A Win is a Win is a Win . . .

Especially on the road and in the division . . . but I think half the crowd that showed up were Niner fans. Or Giants fans left over from the playoff game the day before. In a game that saw a horrible 1st half punctuated by the longest TD in the last 14 years, the 49ers muscled their way past the hapless Rams in what should have been a blow out, but turned into a tense little ending. After spotting St. Loo 14 points in the 1st quarter, and VMcD fumbling away a great play, the Niners struck on an 80 yard bomb to Brandon Lloyd with 25 seconds in the half. Funny thing is, the last 49er to catch an 80 yard TD? Brandon Lloyd in 2005. Realistically though, the Niners could have been down big by then, if not for a very odd PI call on St. Louis.

After the half, the Niners took control and scored two more TDs, one on another jaw-dropping pass where Kaepernick rolled left and spotted Anquan Boldin dragging across the back of the end zone. He flicked the ball, with perfect touch, over the LB defending, and hit Boldin in the back of the end zone. Later in the 3rd quarter, Kappy hit Michael Crabtree on a post/corner/post move that tied up the DB for an easy pitch-and-catch 35 yard TD. After this, Jim Harbaugh seemed to fall asleep and let the Rams inch back into the game. It wasn’t sealed until Dontae Johnson, in for in injured Jimmie Ward, picked off Austin Davis for a pick 6.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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54 Responses to A Win is a Win is a Win . . .

  1. unca_chuck says:

    What I really liked to see was the very aggressive stunting and blitzing from the linebackers. Early on, Davis was beating the Niners secondary because he had time to throw. After those first 2 drives, St. Louis’s offense was nowhere to be seen as the defense harassed Davis and sacked him 5 times. The secondary came back strong once the early screw-ups were overcome. Culliver bit hard on the play action fake that led to the 2nd Ram TD.

    The bad news is the injuries. Mike Iupati went out with a concussion, Patrick Willis went out with the dreaded turf toe (an injury that has sidelined Tremaine Brock since week 1), Jimmie Ward went out with a quad injury, and Stevie Wonder looked like he got a thigh bruise necessitated by he having to recover an onsides kick. The good news is the backups played very well. Chris Borland stepped in and played solid in Willis spot. Dontae Johnson had the game-sealing pick, and the O line blocked well for Kappy.

    The Rams were putting 8-9 in the box, and leaving our WRs in single coverage most of the day, and it worked out well for us as Kappy threw for 343 yards and 3 TDs on 22 for 36 passing. He added 37 on the ground. Therun game suffered, but then again, the Rams were all-in to stop the run. They did to the tune of Gore and Hyde combining for 27 carries and 52 yards.

    Takeaways from this game were the fact that Kappy can be the name when called upon to throw a lot. The Rams dared us to throw, and their 3rd-best pass defense belied e fact that they couldn’t get any pressure on Kappy, and he had a field day. No sacks, and Robert Quinn was manhandled by Joe Staley.

    My only nit to pick was the failure to put this game away. VMcD had a horrible game as he fumbled away an early drive, and broke up a TD pass to VD. That score would have iced the game, but as it was we went the old ‘impose the will’ route, and failed on a 4th and goal from the one and a 4th and 1 from the Ram 35. Both were runs up the middle. Both were stopped easily. The second one led to the Niners going soft defensively and allowing St. Louis to get within one score.

  2. Nipper says:

    Harbaugh knew the backup Ram QB would eventually throw a pick and it paid off in the fourth quarter interception. Backups are like money in the bank for opposing teams especially late in the game.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    A small piece pf good news is Stevie Johnson’s leg spasmed up after the hit on the onsides kick. He said it’s just a bruise and he’ll be good to go.

    Great to see Kappy spreading the ball around to these new guys.

  4. Flavor says:

    Chuck– what is the extent of P-Will’s injury. If he can’t go, who is going to try to cover Julius Thomas. I feel like he could go *beast-mode* against us this week.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Willis says he’ll be good to go, but I ain’t counting on it. That shit can be bad.

    Rookie Chis Borland is his backup. He had a couple tackles, and broke up a couple passes. He looked ready. But then again, that was Austin Davis, not Peyton Manning.

    I loved the stunting and blitzing the Niners did. However, we need to get in faster. Manning throws pretty quick, but if you saw any of the Jets game, you saw Manning pull a few Chris Everetts out there. Hit him early and he gets real skittish.

    If we come out like yesterday, we’ll be behind 28-0 against Manning. Come out blitzing and stunting and get in his face up the middle. The Niners almost beat him in Indy with Nolan (I think) by disguising where the pressure was coming from. We did that last night.

    I think we do a lot of throwing mid to deep again. The pass pro looked good yesterday. They need to keep that going. The Rams dared us to throw. We did and it worked.

  6. Winder says:

    I have a feeling our D will be up for the challenge this week. Peyton is reminding me of an older Steve Young in that if he gets pressured he gets rattled. Speed on our defense will be what makes the difference.

  7. Irish Kevin says:

    I loved the stat they showed during the 4th quarter. The Niners are the ONLY team to not score a TD in the 4th quarter. Doesn’t Harbaugh understand that if he puts the game away, his Defense won’t be under such pressure to win the game. keep the Defense rested for the season.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Well, McDonald did blow the pass to VD that would have iced it.

  9. unca_chuck says:

    And it looks like Patrick Willis is out for the Denver game with a sprained toe.

  10. NJ49er says:

    We showed signs of WCO last night being introduced with the TE crossers.
    Wide open several times, big gainer lost to the VMcD fumble but, it was a successful play.

    Against Denver, you play coverage and dare them to run.
    Their Secondary is nothing to write home about either.
    Big spot for us to run and, keep TOP on our side.

    We still suck in the Red Zone too.
    Can’t seem to steal a 1st down when it matters to ice a game either.
    Frustrating.

    • 12th man says:

      True its a work in progress but good progress there is.
      Baalkes back ups and rookies stepped up very well. D didn’t miss a beat from my perspective.
      Division game in St Looie is no easy meat but Kap had a very good game and Fangio adjusted his scheme quickly and shut down Davis completely.

      Don’t know about you guys but I had a blast watching the game.

      Niners can beat Denver if they get to pencil neck early and often made harder by Willis likely out so the rookie Borland gets a shot.

      • NJ49er says:

        12th you know my feelings about our personnel.
        Baalke has done an outstanding job providing depth IMO.

        Draft Picks are nothing but educated guesses at projecting talent from College to the Pros.
        More fail than succeed.
        There were mental mistakes early last night from the Defense that put us in holes too.
        Culliver seems to avoid contact too.
        Dontae will take his job IMO.

        Fortunately, StL isn’t much of threat to overcome in the passing game.
        Thought we handled their front very well on Offense too.

        Agree completely about Denver too.
        Make Peyton hold the ball and hem him in.
        He’s not running away from anyone.
        Play coverage and pin him in, hope for a pick or 2.

        We can run on them and, their Secondary doesn’t scare me.

  11. 12th man says:

    The injury problem is growing yet so far the team has overcome it, speaks to solid depth just as you say.

    • NJ49er says:

      Treading water 12th.
      Hope we can sustain.

      Good game from Kaep and the Offense last night.
      D hung tough too.
      All good signs of a deep team.

  12. NoFear49er says:

    Recently had a short discussion here about Bethea after he was getting bashed for not playing up to the guy he replaced for less money. Just noticed Bethea was graded as the top safety in the league. While Whitner shared the 35th ranked spot with Reid.

    • NJ49er says:

      Those that bashed him did so because of their disdain for Baalke NoFear49er.
      You know.
      He sucks.

      Such simple-minded agendas are simply preconceived notions, with no ability to see the facts or, accept the reality that his addition to the roster has been a solid move.

      I’ve been pretty impressed with how quickly Bethea has picked up this scheme and, delivered some big plays when needed.

      No complaints from my vantage point.

      Culliver on the other hand?
      He seems to waive and flail a lot instead of going in hard on tackles.

      • NJ49er says:

        Might be a bit of a plus vs Denver too.
        Since he did spend some time with Mr Manning in Indy.

        I’ve gotta figure the best way to approach Peyton, is to try to get him to hold the ball a tad longer than he’s comfortable doing.

        I’ve got no problem turning this into a ground game/slug-fest.

      • NJ49er says:

        Look no further than the return Baalke got on the Alex Smith Trade, as reason why a GM with some talent can parlay extra Picks into needed talent throughout the roster.
        Drafting is one segment of the picture, FA spending is huge too.
        Stevie may replace Crabtree too, if that extension can’t be settled favorably.

        I’m sure Goldson is happy with his current paycheck too.
        As for his chances to win the hardware?
        I’m sure he’s gonna be waiting awhile.

  13. NJ49er says:

    How about Anthony Davis catching another StL police related arrest on video following the game.

    You can hear the fan yelling that he wanted an autograph.
    Looks like he got more than he bargained for from StL PD in the process.

    http://tinyurl.com/qe88cpt

  14. NoFear49er says:

    Hey NJ49er, the big problem with defensing Manning is he’s seen it all and he will study our defense and it doesn’t change all that much. He’s got pretty good protection, too. Not saying that we can’t get to him because I think we can. And hopefully get to him enough to get him off his game.

    With Manning you have to keep giving him the unexpected. And then he will study that, so we have to keep changing it up.

    • NJ49er says:

      Agree NoFear49er.
      No easy task trying to confuse Peyton, he’s a Master at the QB position.
      Hoping Fangio can dial up a surprise or 2.

      We know Peyton doesn’t move very much.
      Play coverage and hope to slow down his timing perhaps?
      Hoping for a low scoring Defensive battle with Frank and Carlos holding serve.

      Peyton can’t hurt us much from the sideline.

  15. NoFear49er says:

    Well, I don’t think our coverage is good enough to cover them in zone or man. I hope we use a rotating mix of both and limit his time to pick us apart with edge pressure and a few inside blitzes from Ian and wilhoite/Borland thrown in.

    Their running game is fairly weak so I wonder how many DBs we will go with. Can’t imagine we’ll go much single high safety either and they put a lot of people out in the pattern. And I’d think we want to get our run game going early and not get behind so much we barely use it. But it will probably turn out to be a test for Kaepernick’s ability to run his passing offense.

    We have contained Manning before but he has some very good weapons. As always, protect the ball, keep the stupid penalties down and don’t beat ourselves.

    I will be happy if we play a good tight game up there.

    • NJ49er says:

      Agree completely.
      Good test coming without question.
      Their D can be had if we elect to air it out too.
      They can apply pressure.
      Not so sure about stopping the run or coverage deep.

      We shall see soon enough….

  16. unca_chuck says:

    Word this morning is that Willis WILL play. Not sure at this point.

    I remember years ago the Niners held Manning and Indy to one of his shittiest games (0 TDs and a pick) by disguising their coverages and blitzing from unexpected places. Of course we lost 16-14 on a RB toss for a TD, but the defense was outstanding in that game. I think it was Nolan/Manusky.

    Thing is, though they did that with their 5-6 DB big sub defense. We may not have enough bodies. But the point remains, Manning CAN be flustered by pressure. He got real skittish vs the Jets last Sunday. Like a lot of QBs, keep hitting him and he loses effectiveness.

    They need to START the game aggressive and not play it to see what Denver brings. This appeared to be why we fell behind both KC and the Rams early.

    • 12th man says:

      Can’t say for sure but it looks like the Niner D game plans for one style of play and the O does something else. Takes a couple of drives to adjust, which is fast IMO.
      Good news if willis will really play, Borland is no Willis.

      Squawks pressured pencil neck and took away his quick hitters, worked like a charm.
      Hope the Niners have a good pressure package ready to go. Give Manning time and he will pick the D apart.

      • NoFear49er says:

        Isn’t that the way it goes, 12th man. You plan to take away their best stuff and they figure that’s what you’ll plan for. Sometimes they just figure they’re better than you and go with what they always do. Usually checkng their previous four or so will give an idea what they like and what they change to when it’s taken away.

        It was great watching Dallas to do Seattle what Seattle usually does to everybody else. Man handling their receivers and taking away their short stuff. Wilson had nowhere to go and couldn’t see downfield far enough to do anything else! LOL.

        Unfortunately Manning is not in the same boat. He does get shaken up when things don’t work as he thought they would. Especially his protections. Too bad we can’t use the ol’ Smith/Smith line stunts in this one.

      • 12th man says:

        Yeah its the great chess match NF. Fangio is a pretty good DC IMO and has good to great players at his disposal.

        Have to say watching Squawks get pushed all over the field was awesome. I’m surprised at Wilson, I really felt his physical shortcomings would catch up to him but so far, except for the Dallas game, he has continued at a high level.

        The secret to beating Manning is get in his grill and disrupt his timing throws. Means gambling with a 5th rusher and relying on the DB’s holding up.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    According to Harbaugh, none of the injuries were ‘serious’ Monday night. Mike Iupati needs to pass the concussion protocol, but appears to be fine. Jimmie Ward’s quad wasn’t expected to be enough to keep him out, and Willis does not have turf toe. They are all possibles for the Sunday night game.

    What sucks is playing in StL Monday night on the road, getting a short week, and travelling on the road again. To fricking Denver. Say what you will about the team, that’s a lot of shit to go through. Then you have to deal with the altitude.

    Gonna be a tough situation to plow through.

  18. Winder says:

    The only way to win this game is either get to Manning and continue the pressure, or have our running game work for 60 min. We have to keep the ball away from him and clock em when he has it. they just have too many weapons with speed on offense.

  19. unca_chuck says:

    Denver’s defense grades out well in rush defense, but I think that’s because teams have success through the air with them.

    This is a game where turnovers and penalties must not happen. We have to play a clean game to stand a chance. No fumbles or dumb-ass penalties. I’m wondering when Carrier passes VMcD on the TE depth chart.

    Kappy stands to have a big game if the line can protect him. StL’s pass defense was ranked 3rd before last week’s game. Denver’s is ranked 16th.

  20. rtfirefly says:

    There are two ways to deal with altitude (I live at 4600′ but before that 6800′ for several years):
    1) Show up two weeks early; your body will adjust.
    2) Fly in, play, fly out. Your body will suffer as the game goes on, but survive for one game.
    The worst thing you can do is fly in a couple days early. That’s not enough time for blood vessels to expand, but enough time for your body to shift into auto-adjust mode. IOW, that’s the stage you suffer from oxygen deprivation, like jet lag.

  21. rtfirefly says:

    Don’t look now, but the Brownies are 6-2. Their next three opponents have 1 win. Between them.

  22. rtfirefly says:

    47% of Peyton’s passes this year from snap to throw were 2 seconds or less – ESPN. Gotta play tight and get him on the other 53%. Or else.

  23. unca_chuck says:

    I tell ya, I’d play this like so. Play nickel and dare Denver to run. Bring most everyone up close. Keep the safeties mid-deep, but crowd the WRs and TEs at the point of attack. Jam at the line and disrupt the pass-catchers coming off the line. Got to hope we can get a good push up the middle. Get Peyton moving laterally and he’s toast.

  24. rtfirefly says:

    The Giants are now 7-1 this postseason. What a time to get hot! We’re just one Bumgarner gem away from an all wildcard World Series.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    7-2 but yeah, they are rolling, KC looks tough though. The Giants don’t do well against teams that run. Best way to deal with that is not let them get on base,

    • rtfirefly says:

      Blanco proved he’s as useless in the field as he is leading off. But hey, at least he hit the easy grounder the Cards first basemen blew the throw to home on.

  26. unca_chuck says:

    Blanco’s fine for what he is. A 4th outfielder.

  27. unca_chuck says:

    Got to love the NFL. They find ‘no evidence’ of Colin Kaepernick using a racial slur, so they cut his fine in half. Why not rescind it entirely?

  28. snarkk says:

    The one big thing, among smaller ones, I don’t understand is why Harbaugh doesn’t finish off these wins against lesser teams. Put them away, fer kreissakes. Why let them hang around thinking they have a shot, and you have to rely on your D through the 4th quarter to seal the deal? It’s like Giants games — torture, except it doesn’t have to be. Get some damn TDs instead of running the ball up the gut at the goal line — use some creativity, if there’s any still there. It’s as if Harbaugh can’t enjoy a game unless it comes down to the 2 minute warning; a blowout win must be avoided at all costs…

  29. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, exactly. What really pisses me off is we could have lost Stevie Johnson to injury when he got nailed recovering the onsides kick.

  30. unca_chuck says:

    New thread is up.

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