Monday, September 26, 2011
2011 49ers Week 3: Five observations
By Mike Sando
Five things I noticed while watching the San Francisco 49ers during their 13-8 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3:
- Brooks commanded double-teams. The Bengals funneled significant resources toward blocking 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, particularly on passing downs. Brooks made them pay for failing to double him on a first-quarter play deep in 49ers territory. Brooks chased down quarterback Andy Dalton and forced a poor throw that was nearly intercepted. Later, the Bengals paid for leaving running back Bernard Scott alone against Brooks in pass protection. Brooks beat Scott easily and blasted Dalton hard enough to knock off the quarterback's helmet. Brooks was active against the run as well.
- Offensive line struggling. Right tackle Anthony Davis and right guard Chilo Rachal were erratic in all phases. Alex Smith and Frank Gore would have been more consistent if the 49ers had even average players on the right side of their line, provided those average players were consistent. Geno Atkins and Frostee Rucker were among the Bengals' defensive linemen feasting on the opportunities. The Bengals also pushed back center Jonathan Goodwin, impinging upon the pocket. Left tackle Joe Staley drew a false-start penalty. He also gave up a critical sack in the red zone, allowing immediate pressure against Smith's blind side. The 49ers have too many early draft choices invested in their line to suffer through these sorts of performances.
- Michael Crabtree up and down. The 49ers receiver finished with only three catches for 24 yards. He also dropped a third-down pass while the 49ers were trailing 3-0 in the second half. There was good to go with the bad. Crabtree made difficult catches to sustain drives. I'm still not sure whether he stepped out of bounds on the touchdown reception officials disallowed. The official standing in the back of the end zone did throw his cap right after Crabtree stepped on or near the end line. Replays were inconclusive. Earlier, I noticed Crabtree making an effort as a blocker.
- Carlos Rogers very active again. The 49ers have to be happy with Rogers after another solid performance from the veteran corner. Rogers seems to be everywhere. He had two pass breakups and an interception.
- Nate Clements should hear from the NFL. The former 49ers cornerback, now with Cincinnati, blasted Smith with a hit that included helmet-to-helmet contact. The only flag on the play was for holding against Rachal. This looked like an illegal hit under current rules. Smith suffered a mild concussion a week earlier. How he avoided one here was a mystery to me.
Having no Monday night game or travel during the day is letting me get to these "five observations" items earlier in the week.