Coach Kyle Shanahan has prepared his offense to face the Seattle Seahawks once this season.
But this time, the challenge is going to be a lot different.
Safety Jamal Adams, whom the Seahawks acquired in a July trade, did not suit up for the Nov. 1 meeting due to a groin injury. The Seahawks still won 37-27.
He could be a player the 49ers face a lot in the future — in games that have greater significance for both teams.
The Seahawks (11-4) have clinched the NFC West title. They can earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a victory over the 49ers and losses by the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
Adams figures to be a headache for the 49ers in the future, as long as Seattle forks over the big money to keep him around.
Currently, Adams only has the fifth-year option of 2021 remaining on the contract the Seahawks inherited after their trade with the New York Jets. He could be in line for a massive contract extension this offseason.
“When you have a unique player like Jamal who is the best at what he does, it changes a lot of stuff,” Shanahan said. “I don't think there's many players in this league that can affect what you have to do schematically, what the other 10 guys around him are doing like Jamal.”
The Seahawks gave up first- and third-round draft picks in this year’s draft, as well as a first-rounder in 2022 as part of the deal that brought Adams to Seattle.
Adams has appeared in 11 games but leads the Seahawks with 9.5 sacks. He has 80 tackles, including 10 for losses. He has three passes broken up.
Shanahan compared Adams to the Los Angeles Rams’ Jalen Ramsey, another NFC West defensive back who was acquired in a blockbuster trade.
“You look at like what Jalen Ramsey has done with the Rams and everything, and the way you can use these physical guys on big people to affect the pass game with blitzes,” Shanahan said. “They can also cover and are very good run-stoppers.”
Shanahan said the Seahawks are much more formidable when Adams and cornerback Shaquill Griffin are together in the defensive backfield.
Griffin also missed the Nov. 1 meeting due to a concussion and has appeared in just 11 games this season.
“He's (Adams) a game changer,” Shanahan said, “one of the best guys in the league right now, and having him plus getting Shaq back with him, that's why they're playing so well.
“Those two guys make a huge difference. Wish they didn't have them, but I know why they went and got them because they’re some special players.”