621 yards of offense power historical win.
When you think of the modern day San Francisco 49ers, tough defense is usually what comes to mind. The secondary is still holding true to its reputation, but there’s a new force in town: the entire offensive unit.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman, deemed an “evil genius” by right guard Alex Boone, has been successful throwing off defenses and utilizing almost his entire arsenal of a depth chart. This balanced attack highlighted the 45-3 defeat over the Buffalo Bills in the Week 5 matchup at Candlestick Park.
I’ll let the stats speak for themselves:
- 621 total yards of offense (49ers franchise record)
- 310 passing yards and 311 rushing yards (first in NFL history)
- 300+ yard passer (Alex Smith), two 100+ yard receivers (Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis), and 100+ yard rusher (Frank Gore) (franchise first since 1961)
- Six different players scored TDs (3 rushing, 3 receiving)
- 4 for 5 in the red zone
- Since the Week 3 Minnesota mishap, the 49ers have outscored their opponents 79-3
Smith (18/24, 303 yards, 3 TD) avoided sacks and interceptions in his third career game throwing for over 300 yards. Each week he is giving concrete evidence to quiet his naysayers – especially throwing downfield several times for 36, 43, and 53 yard gains. Smith noted that the margin of victory “could have been worse” – at the expense of the Bills – regarding the 7 penalties on the red and gold for 53 yards that nullified some big gains. Smith was comfortable in the pocket with the offensive line giving him plenty of time to make big plays.
The QB himself rushed for 49 of the team’s 311 yards on the ground, with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter respectively contributing 106 and 81 yards. The “WildKap” option contributed a TD via Colin Kaepernick, but only after costing them a red zone fumble.
Smith ended the game with a sprained middle finger on his throwing hand – obviously not a good situation, but so far does not seem to bother him too much. For the guy who was referred to being “as tough as a two dollar steak” earlier in the season by his head coach, it is likely that this injury won’t be a concern come Sunday.
The 49ers defense was near perfect, not allowing a pass over 20 yards or touchdowns of any kind. The lone interception came from Chris Culliver, and Ahmad Brooks registered a sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Patrick Willis forced a fumble on Scott Chandler – recovered by Dashon Goldson – that came in a time of need after Colin Kapernick’s red zone fumble off of the WildKap. The team bailed out Kaepernick by turning this fumble into a touchdown in just one play, a 28 toss to Crabtree as he recorded his first TD of the season.
The 49ers continue their homestand next week as the New York Giants travel to the city by the bay looking to improve their 3-2 record. The Giants, coming off of yet another come-from-behind win – this week against the Cleveland Browns – have shown opposing teams at least one thing this season: do not get comfortable with a lead, of ANY amount.
But the 49ers hardly need any motivation to go all out for this upcoming game: a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship title game, which – I hate to say it like this – slipped out of their hands in overtime. Offseason personnel changes will also make the game interesting – most notably former Giants Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs facing their former defending SuperBowl Champion teammates. Jacobs, who has been out since a preseason knee injury, is healthy and could potentially be activated come Sunday.
Kyle Williams, the target of Bay Area angst after the two overtime fumbles last January, had his first TD reception of the season against Buffalo and has registered no fumbles thus far.
New York’s Eli Manning has already thrown for 1,579 yards in 5 games and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 200 yards against Cleveland. The 49ers defense will be put to the test after holding their previous two opponents to only 3 points. Now tied at the top of the NFC West with the Cardinals at 4-1, and the Rams and Seahawks not far behind, each win is even more crucial down this middle stretch of the season. A win against the Giants prolific (albeit slow-to-start) offense would solidify the 49ers with a top spot in the NFC.