SANTA CLARA — The Seahawks handed the 49ers their first loss of the season back in Week 10, but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo believes the last few weeks have given his team great preparation for their second matchup with Seattle on Sunday.
Garoppolo has had to use a silent count in a number of recent games, most notably at the Superdome in New Orleans. That experience will serve the 49ers' offense well as they head to Seattle to face the Seahawks’ famously vocal crowd.
“I think it will definitely help us out, Baltimore too, just having those environments,” Garoppolo said. “We know this is going to be a hostile environment, 'Sunday Night Football,' so I can’t wait for it. [Baltimore was the] same as New Orleans, just dealing with the noise, play calls, communication on the line of scrimmage, all that stuff. It all comes into play.”
It will be Garoppolo’s first career start at CenturyLink Field, which is known as one of the loudest venues in the NFL. While he did not play in last season’s game, he was on the sidelines and experienced the noise firsthand.
“It’s hostile,” Garoppolo said. “It gets loud. Crowd’s chirping at you and everything on the sideline. That’s what makes football great, especially this time of year. You couldn’t ask for anything more in December.”
Having been with the Atlanta Falcons for several seasons, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is very familiar with the noise in the Superdome, which seemed to be even heightened when San Francisco came to town. He, like Garoppolo, believes that experience was valuable.
“I think the main thing with Seattle is just to know how loud it is," Shanahan said. "Everyone’s played in loud stadiums, and that’s usually the loudest. You’re not going to be able to hear. What I can say to Jimmy is it’ll be exactly like New Orleans was.
“I’ve been in New Orleans a bunch, but New Orleans was different. The last time we were there was the loudest I’ve ever been anywhere. Last time in New Orleans was tied with how Seattle is, so it’ll be very similar to that, and I thought he handled himself well there and I expect him to do the same thing in Seattle.”
The fact that the team has not walked away from Seattle with a win in almost a decade is not lost on Garoppolo or his teammates. But it’s not the foremost reason they're so focused heading into the matchup.
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“I think these division games are always big,” Garoppolo said. “Whether you were born into this team or got traded, whatever it is, drafted here. I think the level of intensity of these games is real.
“If you don’t know that going into it, you’re going to be in a bad spot. The last time we played these guys, it was Monday night here, and that was a hell of an atmosphere, too. You kind of know what you’re getting into.”