San Francisco 49ers 2010 Season in Review: Week 8, VS Denver Broncos (London, England)

Nocal81 Note: Sorry if this game recap didn't go into as much detail as previous weeks. I had a hard time finding video highlights or videos of the entire game online. I am not sure there was some type of copyright because the game was in London, but online video feeds were not as abundant as in previous weeks

The 49ers desperately needed a week off following their difficult loss against the previously winless Carolina Panthers. Instead, they would have to travel across the Atlantic in order to play against the equally pathetic Denver Broncos. Objectively saying, Europe wasn't treated to a clash of the Titans. Instead, two teams that were a combine 3-11.

After the jump I will take a look at how this game played out....

Troy Smith would get his first start in a 49er uniform after David Carr failed miserably in replacement of the injured Alex Smith the previous week. Denver, on the other hand, was coming off a week in which they gave up 59 points against the Oakland Raiders. In that game Denver gave up over 500 yards of total offense and nearly 30 first downs.

Denver won the toss and elected to receive, and their first drive did not go all too well. The Broncos gained a total of six yards and were forced to punt. Brett Colquitt hit a shank of 20 yards giving the 49ers great field position outside their 40.

However, the 49ers would not capitalize at all. After an initial 3 yard run by Frank Gore, Troy Smith would throw an errant pass to Michael Crabtree and Brian Westbrook would get a short gain on a screen from Smith on 3rd down. 49ers were forced to punt. Andy Lee let go of a booming 50 yarder setting the Broncos up inside their own 3.

Denver, starting from the face of their end zone, would get acquire some breathing room. After an initial incomplete pass to Jabar Gafney, Kyle Orton hit him for 18 yards; some bad secondary coverage by the 49ers. Dashon Goldson was left occupying no one as Tarell Brown was beat on the play. On the next play, Orton would hit former 49er, Brandon Lloyd, for 18 and across mid-field. The drive would stall there; Patrick Willis made a great play on Knowshon Moreno for a loss of a yard and Justin Smith came up with a huge 10 yard sack of Orton. Smith blew through the Bronco offensive line and nearly forced an Orton fumble.

The 49ers would start their second possession of the game outside their 30. Troy Smith hit Delanie Walker for 6 yards, Frank Gore took the ball off of left tackle for 13 yards (great team blocking by the 49ers). And, a couple plays later, on 3rd down, Troy Smith would convert on a 12 yards on an out route; Davis just destroyed the coverage of Andre Goodman. After a short run by Gore, Smith would once again hit Delanie Walker, this time for 10 yards and a 1st down. With the ball inside Denver's 40, Frank Gore would ramble for 3 yards and Smith would hit Westbrook for 9 on a screen. The 49ers were on the move. However, the drive would stall there. On 3rd down and less than a yard, Gore would carry up the gut behind David Baas, but after an official measurement it was deemed he was about 6 inches short. Singletary and Co. decided for the safe FG rather than going for it on 4thJoe Nedney hit it from 40 to give the 49ers the lead (3-0 San Francisco, End of 1st Quarter)

After a Brandon Lloyd offensive PI penalty, in which he obviously pushed off on Patrick Willis, the Broncos would be set back on a 1st and 20. Orton would hit on two consecutive passes, one to Moreno for 14 and the ladder to Daniel Graham for 10. After the initial 1st down the 49ers defense would tighten up and force a Bronco punt.

Starting from their own 21 after a 14 yard punt return by Ted Ginn the 49ers were looking to add to a 3-0 lead; however, it would be for not. San Francisco would get a 1st down after Ted Ginn took a reverse 8 yards; one more block and he would have broken it. Gore gained 4 yards for a new set of downs. After another 4 yard run by Gore, Troy Smith would throw two incredibly errant balls (lucky there were not picked), and the 49ers were forced to punt.

After Denver gained 19 yards on five plays there were forced to punt.  The 49ers got just a few more yards on their next drive, accumulating one 1st down.  Really not much else to see in the first half, and the London fans were thrilled with a 3-0 showing going into the half (3-0 San Francisco, Halftime)

The 49ers would start the 2nd half at their own 22, and on 3rd-and-1 Frank Gore would gain 3 for a 1st down. On the next play Troy Smith hit Michael Crabtree for 12 and another 1st. But, the 49ers would be forced to punt after they got incredibly conservative attempting a Frank Gore rush on 3rd-and-7.

The Broncos would take over with 10:23 left in the 3rd quarter in a 3-0 game. A few plays later on 3rd down Kyle Orton would avoid a sack and scramble left for 8 yards and a first down. 49er pass rush broke down the play but Orton was able to get the first with his feet. On the next play Orton would hit Brandon Lloyd on target for a 71 yard pass all the way down to the 49ers 1 yard line before Taylor Mays would tackle him. On the very next play Tim Tebow would take it in the end zone from one yard out giving the Broncos their first score of the game and the lead (7-3 Denver)

On 3rd-and-1 from their own 32 the 49ers would convert on a 1st down pass from Troy Smith to Josh Morgan for 30 yards inside Denver's 40. However, the 49ers drive would come to a halt at Denver's 34. Joe Nedney would be called on for a 51 yard FG, but the attempt would hit the upright. The 49ers miss a golden opportunity to take the lead or cut in the deficit

San Francisco's defense would hold Denver to a 3 and out on their next possession. After a Reggie Smith holding penalty on the ensuing punt, the 49ers would be forced to start inside the 10. Denver's defense held the 49ers without a 1st down, this giving the Broncos the ball inside the 49ers territory after a decent Andy Lee punt. On the very next play Kyle Orton would hit Demtriyious Thomas on a 30 yard gain giving the Broncos a great chance to pull away in the game. However, the 49ers defense would hold Denver to a FG (10-3 Denver)

Matt Prater's following kick off was returned by Ted Ginn for 36 yards outside their own 40. On 2nd and 20, after a Delanie Walker offensive holding call, the 49ers were forced into a 2nd and 20 situation. Walker would redeem himself by hauling in a 27 yards pass in front of Nate Jones and a 38 yard pass in front of Champ Bailey. The ladder of the two passes was thrown up for grabs by Smith, but Walker did a great job to come down with it at Denver's 1. Two plays Later a Troy Smith QB sneak would net the 49ers a tie (10-10 Tie)

San Francisco would immediately force a Bronco 3 and out and another shank by Colquitt, this time of 21 yards, would set the 49ers up across mid-field. After a 2 yard run by Frank Gore, Troy Smith would hit Michael Crabtree for 13 yards. Two plays later Smith once again hit Crabtree, this time for 28 yards and another 49ers TD (17-10 SF)

Denver's next drive would begin with a bang for the 49ers as Manny Lawson would force and recover a Kyle Orton fumble. It was an absolutely amazing play by Lawson, who single handedly gave the 49ers an opportunity to put the game away. San Francisco would start inside Denver's 20. A few plays later on 3rd down and 3, Frank Gore would run up the gut for 3 yards and yet another 49er TD. (24-10 SF)

San Francisco playing prevent defense would let Denver back in the game immediately. Kyle Orton would complete 6 of 7 passes on the next drive culminating in a 1 yard TD pass to Brandon Lloyd. The 2 PT conversion failed (24-16 SF)

The 49ers would immediately go three and out and the ensuing Andy Lee punt was returned by Eddie Royal for 78 yards and a TD, the Broncos were one two point conversion away from tying the game. Or were they? Jarvis Moss was called for an illegal block in the back penalty and the Broncos TD was nullified.

The Broncos final drive would end on an INT by Shawntae Spencer, and the 49ers got their 2nd win of the season.            (24-16 SF, End of Regulation)

Post Game Quotes From Niners Community 

I don’t think anybody here really thinks this team is anything but terrible…

And sadly (for our beloved NFC West) the Niners still aren’t out of the divisional race… (Nate Parham, 10/31/10)

Singletary is going to make a fortune in Coors Light Silver Bullet commercials

 

just waiting for the total press meltdown that is sure to come in the 2nd half of the season (Jviet, 10/31/10)

 I think we didn't take the big shots like we did in the second half. We got together as an offense at halftime, and we told ourselves, we've got to get going. We can't let the team move around the NFL with three points. We saw them make plays and we knew all the playmakers had to get going and make plays.I'm happy to be here. I want to say thank you to London for having us play out here (Frank Gore, 10/31/10)

 

Analysis

Well, Well, Well, the 49ers got their 2nd win of the season. It didn't matter that they had to leave North America in order to win, they won. Really, the 49ers played pretty good in this game. I was excited to see Troy Smith come in and play decent throughout the game, and the 49ers defense stepped up when it had to. But, let us keep this in context; they were playing a Denver Broncos team that had just given up 59 points to Oakland.

The Good

The 49ers held an 8 minute time of possession advantage, which allowed them to rush the ball for over 40 yards. We all know how good the 49ers record  is when Gore has 20+ attempts in a game. On that note, the 49ers also held Denver to under 60 yards rushing and forced two Bronco turnovers.

The Bad

The 49ers gave up 370 passing yards to Kyle Orton, a lot of that on blown coverage in the secondary against Brandon Lloyd. San Francisco still hasn't found a way to have some continuity in the secondary, and we are now half way through the season. Subsequently, Brandon Lloyd had nearly 180 yards receiving. Although Denver did not sack Troy Smith, most of that had to do with the ladder's elusiveness more than great San Francisco pass protection. I saw Smith pressured a considerable amount during this game and the young 49er offensive linemen need to start finding some consistency.

Standout Performances(s)

A couple performances stand out to me. First, Frank Gore; this dude was great today. He ran for 118 yards and a TD, but they were tough yards. It was extremely important for Troy Smith to have that running game behind him in his first start as a 49er, and Gore gave that to him. Additionally, Gore was pretty darn good picking up blitzes to protect the QB. 12/19 for a 196 yards are not great stats, but they are respectable. What sets Troy Smith's performance apart is the fact that he came through big time at the end. Smith had a monster 4th quarter when the 49ers needed it, and could be considered the MVP of the 1st half of the season because of saving the 49ers from a 1-7 record; and keeping them in the playoff choice. Justin Smith had yet another great game with two sacks, and two QB hits; he got continual pressure on Orton all day long

Game Changing Play(s)

 With the 49ers just scoring and taking the lead Denver was looking to get back into the game. However, the first play following San Francisco's TD didn't go so well for Denver. Kyle Orton was dragged down by Manny Lawson, who forced a fumble, Takeo Spikes would recover the ball setting San Francisco up at the Denver 14. A couple plays later the 49ers would take a two score lead

Conclusion

The 49ers came into this game coming off one of the worse losses in recent memory. They had to travel across the Atlantic, didn't have a week off and the coaching situation was becoming clear: Mike Singletary was on the hot seat. Adding to this was the fact that Troy Smith was going to be starting his first game as a 49er. However, the team responded in the second half and showed some character: a facet of the team that had been missing during the first seven weeks of the season. I really enjoyed watching the 49er respond mentally when things started going bad early in the 3rd quarter. For me, it was a glimmer of hope in an otherwise horrid 1st half of the 2010 season.

 

Stats

Troy Smith: 12/19-196 Yards- TD- 0 INT- 0 Sacks (115.2 Rating)

Frank Gore: 29 Rushes- 118 Yards- 4.1 AVG- TD

Delanie Walker: 5 Receptions- 85 Yards

Michael Crabtree: 3 Receptions- 53 Yards- TD

Kyle Orton: 28/40-370 Yards- TD- INT- 4 Sacks (96.9 Rating)

Knowshawn Moreno: 11 Rushed- 40 Yards- 3.6 AVG

Brandon Lloyd: 7 Receptions- 169 Yards- TD

Boxscore

1st Downs 22 16
Passing 1st downs
16 9
Rushing 1st downs
3 7
1st downs from Penalties
3 0
3rd down efficiency
2-10 5-13
4th down efficiency
0-0 0-0
Total Plays 61 61
Total Yards 398 339
Passing 339 196
Comp-Att
28-40 12-19
Yards per pass
8.5 10.3
Rushing 59 143
Rushing Attempts
17 42
Yards per rush
3.5 3.4
Red Zone (Made-Att) 2-3 2-3
Penalties 8-60 6-66
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles lost
1 0
Interceptions thrown
1 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 26:26 33:34
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