49ers review: Offensive player-by-player


49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

Just think, for the first 56 minutes on Saturday, the 49ers managed 237 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.In the final four minutes -- tense, critical minutes -- the Alex Smith-led offense rolled up 170 yards and two touchdowns to enable the 49ers to go marching into the NFC Championship Game with a 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints.There's so much to rehash from this game, but let's focus on the two scoring plays.
Third-and-8, New Orleans 28, 2:18 remaining: The play is called "QB-9" or "QB-Whack." The whack was courtesy of 5-foot-10, 186-pound receiver Kyle Williams, who took out 6-3, 282-pound defensive end Will Smith with a crack-back block. (More on Williams' block in his recap.) Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams guessed wrong. He stacked the 49ers' right side. He brought five pass-rushers off that side. Alex Smith ran away from the blitz. Kyle Williams' block was key. Alex Smith then beat defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, tied up initially by center Jonathan Goodwin, to the left sideline. Michael Crabtree worked cornerback Tracy Porter inside and blocked him from Smith. Left tackle Joe Staley made the most athletic play, as he got in front and chopped down safety Isa Abdul-Quddus at the 19-yard line. "Joe told us in the locker room, 'Wait 'til you see my block on film," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "It was a tremendous block, the stride, the beauty of the arm action, the leg cycle, the speed." And it led to Smith racing untouched for a 28-yard touchdown, giving the 49ers a short-lived 29-24 lead.Third-and-4, New Orleans 14, 0:14 remaining: Quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst installed this play specifically for this purpose -- to expose a Saints tendency. Tight end Vernon Davis lined up in the left slot and his entire goal was to remain in front of safety Roman Harper, lined up 2 yards deep in the end zone. Second tight end Justin Peelle lined up just outside of Davis and ran a 5-yard hitch. His action distracted linebacker Scott Shanle just enough to create the opening through which Smith drilled in his pass to Davis. The pass was perfect and Davis held on despite Harper's hit, which came a split-second too late. Pass protection was not an issue, as Smith took a three-step drop after receiving the shotgun snap. The Saints rushed only three men on this play. The 14-yard Smith-to-Davis touchdown provided the winning points with nine seconds remaining.Here is the entire offensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 36-32 victory over the New Orleans on Saturday in the NFC divisional round game at Candlestick Park:Quarterback
3-Scott Tolzien: Inactive (coaches' decision).
7-Colin Kaepernick: Did not play. (Follow on Twitter @Kaepernick7)
11-Alex Smith: Not sure what else can be written. Smith got the 49ers rolling with TD passes of 49 yards to Vernon Davis, beating the blitz, and 4 yards to Michael Crabtree on a third-down play. But in the second and third quarters, the 49ers offense fell flat. Smith completed just 10 of 20 passes for 82 yards. He was sacked three times, losing a fumble on one of them. But the late-fourth quarter was astounding. Smith finished the game with 299 yards passing -- the most he has ever thrown in a 49ers victory in his career. He had three touchdowns throwing and one running. He led the 49ers down the field twice in the final four minutes to cap a game that will be talked about for generations.Running backs
21-Frank Gore: Started at running back, and came through with an outstanding all-around game, though he was not counted upon to run the ball as many times as most had expected. Gore rushed for 89 yards on 13 carries. He also picked a good time to become a factor as a target in the pass game. Gore caught three passes for 24 yards on the decisive drive. He was challenged often in pass protection, too. He picked up defensive lineman Will Smith on play in which Smith hit Crabtree for a 4-yard touchdown in first quarter. And he alertly recovered an Alex Smith fumble when the ball was jarred loose by safety Roman Harper, who was unblocked on the play.
24-Anthony Dixon: He played one snap from scrimmage, and on a second-and-6 play from the New Orleans 18 in the third fourth quarter, he was stopped for no gain. Dixon saw his usual healthy dose of action on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @Boobie24Dixon)
32-Kendall Hunter: He played eight snaps from scrimmage. When he was on the field, the 49ers made sure it was to run the football and avoid the many responsibilities of pass protection. Hunter gained 23 yards on six carries. He also had one kickoff return for 25 yards. (Follow on Twitter @KendallHunter32)
44-Moran Norris: Suited up for the game as Bruce Miller's backup but did not play.
49-Bruce Miller: He played 21 of the 49ers' 68 offensive snaps. Miller caught a 16-yard pass in the third quarter. He picked up rushing defensive end Cameron Jordan on 37-yard pass play to Vernon Davis late in fourth quarter. He also had an assisted tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @bmiller_49)
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Played four snaps of offense as an extra blocker as part of the 49ers' power-running package.Wide receivers
10-Kyle Williams: He played 48 plays from scrimmage and caught two passes for 12 yards. More important, he delivered a fantastic block on Will Smith to help Alex Smith get to the edge on a 28-yard TD run. It was a similar play to which Williams leveled Saints defensive lineman Turk McBride in the exhibition season. This time, coaches were reluctant to have Williams execute the play after he missed the season finale with a concussion. In fact, for the past two weeks of practices, Williams wore a black non-contact jersey. "We were working other people on it, and I told them I wanted to do it," Williams said. "Just because I knew I could get it done. Coming off the concussion, I don't know that they wanted me to do it at first. But I told them I wanted it." Williams returned one punt for 6 yards, and had a kickoff return for 20 yards. (Follow on Twitter @KyleWilliams_10)
13-Joe Hastings: Inactive (coaches' decision).
15-Michael Crabtree: Started at played 56 plays in the game. He caught four passes for 25 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown on a quick slant in the first quarter. He made a crucial block on Alex Smith's TD run. He had one flat-out drop and did not secure catches on two other passes that hit his hands. (Follow on Twitter @KingCrab15)
18-Brett Swain: He played 17 snaps from scrimmage as the No. 3 receiver after Ginn's injury. Swain had one chance to be a hero, as Smith attempted a deep pass to him on the final drive. Swain, working against cornerback Jabari Greer, had this pass elude his right fingertips.
19-Ted Ginn: Ginn sustained a right knee injury late in the second quarter when he fell hard after being shoved legally by linebacker Martez Wilson within the 5-yard zone. He left the game for the next two possessions. Ginn returned to the lineup and ran a fly sweep for 3 yards. He was also called for pass interference for an illegal pick. After breaking the huddle after that play, he went to the ground and did not return to action. Ginn played 22 snaps, and caught one pass for 11 yards. He averaged 11.5 yards on two punt returns.Tight ends
46-Delanie Walker: Inactive (fractured jaw), but might be available to play Sunday against the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. (Follow on Twitter @Dwalk46)
81-Justin Peelle: Played 23 snaps as the 49ers' No. 2 tight end. He was on the field as starter, as the 49ers opened in a two-TE formation. Peelle had one catch for 4 yards. Made block on linebacker Scott Shanle to help Gore pick up 15 yards on a first-quarter toss play.
85-Vernon Davis: Started at tight end and played every offensive snap. And, simply, he had the best game of his career with seven receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 49-yard touchdown on which the 49ers beat the blitz. Of course, he also made the game-winning 14-yard touchdown grab with nine seconds remaining. He had a 47-yard catch that set up the final score. And he had a 37-yard catch on the previous drive, which ended with Smith's TD run. Both times, Davis beat the man coverage of Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. He also fared well in other areas, supplying a good block Will Smith to allow Hunter to pick up 9 yards. (Follow on Twitter @VernonDavis85)
94-Justin Smith: Entered the game for four snaps of offense -- his first snaps of offense in his career. Smith delivered a block on left defensive end Cameron Jordan to help Gore pick up 5 yards and a first down on the second play of the game. "You go out there and run into your guy," Smith said. "It's not the most complicated thing. They dummied it down, so I don't have to learn a whole lot."Offensive linemen
59-Jonathan Goodwin: Started at center, but left the game for one series due to a left lower leg injury. When he returned, he had a strong second half. Played a major role in getting the 49ers' protection in order against the Saints' blitzes. On the game-winning TD, Goodwin was locked up one-on-one against Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis to allow a clean pocket from which Alex Smith threw. (Follow on Twitter @Jgoody59)
62-Chilo Rachal: He played special teams, and also saw six snaps from scrimmage at right guard when Goodwin was out of the game.
67-Daniel Kilgore: Inactive (coaches' decision). (Follow on Twitter @DanielKilgore67)
68-Adam Snyder: Started at right guard and also played six snaps at center when Goodwin was injured. He took Saints defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin out of the play to open hole for Gore's 42-yard run in fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @ASnyds68)
74-Joe Staley: Started at left tackle, had a very strong game in pass protection and as a run-blocker. Of course, he made the huge block on Smith's TD run (see above). He also made block on cornerback Tracy Porter on play Hunter gained 9 yards on a pitch. Staley was one-on-one against Will Smith on the Vernon Davis touchdown catch. (Follow on Twitter @jstaley74)
75-Alex Boone: Entered the game five as an extra blocker.
76-Anthony Davis: Started at right tackle and played every snap. He had a solid game in run-blocking and pass protection. Davis was one-on-one against defensive end Junior Galette on the Vernon Davis touchdown catch. (Follow on Twitter @AnthonyDavis76)
77-Mike Iupati: Started at left guard and played every snap. . . . Powered Jonathan Vilma back more than 5 yards on play in which Gore gained 9 yards in the second quarter. He also had a big block on Vilma to help spring Gore on a 42-yard run.
78-Mike Person: Inactive (coaches' decision).

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”