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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Feb. 25, 2024

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With another win over Seahawks, 49ers in solid position to clinch playoffs

Groin injury makes Seattle QB Geno Smith a game-time decision

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers find themselves in a familiar spot after posting a dominant victory against a fellow NFC powerhouse with last week’s big win at Philadelphia.

Now the hope for the Niners is they avoid falling into a familiar trap after that win and avoid the three-game losing streak they endured in October after a similar victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

San Francisco (9-3) hosts the Seattle Seahawks (6-6) on Sunday with a chance to clinch a playoff berth this week with a win and a loss by either Minnesota or Green Bay.

“When you’re a really good team, these are the types of weeks where you have to not fall into the trap of feeling good about yourself and and come out and take it to another notch,” defensive end Nick Bosa said. “If we can do that, then we’re exactly where we need to be.”

The Niners looked like one of the best teams in the NFL after a 42-19 win last week against the Eagles that made them the Super Bowl favorites. That’s the spot they were in after beating Dallas in Week 5, only to lose the next three games.

That prompted coach Kyle Shanahan to deliver a message about avoiding a repeat.

“I think it’s just understood, honestly,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “I think it’s pretty simple, you either learn from your past mistakes or you’re going to let history repeat itself.”

The Seahawks have more pressing issues after losing three straight to fall out of playoff position. Seattle squandered a fourth-quarter lead in a Week 11 loss to the Rams, followed by losses to San Francisco and Dallas the past two Thursdays.

And now, the Seahawks have listed quarterback Geno Smith as questionable for Sunday’s game. He will be a game-time decision due to a groin injury suffered in practice.

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Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after practice on Friday that Smith “tweaked his groin” on Thursday when he stumbled over somebody. Smith sat out practice on Friday.

“We’ll see. We rested him today,” Carroll said.

The injury could lead to backup Drew Lock making his first start since being acquired by the Seahawks as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver before the 2022 season.

FAMILIAR FOE — The Niners and Seahawks will face off for the fourth time in less than a year with San Francisco winning all of those meetings.

San Francisco clinched the NFC West with a Week 15 win last season at Seattle, won a wild-card game at home last season and then won again in Seattle on Thanksgiving.

The Niners have won four straight overall in the series after losing eight of the first 10 against Seattle under Shanahan.

“They have the same benefit that we have,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Nobody has an edge. We have a great deal of information already logged. Both teams are competing to figure out how to use that right.”

DK’S BIG DAY — Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf is coming off one of the most productive games of his career when he caught six passes for a season-high 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys.

It was the kind of breakout game that Seattle has been waiting for and fans have been calling for. Metcalf’s combination of size and speed is so unique, some have felt he’s not being targeted enough.

But San Francisco has been able to slow Metcalf in the past, at least in the regular season. In his last six regular-season games against the Niners, Metcalf has one TD catch. He was held to three receptions for 32 yards on Thanksgiving night as he was shadowed most of the game by Charvarius Ward.

“Any corner who can travel with me for a whole duration of a game, I have mad respect for,” Metcalf said.

Metcalf did have a huge game the last time he stepped foot in Levi’s Stadium with 10 catches for 136 yards and two TDs in the playoffs last season.

RUNNING COMMITTEE — Seattle could be without starting running back Kenneth Walker III for a third straight game depending on how he progresses at the end of the week from an oblique injury suffered in Week 11 against the Rams. Rookie Zach Charbonnet was asked to carry the load running the ball the past two weeks with mixed results.

Charbonnet had 14 carries for 47 yards in the first meeting with the Niners and followed up with 19 carries for 60 yards against the Cowboys. He also scored the first touchdown of his career against Dallas.

While Smith put up big numbers in the pass game against the Cowboys, the Seahawks were able to balance it with a decent dose of running the ball. But Carroll knows they need more opportunities and a little more success with the ground game because of what it can help create while throwing the ball with play-action passes.

“It’s a part of our game that we really like,” Carroll said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to get that done.”

DOMINANT DEEBO — San Francisco receiver Deebo Samuel is getting back to his dominant 2021 form.

Samuel gained 138 yards and scored three TDs last week against the Eagles, scoring on a 12-yard run and then pass plays of 48 and 46 yards that featured several broken tackles and long runs after the catch. Samuel also ran for a TD two weeks ago against the Seahawks and averages 126.7 yards from scrimmage per game against Seattle.

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