Monday, December 13, 2010
Around the NFC West: 49ers cruise
By Mike Sando
Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' 40-21 victory over the Seahawks was a game lost more than it was a game won. Seattle coach Pete Carroll even blamed poor footing on the notoriously slick Candlestick Park field. Ratto: "The field thing was a dodge to turn attention from the team, which absolutely destroyed its best chance to eliminate a rival, and to himself. It’s what coaches do. But it was a fascinating way to tackle the problem of what happens when your main goal in a season is to go backwards slower than those around you. And even in a division that remembers how dreadful it was just two years ago (22-42 overall, and the winner ended up 9-7 and in the Super Bowl), this is a hard thing for a coach to deal with rationally)."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' safeties bounced back from a rough week at Green Bay.
Also from Maiocco: Alex Smith shook off early boos.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers had five takeaways Sunday after collecting 12 in their first five games.
Also from Branch: The 49ers cashed in on turnovers in more ways than one.
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' victory gave them false hope. Cohn: "If the 49ers do well in their final three games and get into the postseason, it could create the illusion the 49ers are a good team and everything is OK and peace has settled over their fortress in Santa Clara. Such a finish might encourage Jed York to stay the course, good grief. This he must understand and you must understand: The 49ers are an illusion of a team playing an illusion of a schedule. They are a team with illusionary goals." I doubt a couple good games late in the season can change the 49ers' minds on the big picture.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers reached 40 points for the first time in seven seasons. That's an amazing drought. Arizona topped 40 points Sunday with a rookie quarterback making his first start.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Brian Westbrook provided the 49ers with more than the longest scoring reception of his career. Westbrook also showed how well he's fitting into the offense. White: "On the third play of the game-opening touchdown drive, Westbrook picked up a blitzing linebacker to give Alex Smith time to get off a 22-yard check-down pass to tight end Vernon Davis. For weeks, the coaching staff said Westbrook couldn't play because he didn't know the pass-protection schemes."
Also from White: 49ers coach Mike Singletary speaks cautiously about the NFC West race.
More from White: a 49ers report card noting that the 49ers gained 201 of their 255 receiving yards after the catch.
More yet from White: He says Alex Smith never would have lost his job to Troy Smith following an injury if the 49ers' supporting cast had helped him to the extent they did Sunday.
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News hands out praise for the 49ers' secondary.
Sam Good of 49ers.com says the 49ers could sense Alex Smith's desire to win Sunday. Anthony Dixon: "All week he was saying things, and I was like, 'Oh yeah, Alex is ready.' "
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers feasted on Seattle blitzes.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News seeks perspective for Alex Smith's strong performance. Kawakami: "This is only the first part of his career; Smith has to believe that what comes next probably will be better than what has occurred so far. We all saw a glimmer of that Sunday. All it took was six years."
Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News says Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and Joe Montana hope to build a luxury hotel complex near the 49ers' planned stadium.