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linchao Jan 13

The priority when facing the Seattle Seahawks for years was figuring out how to deal with the Legion of Boom and that dominant defense.Now the strength for Seattle is Russell Wilson and a dynamic passing offense , creating quite the interesting matchup when the Seahawks (7-2) visit San Francisco on Monday night to take on the 49ers (8-0) and one of the league's stingiest defenses."I used to love Russell when I was on his team, but he's been creating a lot of nightmares lately," said 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, a former assistant in Seattle. "They're doing a really, really nice job and it's really cool the way those guys work together, because a lot of it is Russell starts scrambling. His throws on the run and all that stuff, his stuff out of the pocket and the way they're married together, and I know they practice it all, it's almost a play and then a play when he starts scrambling, which they work on. The way they've got that thing dialed in is what makes it very unique and what makes it special."San Francisco has completely shut down opponents over the first half of the season, ranking near the top of league in nearly every significant defensive category.With a fierce pass rush led by rookie edge rusher Nick Bosa, offseason acquisition Dee Ford and inside pushers DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, have done a good job generating consistent pressure and rank tied for third in the league with 30 sacks.When the pass rush hasn't gotten to the quarterback Garry Gilliam Jersey White , the coverage in the secondary has been outstanding as well led by former Seahawks star Richard Sherman, who looks to be back to his elite shut-down form after working his way back last year from an Achilles' injury.San Francisco has allowed a league-low 138.1 yards passing per game and is also best in the league with 241 yards allowed per game.The Niners also rank best in the league in preventing touchdowns in the red zone, allowing them on less than one-third of trips inside the 20, have allowed the second fewest points per game (12.8) and rank tied for fourth with 16 takeaways.But much of that came against some offenses that aren't considered among the league's elite with San Francisco beating winless Cincinnati in Week 2, Pittsburgh backup quarterback Mason Rudolph in his first start in Week 3, a dysfunctional Cleveland team the following game, a helpless Washington team in a downpour and another backup quarterback in Carolina's Kyle Allen.The defense wasn't as sharp last week against rookie Kyler Murray and Arizona despite winning 28-25. San Francisco allowed a season-high in yards (357) and points, leaving Sherman especially salty."That was legitimately just not up to our standard of football," Sherman said. "At the end of the day, I think just about everybody who's on our defense would say it. It's different between getting beat while executing and you not executing so you get beat. That was the problem in that game. We were getting beat because we weren't executing. ... I was legitimately upset because it wasn't to our standard of play."They'll have more tough tests like that in the second half of the season with a game against Wilson, a rematch with Murray, and matchups against Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Baltimore's Lamar Jackson coming up in the next four weeks.Wilson is one of the leading MVP candidates with 22 touchdown passes and only one interception so far and the Seahawks could be even more dangerous with the addition of big-play receiver Josh Gordon.Wilson has tormented the Niners countless times over the years, winning 12 of his 15 starts against them , including the AFC championship game following the 2013 season.With his ability to extend plays with his legs and turn what seemed to be negative plays into positive ones, the Niners know this won't be easy."He's one of the better guys at it," Buckner said. "He's done it for a long time. He knows how to dodge guys in the pocket. He has a really good feel of getting his o-line back in places to really help defend him from guys trying to sack him. ... Playing against him for three years, sometimes you feel like you know his escape routes and stuff like that and he'll still end up making you miss. He made me miss a couple last year and I'm still thinking about that."NOTES: TE George Kittle missed his third straight practice with injuries to his knee and ankle and his status for the game remains in doubt. ... K Robbie Gould (quadriceps) also didn't practice. ... CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) got back to practice on a limited basis and will be a game-time decision.Could Patrick Mahomes come back to earth against the 49ers? No doubt about it, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been nothing short of dynamic in his first two starts. With each of his 10 touchdown passes going by it makes more and more sense why the Chiefs cut bait with long-time starter Alex Smith and shipped him off to Washington. Just one problem, Mahomes is good, but teams didn’t have much film on him. Yet. Remember when I suggested Garoppolo could get some growing pains? Well the same can be said for Mahomes. This is a common trait all quarterbacks got through, they start out lighting up the opposing defenses, then as time goes on the league gets wind of their heroics and puts a stop to things. Exhibit A: Troy Smith. Remember him? He had a decent game against the Denver Broncos in England. So decent then-49ers head coach Mike Singletary decided to go with Troy Smith over Alex Smith. The decision led to a quarterback carousel, ending with Smith going to the UFL and Singletary getting fired. He had two games with a QB rating around 115 before the 49ers went scoreless in a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Exhibit B: Austin Davis. Davis played so well in a sample size for the then-St. Louis Rams that people were calling him the second coming of Tom Brady. Davis came back to earth shortly thereafter and was yanked after fumbling the ball and throwing picks later into the season. He had six games with an average passer rating of 95.8before turning in the clunkers that would lead to his benching. Exhibit C: Jimmy Garoppolo. For the first two weeks, he hasn’t exactly looked the same as he was in 2017. Garoppolo is in no way a bad quarterback. At least not yet. However, some tendencies are revealing themselves that may become nasty if left unchecked. His game against Minnesota was uncharacteristic, ditto for his outing against the Detroit Lions where it looked like sack city. Have they figured him out? Possibly. Not much you can do when Marquise Goodwin is injured and in the Lions’ case Mike Person Jersey White , your receivers are being blanketed in grabby coverage. It’s extremely rare for a quarterback to not face some sort of growing pains once a defense gets their hands on them. It’s how those quarterbacks adjust. Drew Brees is an excellent example of someone who had to grow into the role, and now he’s headed to Canton once his career is done. So sure, Mahomes has looked good now, but what happens when teams get film on him? Sherman called out something similar to Jimmy Garoppolo. Minuscule yes, but it’s the same idea. As time goes on, the books get built on quarterbacks, and if Mahomes continues on this high level play through the entire season especially in his second year within the league, well, then we can wonder why the 49ers didn’t draft him. Some quarterbacks take longer than others, but defenses will adjust. Three games may be too much of a sample size, but this is where the film starts getting broken down. Could the 49ers visit to KC be the game where Patrick Mahomes comes back to earth?