D.K. Metcalf

Watch Jaquiski Tartt strip ball from Seahawks, preserve 49ers' lead

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Watch Jaquiski Tartt strip ball from Seahawks, preserve 49ers' lead

The Seattle Seahawks appeared primed to take a halftime lead over the 49ers on Monday night at Levi's Stadium. Until they weren't.

49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt stripped D.K. Metcalf of the football at San Francisco 2-yard line as the Seahawks rookie wide receiver was bound for the end zone with just over a minute remaining in the first half.

Officials initially did not rule a change in possession, but a replay overturned the call on the field. Tartt stepped out of bounds as he tried to strip Metcalf, but he stepped back inbounds to re-establish himself.

[RELATED: Jimmy G seemingly imitates Prescott's viral warmup video]

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, explained how Metcalf holding the ball allowed Tartt to get back inbounds. 

The 49ers ran out the first-half clock after Tartt's forced fumble, nursing a 10-7 lead headed into halftime as they tried to preserve their undefeated record against their NFC West rivals.

Why Terrell Owens believes Seahawks' Josh Gordon shouldn't worry 49ers

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Why Terrell Owens believes Seahawks' Josh Gordon shouldn't worry 49ers

The biggest game of the NFL season to date will occur Monday at Levi's Stadium when the 7-2 Seahawks visit the 8-0 49ers in an epic NFC West clash. 

As the last remaining undefeated team, the 49ers enter the crucial showdown with a leg up on their divisional rivals. But a loss to the Seahawks on Monday night would level the playing field, with the two teams still set to meet in Seattle later this season. 

The Seahawks are anticipating the debut of their newest wide receiver Monday, as Josh Gordon is healthy and expected to play at least some sort of role for Pete Carroll and the 'Hawks.

Seattle already boasts two quality receivers in deep threat Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf, so the addition of a healthy Gordon, who the Seahawks added after the Patriots waived him, will give quarterback Russell Wilson a bevy of weapons to attack the 49ers' vaunted defense with. 

But should Gordon really worry the 49ers? Terrell Owens, for one, doesn't think so.

"Josh really hasn't been a factor the last two or three years," Owens told 95.7 The Game on Tuesday. "It sounds good in theory, but he hasn't really done much for those guys in the secondary to be of concern. To me, he's not even a deep threat. He hasn't really done a whole lot with the Patriots -- pedestrian at best.

"But I do think they don't want D.K. Metcalf to get loose. This guy is a big problem. He's definitely gaining confidence as the season rolls, and I'm sure he's going to present a challenge.

"With Richard Sherman as well, I'm sure he's going to be fired up," Owens said. "He's going to try to shut him down. But that's not a concern to have Josh Gordon out there. Yeah, he may be ready but I don't think he's going to be a big factor in the game."

Metcalf has been great of late and Lockett remains a deadly deep threat, catching 13 balls for 152 yards and two touchdowns in Seattle's Week 9 win over the Bucs. If Gordon can be what he was with the Patriots, he will give Wilson the third option he needs with tight end Will Dissly sidelined due to injury.

[RELATED: Kittle misses practice as 49ers prepare for Seahawks]

The game, in the end, likely will come down to Seattle's ability to block the 49ers' vicious defensive front and Wilson's ability to escape pressure and extend plays. If Wilson spends a lot of time on the turf, it probably won't matter whether Gordon is good or not. 

NFL Preview 2019: Highlighting each NFC West team's most impactful rookie

NFL Preview 2019: Highlighting each NFC West team's most impactful rookie

It's a crucial season for the NFC West.

The 49ers, in year three of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era, need to take a step forward, or seats will get hot.

The Rams, after losing in the Super Bowl, need to capitalize on their championship window while it's still open.

The Seahawks, coming off a surprising 10-6 campaign, need to avoid the dropoff that many expected was coming last year.

And the Cardinals ... well, the Cardinals need to not be historically bad.

Aiding each of the four NFC West teams in their crucial seasons is a rookie that they're counting on making a major impact in their first year in the NFL.

Here's a closer look at those promising young players:

San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa

Once again, the 49ers used their first-round draft pick on a defensive lineman, but Bosa might be the best of them all.

He's got the talent, the attitude and the pedigree to become one of the most dominant pass rushers in the game.

Bosa is expected to start at defensive end from Day 1, and should form a devastating inside-outside pass-rushing tandem with Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

[RELATED: Bosa appears ready for Week 1 after posing workout photos]

If Bosa lives up to expectations, the 49ers could have one of the best defensive lines in all of the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray

Assuming he stays healthy, Murray likely will be the most impactful of all the rookies in the NFL, due mainly to his position.

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft will take over behind center for the Cardinals, after Arizona shipped last year's rookie starter -- Josh Rosen -- to Miami.

Murray won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma after showcasing his ability to dominate the game with both his arms and his legs. His athleticism is off the charts, but in order for him to be successful, Arizona's offensive line will need to do a much better job after allowing 52 sacks and 109 quarterback hits last season.

Seattle Seahawks: DK Metcalf

If a computer were to generate a prototype to play wide receiver in the NFL, it would look a lot like Metcalf.

With blazing straight-line speed and muscles upon muscles, Metcalf is a sight to see, when he isn't a blur. He was the talk of the NFL Combine after posting a 4.33-second 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds.

Metcalf's strengths will be utilized in Seattle's play-action attack, as quarterback Russell Wilson now has both he and fellow speedster Tyler Lockett to find with the deep ball.

Physically, at least, Metcalf is already ready to dominate as a rookie.

Los Angeles Rams: Darrell Henderson

From top to bottom, the Rams might have the best roster in the league, so it's not going to be easy for any rookie to get significant playing time. Henderson, though, might be a different case.

The running back averaged 8.2 yards per carry over his three-year college career at Memphis, and caught 63 passes for 758 yards.

Given that Los Angeles seems inclined to scale back Todd Gurley's workload, Henderson could pick up the resulting slack as a dynamic change-of-pace back.

If Gurley were to miss any extended time, Henderson would be a main beneficiary, and you can bet head coach Sean McVay has been salivating coming up with ways to deploy him.