In four short days, Jim Harbaugh will lead his San Francisco 49ers into a lion’s den. Ok, maybe the challenge will not be as daunting as taking on the king of the jungle in his house. No, on second thought, it has the potential to be much worse. I am referring to the home of the Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field. CenturyLink is the metaphorical lions den of the NFL. Over the last two season Seattle has been nearly unbeatable at home posting a 15-1 record over that span.
The “12th man” as it is referred to in Seattle will present an extraordinary challenge for San Francisco come Sunday. Linebacker Patrick Willis knows the crowd will play a role in the game. ““You hear them talk about that, and I would be lying to you if I said that the crowd is not loud, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter” said Willis. “We have to play to the best of our abilities and we have to play with everything we have. And if we do that, and God forbid we lose and we play our best football then maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But I know for sure we’re going to give it everything we have, and 12th man or no man in the stands, we just want to win.”
The 49ers traveled to Seattle earlier this season way back on September 15. That game was a disaster for quarterback Colin Kaepernick who threw 3 interceptions in a 29-3 loss. Communication can be hard to execute due to crowd in Seattle and it can affect what opposing offenses are trying to do. “It depends what you’re trying to get done. I think for the most part we’ve done a pretty good job of communicating while we were up there, we just haven’t executed” said Kaepernick of the noise.
Preparation for the 49ers hasn’t changed much this week according to Coach Harbaugh. “Our preparation is what we’ll lean on for every game that we play. And having a great day at practice today. Meetings have been outstanding. We’re going to try to make those the best of the season. Make our practice the best of the year. Make our drills the best drills we have had all season. That’s where we get confidence from.”
That confidence will need to shine through if San Francisco is going to move on to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. The mindset of San Francisco and their coach is one that screams “right here, right now!”
“Well, we’ve always taken the approach that no matter what you did and no matter how good it is, how good what you did last week or two weeks ago or yesterday, if you’re still talking about that then you haven’t done anything today. So, we’re trying to do something great today” Harbaugh said. “We’re trying to do as much as we possibly can fit into today to make ourselves better so tonight when our head hits the pillow that we look back on the day and feel joy in that, that we made today better than tomorrow. We’re better today than we were tomorrow. Our goal will be better tomorrow than we were today.”
With great focus, preparation and swagger, the 49ers are not walking into the lion’s den, they are sprinting in with overwhelming determination.
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