This post was written by Matt Hamm
All the Alex Smith haters and downtrodden 49ers fans alike were treated to a very promising game, especially offensively by the 49ers in their 2nd preseason game vs. the Raiders last Saturday. The offensive line received a lot of harsh criticism after the teams 1st preseason game against the blitz heavy Saints, the game vs. the Raiders saw a dramatic improvement. Blitz pickup was the focus during last week’s practices and it showed all 4 quarters on Saturday. Maybe the most encouraging thing was the play of RG Chilo Rachal who turned in a near flawless game. LG Mike Iupati despite his holding penalty early in the game looked dominate. Anthony Davis limited his mistakes and looked great in run blocking and held up for the most part in pass protection. Joe Staley looked like the veteran anchor to the line the team needs him to be. And the combination of Adam Snyder and Jonathan Goodwin at center looked excellent as well.
The thought that kept running through my head as I watched the game was that this is what this offensive line is supposed to look like. Alex Smith and the passing game looked sharp as well as Smith handled the pressure extremely well getting rid of the ball quickly, spreading the ball around and making the type of throws he must make for this team to win. Smith and WR Braylon Edwards showed signs of starting to click as Edwards pulled in the highlight of the day with his one handed sideline catch that went for 32 yards. For as good as the O-line, receivers and QBs played the stars of the game were the 49ers RBs. The team showed off its depth at the position as Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon and Xavier Omon all contributed with solid performances.
One shouldn’t take too much from a pre season game but if Saturday’s performance is any indication of how the 2011 season will turn out 49er fans have a lot to be excited about.