Yesterday’s game was one that we haven’t seen in a while. One that was almost put away early, and still was pretty much a coast to the end. Sure, there were some problems. Not scoring on the goal line in the 2nd quarter, and the 2nd half offensive struggles in general, but when it came down to putting the game away, they did. The last drive was improbably sealed by a 3rd and 3 pass to Ice Sopoaga. A guy who hasn’t caught a pass since high school. Weird? Yes. They even ran a play for Joe Staley earlier in the game. If he drops it, how bad does everyone look? Don’t matter since it worked, but this is yet another similarity of Harbaugh and the Zen master of football that was Bill Walsh. Walsh came up with using Guy McIntyre as a lead blocker in the jumbo package. Ditka stole it for the Fridge. I saw Walsh run a single-wing in a game vs the Giants. It got like 4 yards. Walsh was like, what the hell? I’ll try anything if it’ll give me an edge. Walsh wasn’t one to use a lot of trick plays, but he still tried to gain mismatches whenever he could.
Back to the game, Cleveland did a very good job of adjusting after the half. Better than Harbaugh did. Cleve shut down Gore for most of the 2nd half, and their offense did better as well. Not enough to really put the fear into anyone, but like I said, they could have put this game away earlier, but didn’t. Aldon Smith got another sack, and McCoy was rattled/off target most of the day, and Cleve had no running game to speak of. Alex Smith and Crabtree continue to have issues getting on the same page. Smith had him open a couple times, and missed badly. Smith was right on target in his passes to Braylon Edwards (the slants especially), and the 1st half was crisp passes and sharp drives. 174 yards passing and 174 yards rushing is the balance Harbaugh preaches about, and it doesn’t get any more balanced than that.
All in all, though a solid game. The D caused 4 fumbles (they only recovered the sack/fumble by McCoy onm the opening drive), and Goldson had a nice pick in the end zone in the 3rd quarter. 0 turnovers for the Niners, so +2 for that. The Niners have 16 turnovers (2 behind Detroit) and 6 giveaways, for +10. 2nd in the NFL. 2 picks in 7 games for Smith has to be kudoed. He is doing a very good job of minimizing mistakes. This can actually be traced back to Jimmy-Hat leaving. Since his departure, Smith’s TD / Int numbers are 21 / 7. . . . 9-2 so far this year. Not bad for a coach killer. Gore continues his resurgence as the go-to guy. I was close to writing him off as a blown signing, but his run off the goal line was key on their long FG drive, and he gets through the hole as fast as anyone. Kudoes to him as well for passing Roger Craig for 2nd on the all-time Niners rushing list. Next stop Joe the Jet.