49ers Fly Over Jets

Red and gold get redemption with a week 4 shutout victory.

There are few things I love more in sports than shutouts.  Shutouts are one of the best ways to prove dominance, alleviate pressure from your offense, and terrify upcoming opponents.  Shutouts on the road can completely ruin the opposing team’s confidence and “our house” mentality.

Week 4 brought us the 49ers shutting out the Jets 34-0 in East Rutherford, NJ, reasserting their spot among the league’s best.  The much needed win came after the team hit a speed bump in Minnesota last week, and the 49ers came back with a vengeance.

Putting Mistakes in the Past

The week 4 victory was truly a team effort, fueled by the relentless secondary and rushing game that were lacking in Minnesota.  Two sacks by Aldon Smith, an interception by Patrick Willis, and Carlos Rogers cashing in a fumble recovery for a TD helped hold the Jets scoreless, out of the red zone, and to only 145 total yards on the game.  In true 49ers fashion, only 45 of those yards allowed were on the ground.  Special teams also pulled their weight blocking a punt in the 4th quarter, setting up Kendall Hunter for a score.  Four turnovers led the Jets to earn only 9 first downs on the day, while San Francisco crossed the yellow line 26 times.

I basked in fantasy football glory thanks to the 49ers defense and special teams.  Tom Brady (340 yards, 3 TD) helped a little too.

Frank Gore was Frank Gore, leading the rushing attack with 62 yards on 21 carries.  But this was only a small part of the team’s 245 total rushing yards, as Gore, Hunter, and Colin Kaepernick all found the end zone.  Jim Harbaugh poetically threw Kaepernick in the mix in the first quarter – maybe to show Rex Ryan how it’s really done with 2 QBs – and scored the first TD of the game with the “WildKap” offense (thank you, Cam Inman).  To those starting rumors of a QB controversy in SF: stop.  This isn’t a Sanchez-Tebow trainwreck.  Alex Smith is clearly the starting guy, but it is good to see Kaepernick get in the game, throw off defenses, and make some smart plays.

Smith (12/21, 143 yards) didn’t drop jaws in Jersey.  Though he was sacked two plays in a row, he was able to avoid any fumbles and interceptions.  Mario Manningham caught 3 of his 5 targets for 47 yards.

Teee-bow!  Teee-bow!  Teee-bow!

The poor Jets.  Mark Sanchez (13/29, 103 yards, 1 INT) could hardly get the men in green down the field and lost his best receiver, Santonio Holmes, to a foot injury in the opening drive of the 4th quarter.  The quarterback controversy is getting worse with Sanchez’s poor numbers and fed up fans, Derrelle Revis is most likely out for the whole season, and the Jets host the top-ranked Houston Texans next week.  Will the wildcat ever work for them?  Can Tebow be the starting QB savior (pun 50% intended) that the team needs?  Rex Ryan confirms that Sanchez is still their guy, but it is unclear if and when changes will be made.  What is clear though, is that is isn’t working so far.

Carrying Momentum

Maybe it was the air in Youngstown, Ohio all week, maybe it was the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of the Vikings, or maybe it was just an awfully lopsided personnel matchup.  Whatever spark ignited this shutout victory, the 49ers need to keep the fire going for their next 3-week homestand against the Bills, Giants, and Seahawks.

The Bills are coming off of a bad loss to the Patriots after leading them 14-7 at the half.  Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 4 TDs, but also 4 picks.  CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are both coming off of injuries, however look for these two to get a lot of carries after a full week of practice and recovery.  The 49ers defense needs to shut down the run again and continue to execute a balanced offensive attack to win this matchup and look to improve to 4-1.  These next three games will be good preparation for the most important game in the first half of the season: 49ers @ Arizona in Week 8.  Mark your calendars: things will get wild in the NFC West.

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