Ninjames' Note From The Future: Hello, Niners Nation of the past! I wrote this article a few months from now after a dominating performance by the 49ers over the Seahawks, but due to not sleeping for six days straight after SB Nation reverted to an actual slave-labor driven blog, I accidentally scheduled this post to go up a couple months in the past. What follows is a 100% accurate account of what actually has (will?) happened (-ed?) when the 49ers opened the season at Qwest Field against the division rival Seattle Seahawks. Also, just another little snippet from the future, user ItBurnzWhenIP... you will find your name becoming all-too real in the coming months. Stock up on cream.
Today is Monday, September 13th, and man does it feel good to be a 49ers fan right now, doesn't it? All that build-up in training camp, all those doubters and haters, and Fearless Frog losing his account in that bet with LondonNiner.. man I have never seen something so intense! How about that Taylor Mays, eh? For those of you who missed the game, I'll touch up a little bit...
The Seahawks came out trying to pass, and on the very first play, Hasselbeck found himself on the ground from a brutal sack off a safety blitz from Dashon Goldson. From then on it was just a matter of the 49ers defense being a little bit faster, anticipating a little bit better. It was clear off the bat (snap?) that the hype following Seattle's draft was a little bit overblown. For more on what went (will go) down, make the jump.
The 49ers starting defense was just as you'd expect it, Justin Smith, Aubrayo Franklin and Isaac Sopoaga composed the starting defensive line, but we saw more of Kentwan Balmer from the very first series which has to be encouraging for Niners fans. Parys Haralson, Takeo Spikes, Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson made the linebacking starts, with Clements, Spencer, Goldson and Lewis rounding out the starting secondary.
From the first snap the 49ers defense did their best to urge Matt Hasselbeck into retirement. Leon Washington got the hint as well, the second play of the game was even more jarring than the first, a brutal hit on the aging running back in the backfield for a fumble, courtesy of Patrick Willis. It was a big play, regardless of that fact that Russell Okung happened to be in the right place at the right time to recover the ball.
While it's true that each drive wasn't as dominant as that first for the 49ers defense, they set the tone early and it was clear they were the faster, more inspired and better prepared team out there. The Seattle offense just had nothing for them. Their lone touchdown came when their sole bright spot, Golden Tate split cornerback Nate Clements and safety Michael Lewis on a beautifully sold play action. This came late in the third quarter.
The 49ers offense though, it was a thing of beauty. Smith commanded the huddle well, and the 49ers sent out a trio of running backs that had an eye for the end zone. The punts were fielded by Kyle Williams, who did well, but shone on offense, catching a sixteen yard touchdown pass over the middle between Lofa Tatupu and Earl Thomas on the 49ers first possession. The rest of the first half was dominated by Frank Gore and the offensive line.
Holes were not only made, but they were forced open and held ajar by Mike Iupati and the boys up front. Gore slammed through them and then punished the second line of the defense. Five yards, seven yards, eleven yards, he was unrelenting. Glen Coffee looked the smoothest between him and Anthony Dixon, getting 34 yards on four carries. The running game was unstoppable, and Seattle was tired.
Of course, this led the passing game to take advantage. At the half, the 'Hawks kicked off to the return tandem of Ted Ginn and Dominique Zeigler. Ziggy fielded the kickoff and took it into the Seahawks zone, to their 35-yard line. Crabtree powered into the endzone on the next play, beating Marcus Trufant for another touchdown.
To recap the recap, the 49ers scored on passes to Kyle Williams, Michael Crabtree, and punctuated it with a score in the fourth to Zeigler in the back of the endzone. Smith was whirling the ball around with confidence and went 27-35, Frank Gore added a score of his own on his way to 127 yards. A couple of Joe Nedney field goals and we've got ourselves quite a thrashing.
The Seahawks offense wasn't completely inept, in fact, they put up 16 points which is remarkable considering the statline of the 49ers defense. A pair of sacks for Haralson and Brooks each, 9 tackles from Patrick Willis and even a pass defensed by Taylor Mays. It was a thorough routing of the Seahawks which showcased a brutally fast and efficient bend-but-don't-break defense and an offense playing to what is likely above their own level after buying into their own hype. The 49ers dominated on offense (Alex Smith), on defense (Patrick Willis) and even on special teams coverage, Taylor Mays making every special teams tackle for the game. The Seahawks left game one in a lot of pain from the 49ers defense, feeling like their week one loss was a punishing playoff defeat. If you couldn't gather, the final score was 37-16.
Seven days from now the Saints will come to Candlestick Park and I'll see about accidentally scheduling another post in the past, you know, just because. It's not like Fooch can stop me... oh you don't know what I mean by that? Well I guess that makes sense, the mutiny doesn't take place until mid-July.. prepare for that, by the way. Fooch supporters will be first against the wall when the rebellion occurs.