49ers

49ers' smart, 'swarming' D puts on show in win vs. Seahawks

49ers

SANTA CLARA -- Yes, it's only the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, those aren't exactly Super Bowl contenders. That's beside the point. 

The 49ers' defense has dominated through the first two weeks of the 2022 NFL regular season. That's especially true on the ground. 

From start to finish Sunday in the 49ers' 27-7 win at Levi's Stadium, the Seattle Seahawks couldn't get anything going with their run game. Former first-round draft pick Rashaad Penny, and Kenneth Walker III -- the Seahawks' second pick of the second round this past April -- combined to carry the ball 10 times for 25 yards. Penny led the Seahawks with 15 yards rushing on six carries, and Walker added 10 yards on four tries. 

As a team, the Seahawks ran for 36 yards on 14 carries. One week ago, the 49ers allowed 99 rushing yards and one touchdown on 37 runs in their season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears. 

Through two weeks, 49ers opponents are averaging 2.5 yards per carry. 

"It all starts up front," 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said. "The D-line causing penetration, wreaking havoc every single down -- it makes our job on the back end so easy, just playing off of them. 

"We go into every game knowing we want to stop the run, and it's honestly a mindset of all 11 just swarming to the football. I think when you turn the tape on, you see that." 

And it's not like the first two quarterbacks they have faced, Justin Fields and Geno Smith, have lit them up either. With weather being on the defense's side the first two weeks, the 49ers have allowed a combined 318 yards passing, good for a 159-yard average. They also have came away with two sacks in each game. 

 

Star edge rusher Nick Bosa has three of those four sacks, recording two Sunday and letting The Faithful know all about it. 

Following his 15.5 sacks from a season ago, Bosa doesn't have an end goal in mind for Year 3. He's ready to toss QBs to the ground on a regular basis yet again, though. 

"I don't really try to think about a number, but I'm trying to rack up as many as I can," he said. 

The Seahawks totaled only 157 yards through the first three quarters, and 216 overall.

While the 49ers' defense did its part for the second week in a row, the biggest difference was quite obvious. The 49ers were flagged for only one penalty all game long, giving the Seahawks an extra 26 yards. Last week, they were called for 12 penalties -- giving the Bears 99 free yards and allowing them to stay in the game, and eventually pull off the upset win. 

Bosa showed his frustration in the 49ers' lack of discipline to start off the season, and couldn't have been happier with how his team responded in the home opener. 

"I didn't even think about that, but that's definitely a big, big improvement for us," Bosa said. "Just being smarter with certain things, and when you're suffocating an offense like we have the past two weeks, that can be game-changing.

"When they blocked that field goal and scored, that's a 13-point game. It could have been a 23-0 game. That's a 10-point swing. You never want to give a team life, especially a rival in Seattle that's been tough to close out since I've been here and before. The fact that we were clean on that is a big reason we won." 

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That one time the 49ers were flagged didn't come without controversy, too. Already with two interceptions on the day, it looked like the 49ers snagged another when cornerback Emmanuel Moseley broke on a pass intended for Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf. The ball was tipped in the air and Warner came away with it. 

There was only one problem: A flag was thrown on Moseley's play, keeping the ball in the Seahawks' hands. Luckily for the 49ers, Seattle couldn't capitalize on the penalty. 

"I can't ... refs are gonna call the game, refs are gonna do their thing," 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga, who recorded six tackles and two passes defensed, said when asked about the one penalty. "Heck of a play by E-man, in my opinion. I think he had his eyes back on the ball, made a great play and Fred got it. But that's up to the refs, can't do anything about that. 

 

"Just got to play our game, next-play mentality." 

Coming away with a victory, being penalized once and watching their defense shut down the Seahawks always will be a recipe for success in Santa Clara. Now, the 49ers will look to replicate that same game plan one week later on the road against a longtime foe when they face Russell Wilson's Broncos for the first time in Denver.

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