Monday, November 18, 2013
5 Burning Questions Answered
1) Can Greg Roman stay balanced? - No.
The 49ers put the ball in Colin Kaepernick's hands on 67% of their offensive plays, 38 out of 57. The 49ers offense put together only 1 possession of more than 3 plays that wasn't assisted by either a muffed punt, or an interception that was fumbled through their end zone to extend it.
On that 12 play drive the 49ers ran the ball 5 times and threw it 7. It was their most balanced possession of the game, and not surprisingly their best. On the ensuing two possessions the 49ers ran 6 plays, all passes, and a team that over the last 2 seasons was able to pride itself on grinding the clock, took a total of 1:20 off the clock.
2) Can the 49ers get pressure on Brees? - Yes and No.
The 49ers defense gave up a total of 1 touchdown drive to Drew Brees on Sunday, on the road in the Superdome where the Saints had been defeating opponents by an average of 22 points per game. You don't do that without putting some pressure on Brees, and they did that 13 times in the game. Unfortunately that wasn't enough as Brees was able to make throws down the stretch to get his team into field position 3 times in the 4th quarter and secure the win.
3) Will Tony Jerod-Eddie step up? - No.
With Ray McDonald out for this game, his snaps were given to Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs. Neither did anything to distinguish themselves, grading out at -2.3 and -1.8 according to Pro Football Focus.
4) Will Vernon Davis and Eric Reid be ready to go? - Yes.
Both Davis and Reid played and had key roles in the performance of their respective units. Davis ended up with 33 yards and 1 touchdown on 4 receptions. He was targeted 5 times in the game.
Reid finished the day tied for 2nd in tackles with 6 and also had 1 pass defensed to his credit.
5) How will the 49ers defense handle Jimmy Graham? - Decent.
Graham was held to 41 yards on 6 catches despite being targeted 11 times, the most of any Saints player. Unfortunately for the 49ers, 21 of those yards came on 2 key catches during the Saints final possession.
Saints 23 49ers 16
Going with New Orleans in what will be a tight game throughout this week. I know the 49ers were able to beat the Saints down in the dome last season, but that was against a team playing without its leader and even with that it took 2 interceptions being returned for touchdowns to provide the margin of victory.
I like being right as much as the next guy, but this one really stung. Despite not playing very well all day offensively the 49ers had themselves in position to steal a huge win in New Orleans. Instead, as has been the case all too often this season, no one on the offensive side of the ball could step up and make a play in the fourth quarter.
Despite a tremendous amount of hand wringing by the fan base, if the Patriots win tonight's game in Carolina the 49ers will find themselves tied for the 3rd best record in the conference and only 2 teams remaining on their schedule with winning records, one of which they have already defeated.