How will they bounce back?  Five 49ers to watch against the Seahawks

How will they bounce back? Five 49ers to watch against the Seahawks

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 it a “win” game, the 49ers need to come out of Week 2 with a victory over rival NFC West not only to keep their playoff expectations intact, but also to calm all outside noise.

Coach Kyle Shanahan is adamant that the pressure from those outside the building is not reaching the inner sanctum of team headquarters, but there’s no doubt the players and staff are feeling it. an added sense of urgency after leaving Soldier Field with a loss to start the season. .

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

The way the 49ers are able to bounce back from their Week 1 performance makes for an exciting game on Sunday. The Seahawks had a short week after an emotional win over the Denver Broncos, who are coached by former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.

Can the 49ers take advantage of the situation and catch the Seahawks off guard after a sloppy performance in Chicago? The 46 active players on game day will have to 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’ home opener at Levi’s Stadium:

LB Dr. Greenlaw

Greenlaw has been a big part of the 49ers defense since joining Santa Clara, but his 2022 debut hasn’t been his best performance. The fourth-year linebacker was called for two penalties that kept the 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 have to play a cleaner game, again facing a mobile quarterback in Seattle’s Geno Smith.

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.

The fifth-year running back will likely be selected as a starter in the 49ers’ opener after Elijah Mitchell was placed on the disabled list. Wilson had an outstanding training camp a year after a meniscus injury sidelined him for much of the 2021 season.

Wilson couldn’t gain much ground in the club’s loss to the Bears, but served as a reliable target for Trey Lance by catching both passes thrown at him. The Texas native is known for being called for “choice routes” in goal line situations and could also help the young quarterback as a check target.

The 49ers gained 176 rushing yards against the Bears in Week 1, but only 63 yards came from their two running backs. If Wilson can help get the race game started on Sunday, that will help relieve Lance of the pressure – especially as the weather could once again include rain.

WR Brandon Aïyuk

After spending much of the offseason working with Lance, Aiyuk was set to start the 2022 NFL season. But mother nature had an influence on his production in Week 1 as the third-year player caught two of his three targets for 40 yards and carried the ball once for a gain of seven yards.

The chemistry Aiyuk developed with Lance has yet to be showcased in a regular season game, but there’s no doubt the Arizona State product will be one of the top producers this season. Aiyuk will have the added challenge of a second straight game in the rain, though the wide’s ability to gain yards off 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 hasn’t changed his mental preparation. Facing the Seattle defense will still be a challenge with safety Quandre Diggs on the field.

BY Nick Bosa

Bosa started strong in week one, but monsoon conditions kept the Bears’ offensive play mostly on the ground. Without many chances to rush the passes in the second half, he seemed to end the game quietly.

Bosa closed the first game of the season with five tackles: a solo, a 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 containment on Smith as he scrambles. With weather again a factor on Sunday, Bosa’s ability to affect the running 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 bounces back from his Week 1 loss will be put under the microscope.

Lance closed out his 2022 debut as the team’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 54 yards as well as 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards and one interception. The young quarterback will need to develop his short game as more rain looms on Sunday.

RELATED: Lance Must Maintain Running Advantage, Shanahan Says

Being able to control the talented group of skillful players around him will be key to Lance’s success on Sunday. Deebo Samuel, Aiyuk and the running backs 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 ability to play isn’t in question, but Lance’s development to get off the ball quickly is something the Seahawks defense will be keeping an eye on.

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