Good afternoon, everyone. Bye week. One of those times of the year when you think, sigh, what am I going to do with myself? Bye week. You could take a weekend off from football. I can't. I've got to write. But you could. There's so much to be done...yard work, building the spice rack, take the dogs to the park, or you can read about the week that was according to me. Since you're already here, I know what you chose.
This won't be the biggest edition of TWiNN. Week 8's game fell on Monday night and gameday is usually where I commence the TWiNN week. Week 9 is a bye week, so there's no preview material for the coming game. What that leaves us with is recap material from the Cardinals game and some midway through the season stories.
It was a good week for the 49ers, wasn't it? We put a thorough beating on the Arizona Cardinals, on the road, and each of the other teams in the division lost, setting us up in as good a position as we could have hoped for going into the bye. We're finally starting to gain some separation from the rest of the NFC West and the standings are more in line with what we imagined at the start of the season.
There was a bit of a scare there, especially following the week 3 loss at Minnesota, when both Arizona and Seattle looked like they could give us a run for the division crown. Now, not so likely. And, as a reward for the teams dominating performance and overall strong play on the year, Coach Harbaugh has given the team some extra time off. Hey Fooch, I've written well this year and we're winning, can I get a few days off?
Week 8: 49ers 24, Cardinals 3
The game against the Cardinals was a statement. In four of the last five games, the 49ers have held an opponent without a touchdown. The defense completely shut down the Arizona running game, holding them to seven yards on nine rushes. John Skelton did pass for 290 yards, but it took him 52 attempts to get there, and when you factor in the four sacks, the Cardinals averaged 4.6 yards per pass play. Not a great number.
On the offensive side of the ball, Alex Smith was next to perfect. Well, he was perfect. Delanie Walker was the one who wasn't, dropping a pass that turned out to be Smith's only incompletion of the game. He would have set a record for the most accurate game in NFL history, except that you need 20 pass attempts to qualify and he only threw 19. While he may have missed the record, he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. That's a first for Mr Smith.
Michael Crabtree was the biggest beneficiary of Alex's hot hand. Crabtree scored two touchdowns and was so effective at finding holes in the coverage, getting a pass in stride and making his way upfield. He converted often on third down, whether for the first down or the touchdown, and showed a knack for breaking tackles, particularly Patrick Peterson's.
For your enjoyment, we have Fooch's recap of the game followed by one of my favorite features, his 'notable stats' post. Did you know we have the second most Monday Night Football victories in history with 42? We're one behind the Dallas Cowboys. I hate the Cowboys. Next is the post announcing Alex Smith as the Player of the Week. After that is Tre Faaborg's post on tackling. If you watched the game, you noticed that both teams threw short passes for much of the game.
The 49ers stopped the Cardinals from getting the chains moving more often than not. The Cardinals...not so much. There's also a GIF of Dashon Goldson's wicked hit on Early Doucet, which, while beautiful in its own right, was made all the more special by the memories of last season's matchup, when Doucet got Goldson booted from a game after giving him a cheap slap. Goldson proceeded to punch Doucet three or four times, softening him up for this season's KABOOM! Fooch then notes how well Chris Culliver and Tarell Brown did against Arizona's receivers. Finally, Anthony Ly's "Booth Review" pulls up the rear. He is one of the many NN writers affected by the hurricane but, thankfully, he had a backup plan in place.
49ers crush Cardinals to start taking control of NFC West.
49ers vs Cardinals: Notable stats in a dominating win.
Alex Smith named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
49ers vs Cardinals: Why tackling matters.
49ers vs Cardinals: Chris Culliver, Tarell Brown control Arizona receivers.
The booth review - 49ers vs Cardinals: "Monday night lights out".
Dylan DeSimone, after ducking and dodging Hurricane Sandy, got a piece up on Randy Moss. He notes that he was effective in all aspects of the game. He blocked well, served as a decoy, drawing coverage away from intended targets, and took a short pass, cut this way and that, tickled the sideline with his toes before out-sprinting the beleaguered Cardinals secondary for a 47-yard touchdown.
The San Francisco Giants won the World Series. That fact, in and of itself, would not warrant attention in this column except that Coach Harbaugh and Alex Smith served as chauffeurs in the victory parade. Me being a massive Giants fan has no bearing whatsoever on its inclusion in TWiNN. Did you read Tre9er's post above about poor tackling on the part of the Cardinals secondary during our week 8 matchup? His companion piece is below, noting that the 49ers CBs are some of the best.
I just put out a missing persons report on Vernon Davis. Have you seen his statistics over the last three games? Wes Hanson has and they're nearly nonexistent. He's got some suggestions for how to get Vernon more involved in the passing game. We also have a week off to figure out how to do it. Finally, Fooch has snap counts for the team through the first 8 weeks. Who do you think leads the defense having played 98% of the snaps? Five bonus points to whomever guesses it.
Randy Moss can be the difference for the 49ers in the backend of 2012.
Jim Harbaugh, Alex Smith drive cars in Giants' World Series parade.
"Tackling matters" follow-up: 49ers cornerbacks among NFL's best.
Getting the ball to Vernon Davis.
49ers snap count through the first half of 2012.
And of course we end on the fanposts. The winner is an odd one this week. It's Riding The F Train's post on Nate Davis' success in the Arena League. It generated the most comments, that's for sure, but not too many on the positive side. It's good to see former Niners succeed when they move on.
Next up on the list for conversation generated is mstrat, who confused a female 49ers fan for a man in their post. Funny comments abound and a GIF of the kiss is in there for all. Finally we have nickbradley and his statistical analysis of Alex Smith's play. He claims that Alex plays better against better defenses, as the title implies.
Nate Davis finds success (Not a joke)
Alex Smith does *better* against better defenses.
I'd like to add that I'm not sure what TWiNN will look like next week. There's no game so there will be a shortage of things to report on. We could possibly have a fanpost writing competition to fill the empty space. I'm going to suggest it to Fooch. I guess this is the suggestion...hey Fooch, what do you think?
Being a Sheep
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