Florida Danny here subbing in for Fooch at the moment. By my estimation, he's currently watching the end of the 3rd quarter on DVR, so I'm sure he'll be available for comment soon. Don't worry, though. I spend enough time on here talking about stats, so this is a victory celebration thread, not a stats thread. And what a victory it was!!!!
Here are my 4 immediate impressions from the game:
- At the end of the 1st half, when the Niners meekishly chose to settle for a 7-0 halftime lead, my friends and I all agreed that there was simply no way the Niners should only be up 7 at home against as bad a team as the Rams. I'm going out on a limb here, but it sure seems like Singletary said something along those same lines in the locker room between halves. If not that, then someone must have spiked the Gatorade. That second half was an awesome display of utter dominaton, especially by the defense.
- Speaking of the defense, their second half performance was definitely sparked by -- who else -- Patrick Willis. What amazed me about Willis' "half of destruction" was how varied it was in its dominance. Ferocious tackles? Check. Sacks? Check. Interception? Check. I mean, after today, is there really anything this guy can't do at Mike LB?
- Watching the game, I was constantly thinking, "Man, Singletary and Raye must have read my post this morning." OK, just kidding. I'm not that much of a narcissist. Really, though, I couldn't believe my eyes watching the plays being called on offense. Actually running off tackle and toward the edges? Check. Throwing to a WR other than Bruce? Check. Throwing the ball downfield more? Check. Basically, I saw everything I wanted to see from the offense in terms of post-MIN adjustments.
- I don't want to end on a negative note, but my last immediate impression was, "Wow. The OL is really bad." We have to keep in mind that the Niners' offense only scored 14 points in this game. To me, it was almost a miracle they scored that many. Shaun Hill was constantly under duress from a JV defense, and it seemed like Coffee had absolutely nothing in the way of holes to run through. One play stood out in particular. In the 2nd quarter, Hill takes a 3-step drop, and gets sacked on his 3rd step!!! That's just unacceptable, and it's especially bad against the lowly Rams. I mean, the interior of the OL can't pass block for 1 second? C'mon guys.
Like I said, though, I don't want to end on a downer. All in all, this was an important win. First, it means the Niners are 3-0 in the division. I'll have a post during the week on how important that is. Second, and this is coming from a M.S. in Sport Psychology, the 49ers showed a lot of mettle and stick-to-it-iveness between the ears. Nolan teams would have folded after a big offensive injury and bad loss in that MIN game. In fact, Nolan's 2007 team did just that after losing Alex Smith and losing at home to SEA in Week 4. After that game, the Niners lost 8 of their next 9. This team is not that team. They don't fold after tough losses.
Another thing they don't do is lose to teams they should kick the crap out of, a definite Nolan trademark. One thing I learned a while back is that -- contrary to conventional wisdom -- what separates the good teams from the great teams is that the great teams always destroy the worst teams. They don't lose to them, they don't toy around with them. Great teams dispatch sorry teams in the manner that befits their sorriness.
So...'twas a great win for the Niners. I saw a alot that I liked. Willis is a beast. That defense is becoming studly. The offense, to their credit, made smart adjustments. Now, just start getting competent blocking by the OL, and this team has a really good chance to become a great team.