The Seahawks travel to the Bay Area this weekend to face the San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle is looking to extend a seven-game winning streak against the NFC West foe. To learn more about Seattle's Week 12 opponent, we reached out to 49ers.com senior reporter Joe Fann with five questions about the 49ers.
Q: It sounds like C.J. Beathard is the guy at quarterback again this week, what has the rookie shown so far this season?
Fann: C.J. Beathard has shown he belongs in the NFL. That much is certain. Whether he can be a viable long-term starter is still to be determined. At no point has Beathard looked overwhelmed, which is impressive for a rookie quarterback. Even in Week 9 when he was hit a ridiculous 16 times, he always got right back up and moved on to the next play. His 288-yard, three touchdown performance against the New York Giants in Week 10 was his best game to date. It earned him the start this week against Seattle. Everyone is eager to see how Beathard fares in his first test against the Seahawks defense.
Q: On a related note, what's the plan with recently-acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo?
Fann: I think the plan is still a fluid situation. Beathard playing well has given Shanahan the ability to be patient. I still think that Garoppolo will play at some point this season, but there's no telling when that switch will take place.
Q: Speaking of quarterback play, I'm guessing it's not a coincidence that giving up zero sacks and earning the first win happened in the same game? What did the 49ers do differently to improve pass protection, and how important will it be to keep the Seahawks pass-rush off Beathard.
Fann: Protecting Beathard remains the top priority for the 49ers offense. Having Joe Staley back in the lineup against the Giants played a huge factor in the o-line's improvement. San Francisco gave up five sacks and 16 quarterback hits in the one game without Staley. Carlos Hyde also stepped up in pass protection against the Giants. Hyde picked up a defender coming free on a blitz on a play that resulted in an 83-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin. Beating the Seahawks won't be possible unless protection holds up against Michael Bennett and Co.
Q: I looks like Reuben Foster is making a lot of plays now that he's healthy. What can the first-round pick out of Alabama bring to the 49ers defense, in particular for a run defense that has allowed 133.5 yards per game?
Fann: I think it's worth noting here that while San Francisco owns the 31st-ranked run defense, much of that has to do with trailing in most games. No team has faced more rushing attempts this season than the 49ers, and yet, San Francisco ranks in the top half of the league (14th) in yards allowed per attempt.
Anyways, back to Foster. The rookie linebacker is a special player and is arguably San Francisco's best defender already. He's led the 49ers defense in tackles in each of the past two games. Foster is an every-down player who you'll see all over the field on Sunday.
Q: Carlos Hyde is one of only a couple of backs to have success against the Seahawks this season. How important is it for the offense to get him and/or a running game going?
Fann: Very important. But getting Hyde going and giving him consistent touches also means that the 49ers aren't in an early hole, something that has plagued the team in 2017. Look for Hyde to be a huge part of San Francisco's offensive gameplan, both as a runner and in the passing game. Hyde's 42 receptions this season rank fifth among NFL running backs.
The Seahawks and 49ers face off on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2023. Kickoff is set for 5:20 p.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the 49ers.