Hello. This is the second week of our new weekly feature This Week in Niners Nation. I hear some sort of baritone voice booming that out with trumpets blaring. You probably just read it and hear your neighbor mowing his lawn.
In case you missed it, this is a weekly recap of the week that was for Niners Nation and the 49ers in general. I'm going to link to posts from the site that explain the big news stories of the last seven days, as well as the posts that generated the most comments and feedback, with a few fanposts thrown in as well. I also get to put my two cents in. It will highlight some of the work that gets done around here that gets buried by the avalanche of stories going up. For those of you thinking, 'Crap, you said all of this last week', this is the last time I'll explain. Now you can answer the 'What the hell is TWiNN?' questions that will be flying around.
The big news from last week was, obviously, our beloved 49ers handing the Green Bay Packers their first regular season home loss in their last 13 games. We hadn't won there since 1990. It's hard to imagine all the things that have happened since then. We've had 4 presidents, two of whom lasted two terms, one of whom is an Iraqi Communist. We've had 13 different Super Bowl winners in that stretch. My Giants won a World Series (I had actually resigned myself to the fact that I would never witness a World Series victory in my life after 2002). Dr Dre dropped The Chronic. What a wild and crazy 22 years it's been, folks.
WEEK 1: 49ERS 30, PACKERS 22
In the intro I used a bit of poetic license to illustrate the vast stretch of time that passed between 49er victories at Lambeau Field. What I failed to mention, or rather, cleverly omitted, was how impressive the game was. We dominated the Packers, in their home, after they've had a full offseason to prepare for us (did they?). We beat them in all facets of the game, although the official record will show that we gave up a 75-yard punt return for a TD, implying we lost the special teams battle. All other aspects of the game were thoroughly dominated by our boys in red and gold.
That brings me to my next point. The refereeing was atrocious. There's a lot of writers who've taken to the internet defending the refs, claiming that some are overreacting, and it wasn't that bad league-wide. That's a very shortsighted analysis. They didn't change the outcome of our game. What they did do was gift a punt return for a touchdown to the Packers giving them a very good chance to change the outcome of the game. We held on to win, by a single touchdown. The best team triumphed. But it could easily have gone the other way with a field goal bouncing one way or the other. Oh, and David Akers kicked a record-tying 63-yard field goal.
As for the links below, the first one is a new feature by new front page writer Anthony Ly. It's called the Booth Review and it analyzes the game and goes over some of the highs and lows. The second link, the Randy Moss one, is actually a collection of interesting stats and milestones that came out of the game. The third is a post covering Akers' kick with some great GIFs, including one that displays the absolute astonishment on his face upon making the kick. Classic. The final link is of the game highlights. Enjoy.
Game Highlights: 49ers 30, Packers 22. (49ers.com)
WEEK 2: LIONS at 49ERS
Our strength on offense is the run. Detroit's strength on defense is the defensive line. One or the other is going to have to give...unless we pass on them. Hmmm. I wonder if Harbaugh is gameplanning for this? The Lions' secondary is in all sorts of trouble right now with one starting CB suffering a concussion in week 1 and the other one listed as questionable, along with their free safety. If all of them play, they would still appear to form part of an achilles heal that should be struck with precision passing. If we can establish any kind of run game then Alex Smith should be able to exploit the play action and the Lions could be in for a long Sunday night.
Dylan DeSimone breaks down the advantage that our receivers have against the Lions secondary in great depth. It's not that our receivers are the best in the league, it's that the Lions DBs are among the worst. While our run game did most of the damage in our meeting last season, he expects our passing attack to lead the way.
The hot topic of the week was quarterbacks. Why? Aside from the well-known fact that this is a quarterback driven league, some of the marquee QBs put up some vintage performances and one rookie, Robert Griffin III, shined while the rest flopped (most of them miserably). Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan gave us as much of a sign as week 1 can provide that they've taken steps to becoming elite and Tony Romo and the Cowboys looked like threats after knocking off the defending champion Giants in New Jersey. So what does it all mean? My head spins 'round.
Tre9er has a piece discussing just this topic. He gives recent examples to how losing a starting QB can cripple a team and their playoff aspirations, while noting that the 2008 Patriots went 11-5 after losing Tom Brady in week 1. The key for that teams success was that they were well coached and well rounded and that's exactly our blueprint for success. The second article here is Kurt Warner's top 5 QB rankings. To the surprise of many, Alex Smith showed up at No. 4 on the list. Before last season I would have never imagined the day that Smith would show up on anything but a bottom five list, but here we are, one game away from last year's Super Bowl and ranked #1 in NFL.com's current power rankings.
James Brady has done us all a service by breaking down each of the five sacks that the 49ers gave up against the Packers. I'm including this in the Hot Topics section because it's more than standard recapping and it brings up some points to discuss. One of our big concerns coming into the season was the offensive line's ability to protect Alex Smith. There was a hole at RG being filled by a backup tackle. How would they hold up? The Packers' five sacks against us doesn't seem so bad in light of their Thursday night performance against the Bears. And if you believe what Dylan said above, that our passing attack will decide this Sunday's game, then it'll be a big test for our line to fend off the Lions tough front four.
Ah...once again, the topic of Power Rankings rears it's ugly head. Where should the 49ers reside in the 32 team hierarchy? A cursory glance at some rankings around the web indicates that we belong in second place. I can't argue with that. It's still early and there's a lot to sort out. We played well and probably had the hardest matchup. The Patriots and Ravens also looked great in blowing out lesser opponents. All three teams showed improvement on what was perceived as their weak point from last season. We went 2/2 in the red zone and Alex Smith looked great, even showing up on some MVP watch lists. Joe Flacco looked impressive in the new no-huddle offense and the Patriots first round draft picks sparked some life into a listless defense. Who's #1? What do you think? If you take the Niners out of the equation, how do you rate the rest?
Up first is Wes Hanson, who has us at No. 1 in his rankings. The second post is a collection of info gleaned from various power rankings around the web. It gives rankings up to the 49ers, so you know who's above us but not the order below us. The lowest we sit is 4th on one poll. NFL.com has us at No. 1, though, and they're the official site. That makes it official.
And the winner is....liberty_JAC. They've gone and outdone their self here. The time and effort that was put into demonstrating that the 2010 season (a horrible one) was the anomaly in our progression from bad to good as opposed to the 2011 season (a great one) being the exception to our previously poor play has earned them the award for this week's top fanpost. It's also the most rec'd. Lot's of work in this, and not a lot of comments. What are you guys reading?
A couple of other fanposts for you to take in...dso, a self-described 'noobie' asks wether or not turnovers are a matter of luck. Obviously some teams do more to improve their chances at winning the turnover margin battle, but does luck have anything to do with it?
And Chumley223, who has hating Randy Moss running through the family, asks...
That's a wrap. Again, any feedback is welcome. We're still ironing out the details as to what this weekly feature will include so speak up now before things are set in stone.