Saturday, January 14, 2023

The 49ers’ playoff game could be the final contest for ex-1st rounders

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Could the San Francisco 49ers retire another veteran defenseman with a loss?

Back in Week 18, the 49ers marked the final game for three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt, who officially retired after his 38-13 loss to San Francisco. But on the Seattle Seahawks side, they have a former first-rounder who could also be in for his last-ever snaps.

Bruce Irvin, who was once drafted 15th overall by the franchise in 2012, said so during the team’s “All Access” video ahead of the final playoff win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Jan. 8.

“Last home game, this might be my last, period,” Irvin said before helping lead the ‘Hawks 19-16 in overtime against the Rams. “So we gotta go out with a bang, baby.”

Irvin is one of the Hawks’ last remaining Super Bowl defensemen left in the league, alongside former teammate Bobby Wagner. Both were part of the 2013 title-winning Seahawks team against the Denver Broncos. Irvin was also part of the winning team at Seattle’s NFC Championship the following season.

Now that his team is an underdog by nine points going into Super Wild Card weekend, Saturday could mark the final fight for the 35-year-old defenseman if the 49ers eliminate their division rival at Levi’s Stadium. And if it’s the end for Irvin, he’ll cap out a decade-long NFL career with 343 career tackles and 55.5 sacks per Pro Football Reference. Irvin also played for the Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears before returning to the team that drafted him in 2022.

Irvin addressed the retirement rumors with the Seattle media after the Rams game, saying, among other things, “It was a great ride. I do not know.”

Meanwhile, a former teammate of Irvin’s who also knows the 49ers meddled in the upcoming playoff contest: Richard Sherman.

While most of the NFL world believes the red-hot 49ers will easily win against a team they’ve already beaten twice in the regular season, “Sherm” thinks otherwise.

“It’s going to be 25-25,” Sherman first joked on the Richard Sherman Podcast.

But then Sherman began to seriously consider why that upcoming playoff opener might be closer than many think.

“They’re going to be tough to deal with, they’re on a 10-game win streak, but the Seattle game was closer than a lot of people think,” Sherman explained. “There was a 10-point swing just before the end of the first half that could have seen an interception by Quandre Diggs. It was right in his hands, he threw it right at him. That could have changed the complexity of this game immensely, it could have changed very quickly.

He added, “With Christian McCaffrey, that offensive line, that defensive line that’s healthy in San Francisco now, it’s a tough job to ask Seattle to go to San Francisco and come out with a win, but I don’t think that there will be a 10-point spread.”

While the game takes place in Santa Clara, Seattle-like weather is expected for kick-off in the Bay Area.

The Weather Channel is forecasting a 100% chance of rain for the game with “potential for a serious sinking.” California has already been hit by a series of storms dubbed “atmospheric flow” and “bomb cyclone” in the past week. Even All-Pro tight end George Kittle was powerless as he claimed.

Rainy weather can bode well for the Seahawks, who have been playing in a city known for torrential downpours. Their last game saw rain in the forecast. But how do the 49ers prepare for bad weather? NFL Network’s Steve Wyche revealed a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey is imminent to counter the elements.

“You talk about it raining and it puts the focus on the ground game and what the 49ers love to do,” Wyche said on NFL Total Access on Friday.

Rainy weather can bode well for the Seahawks, who have been playing in a city known for torrential downpours. Their last game saw rain in the forecast. But how do the 49ers prepare for bad weather? NFL Network’s Steve Wyche revealed a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey is imminent to counter the elements.



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