The 49ers travelled across the country for a 10 a.m. start for the second week in a row, and just as they did a week ago came out on the positive side of a close game. Their 16-10 win over the New York Giants, combined with old pal Alex Smith leading the Chiefs passed Seattle vaulted the 49ers into second place in the NFC West and sets up two very big games over the next eleven days.
Let's get to the burning questions that I mentioned on Friday.
1) Do your best -
* Frank Gore had his best day of the year in terms of yards after contact with 54.
* Aaron Lynch had 9 quarterback hurries, the most by any 49ers defender all season.
* Eric Reid had his best day of the year in pass coverage, giving up a passer rating of 0 and getting his first interception since the opening week of the season.
* Ray McDonald's sack of Eli Manning was his first this season. He also had a season high 5 solo tackles.
* Michael Crabtree's 28.3 yards per reception were his highest in any game this season, as was his 44 yards after the catch.
* Chris Culliver gave up only 3 receptions for 35 yards despite being targeted 11 times in coverage. He gave up a passer rating of 2.5, his best of the season, and came away with an interception for the second week in a row.
2) Have fun
- How can anyone watch Chris Borland play and not see how much he is enjoying the game? He is all over the field making plays and helping to fill the void left by the injuries to Navorro Bowman and Patrick Willis.
3) KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE -
The 49ers did a good job of this throughout the game. After a promising opening drive ended in a fumble and the Giants went right down the field to go up 7-0 the 49ers fought back, scoring the next 16 points. From that point on it was a matter of playing keep away on offense, the 49ers called only 11 passes the rest of the way, and making big play after big play on defense.
* The 49ers offense has held the ball for a league leading 56.85% of possession time in the second half this season. That's part of the reason they have been able to win games despite averaging a league low 6.3 points per game in the second half.
* The 6 play 30 yard drive by the offense following Chris Borland's interception to finish off a goal line stand by the defense was near perfection. It chewed up 3:34 of game time, forced the Giants to burn their final two timeouts along with the two minute warning. Add in a 59 yard punt by Andy Lee, his best of the day and you have all the ingredients for a strong team win.
* Look for the 49ers to activate Glenn Dorsey this week. Jim Harbaugh stated that they would look to activate Dorsey later this week Dorsey finished fifth among NFL defensive tackles in 2013 with a 10.4 run stop percentage according to ProFootballFocus.
Date: November 18, 2014 at 7:34 AM
Comment: The defense got five turnovers. The Giants are one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The 49er Offense generated 16 points. That should scare every 49er fan. The offense/Kaep will struggle even more against playoff caliber defenses. For example all NFL defenses play better when defending inside its Red Zone. Hence the 49ers always struggle in Red Zone Offense. Thankfully the 49ers have one of the best defensive coaches in the game. Fagio. not Gore, Harbaugh or Kaep is the real reason the 49ers have been competitive the last few years. Hopefully no other team realizes this and steal him from the 49ers.
Date: November 18, 2014 at 7:12 AM
Comment: Thanks for the write up Jack. Just once though, I'd like to see us blow out a team, or at least be comfortable going into the 4th. I thought the final drive was excellent as well, the Niners sure do know how to take time off the clock, and when the receivers are fit should be able to score more points.
I'd like us to use Stevie Johnson a bit more, as he seems to always be open and catches everything. Davis and Lloyd seem to be carrying injuries (and I'm still not sure about Crabtree being 100%). The offence needs some work, but I'm happy where we're at. If we can win the next two games, we are right back in the playoff hunt.
Date: November 18, 2014 at 1:13 AM
Comment: Good analysis Jack, and you are right there were a number of players, especially on D, that played some of their best football against the G-men. With the secondary playing at a high level, Borland playing some exceptional football, and now Aldon back to team with Lynch, this D could carry the 49ers to the playoffs.
Date: November 17, 2014 at 11:06 PM
Comment: I wonder if a banged-up Vernon is better than a healthy Carrier?
By: AJ Bolino
Date: November 17, 2014 at 9:45 PM
Comment: Am I the only one that thinks Vernon Davis is playing through a bad back?
Look at him try locating the ball over his right shoulder...he can't get his head around, and he hasn't twisted at the waist to make a catch since Week 1.
By: Ninermd/the banned guy!
Date: November 17, 2014 at 9:12 PM
Comment: Nice write up Hammer. I also thought the final drive was nice. Hard running by Gore. Especially the 3rd down he converted with hustle and fought for the first down that burned another couple of minutes off of the clock.
Date: November 17, 2014 at 8:52 PM
Comment: Great feature on the positives half of the stuff I didn't even realize. What I did realize is that we are leaving points on the field and it's gonna eventually come back to hunt us. We really should have blown that game open we were moving the ball on the worst defense in the nfl with 5 int. and only came up with 16 points, our o needs to get better because it already cost us 3 games. After Washington we are headed for a rough stretch. Watching that game yesturday just fustrated me how we just couldn't put them away. No Tds in the 4th quarter this season and I think we have the the worst redzone o. Wasn't this the year where our o was suppose to carry us instead it is our depleted #2 defense carring us to victories. I don't know if it's the play calling, kap just not good enough, or our o being very very predictable, but something has to change and fast if we wish to see the playoffs again this year. Great article jack can't for your next one.
Date: November 17, 2014 at 8:35 PM
Comment: I know that this is going to sound crazy but I think that this year we have a better defense than last year. I know, I know, we don´t have Willis and Bowman but just look at the pass defense with Bethea playing maybe the best football of his career, Culliver slowly being the 2012' Culliver, Borland sweeping his zone like a beast, Lynch being a nice surprise and with Aldon back the opposite O-lines won´t know what to do with Aldon, Justin and Aaron at the same time. If the offense can score only 21 points per game the rest of the way we could win the rest of our games.
By: claude balls
Date: November 17, 2014 at 7:27 PM
Another great write up. I'm not sure why so many fans are reacting negatively to a victory. Winning consecutive cross country away games is no easy trick, and I am encouraged. Anyway, good job focusing on what the team did well in victory.
Date: November 17, 2014 at 6:27 PM
Comment: It looks like the biggest question for the 49ers is the play of the quarterback. After he took over from Smith he seemed to have more faith in his ability to get the ball to the receiver when there was less separation. Since that season there are more times that he waits for for the receiver to get more separation. Another observation is that his skill at reading defenses is sub-par. Lastly his recent twitter comments on "haters" that criticize his performance calls into question his level of maturity.
Another question might be whether or not Ahmad Brooks should play for the 49ers after taking himself out of yesterdays game. A team wins games not the individual. I hope this move was over some personal issue and not being upset about a coaching decision. If it were the later, he should be fired.
Date: November 17, 2014 at 4:42 PM
Comment: Great stuff Jack!
Dorsey (if healthy) will be a huge addition to this D. I don't expect Bowman back this season, but IF (the biggest if statement know to man) this D can stay healthy from this point we can go to deep into the playoffs with this team. Borland is playing on another level, Aldon looks ready to make some big splash plays, Lynch looks real good opposite Aldon, Secondary still getting it done.
I think this offense is really missing Vernon's deep play making ability, hopefully we can get him going against WAS.