Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 45, Bills 3

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Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 45, Bills 3

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the honor of throwing out the first pitch prior to the San Francisco Giants' playoff game Saturday night against the Cincinnati Reds, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was off the mark.He climbed atop the mound at AT&T Park and promptly delivered a pitch that was outside the strike zone and in the dirt. It was met with many groans from the sold-out crowd.Apparently, he was saving his strikes for Sunday.MAIOCCO: Alex Smith opens with best half of his career
Smith had the best regular-season game of his career in a 38-3 victory over the overmatched Buffalo Bills at Candlestick Park.Smith completed 18 of 24 pass attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns. It's the first time in eight NFL seasons that Smith has thrown for 300 yards or more in a 49ers victory.His passer rating was a perfect 158.3 -- the first time he has ever achieved that mark. The 49ers improved to 13-0 in Smith's career when his passer rating was over 100.Smith threw a touchdown pass of 43 yards to Kyle Williams in the second quarter. He ended the first half with a 28-yard touchdown strike to Michael Crabtree. And early in the fourth quarter, he hit Mario Manningham for a 10-yard touchdown in the rout over the Bills (2-3).In the first half alone, Smith completed 12 of 15 passes for 237 yards. His 28-yard scoring strike to Crabtree with 24 seconds remaining gave the 49ers a 17-3 lead at halftime.That play came after Bills coach Chan Gailey decided against running out the clock at the end of the half. The Bills took over after Colin Kaepernick's fumble with :49 remaining in the half.But the Bills got greedy. Linebacker Patrick Willis forced a fumble of tight end Scott Chandler. Safety Dashon Goldson recovered, and the 49ers had the ball at the Buffalo 28-yard line.Smith hit Crabtree on a corner route on the next play.Crabtree finished the first half with five receptions for 103 yards. It was his first touchdown catch of the season. Another 41-yard reception was nullified by Frank Gore's chop-block penalty.The 49ers scored their first touchdown on Smith's 43-yard pass to Kyle Williams early in the second quarter.Anthony Dixon's three-yard touchdown run with 1:11 remaining gave the 49ers a 45-3 lead.
PROLIFIC OFFENSE: In addition to Smith and Crabtree's production, the 49ers also received a 106-yard day rushing by Gore on 14 carries, and 106 yards receiving on five receptions from tight end Vernon Davis.It was the first time the 49ers have had a 100-yard rusher, two 100-yard receivers and a 300-yard passer in the same game since Nov. 19, 1961 against the Chicago Bears. John Brodie threw for 322 yards; C.R. Roberts rushed for 107 yards; and Aaron Thomas (131) and R.C. Owens (107) both had more than 100 yards receiving.It was the first time the 49ers had a 100-yard rusher, just one 100-yard receiver and 300-yard passer in the same game since Charlie Garner, Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia did it Oct. 8, 2000 vs. the Raiders.KAEPERNICK CONTRIBUTION: Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a few more wrinkles added for him in the 49ers' offense. Kaepernick was in on a handful of plays. On his first snap, he lined up wide and retreated into the backfield as a decoy as Gore gained 7 yards.Late in the first half, Kaepernick fumbled the ball to the Bills at the end of a 6-yard run. In the third quarter, Kaepernick gained 15 yards to the Bills' 1-yard line to set up a touchdown that gave the 49ers a 24-7 lead.Kaepernick took over for Smith at quarterback with 10 minutes left in the game. On his first snap after taking over he scored on a 16-yard run to make the score 38-3.CULLY IN THE HOUSE: Third cornerback Chris Culliver played nearly every snap as the 49ers employed their nickel defense against the Bills, who typically play three receivers.Culliver entered the game in pass coverage for 121 snaps through four games, according to Pro Football Focus, and allowed only four catches for 30 yards. Culliver has a 42.4 passer rating against him when targeted. That rating dropped some more when Culliver hauled in an interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the third quarter. It was Culliver's second career interception.JACOBS SITS: Veteran running back Brandon Jacobs is healthy. He went through a full week of practice to get prepared for Sunday's game, but the 49ers coaching staff did not declare him one of the 46 active players.Jacobs, whom the 49ers signed in the offseason to a one-year, 1.575 million contract, was envisioned as the team's short-yardage back. But he did not suit up because he has no role on special teams.Perhaps the 49ers could've used him in the first quarter. With a second-and-goal situation on the Bills' 1-yard line, Gore was stuffed on consecutive run plays with the 49ers jumbo package in front of him. The 49ers settled for David Akers' 19-yard field goal.In the third quarter with the same personnel grouping that included Leonard Davis, Daniel Kilgore and Will Tukuafu, Gore scored on a 1-yard run to give the 49ers a 24-3 lead.AKERS TIES RECORD: Akers has kicked at least one field goal in every regular-season game in which he has played with the 49ers. The 21-game streak ties a 49ers record set by Bruce Gossett from 1970 to '72. . . The 49ers had a nice two games against the AFC East. A week ago, the 49ers beat the New York Jets 34-0.

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.”