49ers Easily Defeat Titans

Once again, what a game! The 49ers move to 5-2 with this win, and they have now built an impressive three game winning streak. Everyone played well today, from the offense to the defense to the special teams, and today’s game was really special. Going into the fourth quarter, the 49ers had a 24-0 shutout going led by multiple rushing touchdowns. They slipped in the fourth quarter and allowed 10 straight points, and 17 total, making the score look a lot closer, at 31-17, than the game really was. In simplest terms, this was a blowout with a small choke at the end, but that doesn’t show the great play by everyone. Special teams scored touchdowns, Frank Gore banged in two TDs, Anquan Boldin made an awe-striking, effortless one-handed catch, and Colin Kaepernick had his first rushing TD of the season as he finally put his legs to work.

Starting with the passing game, Kaepernick did well today, going 13 of 21 for 199 yards. He did not have a touchdown, and he barely missed the 200 yard mark, but he still had a very good game, making some great pin-point passes to Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin. In addition he was the second leading rusher with 68 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. As mentioned before, this was the first game where he really used the read option, and some designed running plays to great success partially because the Titans are the first team the Niners have faced who run a 4-3 base formation. He looked stellar on his runs, picking up great blocks and making great cuts especially on his 20 yard touchdown run. Anquan Boldin was the leading receiver with some acrobatic and spectacular catches, though he was held out of the end zone once again. He had 74 yards on five receptions and six targets, making some crazy catches to convert almost all of his targets, including a one-handed catch, a diving catch, and one where he pulled the ball right out of the defender’s hands. He has been a great addition this year, and hopefully he can become even more featured in the offense besides fellow receiver/tight end Vernon Davis and star running back Frank Gore. After Davis’s monster outing to the tune of 180 yards and 2 TD last week, he had a relatively quiet outing of 62 yards on four receptions on eight targets, still a respectable total. He looked great again today making some long, drive-saving catches.

On to the rushing game, Frank Gore saw a large majority of the looks and he was very good with them rushing for 70 hard fought yards on 24 carries. He also reached payday twice today with two great goal-line, one-yard touchdowns. He is truly the man who doesn’t age as he is still out there churning up big chunks of yardage at 30 years old. He looked great once again today as he was featured in the 49ers’ classic power rushing offense.

The defense was strong again today, containing Titans’ running back Chris Johnson very well except for one long catch in the fourth quarter. They shutout the Titans for the first three quarters, a huge feat, and in doing so, they forced multiple turnovers. Tramaine had his third interception in three games in the second quarter today, and he is really turning into a dangerous cornerback, jumping routes and snagging picks. They also had three sacks on quarterback Jake Locker, two of which were by Justin Smith. Lately, he hasn’t been producing much sustaining an injury and lacking his running mate Aldon Smith, but he showed today that he’s still one of the best rushers in the game. The 49ers defense played so well today that coach Jim Harbaugh even put in the reserves for half of the third quarter. However, they choked in the fourth quarter, allowing multiple big plays, but they still had an amazing game.

The special teams had a field day today with huge stops, booming punts, touchdowns, and field goals. Kicker Phil Dawson hit his lone 44 yard field goal in the first quarter, and the three extra points after. Andy Lee punted amazingly as usual, forcing the Titans to start their drives with awful field position. On a side note, Andy Lee was only brought out to punt once in the first half, then five times in the second as eh 49ers began to play more conservatively. On the other side of special teams, one of the many special teams aces Darryl Morris delivered a huge hit onto the Titans’ punt returner Darius Reynaud, causing him to muff the punt into the endzone where Kassim Osgood recovered it for a huge momentum shifting touchdown in the 4th quarter. They also successfully recovered Tennessee’s attempt at an onside kick. Hopefully special teams can keep up this great play for the 49ers.

This was a great game, and MVP goes to the always amazing star running back, Frank Gore, for his great day rushing, including two touchdowns. Hopefully the 49ers can continue to play this way for their long road trip that included a game against the 0-7 Jacksonville Jaguars in London, England next week. The 49ers were great today, and hopefully they can catch up to the division leading 6-1 Seattle Seahawks soon. Once again, great game to the 49ers; there were lots of pluses today including Brock, Gore, Kaepernick, Boldin, Davis, and the rest of the team. Almost everybody played great, and the 49ers should carry this momentum into next week’s highly winnable game.

-Apurv Baichwal

Cover Image: By Mike Morbeck (Flickr: Frank Gore) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons