The 49ers stayed alive for the NFC West divisional crown with a beat down of the Seahawks yesterday winning 40-21. The 49ers also got redemption for the week one embarrassment at the hands of the Seahawks with the 49ers losing 31-6. I was in attendance at the game along with a friend who is a Seahawks fan. It was great to be able to talk trash from the very beginning of the game with Vernon Davis’ 42-yard touchdown run three and a half minutes into the game. With the score 30-7 in favor of the 49ers at halftime I couldn’t believe my eyes. All game long I was yelling “Seagulls, Seasucks and Hasselsack.” My Seahawks friend did not like the trash talking but I didn’t let up because who knows when the 49ers will have another game and win like yesterday.
Alex Smith did a great job on offense returning to his starting role. Smith’s 255 passing yards and three touchdown passes gets most the attention for the win but it was the defense that put the 49ers offense in great field position with five turnovers. Those five turnovers came in six Seahawk possessions. Smith was given great field position all game because of the defense which allowed him to remain calm and build confidence with each score. If the 49ers defense had played this way all season who knows what the 49ers record would be now. I will update this post later today with Game Gold Nuggets.
Alex Smith had a great game quarterbacking the 49ers with 255 yards passing and three touchdowns. 201 of those yards came after the catch by 49ers receivers. With the great field position the 49ers defense gave the offense it would have been hard not to exceed scoring touchdowns with checkdown’s and short passes. Using checkdown’s and short passes also limited the chances of the 49ers committing a turnover which has lead to many losses this season. Running back Brian Westbrook showed he is not slowing in the passing game as he gained 87-yards on six receptions. 62 of those yards came on a single touchdown pass. Westbrook made Smith comfortable by making plays out of the backfield much the same way Frank Gore did before he was injured. The emergence of receiver Josh Morgan who had 82 receiving yards on three catches with one touchdown will help the 49ers passing game down the stretch.
The only thing you need to know about the defense in this game is they forced five turnovers in six possessions. Looking at the four interceptions Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw you would think he had a terrible game. More so it was the 49ers defense that forced Hasselbeck into bad situations and had nowhere to throw thanks to the 49ers great pass coverage by the secondary. Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin looked like his old self from last season shutting down running back Marshawn Lynch with only 29 rushing yards on ten carries. Lynch only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. Linebacker Takeo Spikes had a great game with six tackles, two pass deflections and one interception.
49ers kicker Jeff Reed, or as I was calling him during the game “Reed Nedney”, had another great game and was perfect on all four field goals he attempted (33,44,22,36). Punter Andy Lee averaged 49.4 yards per punt. The return game and coverage was nothing to get excited about for the special teams. With all the turnovers the 49ers forced and the success the offense had there was only one punt return and four kickoff returns. The kickoff coverage was doing well limiting the explosive Leon Washington however in the third quarter he ran a kickoff back for 92-yards. But before the return the 49ers were up by 33 points.
Mike Singletary looked like a genius again by switching starting quarterbacks and renaming Alex Smith as the starter. A lot of Smith’s success had to do with the game plan developed by offensive coordinator Mike Johnson. Knowing the 49ers have a limited running game Johnson did not make Smith throw deep down the field avoiding the mistakes Smith had made earlier in the season. With the way 49er receivers ran after the catch Smith could have thrown one-yard passes all game and they still would have scored. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky knew this was a redemption game for how his defense played in week one against the Seahawks. Manusky let his defense run wild against the pass and run while it provided great pass coverage. We have not seen a game like this all season where all aspects of the 49ers are running full steam.
@ San Diego Chargers. It is hard enough facing the Chargers in December who have only lost one game in the month since Norv Turner has been their head coach. To top it off the game will be in San Diego with the 49ers playing on Thursday Night Football during a short week.