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Matt Andruscavage's Latest Articles

  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Jan 12, 2020 at 3:29 PM 0 comments
    For the first time since around Thanksgiving, the San Francisco 49ers did not play in a game decided in the final 30 seconds! Instead, San Francisco controlled the game with a lead and lowered both the heart rates and blood pressure of the Faithful, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 27-10. Here are my takeaways from the 49ers' first playoff win in six seasons: 1) The Defense is Back After Minnesota answered San Francisco's impressive opening drive with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, there was a little uncertainty as to how the defense would hold up. It turned out to be the only big play allowed the entire day. The return of Jaquiski Tartt, Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander provided a major shot in the arm to a defense that had been...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Jan 10, 2020 at 1:44 PM 4 comments
    The playoffs are here and for the first time since the 2013 season, the San Francisco 49ers will not be preparing for the Draft or free agency, but rather, will be preparing to host the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are coming off an impressive win in New Orleans and have some momentum as they travel to California, poised for an upset. While it appears that many pundits are once again doubting the 49ers, implying this would not be an upset if Minnesota won, this is nothing new. The Niners have been considered underdogs or not good enough the entire season. They were Vegas underdogs in Week 2 in Cincinnati, if you can believe that! It doesn't matter. The 2019 San Francisco 49ers are far and away a legitamite contender, much improved over last season, and have the...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 30, 2019 at 6:03 AM 3 comments
    The 2019 San Francisco 49ers are NFC West champs and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs! It's been a long, long road, but the rebuild under John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan that started in 2017 is finally over. This team is for real, has a legit quarterback, and is ready to shine in the postseason. Here are my takeaways from last night's thriller in Seattle: 1) Winning in Seattle is Huge for Several Reasons What a finish! As if any of our hearts can take this amount of stress, the 49ers won in Seattle by a razor-thin margin as Dre Greenlaw tackled tight end Jacob Hollister inside the one-half line! It was reminiscent of Dan Bunz in Super Bowl 16 (who also wore number 57 and the final score in that game was oddly 26-21) when he tackled Charles...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 28, 2019 at 2:39 PM 0 comments
    It doesn't get much bigger than this. One game for all the marbles. It's an amazing opportunity, especially when considering where the 49ers were the last six seasons. A season ago, San Francisco was flexed OUT of prime time matchups as the season was lost by mid-October. This season has been a different story as the Niners have been flexed into those very same prime time matchups and will have played six times in front of the nation. Despite overcoming doubters on every front throughout the season, having the goalposts of success moved repeatedly, dealing with wave after wave of difficult injuries, and most importantly, finding different ways to win, no matter the situation, the 49ers are 12-3 and control their own destiny. Now, they must overcome their longtime adversary....
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 21, 2019 at 10:38 PM 0 comments
    1) This Team is Resilient In similar fashion to the Saints game, the San Francisco 49ers overcame what at least felt like an insurmountable deficit, as they defeated the Rams 34-31. After giving up 21 relatively quick points and falling down 21-10, the defense appeared a bit overmatched as the Rams' offense made things look easy. It would be Fred Warner who made the splash play as he intercepted a Jared Goff dump pass and took it all the way back for a pick six and a 24-21 lead right before the half. From there, the Rams took a 28-24 lead in the 4th quarter and appeared poised to hold the lead until Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle led the Niners on a 91-yard drive that resulted in a Kittle touchdown. After Marcel Harris...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 21, 2019 at 10:27 AM 0 comments
    After last week's unexpected loss to the Falcons at the buzzer, the 49ers will be looking to rebound and start their stretch run as they prepare for the playoffs. There are a lot of possibilities for a bye, winning the division, and even home field advantage no matter what happens in tonight's game. That being said, the simplest and most desired path for the 49ers to get where they want to go is to win tonight and win in Seattle next week. That will secure home field advantage and give them a much needed week off. The Niners will get Richard Sherman and slot corner K'Waun Williams back from injury tonight, which should give the defense a big boost. Offensively, San Francisco will be as healthy as it can be, besides players who are on injured reserve. One player...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 15, 2019 at 6:35 PM 5 comments
    1) Do Not Panic! I'm going to break down what this loss means at the END of the article, but for now, take a deep breath. The season is NOT over. (Yes, there are SEVERAL fans throwing in the towel - don't be one of them!) 2) This Ended Up Being a Trap Game As much as everyone knew this was a possibility and as much as we heard about the team coming out and not letting this happen, it happened. This was a trap game. I'm not going to criticize anyone's preparation and mentality, whether it be the players or coaches. They wanted to win this game and they knew what could happen. Sometimes, no matter the preparation, things happen out there and as a team, you can come up short. The biggest problem in this game was the 49ers were...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 14, 2019 at 1:22 PM 5 comments
    San Francisco is now 11-2 after a huge win in New Orleans last week and now it's time to go for win number 12 and clinch a playoff berth against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers can position themselves for the playoffs with a win against the Falcons as they continue to build momentum going into the final two games of the season against the Rams and Seahawks, which will decide who wins the NFC West and possibly, home field advantage. The Falcons enter the game with a 4-9 record and not a lot to play for, except maybe draft positioning. This game on the surface is more about a reunion between Kyle Shanahan and the Falcons, where Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for two seasons, including the 2016 season where Matt Ryan was the League MVP and the Falcons made it...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 9, 2019 at 8:47 AM 0 comments
    What a game! (In case anyone is wondering, my blood pressure is still not all the way down) 1) This Offense is Better than People Think For weeks now, pundits around the country have disrespected at least half of this offense, claiming the 49ers are a defensive team with a great running game. Once again, when the defense struggled and the running game was by no means dominant, Jimmy Garoppolo took over the game and led a diverse passing attack that put up 48 points on the road against Drew Brees and the Saints. Let that sink in. Jimmy Garoppolo out-dueled Drew Brees, on the road, and the defense gave up 46 points. For just about everyone, especially outside of San Francisco circles, this seems like an impossibility or at least a misprint. In...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 7, 2019 at 1:25 PM 1 comment
    Week 14 is finally here and it's time for one of the most anticipated matchups of the season as the San Francisco 49ers travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints. Both teams are 10-2 and are each trying to make their way up the NFC mountain and stake their flags at the top. The 49ers are coming off a difficult stretch that began with a domination of the Packers, but resulted next in a 20-17 defeat in Baltimore to the Ravens. After Seattle's win over the Vikings on Sunday Night Football, San Francisco finds itself currently as the number five seed and would actually have to travel to Dallas to face the 6-7 Cowboys in the Wild Card round if the the postseason began today. New Orleans last played on Thanksgiving Day and defeated the hapless Atlanta Falcons, but...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 5, 2019 at 11:06 AM 8 comments
    Earlier today, Jeff Diamond, the former president of the Tennessee Titans, wrote an article about why the 49ers CAN'T win the Super Bowl this year. It is another typical opinion piece laced with knee-jerk feelings based on an odd comparison with the 1999 Rams and one that clearly demonstrates that the writer has not watched many full games of this year's 49ers. 1 - Opening comments The article begins by acknowledging that the 49ers have had a "terrific turnaround", but then immediately states he "doesn't expect them to advance far in this year's NFL playoffs." He believes they will win the Wild Card game and then immediately...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Dec 1, 2019 at 2:38 PM 0 comments
    1) San Francisco Struggled to Stop the Run Today Baltimore's success on the ground all year has been no surprise. It continued today as they ran for 178 yards, with Lamar Jackson getting 101 of them on 16 carries and a score. What hurt the 49ers the most were the zone read plays that chewed up yardage and clock. It seemed like whenever the Ravens needed a big gain, they were able to get it on a zone read and the Niners repeatedly crashed the running back. Jackson kept making the correct read and it seemed San Francisco was faked out over and over, especially in the first half. The other factor was Mark Ingram's success on first down. He had 59 yards, but the vast majority of them came on early downs and put the offense in very good...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 30, 2019 at 9:10 AM 8 comments
    San Francisco is 10-1 after its 37-8 drubbing of the Green Bay Packers and now it travels eastward for a showdown with the 9-2 Baltimore Ravens. This match-up is receiving all kinds of hype as fans and analysts alike are referring to this game as a "mid-season Super Bowl preview". While both teams certainly have a chance to make it that far, the weather may impede some of the expected offensive fireworks. It's expected to be a rainy afternoon, making it a potentially difficult game for both teams. For the 49ers, they are getting healthy. George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Emmanuel Sanders weren't even mentioned on Friday's injury report, so they are full-gos for Sunday. Joe Staley and Matt Breida have been upgraded to 'questionable' and could play. Robbie Gould is...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 24, 2019 at 10:50 PM 0 comments
    1) This is a Special Defense Up to this point, most had a lot of respect for the defense. Most thought they were good, but they're wrong. This defense is great. It is a championship defense. San Francisco continued its dominance as it held the Green Bay Packers to eight points and only 198 total yards, which included a paltry 81 net passing yards! The defense harassed Aaron Rodgers all night, sacking him five times, including a forced fumble and recovery at the Green Bay 2 on the Packers' opening drive. The Packers had 12 possessions on offense and only managed to score on one of them. Rodgers was held to only 104 yards passing, the lowest of his career when attempting at least 30 passes. (Chris...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 23, 2019 at 12:01 PM 2 comments
    Week 12 of the 2019 NFL season is here and by the time the San Francisco 49ers square off against the Green Bay Packers, most of this week's games will have been played. This is due to the NFL "flexing" this game onto Sunday Night Football, where the whole nation will be watching. The 49ers are coming off a 36-26 victory against the Arizona Cardinals, improving their NFC-leading record to 9-1. There have been several "ups" and "downs" over the last few weeks, but everything appears to be settling into place for the Niners to embark on an all-important stretch run to see where they stack up in the playoff race. First up are the Green Bay Packers, who enter into this game at 8-2 and lead the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers is putting together another good season, but more...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 17, 2019 at 7:30 PM 7 comments
    1) Jimmy Garoppolo Has Flaws But He Is a Big Game Quarterback Would I like for Jimmy Garoppolo to be more consistent with his ball placement? Yes. Does he have flaws? Yes. ls he the right quarterback for the job? YES! It was a long, difficult, and at times, mind-numblingly frustrating game, but when it mattered the most, Jimmy Garoppolo delivered. On the day, he finished 34-45 for 424 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. The thing to keep in mind is that this was all on a day where George Kittle and Matt Breida sat out. Emmanuel Sanders played through an injury. There was NO running game to speak of because Arizona sold out to stop it. Garoppolo was going to have to throw nearly every play in the second half and everyone in the building knew...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 16, 2019 at 2:53 PM 1 comment
    It's a short week following the 49ers' 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks and now San Francisco has to brush the loss off and prepare for its third straight divisional matchup, this time against the scrappy Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals enter the game at 3-6-1, but anyone who has watched them a few times this season realizes they are better than their record and a team not to be taken lightly. The 49ers are somewhat limping into this game after suffering a barrage of injuries that began against this same Cardinals squad. Joe Staley returned on Monday night, but suffered a fractured and dislocated finger that required surgery. He will miss a couple of games. Matt Breida re-aggravated his ankle injury and will likely miss the game. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair has...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 11, 2019 at 10:48 PM 1 comment
    1) Regardless of the Outcome, the 49ers Are a Playoff Team The atmosphere from Levi's Stadium tonight was nothing short of electric. Tonight's game had the feel of a playoff game. Just two years ago, the 49ers started a complete rebuild and now they are 8-1 and still atop the NFC. Despite the injuries and all of the adversity, San Francisco fought back and nearly won a very difficult overtime game. It showed everyone that though it may not win every game, it is a legitimate division and conference contender and after watching the last five seasons as well as the post-Steve Young era, it's fun to be a 49ers fan again. 2) The Offensive Line Got Dominated I'll get to Jimmy Garoppolo's woes later, but this cannot be overstated. The offensive line...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Nov 10, 2019 at 9:52 AM 5 comments
    San Francisco enters Monday Night's matchup against the Seahawks with a perfect record (8-0) and an 11 day rest. The Seahawks (7-2) are coming off an overtime win against Tampa Bay. Russell Wilson is playing as well as any quarterback right now and could be the league's MVP. Regardless of any statistical measure concerning their team offense or defense, the Seahawks are going to make life difficult for the 49ers as the division could be at stake. If San Francisco wins, it will be 9-0 and will jump three games ahead of Seattle and the Rams. If Seattle wins, the race will be much tougher. As far as injuries, tight end George Kittle and kicker Robbie Gould are listed as doubtful and might sit in order to heal up and avoid long-term injuries. The good...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    Oct 31, 2019 at 9:41 PM 1 comment
    1) Jimmy Garoppolo is a Franchise Quarterback This is not an overreaction. On a short week on the road with multiple injuries and facing a very scrappy divisional opponent, Jimmy Garoppolo put the team on his back and won the game. It wasn't just the raw numbers, though they were great as he finished 28 for 37 with 317 yards and four touchdowns. What really made the difference in the game was Garoppolo's ability to convert on third down. His third-down passing ended at 12 for 14 for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Look no further than the final drive for Jimmy G's ability to come up big in "crunch time". His 16-yard pass under duress to Emmanuel Sanders was probably the play of the night. If he doesn't make that play, the Cardinals get the ball back with...
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