Watching the game this week I couldn't help but wince and cheer in excitement all at once. I know "Handshake Gate" has been dominating the news lately, but my concern has always been the play of the game. That said, lets get to what the game showed us.
- this defense continues to keep the 49ers in games. It was true two years ago, last year, and this year is no exception.
- offensive game planning, at least for the running game but top notch. Daryl Johnston (yes weird a 49ers fan complimenting him, he is a good commentator) pointed it out best that they were taking Suh out of the game by making sure he is being blocked and running right by him.
- Scoring when it matters and putting points on the board in the clutch.
- getting the 4-6 yards on 1st and 2nd downs and taking the pressure off 3rd and longs.
- lack of effort by players. Again Daryl Johnston pointed out a 3rd and out we had when Ginn Jr didn't dive for a 1st down. Getting 1st downs are, for lack of a better way of saying it, striking gold for the 49ers. When the 49ers are getting first downs continuously with a combination of good running plays and passing, they are typically going to put up a TD.
- missed opportunities. Dropped passes and more importantly dropped passes in the end zone. This offense has enough going against them when it comes to scoring points from the offensive side of the ball. Dropping passes in the end zone shouldn't be one of them. We aren't going to win on field goals alone. And though our defense is showing it can come up with big plays and stop opposing teams, its our offensive's job to make sure the game is not close. The score should have 29 not 25.
- Gore is getting older. I love Gore, I have his jersey and he comes up big for us time and time again. But seeing his breakaway runs on Sunday, I notice that he is getting older, funny to say that because age wise he isn't but the 6 years in the league is wearing down on him. And for running backs 6 years is a lot. The 2 breakaway runs he had for 40-50 yards, if you gave those runs to AP, Chris Johnson, or Arian Foster theres no doubt they would have been TDs. Granted Gore has never been a speed runner. Some people will say this doesn't matter and I will argue it does. When our offensive is clinging to the few touchdown opportunities that it gets, then it does matter that these potential TDs are not coming. Gore will always be part of the team and a workhorse but its sad to see that with some speed and younger legs his stat line should have been 141 rushing yards 3 TDs.
- penalties. Seriously. The offensive line penalties due to the noise, ok I will give them those. At the same time though thats part of game planning. And there were a few that I felt the o-line moved because they were baited by movement on the defensive line. But the Dashon Goldson delay of game for kicking the ball? I wanted to tear my hair out on that one. This needs to stop.
- "Handshake Gate" I do feel Harbaugh should have made a better effort, but Swartz went all out trying to antagonize the situation. Though I have to say, im like the players I kind of liked seeing the energy and scruffle between the coaches.
- Alex Smith over throws. Smith needs to stop this. For a guy who has made so much progress this year, he is reverting back to some of his bad habits from the previous years. Ok whatever one overthrow. But I counted several of them. Luckily it resulted in only one interception but that one interception is enough to cost the game, especially to a more consistent offense.