Sunday, September 23, 2012
Halftime thoughts as 49ers, Rams trail
By Mike Sando
A few thoughts after watching the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams fall behind at halftime of their Week 3 games:
- 49ers, down 17-3 at Minnesota: Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder accounts for much of the difference on the scoreboard. There was no shame in allowing Ponder's fourth-and-goal scoring pass to Kyle Rudolph. San Francisco defended the play well and had a man (safety Dashon Goldson) in Ponder's face. Ponder made an impressive touch throw. Later, Ponder went from passer under duress to dangerous runner at the flip of a switch. There was no hesitation. Ponder took off up the middle and was at full speed quickly. On offense, the 49ers are doing a good job on third down, but the Vikings appear ready for their misdirection plays in the run game. Minnesota seems a half-step ahead of the 49ers in just about every area, including special teams. Blocking David Akers' try and then getting a field goal before the half represented a big swing right before halftime. Alex Smith and Randy Moss haven't quite been in sync. Smith's passes for Moss have been high. Pressure was probably a factor when Smith missed Moss for a potential touchdown.
- Rams, down 10-3 at Chicago: The Rams' defense was on the field too much early in this game. The Rams should feel pretty good about trailing by only a touchdown. Cortland Finnegan has another interception. Janoris Jenkins almost had another one. There's a sense watching St. Louis that the team is always close to picking off a pass, particularly against a quarterback as careless as the Bears' Jay Cutler can be. On offense, Sam Bradford has done a good job scrambling, but the passing game hasn't done enough. Brandon Gibson dropped what should have been a long reception deep in Bears territory. The passing game did get going in a two-minute setting right before halftime. Steven Jackson is playing, but his groin injury is diminishing his speed. Daryl Richardson looks so much faster.
Looking forward to the second halves.