We return to you this fine Monday morning with another win chalked up for the good guys. The 49ers stand at 2-0 with another big divisional win, this time over the Seattle Seahawks, and they are definitely embodying the characteristics and traits of their coach. They are most definitely a punch em in the mouth kind of team on both sides of the ball. While any win is a "beautiful thing," the wins this year are likely to be more bruising affairs. There's nothing wrong with that, I'm just pointing it out.
1. Total Ball Security
3. Dominate the trenches
4. Create great field position
Total Ball Security
In general both teams held on to the ball fairly well yesterday. Both teams had a pair of fumbles, but they both managed to recover the ball. The one big turnover was Dashon Goldson's interception of Seneca Wallace late in the third quarter, deep in 49ers territory. That turnover was made even bigger by the ensuing 49ers drive that shaved 9:27 off the clock. The Seahawks had some chances after that, but the long drive was pretty close to a back-breaker.
It's good to see Goldson get that first interception of his career. He was inserted into the starting lineup because of his supposed ball-hawking abilities. It's only one interception, but hopefully it's the first of many. The 49ers secondary did not produce any other turnovers, but one could argue the batted down passes play towards ball security (sort of kind of). I realize it's not the normal turnovers, but the secondary was locking down when they needed to.
I thought the execution did a lot of good things today, particularly on defense. There has been some mention of all the injuries the Seahawks suffered, and they certainly were numerous. At the same time, the 49ers still had to execute and take advantage of these injuries. While they may not have finished as well as I would have liked (discussed in detail below), they still took advantage of the situation and got the win. Maybe not the prettiest execution in the world, but they took care of their business.
After the jump we look at the final three factors...
Dominate the Trenches
Frank Gore would definitely tell you the 49ers dominated the trenches. Both of his touchdown runs saw him blasting up the middle of the field. While he did break away, the holes were rather sizable for Gore on those two runs in particular. While he did have some struggles at other times, even without the two big runs he was having more success than last week. In the passing game, Shaun Hill succumbed to four sacks, but as was mentioned in one of the threads, he was partially responsible for a couple of those. Also, one came against Tony Pashos, shortly after he entered the game, so the chemistry might not have been as good as needed.
On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers did a generally solid job against the run. Justin Forsett found some success, but the Seahawks had to abandon the run and so Forsett didn't get many opportunities. I have to say I was impressed when he dragged Ray McDonald for a couple yards at the end of one run. As far as the pass rush, it was definitely not as good as last week, but they still mixed things up a little bit.
Create great field position
The 49ers really didn't get great field position, but given Frank Gore's home run rushes, there was no need for great field position. And in fact, starting on their own 12 led to a 9:27 drive well into the fourth quarter, so who needs to start with a short field right? Rossum ran a punt back yesterday but a block in the back brought it all the way back. It's interesting that the special teams have run the reverse/fake reverse to Nate Clements each of the last two teams. One time it did nothing, the other time it would have worked if not for the block (and Clements own personal foul). Fortunately the 49ers haven't needed excellent field position so far.
This is the one area that definitely nagged at me throughout the game. The 49ers had several opportunities to put this game away, but they let Seattle hang around. I realize they won by 13 points, but it still felt like they could have put this one out of reach earlier. The 49ers dominated the Seahawks in many areas, but in some ways, the game was uncomfortably closer than it needed to be. Just a thought.
Along the lines of finishing, I was definitely psyched to see Frank Gore show the break-away speed to finish off his touchdown runs. There have been times in the past where he'd get dragged down after 40 or 50 yards. That was most definitely not the case yesterday. It's always good to be able to get that homerun type of play from your star.