Why 49ers' Ryans believes Seahawks are better than 3-8 record


Once the schedule was released for the 49ers' 2021 NFL seaosn, this upcoming Sunday was circled for what was expected to be a battle atop the NFC West. The 49ers certainly were expected to be better than 6-5 at this point, but nobody predicted the Seattle Seahawks to be just 3-8. 

The Seahawks have played well below expectations. A long list of injuries doesn't help -- including quarterback Russell Wilson missing games -- and neither does draft picks and acquisitions failing to reach Seattle's standards. Still, this is Wilson and Co. we're talking about, and one of football's fiercest rivalries. 

San Francisco can't look past the Seahawks, no matter what their record is, and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is preaching that to his players.

"You look at the tape and you really watch these guys, these games are all close. Their record may not say that, but all the games they've been in," Ryans said Thursday to reporters. "Our guys aren't looking at it like, 'Oh look at their record, they're not who they've been.' Seattle is still Seattle. They're gonna play tough, they'll be in the game no matter how the game looks, no matter how the outcome looks.

"They always find a way to be in games and have a chance to win the game. ... We're not overlooking these guys or anything like that. We know this is gonna be a tough matchup, we've got to play our best ball against these guys if we expect to win."


The 49ers fell to the Seahawks, 28-21, at Levi's Stadium in Week 4. Since then, the Seahawks have lost six of their last seven games while San Francisco went 4-3 in the span and have won three straight games. 

Though the Seahawks have struggled as of late, Ryans believes their offense is mostly the same as it ever was, especially with Wilson back to action. 

"It's still Seattle," Ryans said. "As I watch these guys and study them, they want to run the ball, they want to keep the game manageable so Russ can get there in the fourth quarter and be Russ and try to make a miraculous play to win the game. To me, everything they do offensively has been the same. They have a few more wrinkles here and there with some play-action plays but for the gist of everything, it's still Seattle.

"They want to run the ball, play action, throw some deep passes to [Tyler] Lockett -- that's still who they are."

One player the 49ers will have to keep a close eye on is star receiver D.K. Metcalf. The imposing third-year pro has 47 receptions for 650 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games this season. He's coming off a game where he had just one catch for 13 yards, and is sure to be hungry for more against the 49ers.

In five career games against the 49ers, Metcalf already has 31 receptions for 398 yards and four TDs. That's his most receptions, yards and touchdowns against any opponent. 

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"We know they're gonna try to attack us with Metcalf, get him the ball, so our guys are aware of that but guys can't panic or anything," Ryans said. "When that time comes, guys are gonna have to just trust their preparation. ... Just trust that and go play fast, man. Go play confident.

"That's what our guys have to do." 

And that's exactly what both sides of the ball needs to do to keep the good times rolling for the 49ers.

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