© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
You may have heard by a man of that first name. Last name: Wilson. Dee Ford is well aware of him.
The Seahawks’ franchise quarterback—a five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion—is on pace for his greatest season (and likely MVP-winning one) yet. Through nine games, he has a league-leading 22 touchdowns and one interception. His career-high entering this season was 34 touchdowns. He also has 203 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, halfway to his career high of six in a season.
At 7-2, the Seahawks are the most significant threat to the 49ers’ hopes of winning the NFC West division. On Monday, the two teams will face for the first time this season, with the final game coming in Week 17 in Seattle. A 49ers win would give them significant breathing room over the Seahawks.
The 49ers had a bonus practice on Tuesday, taking advantage of their extended layoff following their Thursday night win over the Arizona Cardinals before the upcoming Monday night contest. With next Monday representing the 49ers’ most crucial game of the season, Ford was asked what makes the Seahawks’ offense (ranked 4th in total yardage per game and 2nd in offensive touchdowns) so difficult to stop.
“Russell,” Ford said.
“Beyond Russell?” a reporter asked.
“Russell,” Ford said again. “Russell.”
“How do you stop Russell?” another reporter asked.
“Tackle him,” Ford said, with a grin.
After a pause, Ford did expand on his abbreviated answer.
“And that’s a hard task, but honestly you still gotta play defense, gotta play sound defense, what we’ve been doing, you gotta all be on one page, still be aggressive, but understand that he can be Houdini at times, really get out outside the pocket, make some things happen, so we got to plaster in coverage and rush him and we’ll be fine,” Ford said.
Ford, who’s been dealing with quad/knee tendinitis all season, got a bit of warmup with the similarly-agile Kyler Murray on Thursday. Ford had a would-be sack penalized for an illegal horse collar tackle on Murray on the Cardinals’ opening drive. Still, he acknowledged the tackle provided some confidence that his knee would be right for the upcoming challenge of Wilson.
“It helps,” Ford said. “It definitely helps.”