In a close poll the readers of Niner Noise said you wanted a report on how the 49ers looked up close as I attended the Niners game in Washington. First I went in knowing the Redskins fans are known for playing nice with opposing fans but this was more than I expected. Many of the local fans seemed to appreciate the large amount of 49er fans on hand, it was almost weird.
As for the game it wasn’t so much how the 49ers looked it was how bad the Redskins really are. Too make matters worse for Washington they came into the game banged up with several key injuries. The Redskin offense didn’t stand a chance all day vs. the 49ers defense and never would have scored a TD at all if the 49ers hadn’t noticeably taken the foot off the gas on that last Redskin possession.
This was a typical 49er game, great on defense, very good on special teams, good, creative run game and an overall ok offense. What I noticed up close at the game was our defensive backs seem to be communicating well with each other. I can’t tell you how many times safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner would grab each other’s attention and talk out the assignment right before the snap. The 49ers corners were playing too far off the ball and this was the reason for many of the Redskins completions. The defense is FAST in the middle, nobody has run on this team in a long time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. No matter where the ball carrier goes linebackers Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman fly there with at least 1 defensive lineman and usually another LB or DB coming on to gang up on the tackle. The defense is impressive, maybe the best in the NFL.
Page 2: What I saw out of Alex Smith and the Offense
Let’s start with Alex Smith who statistically had a solid game going 17/24 200 yards 1 TD 0 INTs. He also had a couple dropped passes, 1 by Vernon Davis that would have went for big yardage and another by Frank Gore in the red zone forcing the 49ers to settle for a FG. Smith looked good, something that jumped out at me Sunday was that Smith looked trained. He doesn’t force things, he refuses to throw the ball when it could put the team in a bad position, he just doesn’t make the bone headed plays that defined him before.
The running game was again superb as Frank Gore went over 100 yards for the 5th straight game, I know it’s early but Frank Gore should be in every MVP conversation right now. He is simply carrying the 49er offense. Harbaugh incorporated Kendall Hunter into the offense more than he did vs. the Browns when he rode Gore for 31 carries.
I feel Vernon Davis’ pain, I also believe what Braylon Edwards said after the game was spot on. Davis has been frustrated by having to block more and getting the ball less. Edwards came out after the game and made the statement that this offense is nowhere near where it could be. Edwards didn’t sound discouraged, rather confident that the offense would get there. The bottom line, the team is 7-1 playing the way they are right now, great D, great running game, and no mistake offense. With weapons like Davis, Edwards, Michael Crabtree and Delaine Walker it will be interesting to see if Harbaugh’s offense and play calling will continue to evolve as the season goes on. If these playmakers can all start making a solid contribution every game, this team could be flat out deadly.
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