Thanks to a 12-play, 70-yard touchdown opening drive by Alex Smith and a payback sack by Patrick Willis made Brett Favre’s debut last all of four plays. Most importantly Smith excelled compared to his start against the Colts. On the opening drive there were a few passing plays where the pocket was collapsing and I thought Smith was going to go down for a sack but he stepped up in the pocket and made plays.
After the successful opening drive the 49ers had to punt on their next two drives with Smith under center. The cameras showed Smith walking back to the sidelines looking annoyed and not happy with the performance of the offense. This was probably the first time I have seen Smith show emotion like that in game whether it be preseason or the regular season. This is good for Smith because it shows he is taking command of the offense and making it his offense. Smith’s reactions showed he is gaining confidence in himself and the offense. Smith limited his mistakes by not making stupid or forced plays. Instead of trying something deep he would pass to his check down receiver and when he couldn’t find any receivers he threw it out of bounds. Smith played all of the first half and was 9 for 13 on passes for 88 yards with no touchdowns all without his big three targets Gore, Davis and Crabtree.
Anthony Dixon was the workhorse for the second straight game. His numbers were more tepid than last week’s 100 yard performance. Still on 20 carries he rushed for 51 yards and scored a rushing touchdown on the opening drive. Dixon did look hesitant on a couple of plays. Instead of powering through the defense he would stutter step trying to make a move around the defenders and would end up gaining no yards.
Nate Davis was suppose to having his shining moment but failed to impress in his time in the game. The best play I saw from Davis was in the third quarter with the 49ers starting at their own five yard line. Davis dropped back to pass on the goal line and threw 60 yards to an open Ted Ginn Jr. Davis showed he has the arm to be a quarterback but his struggles yesterday showed he has a lot of learning of the offense still to do with not a lot of time. Mike Singletary was not happy either and attributed Davis’ struggles to his work ethic saying, “Right now, Nate Davis is working his tail off to try and learn the system. But in the offseason, that’s when you take the time to get that done. And I’m not sure how hard he worked this offseason to get that done. You just can’t turn it on and turn it off, now that we’re in training camp. You know what? The offseason, in the mini-camps, that’s when you have to get that done, that’s when you have to stay up and drive the coaches crazy, and look at film, and ask all the questions you possibly can, and I’m not sure that he did that. Right now, there’s a lot that he has to get, in a short amount of time. Hopefully, he will do that. We’ll see.”
Davis completed 7 of 16 passes for 114 yards and no touchdowns and did lead two long field-goal drives. He also had two three-and-outs in the fourth quarter and on one play on third-down dove a yard short of the first down marker without any defenders nearby ready to tackle him.
The 49ers next play the Raiders in Oakland on Saturday, August 28.