Huard: The Seahawks who will benefit most from poor weather, facing 49ers for 3rd time
Saturday’s playoff clash between the Seahawks and 49ers is setting up to be an interesting one for two big reasons.
The first reason is that these two teams will be facing off for the third time this season. San Francisco swept the season series against Seattle for the first time since 2011, picking up a Week 2 win at home and a Week 15 win on the road. Saturday’s game takes place in Santa Clara.
The second reason is something that neither team has any control of, and that’s the weather. The Bay Area and much of Northern California are in the midst of major rainfall and flooding. The weather forecast for Saturday afternoon isn’t pretty, with more rain and wind expected when the Seahawks and 49ers face off.
“Not great weather and it’s the third time you’re facing the same team. Which Seahawks should benefit from some of those oddities for this game?” Mike Salk asked Brock and Salk co-host Brock Huard on Friday.
For Huard, the former NFL quarterback is pointing to two of Seattle’s rookies.
“These two offensive tackles,” he said.
Those tackles are left tackle Charles Cross, the Seahawks’ first-round pick last April, and right tackle Abraham Lucas, a third-round pick out of WSU.
They face a tough task as the 49ers possess one of the best defensive lines in football, anchored by star defensive end Nick Bosa, who led the NFL in sacks in 2022.
Huard compared facing Bosa to an MLB team going up against starting pitcher and future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander.
“The more that I think about it, it’s like facing Verlander – that’s the level that Bosa is at,” Huard said. “Verlander, Cy Young Award winner (in 2022), Bosa’s likely the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL. And you want to feel his stuff. What does this feel like? What is his repertoire? What is he going to throw at me?”
Bosa is a big, fast and strong rusher off the edge, and he makes life very difficult for offensive linemen and quarterbacks in large part because he can beat you in so many ways.
“Bosa is not a one-trick pony. You don’t get to his level and his production and these numbers unless you’re unbelievably speed to power, which he is,” Huard said. “I mean, he is just one big 290-pound muscle ball … And he doesn’t have just speed to power. He’s going to have the whole set of moves and he’s going to use his hands and he’s going to do everything.”
So why in the world does Huard think Cross and Lucas will benefit from the “oddities” of the poor weather and facing San Francisco for a third time?
“I think for these two tackles, they’ve gotten to face him and (Arik) Armstead on the other side and their whole rotation of (defensive linemen) that they play,” Huard said. “But this isn’t like Week 2 when they went down there and it’s overwhelming and ‘wow, how do I how do I handle these guys?’ Or even at home at the end of the year on a pretty fast track on what was a perfect Thursday night.”
The heavy rainfall could allow Cross and Lucas to have an edge against Bosa and the 49ers’ defensive front.
“It’s gonna be a little muddy. We know that. And we know that from (the Seahawks’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in) Munich, Germany, that the group most affected by that often are those edge guys, those speed guys that want to get in their spikes, want to get in their track blocks and just go. And that is the Niners, for sure,” Huard said. “So I think these conditions both being a little muddy and wet, the footing a little bit more difficult than the fast track that they normally play on, and then for Charles and Abe to go ‘OK, I’ve been in this batter’s box before. I know what this feels like. It ain’t no party, and it’s going to be 65 snaps where I’ve got to be on every single pitch. Every single at-bat, I’ve got to be ready to go.’ But I think they benefit from that experience as much as anybody tomorrow.”
Listen to the full second hour of Friday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.