Jim Harbaugh took to the mike after Saturday's 17-3 victory and went over a variety of developments from the game. I think he hit the nail on the end when he pointed to the offensive line being the start of the productive offense. Between the 20s the 49ers offense looked as good as it has in some time.
It's only one game and we really don't know how a performance against the Raiders can be evaluated at this point, but it was a strong performance nonetheless. The running game was dominant and we'll have plenty of breakdown on that, but really it came down to the offensive line stepping up in a big way. The loss in New Orleans was highlighted in part by ineffective communication between the members of the line. Yesterday, the line looked infinitely better. There's room for improvement, but a week after a disastrous performance against the Saints, it was a good day on Saturday.
Head after the jump to check out some of Coach Harbaugh's comments following the game.
Head Coach Jim Harbugh
Press Conference - August 20, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
On whether he was pleased with tonight's game:
"I thought we had a really good week at practice and you always hope that that shows up in the game and results in a winning performance and this week I think it did."
On what the offense did to be so productive:
"Offensively, I think it started with our offensive line, which was reflected a lot by what the running backs did, with [RB] Frank Gore, [RB] Anthony Dixon, and [RB] Kendall Hunter who had a big day. [RB] Xavier Omon had as well. I think it's a reflection on our offensive line, the way they handled the blitz pick up I thought was a big improvement from last week. We saw some of the same blitzes. The extra pressure and the safety blitzes right from the beginning. Alex staying in there and those early key third downs and getting some completions and taking advantage of it because it is an opportunity to make a play."
On what he saw from the linebackers:
"I saw really great play from the two inside backers, [LB] Patrick Willis and [LB] NaVarro Bowman. Immense athleticism, really played strong and I am proud of the way they played inside the pocket, they can go from sideline to sideline to track down plays. They got to the quarterback out of the end zone early and that was big early in the game and that was an example of an inside backer getting all the way to the sideline to make a play. All the linebackers, I think [LB] Larry Grant had a nice game and so did [LB] Antwan Applewhite and [LB] Aldon Smith were really good. [LB] Parys Haralson got a sack, [LB] Justin Smith got a sack fumble. It was a very productive way our defensive played because it could have been big plays. Two interceptions and forcing calls and fumbles."
On whether he was disappointed that the offense could not get touchdowns in the red zone at times:
"I think a couple of our guys just didn't punch it in. We didn't punch it in. Another drive was hurt by a penalty, but I thought it was just crisp, crisp by both the first team offensively and defensively. We produced long drives which was good."
On Alex Smith's interception:
"We talked about it, we feel like it's a correctable thing. We know why it happened and we have to do a little better job with our eyes and we will get that corrected."
On whether Colin Kaepernick progressed from last week:
"I do. This swirly wind here in Candlestick is like every day for him, he is very used to that after playing in Reno. It was much windier than what we worked him out and he threw the ball very accurately which is very good. So we will just keep polishing and getting better, some small details but I was pleased with the way he played things."
On whether he feels he can take Frank Gore off the field with the depth he has at running back:
"That's a tough thing. He wants to be out there and he's good in all phases of playing running back. He runs the ball, he can block, he can catch, but that's definitely something we want to improve our football team and get to the point where Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter and Xavier Omon can step in and do a good job as well. Frank was over five yards a carry I believe and that's a real reflection of how the offensive line played up front."
On how concerned he is with Andy Lee's injury:
"We'll see where it is, but I don't think it's a serious thing."
On how Kendall Hunter has picked up pass blocking:
"He's done considerably well. [RBs coach] Tom [Rathman] has him working on that quite a bit, pass protection, in practice and he's really done a good job."
On what Kendall Hunter showed as a runner:
"He's had a career of going from a spread offense to running between the tackles, running power plays, running isolation plays, running toss sweeps that are really foreign to him, but he's picking it up really quickly and that's really encouraging for our ball club."
On what he wanted to see particular improvement in from last week's game:
"We really wanted to see improvements from last week to this week and I think that all happened because of the really good week of practice. There are definitely some big areas too that improved and that's really encouraging. We're going to try to keep that going at practice this week."
On whether he thought about going for it while punting fourth down rather than risking David Akers pulling something with unfamiliar movement:
"Yeah, we would have liked to have had 11 guys out there too, but that was all of our faults. We've all got fingerprints on that. We snapped that ball without a wing and it really exposed [K] David Akers and I'm really glad he wasn't hurt. We've all got fingerprints on that one."
On whether K Fabrizio Scaccia would be the backup punter:
"No, David is the better punter."
On how FB Bruce Miller has done in learning his new position:
"Yes. Very, very pleased with Bruce Miller. He's been like the ideal rookie. He's the kind of guy that comes in, got a good look in his eye every day when he gets on the practice field. He doesn't say a whole lot unless he is spoken to. Not that he is a quiet guy, but he's got a good look in his eye and he works really hard and he's doing very well. Bruce Miller is doing a nice job."
On what he saw from his cornerbacks Tramaine Brock and Tarrell Brown:
"With T-Brown getting us the ball, that was a big play to shut out a scoring opportunity at a critical time. Tight coverage, and again, they got their hands on the ball. It's something we did well last week and I think we were very good at that again this week."