This Week in Niners Nation, a weekly revisiting of Niners Nation content. Another quality victory, two season-ending injuries, a key player extended and a quarterback controversy. All in a week's work here at Niners Nation. (11/30)
Did anything happen this week? All jokes aside, this has probably been the most eventful week for the 49ers since I began working with the site in March of this year. The week started off with one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the year. 49ers at Saints has been at the top of nearly every casual and not-so-casual observer's must-watch football list since the two teams played an instant classic last January in the divisional round of the playoffs. Unfortunately for the viewing public, the Saints haven't lived up to their end of the bargain. They started the season 1-4 before clawing their way back to respectability with three straight wins to get to .500 for the first time all year.
Leading in to the game, the 49ers were mired in one of the most debated quarterback controversies in recent memory. QB debates are generally the fodder of the 4-7 crowd. The 49ers appear to be one of the few teams blessed with two capable signal-callers. Coach Harbaugh elected to go with Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith, despite Smith being medically cleared to play on the Saturday before the game.
Kaepernick, while he did not play at the same level as he did against the Bears in Week 11, did not disappoint. He looked dynamic, got the ball down the field quickly and frequently, and aside from one shockingly bad interception, he played well. The defense stole the show, however. Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner each returned a Drew Brees interception for a touchdown and the team sacked Brees five times. At the end of the day, the 49ers left New Orleans with a hard-fought, hard-hitting 31-21 victory and a 1980's bully full-nelson hold on the rest NFC West.
During the game Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter suffered season-ending injuries on the same play. Williams' knee injury looked bad from the onset, but Hunter's foot had most people thinking he'd be back in a month or less. Perhaps that was wishful thinking on our part. I wondered in an edition of the Nuggets how often that happens...two such injuries on the same play and got no answers. Anyone....anyone?
NaVorro Bowman was re-upped during the week. It was a move that few of us saw coming. There had been much debate about the fate of Bowman once his current contract would run out. Could the 49ers afford to pay the two best middle linebackers in the league at the wage they could command? The answer is yes, apparently. I was of the opinion that the cursed cap would make it an impossibility. But 'impossible is nothing' as the ads tell me, and in a nod to the DeBartolo-era, the 49ers have decided to rekindle their domination of the salary cap, and hopefully the world.
And, of course, what discussion of the 49ers would be complete without bringing up the Alex Smith / Colin Kaepernick situation. Coach Harbaugh did no one any favors by waiting until the last minute allowed by league law to announce the game's starter in each of the last two weeks. OK, maybe he did the sportswriters a favor, by giving them a ready-made, instant topic to discuss. Well, this week he sped the process up, naming Kaepernick the starter against the Rams this Sunday. He would not go so far as to name him THE starter. So we get to do this all over again next week. I wonder what it will take to resolve this on a semi-permanent basis?
Week 12: 49ers 31, Saints 21
Who better to start making sense of the mess that was this week than our 'Coach Harbaugh', Fooch. Here's the usual collection of numbers and interesting trivia he compiles following the games accompanied by a video. You all like videos, don't you? | 49ers vs Saints recap video: Colin Kaepernick, defense lead the way (Fooch)
Anthony Ly is at it again with his 'Booth Review'. There's plenty of fun to be found inside as it's a great read. The highlight of the week is a tweet from Mark Teixera of the New York Yankees. "My son asked me why I don't play football....Aldon Smith is why." | The booth review - 49ers vs Saints: "Big win, bigger controversy in the Big Easy" (Ly)
The play of the game was Ahmad Brooks' interception return for a score. Brooks was probably the player of the game and the touchdown the crown to be placed upon his head. Here are two pieces dedicated to his honor. He's not dead, nor is he a quarterback, which is usually what it takes to get two articles written on you. That's how good he was!
All-22: Ahmad Brooks' big day (liberty_JAC)
Here's the announcement we've all been waiting for. Colin Kaepernick was named the starter for this Sunday's rematch against the Rams. I'm still sore about the tie and would love to see Kaep destroy them. This is the lowest pressure start of the three that he will have made. Let's see what he can do as a big favorite against a team with nothing to play for. | Colin Kaepernick named 49ers starting quarterback against Rams (Fooch)
Who stands to benefit most by Coach Harbaugh's decision to start Kaep (aside from the obvious)? Any number of pass catchers comes to mind. I was thinking that the receivers would be able to push the defense deeper and that Vernon Davis would be running amok underneath. Then VD goes and catches zero balls against the Saints. Shows what I know. Let's let Dylan DeSimone have a crack at showing what he knows. If he's wrong....GET HIM!!!! | Michael Crabtree could flourish with Colin Kaepernick under center (DeSimone)
Who is hurt the most by Coach Harbaugh's decision? | Alex Smith discusses Jim Harbaugh's decision and we learn why life sometimes isn't fair (Fooch)
Well, normally, Hot Topics would be about the quarterback controversy, but we've got injuries and the ensuing fallout, as well as the Bowman contract to discuss here. And besides, I gave the QB situation it's own section today. At least Hot Topics is living up to it's pluralized name during this most topical of weeks. Here's a fun tip: Whenever you read the words "Hot Topics", sing it in your head like "Hot Pockets". Or watch this.
First up is Fooch, once again, with some thoughts on the QB situation. There's another one of those videos I've been making you watch, as well. One thing to take into consideration is that when Alex Smith started out, he was surrounded by one of the worst rosters and coaching staffs in the league. Colin Kaepernick is surrounded by the best. It makes his job a lot easier. | 49ers' QB controversy: Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, and 'the team, the team, the team' (Fooch)
Kyle Williams. Gone. Kendall Hunter. Gone. Who's going to step in and fill the void? Williams' receiver snaps can be filled by Randy Moss fairly easily as we rarely go to four receiver sets. Why take Vernon Davis off the field? I'm more worried about the return duties. Ted Ginn Jr. would have been the logical choice to fill in, but he's now injured and hasn't played well anyway. As for Hunter, he's not easily replaced. The two backs that have been directly behind him on the depth chart fit more into the mold of Frank Gore. LaMichael James is the back who most resembles Hunter in stature and style, though the comparison is far from perfect.
How good is the 49ers' defense? After the Rams' game there were some concerns voiced by many of us. I was one of the loudest. But the last two games have been great. Yes, Drew Brees got 21 points on the board, but he puts up Oregon Ducks-like numbers against good defenses. The point is...we are Super Bowl contenders, not because of Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick, but because of the defense. | 49ers can ride their defense to a title game (DeSimone)
How do people feel about the NaVorro Bowman contract extension? It's hard to argue with any team wanting to retain one of the best defenders in the league. I love the move, personally. Getting it done early eases the overall burden on the salary cap. Is there anyone out there who thinks this was a bad move? This basically means we don't resign Dashon Goldson who's been playing at an All-Pro level this year...or do we? | NaVorro Bowman was the right man to extend, having two premier ILBs is not a luxury (Brady)
Did I mention that Aldon Smith was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month? I didn't think so. I shouldn't start now. I'll leave that to Fooch. How good has he been this month. We're watching one of the best young players in the league mature right before our eyes at exactly the right time. | Aldon Smith named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November (Fooch)
Well the winner of the FanPost of the week is 16to80fan for his post on why Alex Smith will be named the starter. It's the most rec'd and we'll just have to wait and see if their prognostication comes to fruition...wait...what....who? I tease. It's a good read because it discusses all sides of the issue and will probably be recyclable next week unless Coach changes his modus operandi. | Why I think that Alex will be named the starter (16to80fan)
Next up is CK, who, while using faux naughty language in the title, provides a good case to why we've got the best team in the league. We're so effective right now it hurts. | Kicking a** and taking names (CK)
Wally Pipp version 2.1? What? Could Kendall Hunter's injury open the door for LaMichael James in the same way that Alex's concussion opened the door for Kaep? Did you watch James in college? Nah, me neither. But I heard he was pretty OK. | Gold mine in 49er rookie LaMichael James? (DeafWriterJC)
- This has had me laughing for a week now and I though I'd share it with anyone who likes hip-hop. Don't know where else to share it. TWiNN is as good a place as any. Maybe I heard the lyric wrong....but. Oh...and don't call it old school. I can't even call Rakim or BDP old school, let alone the 90's. See you next week.
Being a Sheep
If you're new here, you can register for a free account to participate in the discussion and create your own fanposts here at Niners Nation and across our entire network of 300+ sports blogs.