Fooch's Note: After Dylan's recap of the 49ers Week 11 win over Arizona, it seemed a good time to move Youve been Gored's latest predictive recap to the front page. Earlier this week he did one for 49ers-Packers. He won't be doing all the games, but he will pick up some of the interesting ones.
October 7, 2012
San Francisco, California
After consecutive road games, the 49ers head home for a game against a much improved Buffalo Bills squad. The Bills come to the Bay Area with an impressive 3-1 record this early season, matching the 49er's record. This includes a dominate performance last week against the Patriots (in which Tom Brady was injured after a huge hit from Mario Williams.) They also have wins against the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns and a last second loss to Kansas City. SF also comes in hot after consecutive road wins against Minnesota and the NY Jets. The only flaw on SF's record is a heart-breaking loss to the Lions in The Handshake 2. Detroit won that game 16-14, after an amazing catch and run by Calvin Johnson with :04 seconds left in the contest.
After the jump, the full recap of Buff at SF.
Buffalo won the toss and elected to receive. David Aker's kick was returned to the Buffalo 24 yd line.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bill's offense came out in a 3 WR, one TE set with Fred Jackson in the backfield. Their first drive was uneventful as Patrick Willis made two great plays to back them up. On first down he correctly read a draw, stuffing Jackson for a two yard loss. On second down he blew up a screen that Jackson caught behind the line for another loss of two.
Kyle Williams returned the punt to the SF 40 yd line. (Parrish Cox pulled a hamstring two weeks prior) SF came out with two WR, one TE and the tandem of Gore and Miller in the backfield.
After two runs by Gore totaling 7 yds, Alex Smith hit Michael Crabtree across the middle for a gain of 7. On first down from the Buff 46 yd line, Smith scrambled up the middle for 6 yds after Mario Williams got instant pressure. A 5 yd run is called back as Anthony Davis was caught holding Williams. Smith hit Vernon Davis in stride down the right sideline for a nice gain down to the Buff 21 yd line. Kendall Hunter gained 11 yards on a counter, following Mike Iupati around the left side. With the ball just inside the 10, SF had it first and goal.
On first down, Smith dropped back and tried to hit his second read, Vernon Davis running along the back of the end zone. The ball was too high for Davis to bring in. A second down 5 yd run by Gore up the middle set up a perfect play fake on third down where Smith was able to hit a wide open Delanie Walker for the easy score.
On Buffalo's next possession, they were able to sustain a nice drive down to SF's 40 yd line with a clean mixture of short runs and intermediate passes .
After initial success, the SF defense stiffened and held Buff to a long FG try. Rian Lindell was able to connect from 48 yds despite the swirling Candlestick winds.
Kendall Hunter continued his early season success returning kicks. After a 38 yd return, SF started on their 43 yd line. Gore gained 7 yds following some nice blocks by Anthony Davis and V. Davis. On second down Alex Smith dropped back and heaved a long pass down the left sideline. (Randy Moss and Mario Manningham were both running long routes down the left side.) As Manningham broke to the middle, the safety took just enough of a step to give Moss the time he needed to run under the toss. With two full steps on Leodis McKelvin, Moss easily made it to the end zone for the long score.
(Of note: this was the first time Moss and Smith were able to connect on this type of play after 4-5 early season attempts)
The teams traded punts for the most of the quarter. (despite a very successful running attack by SF which gained 80 yds through one and a half quarters) Alex Smith was being pressured heavily by M. Williams and Mark Anderson. Smith had been sacked twice and hurried many times.
Starting from their own 14 after an Andy Lee punt, Buff receiver Stevie Johnson out jumped Tarell Brown for a nice 26 yd completion. Two nice runs from Fred Jackson put Buff at the SF 46 yd line. Fitzpatrick is forced out of the pocket by Ahmad Brooks and gained one yd along the right sideline. On second down, David Nelson grabbed a nicely thrown ball from Fitzpatrick and fell forward to the SF 30 yd line. On first down Buff came out with 4 WR's. Fred Jackson motioned out of the backfield to the right and was covered by a LB. At the snap, Nelson broke cleanly from Chris Culliver and streaked across the middle of the field. He was hit in stride and outran everyone for the score.
With 2:17 left in the half, SF started from the 33 yd line. The offense starts in a 4 WR set with Frank Gore in the backfield. AJ Jenkins was in the slot to the right. He motioned to the left and ran a nice route finding an open hole in the coverage. A. Smith slightly under threw the pass but Jenkins made an outstanding play grabbing the ball around his knees and got the nice 20 yd gain. A run by Frank Gore took the clock to two minutes. On first down, Smith was pressured by Williams and sacked for a loss of 9. On second and 19 Smith hit Moss on a slant for 10. Third down and 9 at the Buff 35. At the snap, Smith is once again forced out of the pocket by the left DE. This time however he made a beautiful running pass to a wide open Manningham who broke free from his coverage. Manningham ran all the down to the 9 yd line. On first down, Frank Gore ran up the middle for 3. Second down saw another run of 4 yds behind Iupati. Brandon Jacobs made it 5 scores on the early year with a 2 yd plunge over the left side.
The teams exchanged punts for the next six possessions as both defenses played well.
(Of note: Carlos Rogers was able to return with a heavily taped ankle)
Frank Gore easily surpassed 100 yds for the 3rd time this season on a 43 yard run on third and 3 from the 18 yd line. On first down, Mario Williams and Jairus Byrd got pressure from the right and Byrd came untouched and crushed A. Smith as he tried to wait for Crabtree to clear on his pattern. The ball was popped up and intercepted by Nick Barnett. After the play, Smith was down for 5 minutes as trainers checked on him. He left the field with help and was visibly shaken.
(Of note: Smith never returned with a reported head injury. Colin Kaepernick replaced him.)
Both defenses held for the remainder of the quarter.
Colin Kaepernick was intercepted by McKelvin as he tried to fire one between two defenders.
Kendall Hunter gained 35 yds on a screen pass, though the drive stalled.
With 10:45 left, Buffalo started a drive on the 28 yd line after a nice punt return. On first down Fitzpatrick threw a perfect pass to a streaking Derek Hagan as he got behind Culliver. Donte Whitner was late coming over and the resulting gain was 44 yds.(Culliver got an ankle on a diving attempt) Buffalo tried a screen again that was sniffed out by Navarro Bowman. A sweep to the right was stopped for no gain by a strong tackle by Rogers. On third down Buffalo tried a pass to Johnson that was knocked down by Brown. Another FG by Lindell gave him two for the day as he remained perfect for the season.
SF started the next drive with a nice return from Kendall Hunter. ( Rock Cartwright sealed the left side as Tavares Gooden and Colin Jones led Hunter up the sideline.) Replays showed Hunter stepped out at the 44 yd line of Buffalo. On first down Kaepernick takes off up the vacated center of the field and gains 15. A pass to Walker in the flat yields 7. A counter to the left by LaMichael James went for 10. Kaepernick had his first NFL td pass as he hit a wide open M. Crabtree at the goal line. (Moss drew double coverage and Crabtree easily got his man turned around on the play)
2:19 left in the quarter. Buffalo started a drive on the 22 yd line. After a nice run by Jackson, Fitzpatrick hits his big TE for a gain of 18 over a leaping Willis. On first down, Jackson is held to no gain by Ray McDonald and Brooks. A second down pass is incomplete. Under heavy pressure from a Justin Smith up the middle, the QB slid over the right and is sacked by Aldon Smith from behind. On the play, the ball is knocked loose and is fell on by Willis. (This is the 5th sack by Smith this season)
Behind the running of Jacobs and James, SF is able to run out the clock on it's final possession and push their season record to 4-1. Buffalo falls to 3-2.