It's three in the morning as I write this, and I can't stop thinking about the game and the upcoming game against the Chiefs. I've carefully considered everything that happened yesterday, I've considered what we did right, what we did wrong, what should have and shouldn't have happened. We're 0-2, and it doesn't feel good, and now we have a tough game upcoming against the Chiefs.
That's right, it's a tough game, while before the season started, a good portion of us had this game penciled in as a win before the season began, and now the Chiefs look like they may be a legitimate team. In all fairness, the 49ers will go into this game as a favorite, and after their performance against the Saints last night, rightly so. But, if anything, the Chiefs look like they can give any team trouble right now.
They obviously are not as legitimate as they seem, the second win was only against the Cleveland Browns, but the first game was a right thrashing, with a defense that punished and a special teams unit that looked crisp. Well, that doesn't sound bad for the 49ers at all ... Except, yes, it does. It sounds awful.
A punishing defense doesn't sound all that bad, the Saints pack a pretty mean punch and we didn't even go down swinging, we stood in the pocket and slung back, but ultimately dropped a close decision. The 49ers offensive line were on cruise control against the Saints, with basically all of its members exuding high level offensive line play, minus that awful and horrible snap from David Baas. It will be awhile before I forgive him for that. It appeared to be a coming out party for the unit. In short, they didn't look like rookies.
Not exactly easy to do, but a fair bit easier at home than it is on the road, regardless. The line looked bad against the Seattle Seahawks, and the crowd noise was most definitely a factor. I'd submit that Arrowhead was louder than Qwest in week one. Did you see that game? It was shaking like Mile High and seemed louder than Qwest, at the very least the two are comparable. That scares me a little bit. The line will be on watch most of this season, but it's being tested early on.
I give them a fail in week one away, a pass at home, and now they've got what might be the second loudest stadium for an away game in week three. I think we saw, though, that if the offensive line can block, Gore and Smith can move the ball. We'll need to keep a close eye on that aspect of the game.
Secondly, special teams. Special teams is an area the 49ers are indisputably weak in. Their return game is so-so, with muffed punt returns and a largely mistake-prone blocking unit with very rare actual lead blocking. Their coverage game is poor-to-so-so. It's hard to tell where they stand, but I don't any one of us is secure when the 49ers punt the football.
The Chiefs have a couple of good returners in Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas. Both are players some here at Niners Nation wanted, with an emphasis on Arenas in the second or third round. He looks to be a pretty solid option for the Chiefs, and he'll look to make the 49ers have a tough day on the kick return front. On punts, it should be all McCluster all day, and that's a scary thing to me.
I don't see the Chiefs offense being able to move the ball, but this game could very well come down to an average-to-good 49ers offense up against the production of a young and playmaking defense alongside solid special teams play. I have to favor the Niners here, though, providing they can make some special teams adjustments and everything else falls into place. That's what I'm doing, I'm looking ahead. I'm basically done with the Saints game already.