NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers | National Sports | – Watauga Democrat

September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan argues with the referee against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan returns to the site of some of his greatest coaching achievements when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon. Shanahan served as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, helping the Falcons reach Super Bowl LI two years after they had gone 6-10. The last time he coached at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, he directed an Atlanta offense that churned out 493 total yards in a 44-21 shellacking of the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 NFC Championship. Atlanta went on to face New England in the Super Bowl two weeks later, a game in which the Falcons infamously blew a 28-3 lead in a 34-28 overtime defeat in Houston. Earlier that season, Shanahan’s offense overpowered the 49ers in a 41-13 drubbing in San Francisco’s most recent visit to Atlanta. The 49ers hired him to replace Chip Kelly as their head coach one day after the Super Bowl debacle. The clubs have met twice since, splitting a pair of games at San Francisco. The 49ers got touchdown runs from Jeff Wilson and Deebo Samuel in a 31-13 home romp in the most recent head-to-head last December. In his six years as 49ers coach, Shanahan has learned a trick about how to take some of the sting out of East Coast trips. Thanks to having played at Carolina last week, the 49ers were able to stay in the East — at the Greenbrier in West Virginia — to truly make the back-to-back a road trip. “When you go on the road, just the distractions are a little less there,” he noted. “The people aren’t there, even in your own house. You’re just kind of locked into a room, and I think it just helps guys focus a little bit more.” Shanahan had his offense in high gear last week in a 37-15 road rampage of the Carolina Panthers. Wilson and Samuel also had touchdowns in that game, while Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and a pair of scores. The San Francisco defense was as dominant as the offense, limiting the Panthers to 64 yards rushing, recording six sacks and getting a 41-yard TD interception return from cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. Moseley suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the costly win. The 49ers also lost star safety Jimmie Ward to a broken hand; he won’t face the Falcons. Standout defensive end Nick Bosa (strained groin) and kicker Robbie Gould (bruised knee) could be headed to game-time decisions as neither practiced Wednesday. With key pieces watching, the 49ers (3-2) will take the NFL’s top-ranked defense in yards allowed and sacks up against a Falcons offense that has been surprisingly good this season, especially in points scored (23.6 per game, 10th in NFL) and rushing (164.6, third). Falcons coach Arthur Smith has preached the importance of positive yards on first downs this week against an opportunistic defense like the one coming to town. “Penalties, poor execution, tackle for losses, sacks … that’s when they get you in a bind,” Smith said. “That’s what (the 49ers have) done most of the season to a lot of offenses.” Playing without injured running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who went on injured reserve with a knee injury, and standout tight end Kyle Pitts, the Falcons (2-3) were held to a season-low point total in a 21-15 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 5. Rookie Tyler Allgeier and second-year back Caleb Huntley rushed for a combined 79 yards in the defeat. The Falcons hope to get Pitts (hamstring) back into game action against the 49ers after he returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. He had four catches for 77 yards when the clubs met last December. –Field Level Media
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