I just got back from vacation, so this is more like a delayed hand-off than a quick slant, but...better late than never, I suppose! Here are my brief notes and observations from the San Francisco 49ers' Week 2 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Of course, the story heading into the game was new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hosting his former team. For all of the pregame hype and buildup, the opening drive was...pretty uneventful. Completion to Anthony Fasano for 9 yards, throwaway, handoff, handoff, handoff, dropped pass by Travis Kelce, dropped pass by Cyrus Gray, punt.
A 52-yard gain for Frank Gore on his first run. That might be it for No. 21 tonight.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 17, 2013
- Frank Gore cracked off a beautiful 52-yard run on the offense's first play of the game. The play was designed to go right, but Gore saw nothing, cut completely back to the other side of the field, and back to the right side of the field all the way down to the 23-yard line. Many critics expect Gore, who turned 30 this past May, to hit the proverbial wall in terms of production. But it's hard to argue the case when he's making plays like this one.
- Special teams was one of the highlights from last week - good news considering the team made some significant moves in the draft and free agency to improve the unit. However, Quinton Demps blew right through the middle of the Niners' kickoff coverage team for a 104-yard return touchdown. Let's hope it was just a hiccup.
- None of the backups looked particularly good except for B.J. Daniels on the final offensive drive by the Niners. And I can't help but feel that it, at least partly, had to due with the coaches' curious decision to have a constant rotation of quarterbacks throughout the game (once Kap made his exit).
Mike Iupati let up an wide open lane for Akeem Jordan on that sack. #49ers— Christian Gin (@Christian_Gin) August 17, 2013
- There has been plenty of talk lately about a possible contract extension for Niners All-Pro guard Mike Iupati. There's no question that he deserves one, but unfortunately, Iupati missed a delayed blitz by linebacker Akeem Jordan who came through untouched to bring down Colt McCoy.
- Inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite, who was the subject of a wonderful profile piece earlier this week, did a phenomenal job of avoiding a block by center Rodney Hudson to zero in on running back Knile Davis and throwing him down for the stop. Wilhoite also made a fantastic tackle on the speedy Dexter McCluster on a punt return late in the first quarter. And towards the end of the second quarter, he was responsible for a diving pass breakup covering Dwayne Bowe. I have complete faith that Wilhoite will win the third ILB job backing up Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
- Running back LaMichael James can be incredibly dangerous in space, but I've always had concerns about his effectiveness running in between the tackles due to his size. At least one particular run did nothing to alleviate my fears. Towards the end of the first quarter, James ran behind the right guard and upon making contact, he almost flew backwards a la the Mark Sanchez butt fumble.
Harbaugh on Eric Reid: "With everything he's shown, there will be looks for him with the first team."— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 18, 2013
- First-round draft pick Eric Reid slipped by an offensive guard virtually untouched to disrupt an Alex Smith screen pass. Reid will start this Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings and appears to be finally transitioning into the starting free safety position we all expected him to fill.
- The struggles for undrafted rookie offensive lineman Patrick Omameh continue. After missing a blocking assignment last week that led to a disastrous fumble by running back D.J. Harper, Omameh once again appeared to be overwhelmed at times. On one play, Omameh was absolutely manhandled - to be fair, it was against All-Pro linebacker Tamba Hali - and thrown backwards into quarterback Scott Tolzien.
- The second-string offensive linemen, in general, look pretty mediocre. Ask Colt McCoy, who was doing his very best Colin Kaepernick impression. Both McCoy and Tolzien spent plenty of time running for their lives on Friday.
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