Our friendly folks at SB Nation Studios put together some previews this weekend, with the 49ers and Colts leading the way. Matt Ufford put together three reasons why this game will be worth watching.
The most obvious reason from a national perspective is the Andrew Luck-Jim Harbaugh storyline. However, as we know, this game also features a pair of ex-49ers coming back, and two brothers squaring off. Ricky Jean Francois and Cam Johnson are both returning. RJF left town because the 49ers were never going to give him the kind of contract he got from the Colts. I can't blame him for taking that kind of offer. Cam Johnson was traded to the Colts as the team looked to unload some of its outside linebacker talent.
The storyline that has not gotten more play (at least as far as I can tell) is the brotherly matchup between Vernon Davis and Vontae Davis. This week marks the second straight week of brother showdowns, following last week's Manning vs. Manning.
The 49ers faced the Dolphins in 2008 and again in 2012, coming one year before Vontae joined the Dolphins, and one year after he departed. But now, the brothers get to face off. I would be surprised if they faced off in a 1-on-1 matchup, but given the way Vernon moves around and cuts across the field on routes, there is a decent chance his brother could tackle him at some point.
Jim Harbaugh was asked if he had any advice for Vernon about facing his brother, but he kept it pretty simple:
"No, not really that I can think of right now. Everybody's got their role, their job and go out and fill that to the best of your God-given ability."
It's kind of crazy how many connections there are between these two teams. The Colts put together a rundown of connections between the teams and the regions. The most random connection has to be the fact that when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri was playing his college ball at South Dakota State from 1992-95, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke was the defensive line/strength and conditioning coach.
- 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is the brother-in-law of Tom Crean, the head basketball coach at Indiana University.
- Four Colts coaches are from the state of California: Clyde Christensen - Quarterbacks - Covina, Jeff FitzGerald - Linebackers - Burbank, Mike Gillhamer - Secondary - Fresno, Charlie Williams - Wide Receivers - Torrance.
- Four Colts players are also California natives: S-Delano Howell- Newhall, G-Khaled Holmes - Santa Ana, DE-Fili Moala - BuenaPark, LS-Matt Overton - Tracy
- San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh played four seasons at quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-97. In 53 games (46 starts), he completed 746-of-1,230 passes (60.7%) for 8,705 yards and 49 touchdowns. In 1995 he earned Pro Bowl, ComebackPlayer of the Year and AFC Player of the Year honors. He was inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor in 2005
- 49ers Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio served in the same role with the Colts from 1999-2001.
- 49ers Special Teams Coordinator/Assistant HeadCoach Brad Seely began his NFL career in 1989with the Indianapolis Colts, serving as their special teams/tight ends coach for five years (1989-1993).
- Colts DT Aubrayo Franklin(2007-2010), DT Ricky Jean Francois (2009-2012) and OLB Cam Johnson (2012) all played for the 49ers.
- Colts Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky held the same position for the 49ers from 2007-2010.
- Colts Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel coached the 49ers defensive line from 2005-06.
- Colts Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton was an offensive assistant and the quarterbacks coach for the 49ers during the 2006 season