49ers-Bengals matchups to watch

September 23, 2011, 11:54 pm
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WRJosh Morgan vs. CB Nate ClementsTale of the tape
Morgan: 6-1, 215, Virginia Tech, 4th season
Clements: 6-0, 200, Ohio State, 11th seasonMorgan takes pride in being an all-around receiver, catching passes and delivering blocks in the run game. Clements has lost a step through the years, but his ability to step up in run support is one of the strengths of his game.The 49ers released Clements after the lockout lifted because of his exorbitant contract. It did not take him long to land with the Bengals. Of course, Morgan and Clements know all about one another."We practiced good against him, so hopefully it will roll over into the game," Morgan said. "You know from practicing against him all his little tricks and that's what makes him a good corner because everybody don't know that, everybody's not always ready."The 49ers believe Clements is such an aggressive cornerback that it makes him susceptible to double moves. Clements will get a chance to match up against each of the 49ers' wideouts at some point."My impression is the same as it was before -- a young, talented receiver corps that definitely has what it takes to have potential stars in this league," Clements said. "They definitely have speed, talent, size. I had a chance to face those guys every day in practice, so my perception has not changed."FS Dashon Goldson vs. QB Andy DaltonTale of the tape
Goldson: 6-2, 200, Washington, 5th season
Dalton: 6-2, 220, TCU, RookieGoldson will see his first action of the season after returning from a knee injury. His job will be to provide some plays for a secondary that ranks 25th in pass defense, allowing 291 yards per game through the air.Goldson certainly has something to prove, as he came back to the 49ers this offseason on a one-year, 2 million contract. With strong safety Donte Whitner playing closer to the line of scrimmage, Goldson will be responsible for providing deep coverage.Dalton has been phenomenal in the first two games, completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 413 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions."He's very efficient," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "He's got a really good understanding of the game. Gets the ball out of his hands quickly. He's an accurate passer. I don't think the aura of playing in the NFL has affected him like it kind of affects some rookies at times."Fellow rookie A.J. Green provides a deep threat with 11 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns.TE Vernon Davis vs. OLB Manny LawsonTale of the tape
Davis: 6-3, 250, Maryland, 6th season
Lawson: 6-5, 240, North Carolina State, 6th seasonThey broke into the NFL together as fellow first-round draft picks of the 49ers in 2006. They played against each other in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They went up against each other a lot as teammates. And, now, they square off for the first time as opponents in an NFL game.Especially with receiver Braylon Edwards out of the lineup, Davis is the 49ers' top threat in the passing game. He expressed disappointment after the game Sunday that the 49ers' offense has not gotten all of their playmakers involved.Davis is the team's top receiver, though his stat line of seven receptions for 65 yards is not the least-bit imposing. Davis is a player the offense must feature with their passing attack.The 49ers selected Lawson to be a pass-rusher. But he developed into a better player in coverage. The 49ers made no attempt to re-sign him in free agency, and he settled for a one-year deal from the Bengals. In his first two games, Lawson has nine tackles and two pass-breakups.RDE Justin Smith vs. LT Andrew WhitworthTale of the tape
Smith: 6-4, 285, Missouri, 11th season
Whitworth: 6-7, 335, LSU, 6th seasonSmith is one of the stalwarts of a 49ers defense that has a league-best streak of 24 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. The 49ers' run defense allowed just 2.48 yards a carry in the first two games of the season to lead the NFL.Smith is a big part of the 49ers' defense, both in stopping the run and rushing the passer. He has 15 tackles and two sacks. And, of course, he'll be going up against his former team for the first time."I know his style and his attitude," Whitworth told Bengals.com. "I practiced against him for two years. He's like he was when he was here: a power rusher. They play almost identical to Pittsburgh. They don't move around as much, but they're fast and physical with good players inside and outside. It's pretty close to what we see in the AFC North and their three down linemen set the tone for them."