After yelling at the top of my lungs all of last night, I am now home and able to have a sigh of relief! I've heard people say how a moral victory is not good enough, while others claim progress is better than nothing. I've also watched the game over on my DVR to see if I can realistically break the current 49er's circumstances down. Hopefully, I can represent what most of the devoted fans currently feel!Verdict: We know you can do it, now go out there and get it done. Until you do, we will remain skeptical.
Mental Toughness (A-) - The team was mentality tough and focused. This really showed because they never let up. Although mistakes are costly, it allowed them to show how tough they really are. As a fan, I was not feeling the most confident going into this game and during the horrible turn-overs. When they still stayed competitive in the game, I felt a sudden sense of pride. Our 49ers are finally playing like we wanted them to. Of course, when I say this, I am also ignoring on purpose the fact that the turn-over existed. I must admit, in the grand scheme of things, it's not as important because just a week ago, I was setting myself up for a big let down for the season. I don't mind us losing to a good team, but I do mind us giving up to a crappy team... As a fan, we've witnessed too many bad loses and disappointing upsets. Can our team play with a sense of urgency, professionalism, and can our offense run smoothly are the big questions that this game answered for me. Now that I know the 49ers are capable, they must prove it every Sunday by winning. I'm just glad I can be confident that the ability is there after questioning this. I'm beginning to think this organization as a whole woke up and realized they wanted to win.
Play Calling (B+) - Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy... I guess you ARE listening after-all. Your play calling was superb. Your communication was great when I noticed Alex had ~9 seconds left to evaluate the defense after the huddle. You actually got everyone so fooled in your typical play calling that when you planned to run against that, it worked like a charm. I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having said that, I'm not going towards it until I see the same level of play calling week in and week out.
Alex (A-) - So, everyone was right. Given the right circumstances (O-line holding up, Receivers catching well, Running back running well, and Plays being called on time), Alex did a great job. I'm not expecting a perfect game from Alex so to me this was a winning game. He didn't lose the game for us and made some great scrambles that we've never seen him do before. Basically, he changed for the better. We can only hope he can do it against everyone else.
Coaching (B) - I swear, everytime I watch a turnover, I wonder if the coaches warn the players of things to think about before a certain scenario. Even in Madden, they tell you things to think about like not to fumble! I was impressed when the 49ers called a timeout because they think they can stop the Saints before halftime and wanted them to kick against the wind. Although the Saints did this initially, up until yesterday, I wouldn't have thought our coaching staff was quick witted enough to respond the way they did.
Delanie Walker (C) - I like Delanie. I am glad he causes bad matchups for the defense, but I also know he shouldn't try to do more than he can. He should be the TE that catches a ball and either runs straight or goes down. He shouldn't be too focused on YACs too much. He doesn't need to do spin moves or anything of that sort. Simplifying his role would make him very valuable.
Phillip Adams (B-) - Although Phillip muffed that punt, I have a comfortable feeling when it comes to him returning punts. His catches ALMOST always look sure handed and his returns are pretty consistent and for decent gains. I still like him. I don't think his muffed punt has anything to do with his ability. I guess I'm saying I don't think he'll repeat it again. Besides, Reggie Bush is a great player and he muffs it sometimes too. If it weren't for the bad one, I would give Adams a B+.
Offensive Line (A) - Sure they can do better, but I bet you would never have thought a troubled O-line last year being replaced by so many people would have much success! When the Saints sent everyone and the kitchen sink, the niners were able to hold up for Alex to make a throw. That's what you call a solid O-line. They absorbed all the defensive linemen and more! Of course, when they created holes for Frank to run through, that's taking care of the 2 roles of an O-line that we care about the most. I can't believe I'm thinking this, but I'm proud of our O-line knowing it's made up of 2 rookies, a backup guard, and a backup center that haven't played center in the NFL. We definately didn't go wrong in the draft for Davis and Iupati.
Gore (A) - He plays smart and he plays hard. So glad we have him.
Special Teams (D) - I constantly see a huge lane for the other team's return team to run through. It's not a good sign when our kicker has to make tackles. I even saw our gunner turn in circles because he was surrounded by 2 blockers. Our return game is okay without the mistakes, but leaves for much improvement. We've constantly gotten large gains and had them taken back due to penalties. I know you are a WIP, but I hope the coaches focus on this in time for the next game.
Defense (B+) - Compared to last week, I think we did great against the Saints. There were very little big plays and we stopped them from scoring a touchdown inside the 3 yard line. Once they get better, I'm hoping to see more sacks and more turnovers.
In the end, I'm happy and feel that this is the gateway game to a winning season! They dug themselves a hole last week. This week, they got themselves out of it. Now, they will start to climb to the top of the mountain!