San Francisco 49ers Playmakers Who Must Step Up Against the Seattle Seahawks

Dan MoriCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2013

San Francisco 49ers Playmakers Who Must Step Up Against the Seattle Seahawks

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    The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers played a very entertaining game this past Sunday. Ultimately, the 49ers prevailed, 34-28, as Colin Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin led the 49ers to victory.

    Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards, completing 27 of his 39 attempts. He threw for three touchdowns and had no interceptions.

    The Packers defense was focused on stopping the 49ers' ground attack and the read-option. Although they did that, they also allowed Boldin and Vernon Davis to hurt them significantly.

    Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown. Davis contributed another six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

    The San Francisco defense stifled the Packers running game and made just enough plays to thwart Aaron Rodgers and the vaunted Green Bay passing attack.

    Although the 49ers won, there were some areas of concern that must improve, if the 49ers are going to defeat the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.

    Let's take a look at some of the key players who had lackluster games against the Packers and who must do better against Seattle.

     

    *All stats are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

     

No. 5: Marlon Moore

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    The success of Anquan Boldin and the absence of Michael Crabtree will lead opposing defenses to double-cover Boldin on virtually every play. This means other receivers, like Marlon Moore, need to step up and make plays.

    Against the Packers, although Moore saw significant playing time, he was targeted only once and failed to catch a pass.

    It was surprising that rookie Quinton Patton saw minimal action. If head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman continue with that approach, it will be incumbent upon Moore to get open and produce.

     

No. 4: Kyle Williams

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    Kyle Williams sat out the entire preseason as he was strengthening the knee he injured last year. He saw his first action in the 49ers' opening game against the Packers.

    Williams started at wide receiver opposite Boldin. He finished the game with three receptions for 36 yards. It was a very pedestrian game for Williams, especially considering Colin Kaepernick threw for over 400 yards.

    The only real noteworthy play Williams had was on a pass that actually fell incomplete. Williams had beaten the defense and was open deep down the sideline, but Kaepernick was under duress and unable to get his full momentum behind the pass.

    The pass floated on its way to Williams, allowing the cornerback ample time to recover and knock the ball away. 

    Williams will have a tough time against a very physical Seattle defensive secondary. He will need to get away from their tight, press coverage and give Kaepernick another target other than Boldin or Vernon Davis.

    Seattle will, undoubtedly, roll a safety over toward Boldin, so Williams and the other San Francisco receivers must be able to get open and make plays. 

No. 3: Aldon Smith and Justin Smith

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    Against Green Bay, the San Francisco 49ers defense should have had a huge advantage on the right side of their line. It was expected that Justin Smith and Aldon Smith would dominate the left side of the Packers' offensive line and create havoc for Aaron Rodgers.

    Although Justin and Aldon did have the edge, they, in no way, dominated. 

    Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari was an unheralded fourth-round draft pick this past spring. He was not expected to play until an injury to veteran Bryan Bulaga forced the move to Bakhtiari.

    Bakhtiari was matched up against Aldon for most of the game and did more than a credible job. Aldon was credited with one solo sack and combined with Ray McDonald on another. However, for the most part, Bakhtiari kept Aldon away from Rodgers.

    Left guard Josh Sitton, a Pro Bowl selection in 2012, did a good job on Justin.

    Justin had one solo tackle and two assists, while Aldon had two solo tackles and three assists.

    Although the 49ers defense stifled the Green Bay running game, Rodgers did have time to throw. He completed 21 of his 37 pass attempts. Rodgers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with one interception.

    As the 49ers get ready to face the Seattle Seahawks, they will need to prepare for Marshawn Lynch and a much stronger running game. In addition, quarterback Russell Wilson is a much greater threat to run than Rodgers. 

    The 49ers defense will need stronger games from both of the Smiths in order to hold Seattle's offense in check.

No. 2: Nnamdi Asomugha

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    Nnamdi Asomugha was responsible for Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson for must of the game.

    Nelson beat Asomugha early and often, as he had seven receptions for 130 yards. One play, in particular, was a circus grab in front of Tarell Brown, but the majority of the completions came at the expense of Asomugha.

    The 49ers frequently play five defensive backs and sometimes even six. Asomugha will get plenty of playing time, but he must do a better job than he did this past Sunday.

    The Seahawks will counter with receivers Sydney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Although Percy Harvin is still out with an injury, these other receivers can hurt the 49ers.

    Asomugha will need a much better game against Seattle, or he could lose his job to Tramaine Brock.

No. 1: Frank Gore

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    Frank Gore struggled to get anything going against the Green Bay defense. The Packers made it a priority to shut down the 49ers' running game, and they did just that.

    Gore rushed for only 44 yards on 21 carries, although he did score one touchdown. Gore was visibly frustrated by the Packers, as he simply could not find any running room. 

    In 2012, the 49ers played Green Bay twice. In those two games, Gore ran for a total of 231 yards on 39 carries, a 5.92 yards-per-carry average. The Packers made sure that type of success by Gore did not happen again.

    The Seattle defense is stronger than Green Bay, so Gore and Kaepernick will have their work cut out for them. If Gore can run the ball effectively, it will go a long way toward helping the 49ers win.

    The key to this game may be the 49ers offensive line. They must open some holes for Gore to run through and also protect Colin Kaepernick so his receivers have time to get open.

    Gore is the heart and soul of the 49ers. When he is successful, the attitude of the team is always positive. The offensive line feels good about themselves as they are imposing their will on the opposing defense.