Upon Further Review: Super Bowl XLVII




Welcome 49ers faithful to the Super Bowl edition of Upon Further Review. AJ and Diego started writing this column this season and the San Francisco 49ers have made it to the big game ... Coincidence? Probably. Nonetheless, it has been an amazing season full of interesting twists that find this team one win away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the 6th time in franchise history, a history that includes a perfect 5-0 record in Super Bowl games. In the infamous words of Bart Scott: CAN'T WAIT.

This week, AJ and Diego reflect on the season and share their thoughts on the moment they realized the switch to Colin Kaepernick was the right call, what impressed them the most about the 49ers victory against the Falcons, and the most important matchup this coming Sunday against the Ravens, plus their pick for Super Bowl MVP, Two-Minute Warning, and their picks for SB XLVII.

At what point in the season did you realize Jim Harbaugh's decision to name Colin Kaepernick the permanent starting QB was the right move.?
AJ:
As anyone that reads this blog knows, I had my share of doubts about Colin Kaepernick when he was named the starter in Week 10. I had no doubt that he'd be a very special player given time...but I was not convinced that he'd be able to take the 49ers deep into the playoffs this season...until he won at Foxboro.

Prior to that game, Kaepernick had flashed explosive play potential, but struggled to consistently beat complex zone coverage. All of that changed in  Week 15, and the change coincided with the expansion of the "diamond" or "Q" personnel grouping in the Pistol.

The shift was borne of necessity...but it proved absolutely brilliant. Setting Kaepernick up in the Pistol was a move to elevate his comfort level, but it had some beneficial side effects: his read progression sped up,  opposing pass rushers were forced to focus on contain instead of getting upfield, and the threat of the read-option run out of the "Q" created HUGE mismatches in the passing game off of play-action.

After that game, Kaepernick's grasp of complex passing concepts seemed grow week over week...and results on the field showed it.

The frightening part (for the Ravens, anyway) is that Kaepernick has improved dramatically since he first took the reins, and he seems to play his best football under extreme pressure.

Diego: I was an advocate for Alex Smith getting his job back as soon as he was cleared from his concussion symptoms, but since he was cleared so soon before the week 12 game at the Saints I was ok with Colin Kaepernick getting the start that week ... and after that game, I realized he was the better option for this team as a signal caller.

Kaepernick did not dominate that game, he didn't have an eye-popping stat line, and wasn't even the main reason why San Francisco beat New Orleans 31-21, but the character he showed in the game as well as the plays he did make made me understand that the change he brought to the offense was a needed addition to the team. The second year pro out of Nevada threw his first career interception at a moment in which the momentum of the game seemed to be turning towards the Saints. The 49ers defense picked up Kaepernick by getting Drew Brees to throw a pass that was intercepted by Ahmad Brooks and returned 50 yards for a touchdown. Momentum was back on the 49ers side, crisis averted, but for Kaepernick the moment was not forgotten. On the 49ers next offensive possession, the new starting QB led the team 80 yards down the field for a touchdown, highlighted by a 45-yard pass to Delanie Walker and bookended by a 6-yard TD pass to Frank Gore. We didn't know it at the time, but this would turn out be a preview of how Kaepernick responds to his mistakes. More often than not this season he has followed a turnover of his own with a scoring drive, and his response to his first career interception was definitely something noticeable.

The actual play in this game that turned the tide for me in the Smith-Kaepernick debate was his fourth throw of the 4th quarter, on a 3rd&11 from the SF 35-yard line. I talked about it hours after the game:

Quote:
...the kind of scenario I dreaded the most for the young QB in this game. On the previous play, he had been dropped for a 1-yard loss running a read-option similar to the one he ran for a touchdown in the 1st quarter. The Saints defense was in a position to get the ball back to their offense in a one-score game with plenty of time left, the crowd was roaring, the stage was set for Kaepernick's demise. Instead he got the ball on a shotgun formation, and (from a perfectly clean pocket, may I add) he threw a beauty of a pass to Delanie Walker 25 yards down the middle of the field against a Cover 2 look, above the linebackers and in front of the safeties, in a spot where Walker could lay out to make a play ...

Over Alex Smith's career, including his best seasons these last two years, we hadn't seen many plays like the one Kaepernick made on that play. I still had my doubts afterwards at times, especially during his struggles the following week at the Rams, but especially after Harbaugh announced he would remain the starter I was convinced after watching him against the Saints that Kaepernick being the permanent starting QB for the 49ers was the right way to go.

What impressed you the most about the 49ers' win against the Falcons?
AJ:
When the 49ers fell behind 17-0 in the opening minutes of the NFC Championship Game, visions of Seattle began to dance through my head.

But then something changed...something that the 49ers had gotten away from in their most lopsided losses of their season. Coach G-Ro decided that it was time to "feed Frank." Gore got carries, the Niners gained momentum, and for the remainder of the game, they dominated the Falcons. It took some time to gain the lead on the scoreboard, but after the 49ers first drive of the 3rd quarter, the Falcons were on their heels...and it showed.

The most impressive aspect of this game is the fact that the 49ers stemmed the tide of a surging opponent, changed course and took control of a game that they started BADLY...and that has not been a hallmark of the 2012 49ers.

This football team has lost the handle on some winnable games (at Minnesota, New York at Candlestick, and at Seattle) this season. In each of the aforementioned losses, the Niners got away from what they do well and tried to "force" a win by deviating from their formula for success. Against the Falcons, however, they stayed the course and won the game...and that is impressive.

If there is anything to be learned from the NFC Championship, it is that this team has become aware of what it must do to win...and that no matter how dark things may get during the course of a game, they have the confidence to stick to their guns and execute....and that has been the hallmark of every great team in 49er history.

Diego: I tweeted it at the time, and it still remains the single most impressive aspect of San Francisco's win in the NFC Championship Game. Overcoming a 17-point deficit was undoubtedly the best part about the 49ers latest victory because they hadn't accomplished said feat all season.

All three times San Francisco faced a double digit deficit this season, they ended up with a loss (at the Vikings, vs the Giants, at the Seahawks). The inability to overcome a double digit deficit was one of the main arguments against Alex Smith even before he suffered a concussion. Smith had led plenty of comebacks last season and even in prior seasons, but from the very beginning of this season the 49ers were a favorite to reach the Super Bowl, and the lost hope that seemed to come any time this team trailed by two scores was something that worked against the now backup QB. On week 16, when Seattle jumped to a 21-point lead before San Francisco could realize what was happening, I thought one of the only positives of such scenario was the test that it presented for Kaepernick, but he and the offense were never really able to get going, the 49ers defense was unable to stop the Seahawks from continuing to score, and before you noticed the game was already out of hand.

So when Atlanta worked their way to a 17-0 lead, you had to be worried, I would venture to guess that about 95% of us were. But San Francisco didn't panic, and understanding that the Falcons were a weak run stopping team they committed to the ground attack and slowly but surely worked the way back into the game, and accomplished what they hadn't done all season. The 49ers were faced with what had to be one of their worst fears and they defeated it with the odds against them. The ability to conquer that feat makes them that much more dangerous coming into the biggest game of the season. Perfect timing.

What is the key matchup in Super Bowl XLVII?
AJ:
When the 49ers last locked horns with the Ravens, Haloti Ngata and friends had a field day with the 49er Offensive Line.

The result? Almost constant pressure on Alex Smith, limited success in the running game, and a Thanksgiving Night loss, 16-6.

There is one reason why I don't believe that Ngata will have that kind of success on Sunday afternoon...and they are the subject of my key matchup: The 49er OL vs. the Ravens Front 7.

Last season, the 49ers OL was among the league's worst in pass protection (early on, at least). This season, that has changed...dramatically. A unit once regarded as talented but lackluster has evolved into a group almost universally acknowledged as the best in the league (as of this writing, they have been chosen as the winners of John Madden's "Most Valuable Protectors" award as the best offensive line in the NFL)...and their post season numbers bear it out. Thus far in the postseason, the 49ers have surrendered 2 sacks and 3 QB hits...tops among any playoff team.

Add to that that the 49ers front 5 has paved the way for an eye popping 472 yards rushing, 6.6 yards per carry and 7 TDs this post season, and the conclusion is undeniable...the 49ers O-line has grown up in a big way.

Considering that the Ravens defense is averaging 85.33 snaps per game in the playoffs as opposed to 63 snaps per game for the 49er offense, what you end up with can be summed up quite simply: this Sunday a dominant, well rested Offensive Line will take the field against a dominant, overworked Defensive Line.

In last season's Thanksgiving night matchup, the 49ers' O-line was dominated...but circumstances being what they are, the tables are likely to turn this Sunday. And that bodes very well for the Niners.

Diego: For the record, my key matchup is Haloti Ngata against Mike Iupati, but AJ already discussed the battle in the trenches and we already sort of agreed on the previous question, so I will move on to what I think will be the second most important matchup in this game: Ray Rice vs Patrick Willis & Navorro Bowman.

Joe Flacco is getting tons of press this week and he deserves it, he has really elevated his game during these playoffs, but let's not forget for a moment what the identity of the Ravens is, and that is running the offense through Rice, who is arguably one of the best running backs in today's game. The five games that kept San Francisco from going undefeated so far this season saw them give up 143 rushing yards/game with opponents rushing an average of 36.2 times/game. That is 48.8 yards/game more than the 49ers average over the season, which was good for fourth best in the league (Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Denver). Now that the Ravens are able to display a balanced offense with the threat of Flacco and the skill of receivers such Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, etc, Rice remains the Ravens' biggest wild card.

That's where Willis and Bowman come in. Undoubtedly the NFL's best Inside Linebacker duo, they will need to be at the top of their game to limit Rice's yards whether he is carrying the ball or catching it out of the backfield. Bowman in particular has had an amazing season stopping ball carriers , rarely missing a tackle. Rice, the best player in Baltimore's offense, leads all players in the postseason with 247 rushing yards, and also has 69 receiving yards on just 4 receptions. If the Ravens are successful in getting him going, San Francisco could be in for a long day, therefore the 49ers should hone in on limiting Rice and take their chances with putting the ball in Flacco's hands, regardless of him playing at a high level this postseason.

Time to lay it on the line: Who will be the MVP of Super Bowl 47?
AJ:
For the 49ers to win this game, they'll need to "out physical" the Ravens in the trenches, especially on offense. And make no mistake...they are quite they are quite capable of doing so.

Over the course of the post season, the 49ers are averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Over the first 8 games of the regular season, they averaged 5.6 yards per carry...the 4th best average since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger! For the entire season, they averaged 5.1 yards per carry...a VERY impressive figure. This team's rushing attack can absolutely take over a game...and that is a distinct possibility this Sunday.  If that happens, I fully expect Frank Gore to be the MVP of the Super Bowl.

Though the Ravens are in the midst of shifting from a Defense first team to one centered around Offense, their heart and soul is still Ray Lewis. If the 49ers plan on grabbing momentum early, they MUST demoralize the defense...especially it's emotional leader. In order to make that happen, I expect Coach Harbaugh to serve up a heavy dose of #21.

Expect to see Gore enjoy space courtesy of the Ravens' efforts to keep Kaepernick contained.  The net result: Gore will be the driving force for the 49er offense on Sunday...and if that works out as well as it did in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers should pull out a win.

Diego: while the headlines focus on the HarBowl, Ray Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, and most recently Chris Culliver, one of the best story lines in this Super Bowl has gotten average coverage ... the passing of the torch from Lewis to Patrick Willis as the best Middle Linebacker in the game.

Look for Willis to, on top of racking up tackles, get a key sack and/or takeaway that will make a difference in this game. And when the game ends and the confetti drops, look for the #52 in red and gold to be given the Super Bowl MVP trophy, officially leaving him as the best current MLB in the game.

Two Minute Drill
AJ:

  • Given the veritable cornucopia of completely idiotic drivel spewed over the course of this week, is anyone else in favor of killing Media Day once and for all?
  • Hey Randy...you may not believe in numbers, but the rest of us do. That means you're still #2. You're great...but you aren't the greatest. Not even close.
  • Chris Culliver needs to stop talking. Right now.
  • Does anyone else think that Jesus has better things to do than root for Ray Lewis? Just checking.
  • If the Ravens plan on rolling out their base defense against the "Q" formation, keep your eye on whichever TE is lined up in the backfield...he'll likely be covered by Paul Kruger or Bernard Pollard. That, my friends, is the definition of a mismatch.

Diego:
  • Alex Smith reportedly will ask for his release after the Super Bowl and prior to the beginning of free agency. Count me as someone who thinks the 49ers should be able to grant his request, although I think they should be able to initially meet at a middle point and try to work out a trade to a team Smith approves of.
  • Surprise surprise, looks like Michael Crabtree didn't sexually assault anybody the weekend of the divisional playoffs after all. Well, besides the Packers.
  • Vernon Davis LOVES the big stage, and the stage doesn't get any bigger than the Super Bowl. If I was a betting man, I would bet on him either getting a touchdown or at least 100 receiving yards.
  • #RallyGore

Picking Super Bowl XLVII
AJ:
The Ravens have clawed their way from likely first round elimination to Super Bowl representative for the AFC...and they've averaged 85 defensive snaps per game in the post season. That makes for a tired defense. Expect fatigue to be a factor. A factor that will allow the Niners to run wild, and turn a close first half into a 4th quarter beat down. 49ers 24-16.

Diego:
San Francisco has come full circle: on top of having a dominant defense, they now boast a scary offense led by Kaepernick and the pistol offense he so perfectly runs. Most importantly, they possess the best offensive line in football across the board. I expect the Ravens to be able to score some points, but I see the 49ers scoring more, perhaps with the help of a defensive score. 49ers 30-20.

____________________________________________________

Follow us on twitter! @USMCLegbreaker & @DiegoDelBarco


Quote:
Disclaimer

We enjoy your comments, however please be advised that personally attacking people instead of their point of view will not be tolerated.

Thanks

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.


20 Comments

  • NinerGuy
    *Censored* Poster, the comment section of this blog is not a platform for off topic bickering, it is a platform for constructive football discussion. If you have an issue with either if the writers, please e-mail them directly.
    Feb 6, 2013 at 9:09 AM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Please, keep it relevant to the 49ers, the content of the article or the game the team just played. If you have an issue with a comment being censored, or some other off topic isse that you wish to address, please e-mail either of us directly. Thank you
  • GoldHelmet
    *Censored* Poster, the comment section of this blog is not a platform for off topic bickering, it is a platform for constructive football discussion. If you have an issue with either if the writers, please e-mail them directly.
    Feb 6, 2013 at 7:47 AM
    0
  • Terry B.
    *Censored* Poster, the comment section of this blog is not a platform for off topic bickering, it is a platform for constructive football discussion. If you have an issue with either if the writers, please e-mail them directly.
    Feb 6, 2013 at 7:44 AM
    0
  • Gonzola
    At least Harbaugh spoke his mind -- and he is right. Ref controversy before the game. Blatant offensive PI, blatant holding on kick return, last play of game, and on 'safety' time waster. The NFL and of course bookmakers wanted the Ravens to win and I give kudos to Harbaugh for at least trying to hold them responsible. The NFL decides who wins the Superbowl and they decided that the 49ers were going to follow the Patriots into LOSER-dom. Time for YORK and HARBAUGH to start the revolution and refuse to buckle under any pressure or situation -- that is what will make the 49ers super again. And Who cares that AJ was wrong?! I got mad love for them both EVEN THOUGH they rarely answer my questions or respond to MY posts! 2013 here we come. We could of had Jerry Rice in the game and still would of lost -- doesn't matter money and big business win, people like us--the fans always lose... that is unless Harbaugh starts the revolution - sign me up. GO NINERS. NINER FOR LIFE.
    Feb 5, 2013 at 6:58 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Gonzo, I hear ya. The PI (or lack thereof) still chaps my hide amigo. Thanks for the support, and thanks for reading amigo. We appreciate it!
  • Lucky Phil
    I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Gonna Take It Anymore! All time greatest line from the movie Network. Thats how I feel right now, ok. Now whose balls am I gonna kick in to discuss my feelings about this?
    Feb 5, 2013 at 5:55 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Phil, you are welcome to vent here. Let's talk football. What pissed you off the most about Sunday? Diego and I will be covering that in the next UFR...but feel free to vent until then. We're here for ya, bro.
  • Lucky Phil
    I have many comments, but I'll narrow it down to one. At the end of last season both the Ravens and the Niners lost their Division Championship. Ozzie Newsome the GM for the Ravens add Upshaw, Big Ole Smelly and B. Pierce with their first three picks. Baalke adds Jenkins and James. That in a nutshell is why we lost. The Ravens added players to get them over the hump. We added shit, not one player we drafted helped us win this season. And don't tell me L. James helped us, he is Danny Woodhead. Baalke if you are reading this I'll make this simple for you, Draft wide-receivers in bulk this year. Write these names down. T. Williams, S. Bailey, J. Boyce and Marq. Wilson, all players you can get early and late. FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR, we ended the season with no depth at WR. The Ravens had Bolden and T. Smith. We had Crabtree at the end of the game. The Ravens knew we were going to Crab and thats why we lost. Do your F#[email protected] job Baalke! Add depth at WR and DB. And the next time I hear you stick a 1st rd draft pick in an envelope and tell everyone "1st Rd. Pick Girls and Boys"! I'm going to stick my foot in your a**, and say "Do you want to wait untill draft day, dumb s***"?
    Feb 5, 2013 at 3:48 PM
    0
    Response: (Diego): overloaded anger aside, dude has a fair argument here. (AJ) Say it on the mountain, brother.
  • GoldHelmet
    AJ, I guess I'm confused, too. What exactly did you mean by "Wabbit Season! Duck Season! Wabbit Season! Duck Season!"? Could you please enlighten us? Thanks.
    Feb 5, 2013 at 1:41 PM
    0
    Response: (Diego) for the record, up until this comment, I didn't even understand what was happening on here. Now that I get it, I agree with AJ, this has NOTHING to do with Elmer Fudd. (AJ) The inference was intended to point out that the comment in question (off topic, and hostile) was leveled at my amigo...whose nickname is "rabbit." Get it?
  • S. Gentries
    AJ, wouldn't it be easier just to admit that you were wrong about Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick than engaging in all of these shenanigans?
    Feb 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) If you'd just read past articles, you'd see that I already have: "As anyone that reads this blog knows, I had my share of doubts about Colin Kaepernick when he was named the starter in Week 10. I had no doubt that he'd be a very special player given time...but I was not convinced that he'd be able to take the 49ers deep into the playoffs this season...until he won at Foxboro. Prior to that game, Kaepernick had flashed explosive play potential, but struggled to consistently beat complex zone coverage. All of that changed in Week 15, and the change coincided with the expansion of the "diamond" or "Q" personnel grouping in the Pistol. The shift was borne of necessity...but it proved absolutely brilliant. Setting Kaepernick up in the Pistol was a move to elevate his comfort level, but it had some beneficial side effects: his read progression sped up, opposing pass rushers were forced to focus on contain instead of getting upfield, and the threat of the read-option run out of the "Q" created HUGE mismatches in the passing game off of play-action. After that game, Kaepernick's grasp of complex passing concepts seemed grow week over week...and results on the field showed it. The frightening part (for the Ravens, anyway) is that Kaepernick has improved dramatically since he first took the reins, and he seems to play his best football under extreme pressure."
  • Gorgonzola
    Oh, you don't read the responses that you write? How exactly do you accomplish that?
    Feb 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Yes, I do. And this is the first time that I have typed the words "Elmer Fudd." Unless you plan on making a point, this exchange is over. Back to football, critique of the game, discussion about the article, etc. keep it to football please. If you have a non-football related gripe, or a personal issue you'd like to address, please feel free to e-mail me directly.
  • Gorgonzola
    Doesn't calling someone Elmer Fudd when they offer a valid football criticism constitute "attacking people instead of their point of view"?
    Feb 5, 2013 at 7:30 AM
    0
    Response: (AJ) No one was called Elmer Fudd.
  • Ken
    *Censored. This comment violated our disclaimer.*
    Feb 4, 2013 at 2:21 PM
    0
  • Ken
    *Censored. This comment violated our disclaimer.*
    Feb 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Poster, please read our disclaimer above. No personal attacks will be tolerated.
  • Gonzola
    If I were Jed York I would of forfeited the game the minute I knew Eddie D was not inducted into the Hall of Fame for the 2nd straight year in a row. No Eddie D means no Superbowl. You have to be super to win a super bowl OR in the case of the Ravens have the NFL, the refs, bookmakers, and the stadium in your back pocket. I wonder if they had Red and Gold confetti at the ready... I doubt it. And if anyone says "Alex Smith" I think you should ban them for life from da zone. He would of thrown 4 interceptions and probably gotten hurt. Keep the faith and if York gets his shizit together the niners will CRUSH in 2013. Keep it first class. Go Niners!
    Feb 3, 2013 at 8:16 PM
    0
  • Gonzola
    Bring Eddie D back in the picture and what happens? Induct him into the Hall of Fame and what will happen? Ravens fans... I see right through them - they are not even there. Forget about 6-0. I want 8-0 baby, 9-0. The Gods favor Eddie D. Keep it first class and keep winning. Go Niners!
    Feb 2, 2013 at 5:41 AM
    0
  • Terry B.
    So, will you guys be issuing an official apology to Jim Harbaugh, where you finally admit that, had he listened to you, the 49ers likely would not be in the Super Bowl? Diego, don't forget, everything you've said in the past is preserved in the archives. You now claim that you knew after the Saints game that Kaepernick was the right choice. While it's true that you wrote a column saying as much, you then wrote a column backtracking the following week. Then, a week after that, you wrote the following: "Personally, I rather have the veteran quarterback who has been getting the job done over the last year and a half, especially after watching the offense continue to perform at the same level with the new young quarterback. I guess I too am conservative." So, two weeks after the Saints game, you were still arguing that Alex should be the starting QB.
    Feb 1, 2013 at 9:32 AM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Wabbit season! Duck season! Wabbit season! Duck season! (Diego) Better be Duck season, otherwise I'm in danger ...(AJ) ROFL.
  • Spark75k
    Great analysis! That snaps per game stat is eye opening and obviously gets no mention. I have to agree the 49ers will wear the Ravens down in second half much the same way they did Atlanta.
    Jan 31, 2013 at 10:24 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Thanks for reading Spark! Go Niners!
  • Lucky Phil
    LOL. AJ I'm Loving It! I'm heading down to Starbucks right now. Lets Get This Party Started! For legal purposes, read the following disclamer: For all you Old-Time Niner fans whose nuts are hanging below your knees, skip kissing your kneecaps, you are going to knock yourselves the f#$% out. GO NINERS!
    Jan 31, 2013 at 5:54 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Niners!!!
  • Lucky Phil
    In honor of the Great Kap and following the Kaepickernicking craze that is running through our red and gold veins, I will be PHILicking myself before and after the game. For those of you that have never attempted PHILicking yourself, I am making a short Youtube video before the game. But for those of you readers that want to get a early start before the weekend, here you go; Stand Up, Throw your hips forcefully forward, Let your genitals fly upwards, Scream WhoooHaaah, And kiss one of your kneecaps. GO NINERS!
    Jan 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) ...and this column just increased its "awesome quotient" by roughly 5000%. As an aside, I just PHILicked myself at Starbucks. By the time I left, everyone in line and half the Baristas had followed suit. It was PHILicking awesome! (Diego)I'm SCARED ....
  • Jerry
    Great Article! Here is another great article that gives an analysis on both teams based on injuries. Want to know their pick for the Superbowl? http://www.nflalternative.com/adw1/
    Jan 31, 2013 at 12:51 PM
    0
    Response: (AJ) Thanks for reading...but I'll do my own handicapping.
  • henn415
    Great write up as usual fellas! I truly enjoyed the ride this year as well as reading UFR every week. How do you think our DBs will do vs Boldin and Smith? I think those two need to be accounted for on EVERY down. We all know we need to lock down Ray Rice but Flacco has a pretty good completion percentage throwing 20 yards. Definite game changers.
    Jan 31, 2013 at 11:04 AM
    0
    Response: (Diego) Thank you! I think there are A LOT of questions right now regarding Culliver's state of mind and whether the stir he created this week will affect him at all on Sunday. It's a fair question, because as you said Smith/Boldin need to be accounted for on every down. I do think Brown will bounce back from his performance against Atlanta. (AJ) Boldin is big and strong...but not terribly fast. The 49ers tend to match up well against the big, physical possession types. The real concern for the Niners in the passing game will be Dennis Pitta. Jim Caldwell likes to use his TEs a lot, so look for the Ravens to attempt to exploit Willis or Bowman in single coverage. Fortunately for the Niners, both guys are pretty good in single coverage, as Bowman proved on the las play of the NFC Championship Game.

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



The 49ers' New Path to the Super Bowl

By Brian Renick
Sep 24, 2020

Alright, now the sky does feel like it's falling a bit. After the final whistle blew last week against the Jets, the 49ers hobbled to the locker room, heads spinning from the sheer volume of injuries that occurred to key players. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an ankle injury, superstar edge rusher Nick Bosa was lost for the season with a torn ACL, two plays later defensive line cog Solomon Thomas was also lost for the season with a torn ACL, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both left with knee sprains, defensive lineman D.J. Jones suffered an ankle injury, and linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered a deep thigh bruise. Add all of those to the list of players who were already sidelined: George Kittle, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, Deebo Samuel, Weston Richburg, Jason

Read the Full Article

Featured

More Featured Stories

More by These Writers

All Articles by Diego Del Barco All Articles by AJ Bolino

More Articles

All Articles
Share 49erswebzone