To preview the San Francisco 49ers versus Indianapolis Colts game, here are five things to watch out for.
With the Colts losing starting running back Vick Ballard to a torn knee ligament in practice last week, the weight of the running game fell to Ahmad Bradshaw, who has 91 yards rushing on 22 attempts, and Donald Brown who has rushed has for 30 yards on seven attempts. Those running backs were not going to cut it for the Colts offense, so they went out and traded for Trent Richardson.
The trade was a big deal for Niner fans because the 49ers are hosting the Colts on Sunday. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Richardson will see plenty of action in the game against the 49ers. Here is Vic Fangio’s thoughts on facing Richardson:
He’s strong, he’s fast, he’s got a good stiff-arm, he’s a move-the-pile kind of runner. But he also has got some shiftiness, too, where he can bounce it outside or inside. And he’s comfortable running it inside or outside
They’ve tossed it to him a few times in Cleveland. They have the toss play at Indianapolis and they have a very similar running game at both places, so I think it will be a pretty seamless transition, as much as it can be, for a guy that just got there.
Even though Richardson has just two practices under his belt with his new team, he will be receiving plenty of attention from the 49ers. Linebacker Patrick Willis will be the primary run stopper against Richardson. Willis knows he will have his hands full on Sunday.
He’s a good runner. He’s a tough, downhill, physical runner. And you got to be ready to swarm up against him.
Despite Smith’s arrest for a DUI on Friday morning, the linebacker is expected to play against the Colts. Jim Harbaugh said The following about Smith’s status on Sunday:
I expect Aldon, like today, to be back to work and playing on Sunday. Disappointed, and felt like he needs to go to work, face his teammates and soldier through it
That’s that pretty exclusive to the league. They have exclusive rights to the consequences. There will be consequences . There always is. Good or bad, we all have consequences.
Free safety Eric Reid underwent “contact simulation” after practice Friday and signs point to him playing on Sunday. The the final step before he is officially cleared to play is passing light contact tests, which consists of padded hitting and simulated press coverage. Reid said on Friday,
I have to check back tomorrow. So it’s just a waiting game.
Gore’s Breakout Game
Frank Gore has had a hard time gaining yards in the first two games this season. He has averaged his lowest amount of yardage in back-to-back games since becoming the Niners primary running back. Here are Gore’s thoughts on what has gone wrong so far this season:
We got to get better in the running game. We got to get it done. A lot of teams are playing us eight, nine men in the box. But we got to get it done.
They’re playing the run hard. They know past years we have ran the ball great. You watch the film and you see eight, nine men in the box. That’s one of the biggest things. We got to find a way to get it done.
The 49ers will try to finally get their rushing attack going and be effective in a game for the first time this season. The Colts defense has surrendered 4.5 yards and three rushing touchdowns in the first two games of the season.
Stopping Andrew Luck
It’s easier said than done, but the Niners defense will need to contain the damage done by Andrew Luck, not only through the air, but also on the ground.
Jim Harbaugh coached Luck when the two were at Stanford from 2007-2010. He helped Luck to develop into one of the most sought after college quarterback prospects in years. Luck was the No. 1 overall pick by Indianapolis in the 2012 draft.
Luck set multiple rookie records last season, and he gives a lot of credit for his success to Harbaugh’s wisdom.
I definitely feel he helped me get to where I am. He obviously helped turn Stanford around, his efforts more than anybody. Some of my success was being able to play at a well-coached, well-run program.
The 49ers will want to pressure Luck to make quick decisions with the football when passing and when possible, make him run right into the 49ers linebackers.
The Colts won the most recent meeting between the two teams, 18-14, on November 1, 2009.