49ers gear up for tough return trip to Seattle

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“We’re a different team than we were the first time we played them up there,” Kaepernick said. “We have a lot of key playmakers back and we’re ready to go.”

Three of those are Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. The addition of Crabtree to the mix since his Dec. 1 return from a six-month recovery from Achilles tendon surgery has changed San Francisco’s offense and passing game.

Frank Gore’s ability to run the 49ers right back to a second straight Super Bowl will play a big part in the outcome Sunday, too. He rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries facing a Carolina front seven among the best in football Sunday, but was held to 16 yards on nine carries at Seattle on Sept. 15.

Safety Donte Whitner speaks of the need to “take it away from them” in Seattle, where the Seahawks opened as 3-point favorites and the line moved to 3 ½ points Monday.

“We don’t want it to end for us. We understand that we have to go up there in a hostile environment with a really good football team and do what a lot of people probably aren’t going to pick us to do,” Whitner said. “That’s OK with us. We understand what we have to do.”

Notes: Harbaugh said the medical staff was reviewing the MRI results on FB Will Tukuafu’s injured left knee, but didn’t have an update. “I’m encouraged how he’s moving around,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have more information on that.”… Harbaugh’s grandfather, Joe Cipiti, died Sunday morning in Ohio. Harbaugh won’t make the memorial service Friday, saying that’s “a bit of a crushing blow there.”

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