PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 02: Members of the San Francisco 49ers celebrate after recovering a fumble late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 24-23. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers (3-1) are coming off of their most dynamic win that I have seen in years. The team as a whole fought hard to win a difficult road game against an extremely talented team in the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a win that will be receiving national attention as the Niners showed the doubters what they are capable of.
This was a true team victory – almost everyone contributed. 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree had 5 catches on the day, including a stellar 38-yard grab in double coverage between Nnamdi Asomugha and Jerrad Page. Frank Gore bounced back to his old self, chalking up 127 rush yards on 15 attempts and a crucial touchdown in the 4th quarter. I think the tailback rotation head coach Jim Harbaugh worked out between Gore and rookie Kendall Hunter is what really got the offense moving.
Another rookie found his groove in week four; Aldon Smith had 1.5 sacks against the Eagles and was a disruptive presence the rest of the time. Smith displayed that his talent for pass rushing has indeed translated to the pros, and he can only get better from here on out.
Safety Dashon Goldson had a day and a half, silently recording a team-high 10 tackles and recovering the game ending fumble by Jeremy Maclin. Goldson had a breakout season two years ago, but appeared to have fallen off with last year’s performance. It was great to see him contributing and helping the defense finish.
And how about 32-year-old Justin Smith being the most consistent piece for this team, game in and game out, year in and year out. Smith has been a model player for years, and on Sunday he chased down Maclin and punched
the ball loose, closing the game for San Francisco.
Josh Morgan continues to show us time and time again that he is a pure football player. There might not be anything remarkable about Morgan’s skill-set or physical capabilities, but he is a football guy who can play
ball in the NFL. With Braylon Edwards temporarily sidelined, Crabtree and Morgan really stepped up to the challenge.
Alex Smith was probably the player who amazed most of the NFL fans out there, having a very well put together day statistically. Smith went 21 of 33, for 291 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions -- and he connected
with 8 different targets to do it.
NaVorro Bowman was another player whose performance contributed to the team win over the struggling Eagles. Bowman tied Patrick Willis for second in tackles with 6, but 2 of Bowman’s tackles came on crucial third-down
stops where Michael Vick was scrambling. Bowman has shown the awareness and proper technique to be a contributor for the 49ers for a long time to come.
The offensive line finally put together a worthwhile performance that allowed Alex Smith to show the progress he’s made as a quarterback under Harbaugh. The 49ers allowed 3 sacks, all courtesy of Eagles defensive end
Jason Babin, which shows it was an isolated issue (See: Anthony Davis).
49ers free agent acquisition Carlos Rogers recorded his 2nd interception for 2011 and is proving to be a valuable commodity for San Francisco. The back end of the defense has been a weakness in recent years, but held up
just enough to beat a very good passing team.
The 49ers have been playing some very encouraging football under Jim Harbaugh and the new coaching staff. It is becoming apparent that Harbaugh excels at game-planning for his opponents, which along with the player-coach interaction has kept the 49ers in every game this season so far.
The 49ers return home to San Francisco to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 5.
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