San Francisco

Niners Will Have to Contain Russell Wilson

Seahawks quarterback is having perhaps the finest season of his career and will be a challenge for 49ers' terrific defense

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The 49ers defense will be challenged Monday night by a quarterback unlike any other in the NFL in Russell Wilson.

While the San Francisco defense has been outstanding in 2019 – ranking as No. 1 in the league in fewest yards per game (241) and passing yards per game (128.1), while giving up just 12.8 points per game (No. 2 in the league) – Wilson has a way of breaking down even the best defenses.

Wilson, in his eighth season, is perhaps the best scrambling quarterback in the NFL. He can escape oncoming rushers, buy time by sliding left or right, and then has the arm strength and accuracy to connect with his receivers deep downfield. Or, he can dart upfield to get a first down.

He’s having perhaps the best season of a terrific career.

Wilson leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 22 – and has thrown just one interception. His quarterback rating of 118.2 also is a league best, and far above his excellent career mark of 101.8.

Plus, Wilson finds ways to win. He’s 82-38-1 as an NFL starter, is a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion.

If Monday night’s matchup between the 8-0 49ers and 7-2 Seahawks comes down to a single-score game, the 49ers defense will have to find a way to contain Wilson late in the fourth quarter.

Wrote Jelani Scott of NFL.com: "Should this come down to the wire, Wilson’s clutch gene should be in full effect. He leads the league in fourth-quarter comebacks (four)."

And, Wilson loves playing on prime time. He’s 7-2 in his career on "Monday Night Football" and 23-5-1 in primetime games, notes Scott.

Wilson, too, has always played his best against the 49ers. He has an 11-3 record vs. San Francisco, more wins than he has against any other NFL team.

While the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo has been very good this season, Wilson is among the favorite for NFL Most Valuable Player.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan says Wilson always has been outstanding, but he’s "even stronger" now.

Said Shanahan: "He can do anything he wants. A play is never a bad play with him in there, even if everyone is covered. That’s usually when the play starts. So he’s playing at a very high level and he’s doing it very consistently."

Kickoff at Levi’s Stadium Monday night is set for 5:15. San Francisco is listed as a 6-point favorite.

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