49ers

Richard Sherman will be motivated for 49ers-Seahawks, Bobby Wagner says

Richard Sherman will be motivated for 49ers-Seahawks, Bobby Wagner says

The rivalry between the Seahawks and the 49ers is heating back up but Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner thinks it will always mean a little more to his close friend Richard Sherman. 

There’s been quite a bit of evidence this season of how the veteran 49ers cornerback finds additional motivation for games. It might be an alleged slight at the coin toss. It could be hearing the opposing quarterback is going to go after his side of the field throughout a game. 

Truth or embellished, Sherman will find something to focus on. With his abrupt departure from Seattle well in the past, his displeasure with the organization might not be as big of an emotional trigger as it was. Wagner knows the veteran cornerback will still find something to stoke the fire. 

“I don’t know if it still bothers him or not, but he’ll make it bother him before the game,” Wagner said with a smile during his weekly media availability. “He’ll find a way. Maybe I’ll help give him some more stuff to help bother him before the game.

“I’m pretty sure he wants to beat us. I’m not saying that he sat there and marked this game on his calendar but, when it comes up, you know that he wants to win down there. Look at how he was the last game that they won down there, he was pretty excited about it. I’ll try to make sure he’s not excited this week.”

Arguably Sherman’s departure from Seattle was due largely in part to the injury to his Achilles that ended his 2017 season after nine games. Wagner has noticed that Sherman is looking physically healthier, not dealing with the limitations that hindered his mobility in 2018. Naturally, Wagner’s compliments don’t come without a little ribbing. 

“He looks really good,” Wagner said. “He got a couple picks, he ran one back. He almost got caught when he ran it back. He almost fumbled it too. We’ve got to talk to him about that. He looks great, coming back to his old self.”

The friendly competition between Wagner and Sherman will always exist. The two All-Pro defenders spent six years together as teammates in Seattle and still see each other during the offseason. They have a standing bet for games against each other where the loser pays for the winner's meal.

[RELATED: Carroll praises Sherman ahead of showdown]

Wagner and Sherman’s rivalry also transfers to the basketball court, where the two play at the house that Sherman still maintains in Seattle. Wagner doesn’t want to lose in any fashion to his former teammate, mostly because of the ensuing aftermath. 

“Richard is a person that’s not going to let you live that down until the following season,” Wagner said. “Unless you beat him at basketball in his house. He’ll deny it, but I’m pretty sure a guy like that has cameras at his house and we can find some footage.”

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

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AP

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

The 49ers got to Russell Wilson in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson was sacked a season-high five times at Levi's Stadium, posting his second-worst passer rating of 2019 (86.9) and a season-low 43.6 QBR. He also threw his second interception of the season and fumbled for the first time since Week 4. 

Yet Wilson did just enough to remain effective in spite of that pressure, showing why he is an MVP frontrunner when he led the Seahawks to their game-winning field-goal drive in overtime. Wilson also employed plenty of misdirection to keep the 49ers' dominant pass rush at bay, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

On the season, the 49ers have pressured QBs on 29.7 percent of dropbacks. That 17 percent pressure rate on play-action plays would be 30th-best in the NFL if extended over a full season, just behind the Cincinnati Bengals (17.1 percent) and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders (15.9 percent). 

For reference, those two teams have combined for five fewer sacks (30) than the 49ers have all season. 

Wilson's play-action success could give opposing teams something of a blueprint, and that could trip up the 49ers in their own division down the stretch. In addition to playing the Seahawks once more, the 49ers also will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 at Levi's. Rams coach Sean McVay loves using play-action, and the Rams were far more efficient last season on play-action passes than traditional ones. The Rams have taken a step back this season and the 49ers kept LA's offense in check in Week 6, but play-action remains a big part of the Rams' offense and the 49ers will have to be ready for it.

[RELATED: 49ers ready to focus on Cardinals after tough Seahawks loss]

It doesn't stop with the Seahawks and Rams. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is known for his play-action abilities, too, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers also have been better in play-action this season. The 49ers play Green Bay and Arizona in each of the next two weeks. 

San Francisco has a difficult slate of QBs remaining on its schedule, including ones who succeed where Wilson did Monday night. That's one additional area the 49ers will have to shore up down the stretch. 

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

Despite the 49ers not suffering their first loss until Week 10, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play in 2019.

He has done enough to lead his team to victories in all but one game this season, but the 49ers haven’t had to ask much of their signal-caller thanks to a dominant defense and a highly-potent running game.

His first chance to make a statement against a great team in prime time didn’t go as expected, as Garoppolo was just above a 50 percent completion percentage and had his worst QB rating (66.2) of the year in Monday night’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"At one point, I remember looking up at the TV, and I said, 'I cannot remember Jimmy Garoppolo playing with happy feet like this,'" King told Mike Florio and Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk. "Look, this is whatever, like his 18th NFL start, so we don't really know him yet, but that was a bad night for Jimmy Garoppolo and for 49ers fans who want to love him, who want to have faith in him."

The 49ers might have fallen in the team’s first true test of 2019, but there are plenty of worthy opponents on the horizon for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why 49ers fans should be optimistic after loss to Seahawks]

After hosting the Cardinals in Week 11, San Francisco will take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a recently flexed matchup on "Sunday Night Football," followed up by trips to Baltimore and New Orleans in consecutive weeks.

So there will be ample opportunity for Jimmy G and his squad to rebound in front of a prime-time audience.