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Posted on: October 6, 2008 10:36 am
Edited on: October 7, 2008 8:35 am
 

Week 5 vs. New England Thoughts and Observations

- Martz was ridiculously outcoached by Belichick, who had an answer to everything Martz tried.  The sad part is that I could of outcoached Martz with the game he called.  The playcalling was so predictable it would have been easy.  First down, 5 yard run by Gore; second down, 3 yard run by Gore; third down, long developing pass play instead of a 3 step drop.  All the Patriots had to do was bring pressure on third down and they did it.  The offense only converted 1 third down out of the 9 they tried and only had 1 drive of more than 5 yards, including 5 three and outs.

- J.T. O'Sullivan didn't play as poorly this week as he did last week but it was close.  At least this week he didn't turn the ball over in the red zone or take sacks when he didn't have to.  He still had quite of few costly mistakes.  The one that stood out was the interception deep in our own territory on the first 49ers drive of the 2nd half.  The Patriots had just had a 10-play, 6 minute (the defense only allowed 34 yards and forced a punt, though) drive to start the 3rd quarter and the defense was tired and needed a break, instead JTO threw an interception 38 seconds later and forced the defense to come back onto the field with their backs to the wall at their own 24.  Of course the Patriots scored a touchdown on that.  I am amazed that the defense almost stopped them.  Then there was his last interception with about 3 minutes left when he tried to force something that wasn't even close to there.  San Francisco still had all 3 timeouts left and was only down by 9 at that point.  Throw the ball away, pin the Patriots, and hope the defense can get you the ball back.  Outside of those 2 plays he was inaccurate for most of the game.

- There wasn't nearly enough Frank Gore to judge his performance.  When he got the ball he was great as always but Martz didn't give him the ball enough.  I don't know why Martz abandoned the run in the 3rd quarter when we were only down by 3 and then 10.  Gore's touchdown catch was great but outside of that he didn't have any highlights.  Even though he didn't touch the ball I would like to take this time to talk about Michael Robinson.  He is a great athlete and can throw the ball and there are so many things he can do.  It bothers me that he isn't used more on offense when he should be used at least as a short yardage back.

- Isaac Bruce didn't catch many passes but when he caught one it was a big play.  Two of his three catches were for touchdowns and the other was for 38 yards.  After yesterday he has 4 touchdown catches on the season.  It seems that he still does have something left in the tank.  Two weeks ago at New Orleans I thought the receivers were having trouble getting seperation and that is why none of them had a good game, except for Arnaz Battle.  Yesterday I don't think that was true.  I saw quite a few plays when Battle and Bryant Johnson were running around wide open and JTO didn't see them.  Still, neither of them played well as they both dropped a pass that could have been a big play.  As I said last week, Josh Morgan and Jason Hill are a year away but I am excited about seeing what they can do when they get the chance.

- I am not going to say Vernon Davis had a bad game this week because I saw him open almost every time he went out for a pass.  It is not his fault he was only targeted once.  He stayed back to pass block most of the time and he did a good job.  Delanie Walker, on the other hand, was bad.  That first pass he dropped on the opening drive would have gone for 20+ yards and on JTO's first interception it looked like Walker might have ran the wrong route.

- At least the offensive line wasn't terrible this week.  Early in the game they were allowing some pressure, because the Patriots did blitz a lot, but they gave JTO enough time to get rid of it and in the second half they made some adjustments and looked good.  I cannot tell if it is because the rest of the offensive line sucks or he is just really good but Joe Staley looks like a Pro Bowler.  He pretty much threw Jarvis Green around whenever he was in and held his own against Richard SeymourEric Heitmann was also surprisingly good against Wilfork, at least in pass protection as he wasn't pushed back.  Adam Snyder is a failure at guard and there was obviously a reason that the Raiders didn't want Barry Sims anymore, he sucks.  Why not just try Snyder out at right tackle?  Both Tony Wragge and David Baas got playing time at right guard and neither was bad but Wragge was a little bit worse.

- I'm sorry but I just don't know what else to say about Nolan's defensive gameplan.  He just doesn't know what he is doing.  For some reason he had Nate Clements playing Moss deep yesterday and the Patriots saw it and just threw it to Moss short.  Nolan failed to adjust to this.  Finally Nolan did decied to bring some pressure and it was working because the defense was giving Matt Cassel almost no time to throw.  But on third downs Nolan went right back to his Prevent-Big Nickel defense, or whatever he calls it, and Cassel had all day to find an open receiver for a first down.

- Even though the 49ers have basically switched to a 4-3 they still need a big, run clogging defensive tackle for short yardage situations.  Isaac Sopoaga is a quick guy that can push the pocket on passing plays but he is not strong at the point of attack and can get pushed back.  Kentwan Balmer might develop into the type of defensive tackle we need but he seems too similiar to Sopoaga.  Ray McDonald is basically a cheap version of Sopoaga.  Ronald Fields and Aubrayo Franklin are both back-ups at best.  Justin Smith continues to look like a good signing.  He was putting a lot of pressure on Cassel and was solid against the run.  Roderick Green and Parys Haralson are both great situational pass rushers, especially Haralson, but neither is a consistent 3-down DE. 

- That was the second best game of Patrick Willis' young career, imo.  Fourteen solo tackles, including ones for 0, 2, 4, 2, 4, 2, 0, 3, 0, and a sack.  He is a beast in every sense of the word.  Takeo Spikes is starting to look like a great signing after starting off the first couple of games slowly.  He had 9 tackles within 4 yards of the LoS and made a great interception, for the second straight week.  The 49ers played with only 2 linebackers for most the game yesterday so Willis and Spikes were the only linebackers that did anything.  Tully Banta Cain got in a play a few times but nothing spectacular.  When Manny Lawson gets back, and if Nolan is smart enough to play a 4-3 with he, Willis, and Spikes at the linebacker positions, the 49ers will have a very formidable linebacking corps

- What is up with Walt Harris?  For the first three weeks of the season he was great, and I mean Pro Bowl caliber great, but the last two weeks he has gotten burnt quite a few times.  Randy Moss ran right by him when he slipped on that long touchdown.  It was hard to judge Clements' performance yesterday because Nolan had him playing 20 yards off the LoS but he was right with Moss on his interception.  Mark Roman continues to fail miserably as he got abused on short passes by Wes Welker but at least he didn't allow anything deep.  Michael Lewis was good against the run and wasn't asked to cover much seeing as Donald Strickland was on the field so much.  Strickland got owned on moves by Moss on all 4 of Moss' catches outside of the touchdown.

- I think it is safe to say that Andy Lee is back, don't you?  I mean an 82 yard punt, and it traveled almost every yard in the air, an average of 56 yards, and a net average of 46 yards.  Joe Nedney wasgood on kickoffs.  Allen Rossum had a good day on kickoff returns but didn't get any chances to return any punts.

Overall, I am very disappointed in the coaches.  At this point I am basically praying that Mike Nolan is fired during the week but I know he won't be.  But my hopes are high because if the Eagles blow us out and we are 2-4 going into the bye, which is probably what will happen, there is a very good chance he will be fired.  Don't get me wrong, I would never hope the 49ers lose but this is about as close as I will ever get.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 3, 2008 12:53 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 12:54 pm
 

New England Patriots @San Francisco 49ers Preview

Going into last week I thought we would win easily against the Patriots but now I am not sure.  The terrible gameplan by Mike Nolan and crucial turnovers by J.T. O'Sullivan cost us the game.  I still believe that the 49ers can win this game but it is gonna be tough.  Bill Belichick is a masterful gameplanner and the Patriots haven't lost a game after their bye week in 5 years.

49ers offense vs. Patriots defense

Right now New England's defense is really showing it's age.  They are terrible against the run, giving up 140 yards per game (25th) and they aren't much better against the pass.  They are allowing opponents to complete 70% of their passes and have only forced two interceptions.   The usually good pass rush only has 6 sacks through 3 games (23rd).  Frank Gore iis leading the league in yards from scrimmage with 525 (369 rushing, 4.9 y/c, 3 rushing TD; 15 receptions, 156 receiving).  The 49ers are not going to need to do any direct snaps for him to have a big game.  I would like to see the 49ers line Michael Robinson up behind center, though.  He played quarterback in college and he was pretty good so if he was back there it would probably confuse the Patriots.  For the 49ers to win this they are going to need better play from J.T. O'Sullivan.  Last week he threw two interceptions in the redzone, fumbled once deep in 49ers territory, and held onto the ball way too long which led to 6 sacks.  JTO needs to play like he did against the Lions, safe.  He needs to get rid of the ball on time, not try and force things that aren't there, and run when the play breaks down.  Hopefully Bryant Johnson is fully healthy because he looked slow last week.  Isaac Bruce and Arnaz Battle picked up the slack for him but it obviously wasn't enough.  Vernon Davis is pretty much officially a bust so I am not expecting much from him.  He will probably get open deep a couple of times and drop sure touchdowns.

Patriots offense vs. 49ers defense

When I read that Manny Lawson was out for this weeks game I almost cried but then I remembered he only plays special teams.  Mike Nolan sure is stupid.  He is so stupid that he will probably keep the defense in the 4-2-5 for most of the game even though the Patriots are obviously going to try and run the ball if the game is close.  Sure Laurence Maroney and the rest of the Patriots running backs aren't great but it isn't that hard to run on a nickel defense with only a couple of good defensive linemen missing it's best run defender, even though Lawson hasn't played much defense since week 1.  If the Patriots stick with there short passing game and screens I am not worried about the 49ers not blitzing because that means they won't overpursue.  But if Belichick is smart enough to change his offensive strategy back to what it was when Tom Brady was quarterback then we are screwed.  Matt Cassel will have all day to throw, because the 49ers don't blitz, and Randy Moss and Wes Welker are two of the best receivers in the league at getting seperation.  After a while they will get open, Cassel will see them, and we will get killed through the air just like last week against New Orleans.

Summary

I am not overconfident about this game but I do think the 49ers will win.  Frank Gore will have a huge game (150 total yards and a couple of touchdowns), JTO will throw for about 230 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, and no 49er receiver will have more than 70 yards.  The defense will get a few sacks and a couple of turnovers.  Matt Cassel will throw for less than 200 yards and will not have more than 1 touchdown.  The Patriots running back will break 100 yards combined but average less than 4 yards per carry.  49ers: 27 - Patriots: 13
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 28, 2008 8:48 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2008 8:19 am
 

Week 4 @New Orleans Thoughts and Observations

I might as well get this out tonight because I am so mad right now if I don't get this off of my chest I might explode.

- The third down play calling was getting on my nerves for most of the game.  Instead of trying quick passes, because the offensive line wasn't playing well, Martz had J.T. O'Sullivan performing 7 step drops.  I don't even want to get started on the red zone play calling so I won't but suffice to say it was very bad

- JTO just had an awful game.  All season he has been holding onto the ball too long, I would estimate that at least 8 of the 19 sacks we have allowed are completely his fault with a few more partly his fault, but at least in other games he was making plays.  Today he just wasn't doing anything except throwing inaccurate passes nowhere near his receivers.  The worst part about him taking the sacks is that is makes it seem like the 49ers offensive line is terrible, which it isn't.  He padded his stats in garbage time to make it look like he did well but those two red zone interceptions cost us a game that we were still in at the beginning of the 4th quarter.

- It can't be said enough that Frank Gore is the best player on the 49ers.  He can run, he can catch, he can block, and he is a team leader.  Through 4 games he has 525 yards from scrimmage (369 rushing, 156 receiving).  He seemed like he might be having that fumbling problem early in the season but he has fixed that.  I honestly see no problem in his game.

- I have said for a while that Arnaz Battle has the ability to be a good receiver if given the chance, today he proved that.  He is a great possession receiver, 12 of his 15 catches have come for first downs, and he is clutch.  Isaac Bruce had another solid game but Bryant Johnson was quiet.  Josh Morgan is talented but he needs to develop, same thing with Jason Hill.

- Introducing Vernon Davis, the invisible man!  Coming in at 6'3'', 250 pounds of pure muscle with blazing speed, Davis has an uncanny ability to do absolutely nothing!  But, in all seriousness, he isn't doing anything.  Delanie Walker, a 6th round draft pick I believe, is doing just as good as Davis.

- While Joe Staley continues to do well at left tackle the rest of the offensive line is average at best.  Adam Snyder and Eric Heitmann both had okay games but Tony Wragge and Barry Sims were terrible.  Hopefully Chilo Rachal is developed by next season and David Baas comes on strong but we would still need help at center and right tackle.  I have said all along that Snyder should be playing right tackle but the coaches seem like they would rather watch him struggle at guard.  I hope that by the end of the season the starting offensive line will be Staley, David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Chilo Rachal, and Adam Snyder.  That would give us the best offensive line of the players on our roster, I believe, but we still would need upgrades at center and right tackle.

- Another games, another day when I complain about Nolan, and I am now convinced it is him, being way too vanilla.  In my preview of the game I said that if Nolan doesn't blitz and allows Drew Brees to sit back there all day that we would get picked apart and it happened.  I don't care who the receivers are, give Brees enough time and he will find an open man.  Nolan doesn't seem to realize that our defensive line is nowhere near dominant enough to get pressure on a QB by themselves, and you would think that after 3 games of them not doing it he would have.

- Despite the defensive line not being as dominant as I would like to see Justin Smith is still looking like a good signing.  For all intents and purposes it seems like we are playing a 4-3 defense now so Isaac Sopoaga had a solid game as well but he is by no means a dominant defensive tackle.  Other than those two we could use an upgrade at every other position on the defensive line.  Neither Aubrayo Franklin, Ronald Fields, or Ray McDonald are good enough starters and would all be better off as back-ups.  Parys Haralson and Roderick Green are good situational pass rushers off the egde but neither is starting material either.  Kentwan Balmer is developing nicely and looks to be ready to start soon enough

- I cannot begin to explain how angry I am that Manny Lawson is not playing many defensive snaps.  What part of him being one of the best defensive players on the team does Nolan not understand?  If Lawson's injury on that kickoff turns out to be serious I am going to be so angry.  Patrick Willis is having another All-Pro season.  He had two tackles for a loss (9 total tackles), one QB pressure that forced an incomplete pass, one knocked down pass, and a fumble recovery.  Takeo Spikes definitely has his best game of the season, especially towards the beginning of the game, but he still wasn't great.

- The only players in the secondary that played well were Michael Lewis and Nate Clements.  Lewis was all over the field making tackles, knocked down two passes, and that forced fumble was beautiful.  Clements locked down whoever he was covering and made two tackles for a loss.  Looking at that long catch by Henderson is really looked like, in my opinion, that Nate thought he had inside help because he stayed outside.  When he realized Roman wasn't over there he sped up and made a great play to save the touchdown and then Lewis got us the ball back of course.  Other than that I didn't see any mistakes that Clements made. Both Mark Roman and Dashon Goldson were getting beat like crazy

- I have to take back what I said about Allen Rossum's kickoff return abiltiy last wek because he was great this week.  Andy Lee was actually hanging his punts high, except for one, allowing the coverage units to down them or force fair catches.  Joe Nedney had a good day kicking field goals of 38, 49, and 47.

Unlike the loss in week one I cannot say that this one doesn't hurt.  The 49ers were in this game up until the 4th quarter and this game wasn't just lost just because of stupid mistakes like week 1.  JTO and the coaching staff, mainly Mike Nolan, cost us this game.  I really thought we could win this and win next week and go into the bye week 4-2 after a loss to the Eagles.  I still think we will beat the Patriots, though
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 25, 2008 12:11 pm
 

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

I wouldn't exactly call this game a "must win" but if the 49ers want to be taken seriously they have to at least be competitive.  New Orleans has a very good offense, one of the best in the league, and is coming off of 2 consecutive losses so they are hungry for a win.  San Francisco does have confidence in themselves and confidence is very important for a young team.  If either team really has any kind psychological edge here I would say it is the 49ers because they have nothing to lose and are going to be playing their hearts out.

49ers Offense vs. Saints Defense

The 49ers really should be able to move the ball on New Orleans as well as they did against the Lions.  I mean, going purely by numbers, the Saints defense is almost as bad as the Lions.  New Orleans is giving up 27.7 points per game (27th), 392 yards per game (28th), 259 passing yards per game (29th), 133 rushing yards per game (22nd), and 6.2 yards per play (29th).  Their secondary is okay at best and they don't have much of a pass rush, only 4 sacks this season.  As of right now the 49ers also have a playoff caliber offense.  With 25.7 points per game (11th), 342 yards per games (11th), 214 passing yards per game (12th), 128 rushing yards per game (11th), and 6 yards per play (6th).  J.T. O'Sullivan is once again proving Mike Martz's genius and his having a very good season.  After a forgettable opening game against Arizona in which he turned the ball over 3 times and didn't throw a touchdown pass he has thrown 3 touchdowns and not turned the ball over once.  He has posted a passer rating of over 100 in each of the last two games, has the 4th highest passer rating in the league, is completing almost 67% of his passes, and has a ridiculous 9.4 yards per attempt.  Frank Gore is also having a great season.  He is leading the league in yards from scrimmage with 412 and has a touchdown in each game this season.  None of the 49ers wide receivers are doing anything special but between Bryant Johnson, Isaac Bruce, and Arnaz Battle they have a good group who should be able to get open against a, as already pointed out, bad secondary.  Vernon Davis has been getting open this season and been part of Martz's gameplan, with 15 targets, but he can't seem to catch.

Saints Offense vs. 49ers defense

Another week, another great match-up for San Francsico.  Like Detroit, New Orleans has a great passing attack (1st in the league) and not much of a running game (28th).  Drew Brees is having a great season right now completing 74% of his passes and with a passer rating of 103 but Nate Clements and Walt Harris have already shut down tow very high powered passing attacks in Arizona and Detroit.  Still, while his receivers are nowhere near the caliber of either Arizona's or Detroit's, Brees is much better than Jon Kitna and probably a little bit better than Kurt Warner.  Brees will get his yards.  If the 49ers want to hold Brees down, compared to what he has done so far, they are going to have to put pressure on him and seeing as Nolan has not blitzed much at all this season that is a stretch.  The injury to Jamar Nesbit helps but I still don't think San Francisco will get much pressure with a 4 man front and if they allow Brees to sit back in the pocket all day he will get more than yards.  Reggie Bush is quietly having a very good season, at least catching the ball.  He is leading the league in receptions with 26 and has more receiving yards and touchdowns than any player on either team.  He isn't running the ball very well, however.  He has a dismal 3.6 yards per carry and even Pierre Thomas, who is supposed to be a better runner, is only averaging 3.4.  San Francisco's run defense isn't playing very well allowing 4.2 yards per carry though so Bush and Thomas might find some room if Mike Nolan continues the nickel defense all game strategy.  The key to the 49ers stopping Bush, in both the running game and passing game, is Manny Lawson.  If Lawson is on the field I am not really worried about Bush but if he isn't I am.

Summary

This should be at the least a very entertaining game as both teams have good offenses.  These teams have played in each of the last two seasons with New Orleans winning 34-10 and 31-10 but those scores are pretty irrelevant though.  In 2006 the 49ers didn't have Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, Patrick Willis, and Justin Smith, 4 of there best defensive players right now, and last year the starting QB was an injured Alex Smith, the #1 receiver was Darrell Jackson, and Manny Lawson wasn't playing.  Those 49er teams obviously aren't as good as this year's team while, due to injuries, the Saints are arguably worse on both sides of the ball than they have been for the past two seasons.  Final Score: SF- 31, NO- 24.  Drew Brees throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns but also 2 interceptions while being sacked 3 times, Reggie Bush adds 100 yards of total offense and 2 total touchdowns; JTO throws for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, is sacked 2, Frank Gore breaks 150 yards of total offense and has 2 rushing touchdowns, Vernon Davis gets his first touchdown of the season, and Bryant Johnson is the 49ers leading receiver.

Other Game Predictions

Atlanta @ Carolina: Carolina
Cleveland @ Cincinnati: Cincinnati
Houston @ Jacksonville: Jacksonville
Denver @ Kansas City: Denver
Arizona @ New York Jets: Arizona
Green Bay @ Tampa Bay: Green Bay
Minnesota @ Tennessee: Tennessee
San Diego @ Oakland: San Diego
Buffalo @ St. Louis: Buffalo
Washington @ Dallas: Dallas
Philadelphia @ Chicago: Philadelphia
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh: Baltimore
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 22, 2008 1:35 pm
 

Week 3 vs.Detroit Thoughts and Observations

***Take everything with a grain of salt because this was the Lions***

- For most of the game I loved the offensive playcalling but I think Martz got a little conservative late in the game, especially after the onside kick when Arnaz Battle returned the ball to the 12 and we only got a field goal. Still the playcalling was great for the most part.

- I am having a very hard time keeping myself from jumping onto the J.T. O'Sullivan. I really, really want to but it was against the Lions so I guess I am only half way on. He still had a great game yesterday. His passes were crisp and accurate, he didn't throw any stupid passes, he held onto the ball, and best of all he didn't take any sacks when he had the chance to get rid of the ball.

- There is really not much to say about Frank Gore. He is the best player on the team and one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the league. Right now he is leading the league in yards from scrimmage and has 3 rushing touchdowns. He is consistently great. Some people seem to be worried about DeShaun Foster but he is nothing more than an insurance policy if Gore gets hurt.

- None of the receivers were put up great numbers yesterday but that was mostly because JTO was spreading the ball around to 8 different players. I was telling everyone to start Bryant Johnson, Vernon Davis, and Isaac Bruce on their fantasy teams but it looks like I was wrong.

- Every day Vernon Davis looks more and more like a bust. He dropped two sure touchdowns that were catches I could have made. The funniest part is that he was supposed to be a great receiving tight end and sub-par blocker but it is the opposite. Delanie Walker was impressive and made a nice adjustment on his touchdown catch.

- The offensive line was very good. Joe Staley is getting better and better with each game at left tackle and I think by the end of this season he will be considered among the best left tackles in the league by the end of the season. Adam Snyder and Barry Sims were probably the worst among the offensive linemen but they weren't even bad. Eric Heitmann and Tony Wragge were both good. I noticed David Baas in there at one point and he looked good. I wanna see he and Chilo Rachal in at guard with Snyder at RT

- On defense Nolan/Manusky were too conservative for my taste for the third straight week but at least it worked. The Lions may be terrible but they do have two great receivers and they were shut down. It annoyed that when we were playing the prevent defense late in the game the Lions piled on some rushing yards to make it seem like Rudi Johnson did well when in actuality he was stuffed when it mattered.

- Justin Smith was worth every penny we paid him. Through 3 games he has 15 tackles for an average gain of 1.13 yards, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception. Isaac Sopoaga had a great game with 3 tackles for 0, -1, and 2 yards and continues to have a good season. Aubrayo Franklin needs to be replaced immediately. Both Kentwan Balmer and Ray McDonald has solid performances in the limited time they were in.

- Patrick Willis is still a beast and Manny Lawson played well even though I am not sure he was in the entire game and he needs to be. We really need an upgrade at the other inside linebacker position because Takeo Spikes and Jeff Ulbrich are only both okay and can't really make plays. Maybe Ahmad Brooks can fill that void later in the season. Parys Haralson had a late coverage sack but was putting some pressure Jon Kitna throughout the game and Roderick Green is a great situational pass rusher but the 49ers need a consistent pass rusher and that should be their #1 priority in the draft

- Our secondary is positively great. Everyone in it from Nate Clements to Tarell Brown had a good game. Clements has now held Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to a combined 7 catches for 70 yards and 1 TD. In his other two games Fitz has 261 yards a TD while Johnson has 236 and 2 TDs. Walt Harris is looking to be back to his 2006 form. He held Roy Williams to only 2 catches for 18 yards. All bias aside I could argue that so far this season that Clements/Harris is the best CB duo in the league. Michael Lewis and Mark Roman were solid while the back-ups, Dashon Goldson and Tarell Brown showed some potential.

- Some people would worry about Andy Lee if they looked at his average yesterday but they have to realize that 3/4 punts were inside the 20 because he was punting so close to the Lions goalline. Joe Nedney is still booming his kickoffs and I think our kickoff coverage unit is ranked near the top of the league right now. Allen Rossum is a great punt returner but for some reason he has more trouble on kickoff returns. I think Michael Robinson and Delanie Walker should return kickoffs while Rossum handles the punts.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 18, 2008 10:54 am
 

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers Preview

This is a must win game if the 49ers want to prove themselves as they should easily beat the Lions.  Here is an in-depth breakdown of the 49ers offense vs. the Lions defense and vice-versa

49ers' offense vs. Lions' defense

The 49ers have a huge advantage here because the Lions defense is terrible.  Right now the Lions have statistically the worst defense in the league.  They are giving up 41 points per game (32nd), 460 yards per game (31st), 240 passing yards per game (25th), 220 rushing yards per game (32nd), 48% third down conversion (27th), and 7.4 yards per play (32nd).  They haven't forced any interceptions and they only have two sacks.  The last time the 49ers played the Lions in 2006 Frank Gore ran for 160 in three quarters and he should have another big game seeing as the Lions defense has actually gotten worse since then and is might be without arguably its best player in Cory Redding.  To be completely honest Gore could break the record for rushing yards in a game if he gets enough carries.  As if Gore running all over them wasn't enough they are also going to have problems stopping J.T. O'Sullivan and the 49ers passing game.  The Lions have no pass rush and a terrible secondary and JTO is coming off of a 300 yard game against a team with a great pass rush and solid secondary, you do the math.  That is not to mention that Mike Martz is going to be pissed at the Lions and will probably rub it in.  San Francisco should easily score at least 30 points and I could see this game getting out of hand really quickly.

Lions' offense vs. 49ers' defense

This is like the perfect match-up for the 49ers.  Sure the Lions have two great receivers in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams and through that they have a good passing game but the 49ers already showed they can handle that when they played the Cardinals.  No disrespect to Williams and Johnson but they are not as good as Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, and Jon Kitna is no Kurt Warner.  Arizona also has a better offensive line than the Lions and San Francisco was getting pressure against them with a 4 man rush. Martz also knows the Lions offensive personal and will tell the defense how to dea with them.  This time Nolan better play Manny Lawson and if the defensive line isn't getting pressure he shouldn't be afraid to blitz and leave Nate Clements and Walt Harris in man coverage.  As a Central Florida fan I know that Kevin Smith is good running back and if anyone can run behind the Lions offensive line it is him.  He is better than Julius Jones and if he gets going it is hard to stop him.  It is him, not Calvin Johnson or Roy Williams, that I am worried about because if Nolan is stupid enough to stay in a nickel package all game he will get his yards.  If the 49ers can shut down Smith and get pressure on Kitna, neither of which should be hard for a smart man, the defense will hold the Lions down.

Summary

Like I already said, this could get out of hand quickly.  The Lions are terrible in almost every sense of the word and the 49ers should win by at least 10.  Knowing the 49ers, however, Mike Nolan will have some stupid gameplan that allows the Lions to keep the game close.  Hopefully Mike Martz will cancel out Nolan's stupidity, though.  I see the 49ers winning with  final score of 38-20.  J.T. O'Sullivan will throw for 275 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions; Frank Gore will have 200 total yards and 2 touchdowns; Bryant Johnson will have a 100 yard game; and Vernon Davis will have 80 yards and a touchdown.

Other Game Predictions

Kansas Citty @ Atlanta: Atlanta
Oakland @ Buffalo: Buffalo
Tampa Bay @ Chicago: Chicago
Carolina @ Minnesto: Carolina
Miami @ New England: New England
Cincinnati @ New York Giants: New York Giants
Houston @ Tennessee: Tennessee
Arizona @ Washington: Arizona
New Orleans @ Denver: Denver
St. Louis @ Seattle: Seattle
Cleveland @ Baltimore: Baltimore
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis: Indianapolis
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia: Pittsburgh
Dallas @ Green Bay: Dallas
New York Jets @ San Diego: San Diego
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 16, 2008 6:24 pm
 

Week 2 @Seattle Thoughts and Observations

- I thought the offense was impresive against a pretty tough Seattle defense. Martz called a great game. He saw that the Seahawks were blitzing every play and took advantage of it by keeping Davis back to block and using the open middle of the field. He also wasn't afraid to get away from the running game when it wasn't working, which I am sure will get some 49er fans but not me. When the passing game is working and the running game isn't I would rather pass.

- J.T. O'Sullivan really impressed me yesterday. He was stepping up into the pocket and delivering his passes with accuracy and zip. I loved the middle of the field finally being used and it was used all day because the Seahawks blitzed all day. JTO's 63 yard pass to Bruce was the best pass a 49ers quarterback has thrown since Garcia left. The only knock I have on JTO's performance yesterday is that a few times, three to be exact, he had the chance to throw the ball away but instead he took a sack

- Frank Gore continues to look good. The Seahawks completely stacked the box to stop him yesterday and it worked well but Gore was still solid. Through the first two weeks he seems to have regained that fumbling problem but hopefully he will fix that. I don't really know why Zak Keasey is on the roster. I say cut him and move Thomas Clayton up from the PS

- So Bryant Johnson is the 49er's vertical threat and Isaac Bruce is the consistent possession receiver, right? Well then I guess they switched jerseys Sunday. Bruce got behind coverage 4 times, including the 63 yard catch when he burnt Marcus Trufant, while Johnson was great at getting open. Arnaz Battle had a good game as well with 4 catches for 4 first downs, for the season he is 5 for 5. I am convinced that Johnson should be the #1 receiver, Bruce should be #2, and Battle should be in the slot. Josh Morgan and Jason Hill aren't ready yet

- Vernon Davis was targeted a few times but was well covered. I am sure Martz haters are going to jump all over him for Davis having only 3 catches through 2 games but I am not worried yet because the Seahawks and the Cardinals are two of the better defenses the 49ers will face this year. Davis was also kept in t help block for most of the second half because the offensive line was having trouble

- That was the most inconsistent offensive line play I have seen in my entire life. One play everyone on the line was great and stonewalled the Seahawks blitz and the next they were all terrible and everyone got through. I still don't think that the line was as bad as the 8 sacks would lead one to believe. Three of those sacks were on JT and a couple were coverage sacks. I thought Joe Staley played well while everyone else, except Jonas Jennings and Eric Heitmann, were solid. Jennings was getting beat like crazy by whoever lined up against him and Heitmann got pushed into the backfield 4 or 5 times. I said last week that I thought the starting offensive line should be Staley, Baas, Heitmann, Wragge, Jennings but now I take that back. It should be Staley, Baas, Wragge, Rachal, and Snyder or Staley, Snyder, Wragge, Baas, Sims.

- On defense I don't know what we were doing. I thought I liked Manusky after last year but so far this season I am not sure. I don't know if it is him or Nolan calling the plays but whoever it is needs to stop keeping so many defensive backs in and blitz mroe often. Every time the 49ers blitz something good happens but they only blitz, and my definition of blitz is bring more than 4 people, a handful of times a game. Harris and Clements are two of the best man-to-man corners in the league, just let them play.

- The entire endefensive line wasn't very impressive at all. Again Justin Smith was the standout and made a few plays but wasn't drawing double teams like last week. Though I guess that could be because he was facing one of the best left tackles in the game in Walter Jones. Isaac Sopoaga was solid again and he seems to be our second best defensive lineman. We really need a new nose tackle because Aubrayo Franklin and Ronald Fields are both bad. Ray McDonald made one good play when he tipped Hasselbeck's pass but was shut down other than that.

- Why in the **** was Manny Lawson only in on like 10/71 defensive plays? He is one of the best players on our defense but instead of using him there Nolan and/or Manusky wants him playing special teams so they can have 5 defensive backs. I will admit he got owned a little on the Julius Jone touchdown but come on. Patrick Willis is cementing his claim to be the best middle linebacker in the game and is on pace for around 100 tackles, 20 passes defended, and 8 interceptions. I am sure he will get less PD's and interceptions but will end up with a few sacks and more tackles. Takeo Spikes and Jeff Ulbrich can madn the other inside linebacker position well enough but we could use an upgrade. Parys Haralson was extremely quiet but barely got more playing time than Lawson. It seemed like every play we were in the nickel or dime with 4 down linemen and Willis and Spikes

- Both Nate Clements and Walt Harris played lights out. Clements got beat a couple of times on slants but on one of them he forced a fumble near the goalline. He also made a few tackles close to the LoS. Harris was just completely shutting down whoever he covered and finished with 3 passes defended. Michael Lewis continues to be a beast in the box and solid when asked to drop back. I thought that Dashon Goldson throuroughly outplayed Mark Roman yesterday but knowing Nolan Roman will still be starting at Seattle. Shawntae Spencer looked good whenever he was in

- I don't know what happened to the punt coverage team. So far this season they are allowing twice as many yards per return as last year and even though Andy Lee isn't booming punts like last year he is still doing a good job. The kick coverage team was phenomanal outside of the 54 yard return yesterday stopping the Seahawks return man for less than 20 yards on all 4 of his other returns. Joe Nedney is really getting some air under his kicks
Posted on: September 16, 2008 6:23 pm
 

Season Opener vs. Arizona Observations

Even though my access to the game was intermittent at best I will give my thoughts on what I saw from each player

Players of the game: Frank Gore, Nate Clements, Justin Smith, Parys Haralson

- J.T. O'Sullivan looked okay but was making a few mistakes. The interception was a terrible decision and on the first fumble he held the ball too long and then didn't step up into the pocket when he threw it. I am not ready to give up hope on him yet but I still think that a healthy Alex Smith is better than him. Too bad Smith isn't healthy, however, so now we have to just hope that JTO starts to play better

- Frank Gore is going to have a monster season. I think that after watching him yesterday my original predictions might be a little on the low side. I could see him breaking 1500 yards rushing and 800 yards receiving if he stays healthy, knock on wood. DeShaun Foster got very few touches and looked okay like we all expected but probably would have gotten the ball more if the offense wasn't on the field for so little time.

- Most of the offensive line was pretty good, especially in the running game. Jonas Jennings and David Baas stood out. Joe Staley, Tony Wragge, and Eric Heitmann all looked solid as well. The only player that looked bad was Adam Snyder. After the game I am convinced our starting offensive line should be, from left to right, Joe Staley, Tony Wragge, Eric Heitmann, Davis Baas, and Jonas Jennings.

- I was the first to say that Bryant Johnson shouldn't be just given a spot as the top receiver but he earned it yesterday. I am now conviced that he should be the number one receiver. I didn't see much from any other receiver. Arnaz Battle had a nice run after the catch on that third down play and I don't even think a pass went Isaac Bruce's way.

- The defense was pretty good, in my opinion. The Cardinals had only 2.8 yards per carry and 5.3 yards per pass play. The pass rush wasn't great but the secondary forced a couple of coverage sacks.

- I knew Justin Smith was going to be good and have a huge impact but after watching him play yesterday I am even more excited. He drew a double team on almost every play and was still making plays. Isaac Sopoaga also had a good game making 4 solo tackles after an average gain of 1 yard. The rest of the defensive line, Ray McDonald, Kentwan Balmer, Ronald Fields, and Aubrayo Franklin, all looked solid.

- Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson both looked solid considering they were on the field almost the entire game. Willis knocked down a couple of passes and all of his tackles except for one came within 4 yards of the LoS and Lawson looked good in coverage. Jeff Ulbrich and Takeo Spikes looked good as well but that muffed catch by Spikes might have cost us the game. If you are an NFL player you should be able to catch a kickoff and fall down, I don't care what position you play. How about Parys Haralson? Two and a half sacks is pretty impressive even if 1.5 were coverage sacks. With him rushing the passer, ManLaw back in coverage, and Willis/Ulbrich/Spikes patrolling the field we have a good linebacking corps

- What can I say about the secondary except that they were damn good. Nate Clements completely shut down Larry Fitzgerald except for the touchdown but no corner can cover that play. Walt Harris looked to be back to his 2006 form as well, Anquan Boldin had 0 catches in the first half and didn't start doing well until he got Donald Strickland covering him. Michael Lewis looked solid is both run support and pass defense. Both Dashon Goldson and Mark Roman made their share of mistakes but I still can't figure out why Goldson, who can at least make plays, isn't starting

All in all I am not too upset about the loss. Sure it would have been nice to be the only team with a win in the division and have some confidence going into Seattle and sure if we had won and then took care of Seattle we would have a nice cushion in the division but a lot of good things came out of the game. Our offense was better than last year in every facet of the game and our defense held the Cardinals to only 4 yards per play which is very good. If JT can start being more careful with the ball and we can minimize stupid mistakes, like muffing a kickoff and commiting a roughing the passer penalty to give Arizona a first down even though I still think that was a crap call, I still believe this team can win 9 games
 
 
 
 
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