Can the Seahawks combat an angry 49er pass rush?

The San Francisco 49ers play host to the Seattle Seahawks on “Thursday Night Football” in a matchup that has huge implications for the NFC West picture. Coming off of an embarrassing 26-3 loss at home against the New York Giants, the 49ers defense is sure to come out aggressive against rookie standout QB Russell Wilson. In their four wins, the 49ers have had nine sacks. In their two losses, San Fran has failed to bring down the quarterback.

Wilson and the Seahawks offense has thrived on the ability to extend plays and get the ball down the field. Last week, Wilson had six completions of 20-plus yards. Of those six, two were for 50-plus yards and two were touchdowns. Wilson is particularly adept at getting outside the pocket to give himself more time and give his big receivers — Sidney Rice and Golden Tate — more time to get themselves open. Vic Fangio’s defense knows this and will likely bring pressure to combat Wilson’s strengths. The “Playbook” crew breaks down how the 49ers will attack the Seahawks’ offense.

This is what is called a T-E stunt. The defensive end loops inside and around the defensive tackle who is occupying (holding up) interior linemen to create a lane for the looping defensive end. In this case the offensive guard is being taken to create a lane for the looping defensive end.

The right side of the line slides away, the protection assumes that the guard and tackle should handle the 2 on 2. But here is a clear look at how free an inside looper can come, if the occupyer does his job.

Here is the same concept from last week’s loss, New York was ready for one of the 49ers’ most successful forms of pressure. They slid away from the two as Minnesota did, but they used their running back to pick up this stunt frequently.

While the Giants made a media fuss of Justin Smith holding on this concept, they had a battle plan for it, and it left the 49ers without a sack. Seattle must follow New York’s blueprint if it wants to stop San Francisco’s rush. In addition to using running backs to help stop the attack, the Giants also slid their center toward the twist to cut Aldon Smith off in the hole. If Seattle can do this and hold up on the back side, it will have a chance to keep San Francisco’s rush in check. The Seahawks will also need to move the pocket and roll Wilson out on occasion. This will change the angles the 49ers have to attack up front, make Wilson more of a threat as a runner, and give their less-than-speedy receiving corps time to separate from defenders. Seattle’s outstanding defense will keep it in this game regardless, but for the Seahawks to pull off the upset on the road, they will have to be able to protect their quarterback.

“Playbook” — the ultimate football Xs and Os show — airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET (NFC) and 9 p.m. ET (AFC) on NFL Network. Check the NFL Network broadcast schedule for further details. Follow “Playbook” on Twitter @NFLN_Playbook.

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