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The San Francisco 49ers show improvement despite Loss to Saints

Posted By Jason Rossi On Sep 21 2010 @ 9:31 pm In San Francisco 49ers | No Comments

It is amazing what a week can do….8 days actually.  The 49ers looked like a team with an identity, a team that stuck to a game plan and a team that proved they can play with the big dogs.  However, they still lost.

 Monday nights 25-22 loss to the Saints should be seen as a small win for the 49ers.  They score 3 touchdowns, two rushing and one passing, which is 3 more then they scored against the Seahawks in week 1.  The offense converted 5/9 (55%) of their 3rd downs, compared to their 1/15 (7%) success rate last week.  Frank Gore proved that he is an elite level back.  Alex Smith was receiving the plays quicker and getting the offense to the link of scrimmage faster.  The defense was able to keep Drew Brees to under 300 yards passing and two touchdowns and a ground game to 50 yards.

 It is impressive that the 49ers were able to stay in the game to the final seconds even after spotting the Saints a 9 point lead to start the game.  I must admit, after the safety and quick touchdown, I began to think that the game going to be a blow-out in favour of the Saints.  But the 49ers showed moxy when they got the ball back and orchestrated a 12 play, 9:52 drive resulting in a Frank Gore 12 yard reception and touchdown.  They got the ball back a second time with almost 7 minutes left in the half and had a 10 drive play until Delanie Walker fumbled the ball on the Saints 14 yard line.  I think that is the key play in the whole game.  The 49ers could easily have ended the 1st half with the score either 10-9 or 14-9 in their favour. 

 The defense proved that they are the real deal, and Patrick Willis is a force.  The 3rd and goal stop from the 49ers 1 yard line another key moment in the game, forcing the Saints to a field goal attempt.  It should be noted that this Saints drive began due to a turnover from a muffed punt by the 49ers recovered by the Saints.

 Which brings me to some of the areas of concern.  The key concern is turnovers.  The 49ers fumbled the ball 4 times and lost two of them.  Tack on Smith’s two interceptions and the 49ers gave the ball away 4 times.  It is very cliché to say, but you cannot win football games if you give the ball way.  The fact that they were in the game to the end shows the potential of this team.  I also think that the defense had a moment to win the game, or send it to overtime.  It is widely accepted that if you give Drew Brees 70 seconds, two time outs and a 70 yard field, he will win the game for you.  But if the 49ers want to become a playoff contender, and a contender in the playoffs, the defense will need to find ways to stop these types of drives.

 There were signs of improvement, but there are still many things for the team to improve.  It looks like their medicine from last week worked and maybe this week all they need to take are their vitamins.  Let see if they can bring it all together against Kansas City in week 3.

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