It goes without saying that the Seattle Seahawks‘ fans have made playing at CenturyLink Field the toughest road game for any team in the NFL. Their ability to use the acoustics of the stadium to get real loud and at times register an earthquake on the Richter Scale after a Marshawn Lynch touchdown has become well known and celebrated in some circles. It is also an atmosphere that the San Francisco 49ers know all too well, and in their last two visits they have seen it play a role in those defeats.
Therefore it goes without saying that for the 49ers to go up to Century Link Field and come out victorious in their NFC Championship showdown, the team will need to find a way to take away the crowd and its impact on the game or at the very least minimize their impact. While it goes without saying that the 49ers will need to take the crowd out of the game, especially when they are on offense, the question turns into how do they go about achieving this? There are several things the 49ers can do to accomplish this.
One of the first things the 49ers need to do is take advantage of any early scoring opportunities. In the last game the 49ers played against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field they found themselves with a short field after a blocked punt but were unable to so much as score a field goal. Wasting away opportunities like that in that setting only help to fuel the influence the crowd can have on a game. The 49ers have done a good job in their first two playoff wins of starting the game well and scoring in the first quarter. Doing the same this upcoming Sunday by jumping out to a 10-0 lead as an example would do wonders to take the crowd out of the game.
Aside from the most obvious of scoring early and taking advantage of any potential early scoring advantages is what the 49ers do in terms of play-calling. In particular, the 49ers will need to do a good job of minimizing any pre-snap reads and audibles. By keeping things as simple as possible, this will help the offensive line in their ability to get off and win their respective battles against the Seahawks’ defensive line to gain positive yardage on the majority of plays. In addition, minimizing all the pre-snap movement and audible calls will help the offensive line from committing false starts and in turn minimize the amount of noise the crowd can create.
Another thing that helps to keep a visiting crowd from having an impact on a game is the ability to run the football and run it well. This is something the 49ers do as well as any team in the league with Frank Gore leading the way. If the 49ers can somehow find a way to rush for anywhere upwards of 125 yards, it will help them not only win the crucial time of possession battle but also play a big role in keeping the crowd from having an impact on the game.