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San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A Prospector's Guide

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The 49ers square off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday in yet another huge matchup. Matt Maiocco went so far as to say this might be another "GPS Game." The 49ers really could put together a better idea of where they are at this point in the season following the Bucs matchup. Of course the Bucs are a bit of an anomaly this season. They are 6-3 and tied for second in the NFC South all while sitting as one of four teams with a winning record but a negative point differential this season. They've scored 188 points while giving up 206 points and sit in a four-way tie for the two NFC wild card spots.

The 49ers actually sit with a better overall team efficiency at Football Outsiders than the Bucs (17th compared to 20th). In traditional defensive counting stats the Bucs are 22nd in total yards allowed per game, sitting 8th against the pass and 31st against the run. It comes across as a very random mix for a team that is in the thick of the playoff race. FO ranks them 19th against the pass and 32nd against the run. This would seem to line up perfectly for the 49ers offensive attack. As solid as Troy Smith has been at times during his first two starts, this is still an offense built on the legs of Frank Gore. Do the 49ers find themselves in a position for what might not be as big an upset as some folks might view it?

Once again I've attached a prediction poll. Head after the jump for random tidbits about this matchup.

The 49ers will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park in the 19th meeting between the two teams. San Francisco owns the overall series record of 15-3, including 11-1 at Candlestick Park. The last time the Buccaneers defeated the Niners at Candlestick Park was 10/26/1980, 24-23. San Francisco is only surrendering 12.9 points per game while facing the Bucs at home. The 49ers have posted a 62-28-2 record against the current NFC South Division when playing at Candlestick Park.

The Niners knocked off St. Louis last week in a come-from-behind 23-20 overtime victory. QB Troy Smith improved to 2-0 in red and gold as he threw for 356 yards and 1 TD, averaging 20.9 yards per completion, as the offense racked up 454 yards from scrimmage. Smith's 20.9 yards per completion is the third highest single-game average in 49ers history since 1990 (minimum of 5 completions). With 154 yards from scrimmage vs. St. Louis, RB Frank Gore is on pace to record 2,121 yards from scrimmage on the year. Gore holds the franchise's single-season record with 2,180 yards from scrimmage, in 2006.

49ers-Rams Connections
- 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson and Buccaneers offensive line coach Pete Mangurian coached together while the two were with the Atlanta Falcons from 2002-03.

- Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was a volunteer linebackers coach and special teams coach with Tampa Bay in 2000.

- 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman coached with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson while the two were with the Detroit Lions from 2004-05.

- 49ers special assistant to the head coach and secondary coach Johnnie Lynn was the secondary coach for Tampa Bay from 1994-95.

- 49ers assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown coached with Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt while the two were with the Buffalo Bills from 2008-09.

- Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson was the 49ers quarterbacks coach during the 2001 season.

- Buccaneers wide receivers coach Eric Yarber held the same position with the 49ers from 2003-04.

BUCCANEERS-NOR CAL CONNECTIONS: Buccaneers WR Sammie Stroughter is a native of Vallejo, CA ... Buccaneers QB Josh Johnson is a native of Oakland, CA ... Buccaneers FB/TE Erik Lorig played at Stanford University ... Buccaneers offensive line coach Pete Mangurian coached the offensive line at Stanford University from 1982-83 ... Buccaneers assistant special teams coach Byron Storer played at Cal from 2002-06.

49ERS TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS: 49ers G David Baas is a native of Sarasota, FL ... 49ers Public Relations Manager Mike Chasanoff held the same position with the Buccaneers in 2008.

FORMER 49ERS: Buccaneers WR Micheal Spurlock played 4 games for the 49ers during the 2009 season.

EYE OF THE TIGER - 49ers DT Ricky Jean Francois and Buccaneers DT Al Woods both lined up along side each other while the two were teammates at LSU from 2006-08.

"U" KNOW ME- 49ers RB Frank Gore and Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow were teammates at the University of Miami from 2001-02.

"SOONER" THAN LATER - 49ers S Reggie Smith and Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy were teammates at the University of Oklahoma during the 2007 season.

BEAVER BOYS - 49ers LB Keaton Kristick and Buccaneers WR Sammie Stroughter were teammates at Oregon State University from 2006-08.

HOOK ‘EM HORNS - 49ers CB Tarell Brown, Buccaneers DE Tim Crowder and DT Roy Miller were all teammates at the University of Texas during the 2005 season.

TROJAN TIES - 49ers S Taylor Mays, G Chilo Rachal and Buccaneers DE/DT Kyle Moore were all teammates at the USC from 2006-07.

HELLO HOKIES - 49ers WR Josh Morgan and Buccaneers S Cody Grimm were teammates at Virginia Tech from 2003-05.

Series Highlights
Matchups: 19
Series Record: 49ers Lead Series 15-4
49ers Home Record vs. Buccaneers: 49ers lead series 11-1
First Meeting: 10/30/77, 49ers win, 20-10
Last Meeting: 12/23/07, 49ers win, 21-19
Current Streak: Won 2
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 9 (12/4/83-10/23/94)
Longest Buccaneers Win Streak: 2 (8/31/97-1/12/03)
Most 49ers Points: 45 (11/14/93), 45-21, at Tampa Bay
Most Buccaneers Points: 35 (11/21/04), 35-3, at Tampa Bay
49ers Shutouts: None
Buccaneers Shutouts
: None

At San Francisco, CA, December 23, 2007

QB Shaun Hill completed 3 TD passes to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 21-19 victory over the NFC South Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers fell to a 1-11 record all-time against the 49ers in San Francisco. After taking a 21-13 lead in the 4th quarter, Tampa Bay backup QB Luke McCown engineered an 8-play, 61-yard drive that culminated with a 24-yard TD pass to TE Jerramy Stevens to get within a two-point conversion of tying the game with 1:31 left to play. McCown attempted a pass in the back of the end zone on the two-point play, but WR Michael Clayton could not get two feet in bounds. The 49ers ran out the final 1:20 to seal their 2nd consecutive win.

Rookie LB Patrick Willis helped the defense hold the Buccaneers 10th ranked rushing attack to just a 2.8-yard average with 20 total tackles, 2 sacks and a FF. After falling behind 6-0 in the 1st quarter, a 20-yard run by RB Frank Gore helped the 49ers get into Tampa Bay territory. Hill finished the 72-yard drive with a 21-yard TD pass to WR Darrell Jackson on the first play of the 2nd quarter to give the 49ers a 7-6 lead.

Tampa Bay capitalized on a fumble that was recovered at the San Francisco 36-yard line later in the 2nd quarter, setting up a 24-yd. TD pass from QB Jeff Garcia to Stevens for a 13-7 halftime lead. Both of the 49ers 2nd half TDs were set up by turnovers. Willis forced McCown to fumble on a 1-yard sack in the 3rd quarter, allowing S Mark Roman to recover for the 49ers at the Tampa Bay 14-yard line. On the second play of that series, Hill took a shot to the ribs and was forced to leave for a play. On his first play back, he fired a 5-yard TD pass to TE Vernon Davis to give San Francisco a 14-13 advantage.

CB Nate Clements intercepted a McCown pass early in the 4th quarter and had a career-long return of 62 yards to the Tampa Bay 18-yard line. On the 49ers first play from scrimmage, Hill completed a short pass in the right flat to Gore, who raced into the end zone for a 23-yard TD and a 21-13 lead. Gore finished the game with 89 yards on 21 carries to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season. Gore became just the 5th 49ers running back to ever have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

2010 Statistics

49ERS (rank) BUCS (rank)
3-6 (t-3rd NFCW) Record 6-3 (t-2nd NFCS)
17.8 (t-30th) Points per game 20.9 (20th)
327.6 (23rd) Total Offense 327.9 (22nd)
98.6 (21st) Rushing Offense 112.9 (14th)
229.0 (16th) Passing Offense 215.0 (19th)
29:24 (20th) Possession Avg 30:28 (t-15th)
22.0 (18th) Points allowed/gm 22.9 (21st)
331.4 (16th) Total Defense 353.8 (22nd)
100.7 (10th) Rushing Defense 143.8 (31st)
230.8 (20th) Passing Defense 210.0 (8th)
20 (t-17th) Sacks 8 (32nd)
46.5 (5th) Punting Avg (Gross) 37.4 (32nd)
-4 (t-22nd) Turnover Differential +5 (t-8th)