for 164 yards and an interception. The young quarterback will need to develop his short game as the rain approaches Sunday.

RELATED: Lance needs to maintain his run advantage, Shanahan says

Being able to check down on the group of talented skill players around him will be key to Lance’s success on Sunday. Deebo Samuel, Aiyuk and the running back corps all have the ability to gain yards after contact and Lance just needs to give them the opportunity to do so.

The 22-year-old’s big-play ability is unquestioned, but Lance’s development in getting rid of the ball quickly is something the Seahawks defense will be watching.

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