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49ers 17 - Raiders 3: Just Waiting For The Red Zone Implementation

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I had a chance to take in my first 49ers game at Candlestick Park this afternoon and there was plenty to like about the game. The 49ers offense showed impressive efficiency a week after a decidedly inefficient performance against the New Orleans Saints. While the Raiders are not in the class of the Saints, a strong performance is a strong performance. The key will be carrying this over to next week against the Texans, but for now they at least have some nice positive momentum.

One area where the team did struggle was in the red zone. They punched in a red zone touchdown late in the game, but otherwise the offense could not get much going down inside the 20, ending drives with a field goal and a botched field goal, and of course the Alex Smith interception from inside the 40.

As many of you correctly pointed out in the comments, Jim Harbaugh is likely holding a little something back when it comes to the offensive red zone package. On the two field goal attempts, we saw a lot of running down close to the end zone and in some of those situations, I've got to think the team will mix in some more bootlegs for Alex Smith. While Smith is not a runner in the mold of Michael Vick, he is athletic enough to do good things with his legs. If the team can establish the run like they did today, play action bootlegs could be absolutely deadly this season.

What kind of red zone play-calling do you expect during the regular season that we didn't see tonight?

Head after the jump to check out some in-game quotes the 49ers passed along...

TE Vernon Davis - In-Game Quotes
San Francisco 49ers vs. Oakland Raiders
August 20, 2011 

On his evaluation of the offense in the first half:

"I think the offense came out here and did a great job. Despite not getting in the end zone, I think we still did a tremendous job with learning a new offense and putting everything together within three weeks. I think we have a promising future ahead of us. Once it's the opening of the season, I think we'll be where we need to be." 

On the difference between last week's game and today's game:

"We really paid attention to details and everybody took it upon themselves to handle their responsibilities. That's what happened." 

On how the offensive line played:

"I think they did a great job. They came off the rock moving their opponent and taking care of business." 

On how it felt for him to get his hands on the ball:

"It felt good to get my first catch of the year, in preseason. Now I look forward to more."


WR Joshua Morgan - In-Game Quotes
San Francisco 49ers vs. Oakland Raiders
August 20, 2011 

On the difference between last week and this week:

"[QB] Alex Smith is making a lot of good decisions out there and we're picking up. We're good as an offense, we're real good. We just need to get six instead of three." 

On whether the passing game gets the run game going:

"It all depends on how the game works, sometimes the running game gets the passing game going and you have to bring the safeties down close. It's always on how the defense plays, but pretty much the running game did their thing tonight and the line did a great job while we were in there. We've seen some big runs by [RB] Frank Gore, [RB] Anthony Dixon and our rookie [RB] Kendall Hunter, so I think that pretty much opened up the passing game."


LB Parys Haralson - In-Game Quotes
San Francisco 49ers vs. Oakland Raiders
August 20, 2011 

On how the defense performed tonight:

"I think we came out and did some things well and there are some things we need to work on. They broke a couple of runs on us and we want to go back to the chalkboard and see what happened so we can correct it." 

On the challenge that the Raiders offense presented:

"The Raiders always have athletic guys, big offensive line. They like to run the ball. They have a quarterback in Jason Campbell that can throw the ball so you always need to mind your P's and Q's. They can kind of beat you either way, running or throwing. I think we went out there and we had a good plan for tonight, but we'll see what we need to work on and see what we need to improve on." 

On the goal-line stand and his sack on fourth down:

"That's kind of what we pride ourselves on. You have [DT] Justin [Smith] and the big guys that are stopping it in the middle and once you're going for fourth and something, you're just coming off the ball and playing football." 

On how much the long drives help him:

"It helps a lot. The offense had the ball a lot. They had the ball the whole first quarter almost. As a defense, you can go out there fresh and ready to play and that can wear down on the opposing offense. When you're out there fresh and they get a three-and-out and then our offense is back on the field, so I think we made a bunch of plays."


LB Patrick Willis - In-Game Quotes
San Francisco 49ers vs. Oakland Raiders
August 20, 2011 

On the defensive performance tonight:

"The defense, we had some good drives out there, still there were some plays that we let get out of the bag. Every day is work in progress and each day we have to continue to get better and not hold on to the things we've done well, but really find those things that we did wrong and get those better." 

On the goal-line stand and how big it was to get that stop on 4th down:

"It was really big. I once heard a guy say all the time, ‘It doesn't matter where they get the ball as long as they kick the ball or get no points, then that's all that matters.' They can drive the ball all the way from the one yard line on their side all the way to the one yard line on our side and if they don't get in or only kick a field goal, then that's a win. But it was big, it was big for us, it helps our defense build confidence. There were some things certainly that we can build on here, but there are things that we need to get corrected." 

On how much it helps the defense when the offense has long drives:

"It's really big. As a defensive player, you don't want it to get too cold but when the offense is out there taking time off the clock that's a good thing because it means you're going to be more rested when it's time for you to go out there and get a turnover because you rested real well. That puts their defense back on the field again and keeps them tired. So it's good to see the offense to run the clock down like that." 

On what the team needs to work on going forward:

"Really, just the little things. We had some missed tackles out there today and we can't allow that to happen. There were some little technique things that we know that we can get better on, but that's every game. That's if you know a defense or if you don't, you're still going to have the little things that you can always get better on and that's where we are. We have to continue to learn the defense that [defensive coordinator] Coach [Vic] Fangio is putting in place and really starting to fine tune them and just take it one day at a time and get ready for September 11th."