Well, that one certainly wasn't pretty. The San Francisco 49ers overcame a hideous offensive showing in the second half, holding on to defeat the Cleveland Browns 20-10 and improve to 6-1. While it was an ugly win that raises some question marks about aspects of the offense, the 49ers now stand four games up on the Seattle Seahawks after only seven games. They cannot sit back on the accomplishments to date but they have put themselves in an excellent position moving forward.
The 49ers got off to a hot start in the first quarter, jumping on top 10-0 in the first quarter. The 49ers dominated the Browns for much of the first half, running at will and having their way with the Browns offense. Frank Gore put up 103 yards in the first half and passed Roger Craig early in the second half to take over the second position on the 49ers all-time rushing leaderboard. For most of the first half, Gore had no problem gashing the Browns.
The passing game on the other hand was a bit all over the place. The 49ers had success on some Braylon Edwards slant patterns and I am a bit surprised we did not see more of that. Edwards is too big and physical for a lot of cornerbacks, which is perfect for that kind of route. The 49ers have had quite a few games where we will see something work really will and then the team seems to move away from it. I'm sure somebody out there can explain this better than I can.
The good news once again was the defense took care of business. Aside from the poor decision-making on the Joshua Cribbs touchdown, the 49ers defense did some good work. On that particular play, Tarell Brown let Cribbs get behind him and Dashon Goldson committed a bit early towards tight end Ben Watson, who was running a crossing pattern. Dan Fouts seemed to think Goldson was meant to cover the back end for Brown, but I suppose we'll never fully know.
Other than that it was another extremely physical game by the 49ers defense. They sacked Colt McCoy four times and they also forced five Browns fumbles. The Browns recovered four of those fumbles, but the 49ers were laying the wood on these guys. The 49ers have recovered a host of fumbles this season and were do for a modest regression. Well, here's your regression.
The 49ers have plenty to work on as they move forward to face the Washington Redskins in week nine. The Redskins are struggling mightily, but as this weekend has shown, there are no gimmes in the NFL. The 49ers will be favored going in, but if the offense doesn't develop more consistency, they'll be in for plenty more dogfights.
For now though, the 49ers are 6-1 and they are in control of the NFC West. There is plenty to discuss from this game so we'll be back throughout the day and into the coming week.
Please play nice in here.