The San Francisco 49ers have now won three consecutive games in a row, despite their inauspicious two game losing streak at the beginning of the season. Defensively speaking, the 49ers are displaying a “little bit of everything” on the defensive line of scrimmage. On Sunday, the Niners sent a resounding statement throughout the NFL league, why they are the reigning NFC champions; constantly pressuring quarterbacks, providing excellent shut down coverage on wide receivers, delivering on turnovers, controlling the clock, and keeping opposing offensive lines out of deleterious sync.
The blueprint to all their dominant victories is simple; trusting in their “power-running” foundation. The Niners did just that against the Arizona Cardinals and then some, considering the fact that (TE) Vernon Davis was basically untouchable down the field. The Cardinals delivered a couple highlight plays in every quarter except the fourth, where the Niners ultimately picked apart the Cardinal defense. In the end, the Cardinals’ costly penalties and unacceptable turnovers proved to be the determining factor for the 49ers’ well-deserved victory.
(QB) Colin Kaepernick was in the “zone”, he threw for a total of 252 passing yards, added an 18-yard scramble, and recorded two touchdown passes to his trusted tight end (Vernon Davis). Vernon Davis had one of those games, catching a total of 8 receptions for a grand total of 180-yards(the most in his regular season career); implying that the Cardinals’ secondary is in need of some serious refinement. On the other end, (WR) Anquan Boldin only caught 3 receptions for an impressive total of just 28 yards (achieved No.800 catch).
(RB) Frank Gore had yet another one of his “vintage” running performances, pounding the rock for 101 yards on 25 carries. (RB) Kendall Hunter also tallied an extra six points on the board, thanks to his 6-yard touchdown at the end of the 4th quarter. Let’s not forget our kickers contribution (K) Phil Dawson, who had a perfect day kicking 3/3 (12 pts.) with his longest kick connecting for 44 yards.
The explosive 49er defense played majestically well, as usual; defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has done a phenomenal job utilizing all this talent. (ILB) Patrick Willis “suited” up against the Cardinals and administered the most important play of the game, forcing a (WR) Larry Fitzgerald fumble late in the 3rd quarter. Afterwards, the 49ers led a 17-play monster drive that lasted 9-10 minutes in the 4th quarter, “pile-driving” through the weakened Cardinal defense. (CB) Carlos Rogers and (S) Eric Reid caught 2 picks from (QB) Carson Palmer; however, they weren’t able to convert on these opportunities (only field goals).
Surprisingly, the rookie out of LSU is making a huge impact already in his 1st year in the NFL, inking 3 interceptions and a total of 27 tackles so far (not bad). In addition to, (LB) Corey Lemonier made a stunning 2nd quarter play, sacking Palmer for his first “safety” in the NFL league.
Boldin was covered by one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL league, (CB) Patrick Peterson; which explains why his overall production hit a complete landslide. Unmistakably, Vernon Davis would be the other man the opposing cornerbacks/safeties had to keep an eye on. Having said that, his physicality mismatch against the smaller defensive secondary gave the 49ers a “golden” opportunity down deep in Cardinal territory. This doesn’t diminish the fact that the 49ers are still without options at wide receiver. With (WR) Mario Manningham being activated this week off the PUP list, the 49ers will now have a reliable (No.2) option at receiver (depending if he’s medically cleared, and earns a roster spot). (WR) Michael Crabtree is already beginning to run on the practice field. Thus indicating that the Niners previous (No.1) receiver is hopefully on track for a late comeback in mid-November.
The Niners did lose (NT) Glenn Dorsey from a hamstring injury in the opening quarter, (DE) Tony Jerod-Eddie took his place, enticing the Cardinals’ (RB) Andre Ellington to run up the gut repeatedly. Nevertheless, this position does have two rookies (DE) Quinton Dial and (DE) Cornellius “Tank” Carradine to provide exceptional defensive depth at nose tackle. The likelihood of them playing against the Tennessee Titans will be a highly probable scenario. The “red” and “gold” are still playing without (OLB) Aldon Smith (Crabree, Manningham, Asomugha, Williams, Culliver, Patton, LaMichael James), and so far they have been dominating with elite flare and equanimity on both sides of the field.
The 49ers face the Locker-less Tennessee Titans this Sunday at Music City (another team with a solid competitive defense).
Who will prevail?!
Will the Niners extend their win streak to four?!
Or Can the Tennessee Titans pull another “Music City Miracle” ?