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December 9, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Seahawks First Look: 49ers

Seahawks running back Robert Turbin scores a touchdown, the first points of the game, on a pass from Russell Wilson during the first quarter as the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 27, 2014 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Seahawks running back Robert Turbin scores a touchdown, the first points of the game, on a pass from Russell Wilson during the first quarter as the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 27, 2014 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Seahawks opponent: San Francisco 49ers

Game time: Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: FOX

Coach: Jim Harbaugh — 43-17-1 in fourth season with 49ers and overall.

2014 record: 7-6.

Last game: Lost to the Raiders, 24-13.

The series: 32nd regular season meeting. Seattle leads the series 16-15 after the 19-3 win on Thanksgiving night in Santa Clara. Seattle has won three of the last four in the regular season, and four of the last five overall including the NFC Championship game. The 49ers’ last win in Seattle was 19-17 on Dec. 24, 2011.

The early line: Seahawks by 10.

Key players:

QB Colin Kaepernick: Boy have things gone south in a hurry for Kaepernick, who was outplayed by rookie Derek Carr of the Raiders on Sunday, completing just 18-33 passes for 174 yards with two interceptions — giving him four in two games including the two picked by Richard Sherman on Nov. 27. Kaepernick is now 23rd in the NFL in passer rating at 85.1 — roughly about the same amount of words as he speaks during his clipped weekly press conferences.

WR Michael Crabtree: Crabtree returns to the scene of the crime this week as one of the few 49ers who did much against the Raiders, with nine catches for 56 yards, even if he doesn’t really look as dangerous as before he suffered an Achilles injury last season. Recall it was Crabtree to whom Kaepernick was throwing at the end of the NFC Championship game when Sherman instead tipped the ball into the hands of teammate Malcolm Smith. He has 60 receptions for 633 yards this season.

RB Frank Gore: Age may finally be catching up to the 31-year old running back as he is averaging just 4.0 yards per carry, the lowest of his career, with a long of just 28 (he’s had a run longer than that in each of his other nine seasons). Or maybe it’s just playing behind an injury-ravaged and underperforming offensive line that is taking its toll. He showed some life Sunday, though, rushing for 63 yards on 12 carries. Still, he has some work to do to get to 1,000 yards for the eighth time in nine years, standing at 775 with three games to play.

DE Justin Smith: The 35-year-old is widely regarded as possibly playing the last games of his 49ers career. But he remains one of the team’s most effective players with five sacks, and a rating by Pro Football Focus as the team’s best defensive player, rated this week as the sixth-best defensive end in a 3-4 front.

San Francisco’s keys to success: It’s almost hard to know what the 49ers’ keys to success are right now after two disastrous losses in which the 49ers scored just one touchdown in eight quarters to fall to 7-6 and further fuel the rumors that Harbaugh may be on his way out. The 49ers’ formula under Harbaugh has been a punishing defense, a dependable ground game and opportunistic passing. The defense is still generally playing well enough for the 49ers to win games, ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed at 308.5 and 10th in points allowed at 20.6. But the offense has taken a step back as the running attack is nowhere near what it was and Kaepernick is having the worst season of his career. The 49ers are rushing for just 113.5 yards per game, 15th in the NFL, but have topped the 100-yard mark only twice in the last eight games — one reason is a beat-up offensive line that has started six different lineup combinations this season. The 49ers have also been held under 200 yards passing in five of the last six games, including held to just 100 by Seattle on Thanksgiving night. A minus-seven turnover differential the last three games also hasn’t helped as the 49ers have fallen to 24th in total offense at 319.4.

BY THE NUMBERS

6 — San Francisco’s rushing touchdowns this season, 26th in the NFL.

18 – San Francisco rushing touchdowns in 2013, 4th in the NFL.

13.28 — San Francisco’s average points the last seven games. Jacksonville has the lowest points per game in the NFL for the season at 15.3.

 

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