AP Sports Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The dynamic of the Seahawks-49ers rivalry has changed dramatically in a matter of months.
No more Jim Harbaugh trying to outdo old nemesis Pete Carroll, and neither team sitting atop the NFC West standings this time.
“I’m not looking at it any differently,” Carroll said. “He’s a terrific coach and it was a lot of fun playing against him.”
Jim Tomsula is now coaching the Niners with Harbaugh long gone and leading Michigan. Both teams are 2-4 and determined to get back in the NFC West race. Richard Sherman doesn’t have an interception, while Colin Kaepernick has thrown his share in a rough start.
Tight end Jimmy Graham joined Seattle, too.
“Record-wise, people wouldn’t say it’s the same game, because usually we come to this game and we’re both 4-2 or 5-1 or maybe 6-0 at this point,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said. “We’re not usually where our records are. I still think the talent level is the same.”
Seattle, then the defending Super Bowl champion, whipped San Francisco 19-3 at Levi’s Stadium, then eliminated the 49ers from playoff contention less than three weeks later with a 17-7 win in Seattle.
The Seahawks have won three in a row in the rivalry.
Sherman will hardly miss his former Stanford coach, Harbaugh, or departed wideout Michael Crabtree — now with the Oakland Raiders.
“I’m not going to miss either, because I think I’m still playing,” Sherman said. “When you’re playing this game, you try not to worry about other people as much as you worry about what you can do and what your team does. I think at the end of the day we go out there and control what we can control. So I don’t think I think about either of those guys very much.”
Seattle’s chance at a third straight trip to the Super Bowl is in jeopardy. Since 1990, only 14 of 168 teams to start the season 2-4 have reached the playoffs, and none has reached the Super Bowl, according to STATS.