The Seattle Seahawks’ offense will look a lot different than the unit that faced the 49ers in Week 10.
Seattle no longer has its top three running backs. The re-signing of veteran Marshawn Lynch has generated a lot of attention this week.
The 49ers travel to face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in a game that will determine the winner of the NFC West. For the 49ers, a victory also wraps up homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The 49ers will also look different on offense from the team that fell to the Seahawks, 27-24 in overtime, on Nov. 11 at Levi’s Stadium.
Tight end George Kittle was not available to face the Seahawks due to knee and ankle injuries he sustained in the previous game against the Arizona Cardinals.
“He’s a great player,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Kittle on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Any time you don’t have a great player, you miss him and in some regards, you can’t replace that guy.”
A portion of Carroll’s conference call can be heard on the latest edition of The 49ers Insider Podcast, along with conversations with 49ers running back Raheem Mostert and defensive tackle Sheldon Day.
Not only is Kittle the 49ers’ best offensive player, Carroll believes he is the best player on the team. Period.
“We won’t be able to play them the way we did last time,” Carroll said. “We’re going to have to do things much differently because he’s in the game.
“He’s the top player on the team. He’s everything. So they can build the whole game around him and count on him and all that. He has grown in the years we’ve been here and watched him. He’s just become an extraordinary player and performer.”
Veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders was not much of a factor in the earlier matchup against the Seahawks, either. He sustained a fracture to his ribs after a 12-yard reception early in the game on a hit from Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald. Sanders played only 24 snaps in that game.
Since that week, the 49ers have gone through some changes with their run game, too. Mostert has emerged as the team’s top running back ahead of Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Mostert carried six times for 28 yards against the Seahawks last month.
In the past four games, Mostert has averaged 80.5 yards rushing per game. He has scored a touchdown in the 49ers’ past five games. The 49ers have three running backs with more than 500 yards. Mostert leads the 49ers with 715 yards rushing. Breida has 607 rushing yards, while Coleman has gained 533.
“He’s taken advantage of a really good run scheme that coach (Kyle) Shanahan puts out there,” Carroll said of Mostert. “He’s a really fast kid and he uses his speed when they run the edge, and when you give him a crack, he can really go.
“All of their guys are good.”