Game snapshot: 49ers vs. Seahawks
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Seahawks aren't likely to know until just hours before the game which wide receivers will be available. With Darrell Jackson and Jerry Rice dealing with ankle injuries, Seattle might have a difficult time taking advantage of the 49ers' secondary, which is without top CB Ahmed Plummer. The Seahawks will again lean heavily on RB Shaun Alexander, who is coming off a 195-yard game, and a defense that shut out the 49ers in a 34-0 rout in Week 3. This time around, however, the 49ers expect to have QB Tim Rattay. Seattle has struggled to dominate inferior opponents because of a penchant for giving up big pass plays. To help the receivers, the 49ers plan to move TE Eric Johnson around more after he was held to one catch while being constantly double-teamed last Sunday. FAST FACTS: Seahawks: Alexander is on pace for more than 1,600 rushing yards despite getting fewer than 20 carries in three of seven games. ... Coach Mike Holmgren was on the 49ers' staff from 1986-91. ... WR Jerry Rice played with San Francisco from 1985-00. 49ers: Have an NFC-best .659 winning percentage in November since 1994. ... Coach Dennis Erickson was Seattle's coach from 1995-98. PERSONNEL NEWS SEAHAWKS --- WR Jerry Rice practiced on his sprained ankle Thursday and remained questionable on the injury report. He could start Sunday at San Francisco unless Darrell Jackson can return from an ankle injury of his own. "I felt explosive running up the field," Rice said. "I was able to get out of my routes. That's a good thing. Now, I'm not going to say I'm going to relax or anything like that, but I know tomorrow that I have to come out and have a good practice and I have to do the same thing over again." --- WR Darrell Jackson did not practice Thursday. He remained questionable on the injury report. A sprained ankle is the problem. --- WR Bobby Engram did not practice Thursday. He remained questionable on the injury report. A sprained ankle is the problem. --- WR D.J. Hackett did not practice Thursday. He was downgraded from probable to questionable on the injury report. A hip pointer is the problem. --- DE Chike Okeafor did not practice Thursday. He was added to the injury report as probable. Neck spasms have been a problem. --- DE Antonio Cochran did not practice Thursday. He was ill. The team added Cochran to the injury report as probable. --- RB Maurice Morris did not practice Thursday. He remained questionable on the injury report after suffering a concussion last Sunday. --- LG Steve Hutchinson did not practice Thursday. He remained questionable on the injury report. Coach Mike Holmgren has said he thinks Hutchinson will start Sunday. 49ERS --- QB Tim Rattay practiced again Thursday and is scheduled to start Sunday's game. Rattay is nursing a strained right forearm, a condition that kept him out of the 49ers' game after the bye week. He did not play against the Seahawks when the teams met earlier this season. --- WR Arnaz Battle has been a valuable player for the 49ers on special teams. He plays all of the specialty units and he might also be the team's most explosive receiver. He has just five catches this season for a 23.0-yard average. Coach Dennis Erickson said he would get him more playing time on offense if he did not already have so many responsibilities on special teams. --- DE Andre Carter will return to action Sunday for the first time since the opening game of the season. Carter has been sidelined because a cyst that was pressing against a nerve in his back. Carter underwent surgery Oct. 4 to remove the cyst from his back. He will be used as a situational pass rusher Sunday against the Seahawks. --- DE Andrew Williams, who fractured his right fibula on Aug. 4, returned to practice this week. He is not expected to suit up for Sunday's game against the Seahawks but could be back in action Nov. 14 vs. the Panthers. --- CB Ahmed Plummer, whose bulging disk in his neck is improving, is still not healthy enough to play Sunday vs. the Seahawks. Plummer will miss his second consecutive game with the condition. --- WR Brandon Lloyd took part in limited practice Thursday but was held out of any action in which he could have taken a hit. Lloyd is nursing a hip pointer. Lloyd has also come under fire from FB Fred Beasley and RB Kevan Barlow. Beasley said the team's young receivers, intimating Lloyd, care only about personal stuff and not the team winning. Barlow commented that Lloyd should not have made statements earlier this season about Terrell Owens unless he posts the same kind of production that Owens did while with the 49ers. INSIDE THE CAMPS SEAHAWKS Seattle's situation at receiver improved Thursday as WR Jerry Rice returned to practice. The all-time receiving leader showed no effects of the ankle injury he suffered Sunday. "I felt explosive running up the field," Rice said. "I was able to get out of my routes. That's a good thing. "Now, I'm not going to say I'm going to relax or anything like that, but I know tomorrow that I have to come out and have a good practice and I have to do the same thing over again." Injuries have prompted the Seahawks to use the 42-year-old Rice more than the team anticipated. The additional playing time has not equated to receptions for the NFL's all-time receiving leader. But that could change this week as Seattle prepares to face Rice's old team. The 49ers haven't faced Rice in the regular season since letting him go in 2001. Now Rice figures to start against them on Sunday unless Darrell Jackson's sprained ankle improves enough to let him play. Jackson missed practice again Thursday, as did No. 3 WR Bobby Engram, who is also nursing a sprained ankle. Rice, who remained questionable on the injury report, made it through practice without any troubles. "I just needed to get that under my belt," he said. "I'm still not quite 100 percent, but today was a positive and now I just have to build off this. "Hopefully I don't have any swelling or anything like that and I can come back out and get ready for Sunday." Rice suffered the injury during a 23-17 victory over Carolina. He tried to return but could not, finishing with one catch for six yards. He has two catches for 16 yards in two games with Seattle. "I'm excited," Rice said. "Earlier this week I was terrified to death because the majority of the time when I get an ankle sprain or something like that during the game, I can work it out and I can fight through it. Last week I couldn't do it. "I came in Monday and it was really swollen and I said 'Wow, it's going to be hard.' I'm happy. I've got a smile on my face." Making an impact against his old team would prove gratifying. "That's a big incentive," Rice said. 49ERS Six weeks ago, the 49ers were absolutely embarrassed by the Seahawks in a 34-0 defeat. On Sunday, they get another shot at the team that ended the 49ers' NFL record 420-game scoring streak. "If you're a competitor and have any type of mentality about yourself, it should piss you off," 49ers fullback Fred Beasley said of the memory of facing the Seahawks earlier this season. "Of course, it pissed me off. That's something that doesn't set well with me. We couldn't do anything offensively against those guys. The only good thing that came out of that game is that we play them again. Hopefully it'll be a little different tune this time." The 49ers appear to be only in marginally better shape than they were for that game Sept. 26 in Seattle. Quarterback Tim Rattay, who did not play earlier this season against the Seahawks, is expected to return to action after missing a game with a strained right forearm. Ken Dorsey started the earlier game against the Seahawks, and failed to lead the 49ers to any points. It was the first time the 49ers had been shut out since 1977. Dorsey completed 19 of 32 passes for 153 yards with two interceptions. "When a team beats you like that, there should be some fire and desire to go out there and get revenge," 49ers receiver Arnaz Battle said. "We're capable of beating that team and winning a lot more games than we have." The 49ers also will add the services of defensive end Andre Carter, who missed the last six games because of a cyst in his back pressing against a nerve that caused discomfort. Carter is expected to see action in nickel and dime passing situations. But the 49ers will not have linebacker Julian Peterson, the team's franchise player, nor cornerbacks Ahmed Plummer and Mike Rumph. Peterson (Achilles) and Rumph (broken forearm) are out for the season, while Plummer is sidelined indefinitely with a bulging disk in his neck.
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