Sunday, October 30, 2011

San Francisco 49ers Week 8 Preview

By Kalen Patrick

The 5-1 San Francisco 49ers will host the 3-3 Cleveland Browns tomorrow at 1:15pm (PT). First things first here, I definitely like the 49ers chances in this game don't get me wrong. However, I do have a bad feeling that this could be a trap game. 49ers feeling great after their big win in Detroit, a week off, and then a Cleveland Browns team that while struggling, is 3-3 and will put up and won't be an easy out.

While the 49ers run game has been the driving force lately for the 49ers offense, I think Harbaugh will surprise the Browns by opening up the playbook more for Alex Smith and really getting guys like Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker and Braylon Edwards involved early and often. Thus keeping the defense off balance, and allowing Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter to pick up big chunks of yardage. Overall I do like how the 49ers match up against the Browns. I expect another solid and efficient outing for Alex Smith. Maybe 200-250 yards, 1/2TD's and 0INT's. Minimizing mistakes and avoiding costly penalties will be key here. As long as the offense doesn't kill itself with false starts and holding calls, I like how the 49ers should be able to move the ball.


As for the defense, I think the 49ers always fare pretty well when they face slower and bigger backs like Peyton Hillis, usually is the smaller faster RB's that the 49ers struggle with. I'm gonna be keeping a keen eye on the pass rush, especially rookie Aldon Smith who has been a force his last 3 games (5.5 sacks). As usual, expect the 49ers under Vic Fangio, to come out blazing with lots of different blitzes. The 49ers will try to force Colt McCoy in to tough situations which could lead to turnovers.

Overall I'm confident in the 49ers ability in this game, I'm not really good at predicting scores, but if I had to guess I'm gonna say something along the lines of a 24-14 win for the 49ers. I really don't like being cocky going in to a game. I certainly hope the 49ers are up and ready for a tough challenge. The thought of going 6-1 is pretty incredible. Can't wait to check back and write the review for the game.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

San Francisco 49ers Week 7 - Bye Week

By Kalen Patrick

After a great come back win over Detroit, and a very successful first 6 weeks to the season, the 49ers had themselves an extra week to relax and then game plan for the Cleveland Browns who will be visiting Candlestick Park this Sunday (1PM PT/4PM ET - CBS). The 49ers are at a very impressive 5-1, however, there is still a lot to work on. I think the main issue that needs to be addressed is the passing game. While the passing game is by no means awful (8 TD's and only 2 INT's), getting in to more of a rhythm and being able to execute more consistently will be key moving forward.


Alex Smith has been very efficient this season, and while he did pile up the yards in a very impressive come back victory against the Eagles, it would be nice to see him move the ball for effectively. The 49ers struggle on 3rd downs, a lot of this has to do with QB-WR chemistry, timing of the short passes, or making sure the route will take the receiver beyond the 1st down marker. What I did like was the ability of Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree to regain that confidence in each other as they hooked up for 9 receptions in Week 6 at Detroit. Improving upon this and the return of Braylon Edwards will be big for the passing game.

When a team is 5-1 it can be hard to point to too many flaws. The defense and special teams have been incredible, Rookie Aldon Smith has been a beast the last 3 games (5.5 sacks). Ted Ginn and the special teams look like a threat every time he is ready to return a punt/kickoff. Also on offense the run game has really come together with Frank Gore going over the 100 yard mark 3 straight games and Kendall Hunter has provided a nice change of pace.

I do expect the 49ers the open up the pass more as they are able to delve more in to the playbook. With an effective passing attack, it will open up the running game that much more, and could make the 49ers a serious threat come playoff time.

Also to note, all 3 other NFC West teams lost in Week 7, the NFC West has been a total and complete disaster besides for the 49ers, and it could be very early that the 49ers clinch the division assuming they can keep up the level of play they have showed so far.

I like the 49ers chances against the 3-3 Cleveland Browns, especially with it being a home game. Even though teams coming off bye weeks have struggled this year, I still expect a W from this game. Should be a good one.

NFC West Standings
San Francisco 49ers - 5-1
Seattle Seahawks -     2-4
Arizona Cardinals -     1-5
St. Louis Rams -         0-6

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

San Francisco 49ers Week 6

By Kalen Patrick

The 49ers headed in to Detroit leading the NFC West with a very impressive 4-1 record. As I mentioned in my last post, I knew that the match up against the Lions was going to be no easy task, in fact I predicted a very close game that could go either way. Well luckily for the 49ers, it went there way in the end as the 49ers left Detroit with a 25-19 Victory over the previously undefeated Detroit Lions.

This was one of those well fought games that went back and forth, and only fans of each team could really appreciate. The 49ers started out slow in this game, trailing 10-0 in the 1st quarter, with Kyle Vanden Bosch's forced fumble and recovery playing a big part in that. However, the big difference maker on offense for the 49ers, Frank Gore, then took over (141 Yards on 15 Carries). A big run of 45+ yards set the 49ers up at the 1 and Gore himself punched it in. The game ended up going back and forth a lot all the way through, until Alex Smith's touchdown pass to Delanie Walker ultimately sealed the Victory for the 49ers.

The Victory was in big part to the excellent play of the 49ers defense, Frank Gore and the run game, good special teams, and Alex Smith making the play when the 49ers needed it most. One positive was how involved the 49ers got Michael Crabtree in the game. That will be vital going forward in the season especially since Joshua Morgan is on IR. 49ers will also get a nice boost after the bye week with the return of Braylon Edwards.

The 49ers front 7 dominated the Lions, Willis and Bowman covered the entire middle of the field, while Justin Smith and rookie Aldon Smith both tormented Matthew Stafford all day long. Aldon Smith also forced the Safety in the 2nd quarter which turned out to be a huge momentum changer. He now has 5.5 sacks on the season and that is with little to no playing time in Weeks 1 and 2. Keep an eye on Aldon Smith as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year.

So whats next for the 49ers? Well they now have a bye week, which will be big in allowing Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman to implement more of the offense and allow for the return of Braylon Edwards. The 49ers will then open the 2nd half of their season at home against the Cleveland Browns, which is a favorable match up to get the 49ers going again.

The 49ers now sit at 5-1 with a nice matchup coming out of the bye week and also 5 games left against weak NFC West opponents.

49ers Stats Leaders
Alex Smith - 1090 YDS, 8 TD, 2 INT, 63.3% CMP, 95.2 QB Rating.
Frank Gore - 541 YDS, 4 TD, 5.0 YPC
Vernon Davis - 24 REC, 241 YDS, 3 TD, 11.3 AVG
Navarro Bowman - 56 TACKLE
Aldon Smith - 5.5 SACK

Saturday, October 15, 2011

San Francisco 49ers Updates Week 4+5

By Kalen Patrick

The last 2 weeks have been to put it simply "awesome" for the 49ers. Week 4 was a dramatic finish in Philly where the 49ers pulled out a 24-23 victory over the self-proclaimed 'Dream Team'. The 49ers followed that up with a very impressive victory in Candlestick Park against Tampa Bay with a 48-3 ass-kicking of the Bucs. This now leaves the 49ers in great position at 4-1 with a road game against the Lions coming up. That game will be no easy task but a win there would be HUGE going in to the bye week.

Lets take a look back at the last 2 weeks now. The most impressive individual player has definitely been Alex Smith (461 yards 5 TD's 0 INT's and 60% COMP. For a player like Alex Smith, in fact, for ANY QB those numbers are amazing. Alex Smith brought the 49ers back against the Eagles in the 2nd half and was dominant in the Tampa Bay game. The development of Smith has been key to the 49ers 4-1 record. After 5 games Smith has only 1 INT and has been extremely efficient passing the ball.

Gotta credit Justin Smith for stripping the ball off Jeremy Maclin to end any possible comeback for the Eagles in Week 4 and the entire defense was just legendary against a very capable Tampa Bay team.

All facets of the game have been playing very well the last 6 quarters of football. The Offensive-Line has really stepped it up, which has also allowed for Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter to pile up the yards. Most impressive has been the defense. Carlos Rogers has become a stud shut down CB, with INT's in 3 consecutive games. Quieting the myth of him being Mr.Stone Hands. The front 7 has been dominant, with Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis all playing at Pro-Bowl caliber level while Rookie Aldon Smith has been disruptive in passing down situations.

This Sunday in Detroit will be a huge test for the 49ers and Alex Smith in particular. With leading WR Joshua Morgan placed on IR, his weapons on the outside will be Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams and newly signed Brett Swain. Expect a big week for Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, and I also expect Gore/Hunter to pile up the receiving yards.

The biggest question on defense is how do you stop Calvin Johnson? Long story short, you don't. All you can do is contain him and hope he doesn't completely kill you. Niners gotta get their run game and short pass game working, to hold the ball, keep it out of Stafford and CJ's hands. I think this will be a very very competitive game. Obviously I'm hoping for a 49er win, and I think it is possible, but even if the 49ers lose, we will be 4-2 at the Bye Week, with 5 divisional games, the Browns, Giants and Redskins all being very winnable games. Pittsburgh and Baltimore will be very tough but could even pull out a win in one of those games.

49ers Stats Leaders
Alex Smith - 965 YDS, 7 TD's, 1 INT, 65.9% COMP with a 104.1 QB Rating
Frank Gore - 400 Rush YDS, 4.3 AVG, 3 TD, 66 Receiving YDS.
Vernon Davis - 22 REC, 263 Yards 3 TD's
Navarro Bowman - 42 Tackles
Aldon Smith - 3.5 Sacks