That may qualify as the cheesiest headline I've ever written, but for the Forrest Gump fans, I think you'll see where I'm going with this. Much of the chatter heading into this game was that the 49ers were going to pound the ball on the ground and look to ride Frank Gore to victory as "game manager" Alex Smith tried to avoid mistakes.
Well, so much for that. On the 49ers opening drive of the game, nine of the twelve plays were passes. On that drive, Alex Smith was 6 of 9 for 67 yards. On seven of their ten drives (excluding the final kneel-down plays), the 49ers opened the drive with a pass. On those seven drives, Smith had one incompletion, one play for four yards and the other five started with a pass play of five or more yards. The leading receiver in the game was Delanie Walker, who caught six passes for 69 yards. And they managed to mix in an onside kick for the first time this season.
Last week we saw Bruce Miller run a little wheel route for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The week before, Joe Staley and Isaac Sopoaga each grabbed big first down catches. We've seen the team mix in Kendall Hunter (even before this week's injury concern). Generally speaking, the team has done a solid job of mixing up its play-calling and personnel.
A couple weeks back, Adam Snyder indicated that the team had only used 40-50% of the playbook up to that point. The 49ers offense has been a bit inconsistent at times, but we have started to see more and more positives out of them. More importantly, by taking their time implementing the playbook on game day, the 49ers coaching staff leaves a lot of potential film off the table. Most of the Giants admitted after yesterday's game that they thought the 49ers would line up Frank Gore and try to pound the rock all day long. Stop the run, stop the 49ers was the Giants belief.
Oh contraire, mon frere!
This is one more thing to get excited about each week. What will Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh hatch this week? The play-calls do not always work, and the personnel do not always execute to the best of their abilities. Nonetheless, I think the general philosophy and scheming seems to be working well. It's just a matter of consistent execution week in and week out.