49ers weaknesses to keep an eye on during Super Bowl XLVII

Jan 29, 2013 at 3:59 PM1


The San Francisco 49ers worked hard to reach Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. They will compete with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday to see who is the best in the NFL. However, even though they reached the biggest event in sports, their first trip to the big show since January of 1995, they are not invincible. Let's take a look at some weaknesses to keep an eye on during Super Sunday.

David Akers

Because the Ravens and 49ers both possess great defenses, it is entirely possible that this game could come down to the kicking game.

On the Ravens side is rookie kicker Justin Tucker, who has made 30 of his 33 regular season attempts with his longest being a 56 yarder. During the postseason, he has made both of his two field goal attempts with his longest being a 47 yarder.

On the 49ers side, veteran David Akers has struggled this season. Last season, he made 44 of his 52 regular season attempts. This season, he has made only 29 of his 42 attempts with his longest, a 63-yarder, coming during week one against the Green Bay Packers. During the postseason, he completed his only attempt against the Packers, but missed his only attempt against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. Akers had double hernia surgery during the offseason and admits that he has been dealing with the complications of that injury during this season. The 49ers brought in Billy Cundiff to compete with Akers for the playoffs. Cundiff was later released by the team.

So the real question is how this might change the 49ers' game plan. Would the team prefer to go for it on 4th-and-short rather than risk kicking a 40+ yard field goal? How much can the team rely on Akers to add three to the scoreboard?

Justin Smith's injury

With all due respect to the 49ers' extremely talented group of linebackers, Justin Smith is the heart of this defense. He is where all of the chaos begins. When he is not hurrying the quarterback himself, he is opening things up for guys like Aldon Smith to get to the quarterback. A strong pass rush can do a lot to help the pass protection out and set up a lot of other things.

Smith was injured during the team's week 15 matchup against the New England Patriots. He would miss the team's final two games of the season and then returned for their Divisional Playoff matchup against the Packers. Prior to Justin Smith's injury, linebacker Aldon Smith accumulated 19.5 sacks. Since his injury, even after Justin Smith's return, Aldon Smith has not reached the quarterback.

Since his return to the field, Justin Smith has been playing with a brace on his arm for protection and to help minimize further injury. However, with every down, Smith is risking a full tear of his left triceps. A few days after Super Bowl XLVII, Smith will undergo surgery to repair the injury and will miss most of the 49ers' offseason programs.

Justin Smith at 60% is still better than no Justin Smith at all and he still draws double teams. That will only help players like Aldon Smith, who according to NFL.com, recorded five quarterback hurries apiece against the Packers and Falcons.

49ers pass defense

Prior to the week 15 contest against the Patriots, the 49ers were allowing only 14 points-per-game. Since then, the 49ers are allowing 29 points-per-game. Of the 12 teams in the playoffs, the 49ers rank 11th in allowed passing yards-per-game. They allowed Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan to combine for 653 yards through the air.

The Ravens are averaging 276 passing yards-per-game, which ranks 4th among the 12 playoff teams. Joe Flacco has a 114.7 QB rating, has thrown for 853 yards, 8 touchdowns and no interceptions through the playoffs. The pass defense will have to improve in order to slot down Flacco.

Injuries on offense

As dynamic as this offense has been since Kaepernick has taken over, how much better would they be with a little more depth? Wide receiver Kyle Williams and running back Kendal Hunter were both injured and lost for the season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans during a week 12 matchup with the Saints. Hunter's injury has allowed rookie LaMichael James to emerge in the role of Frank Gore's backup. During week 15, the 49ers lost another wide receiver. This time, it was Mario Manningham who suffered a torn ACL. That just leaves rookie A.J. Jenkins, who has not yet caught a pass, and Ted Ginn, who has 3 receptions for 4 yards (including playoffs), behind starters Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss. Still, this is a better wide receiver situation than the end of last season.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


1 Comment

  • Gonzola
    I will take your weaknesses and raise you our strengths. This is precisely why we are in the Superbowl - depth. We have massive depth at every major position except kicker and cornerback. Smith's injury is a bummer! The offense has no excuse. Jenkins is a mastermind--just young. Kappy is FINALLY hailed as the champ that he is... and hell, if he gets hurt just pop Smith back in and tell him to suck it up and don't throw 4 interceptions in the same game and we'll be fine. This superbowl is against my wishes. I do not think the team is 'super' yet... but I did the math, crunched the numbers, and the 49ers would have to have their worst game in the past 2 postseasons to lose against the Ravens. New England is over-rated and they only made the Ravens look better than they are... The Ravens remind me of Atlanta -- at team that 'wants to be'. The 49ers are a team that IS and ALWAYS HAS BEEN FIRST CLASS! A Football Life: Eddie D for the 15th time this season. Thank you Mr. D.
    Jan 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM
    0

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Simms 'will be shocked' if 49ers don't select Mac Jones at No. 3

By David Bonilla
Mar 29, 2021

Who will it be? Justin Fields of Ohio State or Trey Lance of North Dakota State? Or could the San Francisco 49ers go in another direction? Immediately following the trade from No. 12 to No. 3, NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms, voiced his opinion. He feels Mac Jones of Alabama is the best fit based on what he knows about his close friend, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. https://twitter.com/CSimmsQB/status/1375504136905580545 Simms reiterated those thoughts on Monday while speaking to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio asked his PFT Live co-host who he thinks Shanahan is leaning toward with a draft still a full



Breer: 49ers started looking into drafting a quarterback after the season ended

By David Bonilla
Mar 29, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers knew a change was needed immediately after the 2020 season ended. At one point, the team had Super Bowl aspirations. The team ended up finishing with just six wins. Much of that had to do with the unprecedented number of injuries the roster endured. Much of that had to do with the unavailability of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the decision to draft a rookie quarterback came soon after the season's conclusion. That's when coaches and front office personnel started doing extensive homework on the incoming rookie quarterbacks. "(Head coach Kyle) Shanahan, (GM John) Lynch, assistant GM Adam



Details emerge on Nathan Gerry, Jordan Willis 49ers contracts

By Site Staff
Mar 29, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers opted to bring back defensive end Jordan Willis on a one-year deal. The team also signed former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nathan Gerry to a one-year deal. Two reports reveal some of the details of those two contracts. We'll start with the returning player, Willis. His deal includes $990,000 in salary, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Jordan Willis (49ers) one year, $990K— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 28,



Lance Zierlein calls Trey Lance a 'perfect fit' for the 49ers offense in latest mock draft

By David Bonilla
Mar 29, 2021

Last week's trade forced draft analysts to tear up their mock drafts and start over — at least, start over from the No. 3 overall pick. The Miami Dolphins used to be slotted there. Now, it's the San Francisco 49ers. Make no mistake, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are seeking a quarterback of the future. Who they are leaning towards remains a mystery. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein released his latest mock draft and has selections No. 1 and 2 going as expected, with Trevor Lawrence to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Zach Wilson to the New York Jets. At No. 3, Zierlein has San Francisco selecting former


Featured

More by David Bonilla

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone