This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Seahawks-49ers matchups to watch Thursday, 5:30 p.m., at Levi’s Stadium.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. 49ers SS Antoine Bethea
Tale of the tape
Lynch (24): 5 foot 11, 215 pounds, eighth season, Cal
Bethea (41): 5 foot 11, 206 pounds, ninth season, Howard
Lynch is the engine of the Seahawks’ offense. With Russell Wilson at quarterback, Seattle owns the league’s 30th-ranked passing attack. But Lynch has propelled them to the No. 1 spot in rushing. The hard-charging back has gained 852 yards (4.4 average) and nine touchdowns.
Bethea has been a vital part of the 49ers’ defense this season. The 49ers signed him simultaneously to former strong safety Donte Whitner leaving as a free agent to join the Cleveland Browns.
“No. 1, there’s been a seamless transition as far as him,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “We lost our quarterback of the secondary last year and replaced him with Antoine, and he’s taken over those duties and it’s been basically seamless. So, No. 1, he’s been a leader of the secondary from a quarterbacking standpoint. And two, he’s gone in there and played his position very well.”
Bethea is integral to the 49ers’ run and pass defenses. He could be stationed close to the line of scrimmage as an eighth man in the box and come head-to-head against Lynch throughout the game. But the Seahawks will also try to catch Bethea selling out to stop the run. He has to be wary about Wilson using play-action to attempt to beat him with pass plays over the time.