Jimmy Garoppolo has never played a game at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, but he knows it will be a hostile environment.
On Sunday, the 12-3 49ers will take on the 11-3 Seahawks there for the NFC West championship and the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs. Garoppolo was injured last season when the Niners played in Seattle, but was there on the sideline and this week told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group that it’s a special place for visiting teams. For years it’s had a deserved reputation as the NFL’s loudest stadium.
“It’s hostile. It gets loud,” he said. “The crowd is chirping at you and everything on the sideline. But that’s what makes football great. Especially this time of year. You couldn’t ask for anything more in December.”
But, Garoppolo recently had a terrific game in New Orleans, where the crowd also is loud and enthusiastic. In that 48-46 victory, he was 26-of-35 for 349 yards and four touchdowns and an interception.
Said head coach Kyle Shanahan: “He handled himself well there (New Orleans) and I expect him to do the same in Seattle.”
In the 49ers’ first game against the Seahawks this season, a 27-24 overtime loss, Garoppolo was sacked five times and threw an interception while going 24-of-46 for 248 yards and a TD. Garoppolo cited the Seahawks’ defensive speed this week and says “they make you earn everything down the field.”
Shanahan calls the matchup “exciting,” because the 49ers – with a victory – control their own destiny.
Sunday’s game is set for a 5:20 p.m. kickoff.