When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Qwest Field
Record: 5-6 after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-3 on Sunday – their second win in three games after a four-game losing streak that nullified their 3-1 start
Where they rank: No. 28 on offense (26th rushing, 23rd passing); No. 22 on defense (5th rushing, 28th passing)
Series: Seahawks lead 11-10, but the 49ers won 23-10 in Week 3 at Candlestick Park
Star power: Frank Gore. The 49ers’ bruiser of a back has a pair of 200-yard rushing performances in his five-year NFL career, and both came against the Seahawks – 207 in the Week 3 game in San Francisco, when he scored on runs of 80 and 79 yards; and 212 in a 2006 game at Candlestick Park, when he somehow did not get into the end zone. It’s all about gap control with this guy. When the Seahawks have done a good job in that area, Gore has run for 79, 72, 61 and 94 yards. When they haven’t, it’s been 212, 144 and 207.
Unsung hero: Vernon Davis. Unsung might not be the proper term to describe Davis, a former first-round draft choice. But the fourth-year tight end definitely has been resilient. After a slow start, which included being banished to the locker room during a 2008 game against the Seahawks at Candlestick Park, Davis has developed into the beast everyone was expecting when the 49ers made him the sixth pick overall in the 2006 draft. He leads the 49ers in receptions (57) and receiving yards (670), despite the midseason switch at QB from Shaun Hill to Alex Smith, and his nine TD catches equal the franchise record for the position that was set in 1972 by Ted Kwalick and tied in 1994 by Brent Jones. In what has become the Year of the Tight End in the NFL, Davis is one of the best – as well as one of the most overlooked.
On the spot: The 49ers. They’ve starting throwing around the “P” word in the Bay Area. Not in the locker room, but on sports talk radio shows and in the newspapers. At 5-6, and with games against the Seahawks and NFC West-leading Cardinals (7-4) in the next two weeks, the 49ers can indeed pull themselves into the playoff picture. With that very-real reality, of course, comes the pressure of actually doing it. It’s a situation this team has not found itself in since 2002, when they last won the division title under coach Steve Mariucci.
Burning question: What in the name of Mike Singletary has gotten into the 49ers? The 49ers head coach prefers a smash-mouth approach – play tough defense and pound the ball on offense. But in Sunday’s game against the Jaguars, they passed on 41 of their 61 offensive plays – and 34 of those passes game from the shotgun or spread formation. It allowed Smith to return to his comfort zone, as he never took a snap from under center during his career at Utah. The former first pick overall in the draft responded by completing 27 of 41 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns for a 96.8 passer rating.
Familiar faces: S Dashon Goldson played at the University of Washington and WR Jason Hill played at Washington State. GM Scot McCloughan was the Seahawks’ director of college scouting before joining the 49ers. Quality control coach Shane Day coached at Auburn’s Riverside High School (2001-04). Special assistant to the head coach Bill Nayes was the Seahawks’ football operations coordinator (1999-2006). Director of college scouting David McCloughan, Scot’s brother, played for the Seahawks (1993-94). Area scout Matt Malaspina also worked for the Seahawks (2000-04).
The last word: “He’s like tackling a trash can rolling down a hill.” – 49ers DE Justin Smith, on Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who the Seahawks faced in Week 5