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Originally published December 5, 2009 at 4:23 PM | Page modified December 5, 2009 at 11:01 PM

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Seahawks vs. 49ers

Three keys to Seahawks victory 1Stop that Frank Gore guy. Four backs have surpassed 200 yards rushing in a game against Seattle. Gore is the only...

Three keys to Seahawks victory

1Stop that Frank Gore guy. Four backs have surpassed 200 yards rushing in a game against Seattle. Gore is the only one to do it twice. He rushed for 207 yards in Week 2 when he had touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards. He ran for 212 yards in a 49ers victory over Seattle in November 2006.

2Rediscover the airborne express. Matt Hasselbeck passed for 102 yards last week, his fewest yards in any full game he has played since December 2005. Maybe this week the Seahawks will remember that tight end John Carlson is, in fact, an eligible receiver. He averaged 3.4 receptions per game as a rookie. He has caught three passes total in the past three games combined.

3Keep the ground game rolling. Over the past three games, Seattle has logged two of its three largest rushing totals of the season. But San Francisco's defense is stout, physical and ranked No. 5 in the league against the run. The Seahawks must maintain their momentum on the ground, and Julius Jones is expected to return to the running-back rotation alongside Justin Forsett, assuming Forsett is able to play after suffering a strained quadriceps in Friday's practice.

Three keys to 49ers victory

1Keep spreading the field and finding tight end Vernon Davis. San Francisco attempted 41 passes in last week's victory over Jacksonville, remarkable considering offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye isn't the type to throw caution — or the ball — into the wind. Davis has caught nine touchdown passes and with one more he will set the franchise record for single-season scoring catches at that position.

2Paper or plastic? Seattle showed it was more willing to blitz last week in St. Louis, and after netting four sacks against the Rams expect Seattle to keep it up. That was the Seahawks' highest sack total since week 5. Free safety Jordan Babineaux was especially effective as a blitzer as he was credited with half a sack and a quarterback hurry. Seattle's defense has made hay against San Francisco, totaling 17 sacks over the past three meetings. That's more than one-quarter of the 61 sacks Seattle has totaled over the past 27 games.

3Find a way to the end zone. The 49ers have not demonstrated the firepower to win a shootout, going 0-6 whenever the opponent has scored 18 or more points. San Francisco failed to score a touchdown in four of its past 11 games against Seattle and the 49ers need to find a way to put points on the board. Rookie receiver Michael Crabtree gives the team a playmaker at wide receiver and two weeks ago he caught a 38-yard touchdown pass for the first score of his career.

Matchup microscope

LB David Hawthorne vs. Frank Gore. Seattle has faced a number of elite running backs this season, from Minnesota's Adrian Peterson to Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew to St. Louis' Steven Jackson (twice). Yet Gore is the only opponent to surpass 100 yards rushing against Seattle this season. He did it with two long touchdown runs, the first of which occurred on the first series after David Hawthorne replaced Lofa Tatupu, who injured a hamstring. Hawthorne has started six games since, replacing Tatupu who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Today's game is a chance for Hawthorne to show how much he's learned.

Series history

Seattle won six consecutive games against San Francisco from 2003 through 2005, but the 49ers are 4-3 against Seattle with two victories at Qwest Field since then. San Francisco and Arizona are the only opponents who have beaten Seattle three times at Qwest Field, which opened in 2002.

Danny O'Neil

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