One of the most fascinating things about the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks is that they are both mirror images of each other in many ways. Both have tough, physical defenses, sound special teams, and love to punish opponents on offense with a power rushing attack.
The 49ers’ defense is well acquainted with Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, and that is why containing ‘Beast Mode’ will be their biggest key to victory on Sunday.
In their last several meetings, it is clear that if Lynch is able to run for a significant amount of yardage, the Seahawks will be in a position to win. In the game that the Seahawks won back in Week 2 of the regular season, Lynch had 98 rushing yards on 28 carries while also rushing for two touchdowns. In addition, Lynch had three receptions for 37 yards and one receiving touchdown. Needless to say, he had a very good game in a 29-3 Seahawks victory.
Contrast this to Lynch’s performance during the Week 15 encounter which the 49ers won 19-17. He had 72 rushing yards on 20 carries and one touchdown, while not having a reception or target during that game. To further the point, Lynch found positive rushing yardage hard to come by in the second half of the game.
The difference in the number of carries and rushing yards no doubt highlights the need for the 49ers’ defense to containing Lynch in order to come out victorious on Sunday.
Even though Russell Wilson has failed to impress in the last month of the season and during the Seahawks’ NFC Divisional Playoff win over the New Orleans Saints, they were able to control things on offense thanks to the running of Lynch, who ran for 140 yards on 28 carries with two rushing touchdowns.
In order to be able to better attack Wilson and return to the Super Bowl, the 49ers must render the Seahawks’ best weapon ineffective.