It might have been a little ugly. No, check that. It was a LOT ugly. The 49ers were 3-27 in their last 30 in 10am starts and West Coast teams had not won on the East Coast all season. Well, that has all changed in what has to be the biggest win of the season for the 49ers. The 49ers 3 wins prior came against the Lions, Rams and the Seahawks...not exactly titans of terror. A win against a team desperate for a playoff spot is always a good win, especially when it comes on the road.
As many pointed out in the thread, there was a lot of bad in this game. Shaun Hill and Eric Heitmann continue to have trouble on that Center-QB exchange. Vernon Davis continues to make stupid plays. Mike Martz continues to make some rather stupid play calls late in the game with the lead. And of course, the defense continues its bending style, although there was no breakage today.
However, I think that one paragraph is enough coverage of the negatives for today. When you get something so rare as an East Coast win, you have to be pleased, no matter how it happened. Each unit made mistakes, but they also found ways to win this game and that should be accounted for.
Shaun Hill was not wildly impressive, but this might qualify as a Hill special: no killer turnovers and doing just enough to win the game. Frank Gore really struggled getting anything going, but he kept on grinding it out. He had a couple of solid runs in that first scoring drive and for the most part they did what they could to have him dictate the tempo of the game. What's really impressive is that the 49ers were outgained by 145 yards and ran quite few less plays, but were only out-possessed by 1 minute.
The highlight of the game though had to be Isaac Bruce absolutely schooling Leodis McKelvin on the first drive, including a touchdown reception that left McKelvin holding Bruce's jockstrap.
As ugly as the defense was at times, they did enough to prevent the Bills from getting into the end zone, whether it be Balmer's pass deflection or some really key sacks of J.P. Losman. Marshawn Lynch had a field day, but never got into the end zone. Fred Jackson is considered one of the under-the-radar impressive guys but he really did nothing and was stood up behind the line of scrimmage on several plays.
As has been stated, if the team is going to stick with the 3-4, a monstrous nose tackle like Terrence Cody is a must in this upcoming draft. A big guy taking up two offensive linemen would be the ticket for opening up more of a pass rush. Thankfully J.P. Losman did that for us today.
Joe Nedney had a big 51-yard field goal late in the first half, but more importantly was the play of Andy Lee. He continues to be just an absolute stud on punts. He didn't have any particularly stand out punts (like the 80+ yarder) but I think his play deserves extra recognition.
As Grumpy Guy mentioned late in the game thread, Mike Singletary moved a step closer to dropping that interim title. And as everybody pointed out, and I agree, Mike Nolan's 49ers would have lost this game. Even when things started going a bit haywire, the team maintained its composure and I attribute that in part to the veterans and in larger part to Coach Singletary.
We'd probably all prefer to see the 49ers win blowouts and take care of business early. At the same time, there's something satisfying about your team gutting out a tough win on the road. As much as I'd like to see the 49ers shock the world and storm back to take the NFC West, I'm not holding my breath. The team just needs to show me continued improvements. Even with all the mistakes, going on the road and beating a .500+ team is an improvement no matter how you look at it.
I'd like to close though by presenting game balls to Rian Lindell and J.P. Losman. Lindell shanked a pair of field goals off the uprights and the first miss may have led in part to Dick Jauron's decision to go for it on 4th down later. Maybe that had nothing to do with it, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if it did. Leaving six points on the board was huge. As for Losman, he single handedly created a pass rush for the 49ers. When Edwards was in, even though he was throwing ugly incompletions, he seemed to have time in the pocket. Losman, on the other hand, seemed to get impatient and get happy-feet. A few moves and he was running into his own linemen and 49ers defensive linemen much of the second half. Whatever though, I'll take it any way I can get it.
Thanks to everybody who took part in the game thread. It was a stomach-churner of a game, but we certainly do enjoy a win and it's always fun shanking somebody else's playoff chances. Participants are listed after the jump and as always, check out the SB Nation NFL Hub at the link in the graphic for your up to date league info.
|Name||# of Posts|
|Call It The Throw||26|
|Bob On The Coast||23|
|Josh from Hollywood||9|