Defense/Special Teams Will Be Key to 49ers Success

This post was written by Matt Hamm

The Jim Harbaugh era officially began with a 33-17 victory over Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks.  It was an up and down game for the home team that went into half time with a 16-0 lead and a standing ovation.  The team put together 4 scoring drives in the first half only to have 3 of 4 end with a short field goal as the red zone play calling was extremely vanilla and conservative as I expected. The only TD of the half was a gutsy run by Alex Smith that had him crashing into defenders and fighting into the end zone and ended with a big hug from Harbaugh.  The team started 0-9 on 3rd down with the team choosing to dial up run plays for Frank Gore on many 3rd and long situations.  Into the 2nd half the Seahawks caught fire and brought the game within 2 at 17-19.  That’s when the Ted Ginn Jr. show took over with Ginn Jr. taking a kickoff 106 yards for a TD.  After a strong defensive stand by the 49ers Ginn Jr. took the ensuing punt 55 yards for another TD putting the game out of reach for Seattle.

Check almost any 49er team message boards and instead of finding fans elated at a 33-17 opening week victory vs. a hated divisional rival you find fans bickering about the conservative play calling.  You could hear the boos in the stadium when the fans wanted the team to pass and they would call another run.  They choose to boo even though the team was still winning the game.  These are the same fans that can’t handle playing the Raiders anymore.  A lot went the 49ers way in this game.  The 49ers had a consistent pass rush for 3 quarters, quite good for a defense that was on the field a long time.  They held off the pass rush not allowing 1 sack and in general giving Alex time to deliver the football.  The special teams was terrific, David Akers was perfect, the coverage units looked great all day long, Andy Lee was Andy Lee once again and not to mention Ted Ginn Jr.’s spectacular day.  The offense is a work in progress; the coaching staff met these players a little over a month ago.  The team just got its starting WR together with Michael Crabtree just healthy this week and Braylon Edwards signing just a few weeks ago.

It wasn’t always pretty, but the only thing that matters and looks quite good to me, 1-0.

Follow me on twitter @Matt_NinerNoise

Topics: 49ers Special Teams, Cowboys, Matt Hamm, San Francisco 49ers, Ted Ginn Jr

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