The common denominator in the games the Seahawks have lost in recent years? According to offensive coordinator Greg Roman, it's that they've given up some "chunk" plays on defense.
"We've played them five times," Roman said today. "And in all those games that we've won (three), and really when you see anyone that beats Seattle, one of the common threads is that they're going to make chunk plays against them. Whether it be in the run game or the pass game - and that's a common thread of beating Seattle."
Indeed, Seattle's only loss of the season - to Indianapolis in Week 5 - featured a handful of big, momentum-turning plays. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck hit receiver T.Y. Hilton for touchdowns of 73 and 29 yards. The game also featured a 61-yard touchdown return of a blocked Seahawks field goal.
The problem for the 49ers is that those type of chunk plays have been largely missing from their passing offense and that one player, tight end Vernon Davis, has been responsible for the vast majority of the ones they've had. Davis was held to three catches for 20 yards and left the game with a hamstring injury when the Seahawks and 49ers met in Week 2. He was knocked from the game with a concussion in the December meeting last year.
Ah, but there is some good news. San Francisco's second-longest offensive play - and the longest by one of the team's wideouts - came on Sunday courtesy of newly arrived Michael Crabtree. The receiver put a double move on Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was playing aggressively and trying to take away the underneath route, and Colin Kaepernick hit Crabtree for a 60-yard gain.
Roman said the play was installed especially for Crabtree and for the style of defense the Rams like to play.
"For sure - really saw something that alluded to that being a good play," Roman said. "And it was really good by Colin and Crab having that Jedi thing going on that play. That was something that they talked about in the meeting, they got a feel for it and it happened on the field. That was really good to see."
The Seahawks cornerbacks - in case you haven't heard - also like to play aggressive, man-to-man coverage, often with little help from the safeties. What bodes well for Roman and Kaepernick is that Crabtree improved throughout Sunday's game and seems to have bounced back from his 42-snap debut without any issues.
-- Matt Barrows