The San Francisco 49ers continued their winning ways as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14. The passing game was very effective for the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick was able to deliver some very accurate passes and he connected with Vernon Davis for a 52 yard touchdown strike.
The 49ers got a contribution from their three best options at wide receiver. Vernon Davis led the team with 79 receiving yards. Michael Crabtree also contributed with a touchdown. Crabtree is becoming a very effective boundary receiver. He has sure hands and his body control allows him to consistently make highlight reel catches while staying in bounds. This is something that Kaepernick was missing when Crabtree was injured.
Anquan Boldin continues to show how strong of a receiver he is as well. Boldin didn’t have a very productive day stat wise but he did make some amazing plays that resulted in first downs. He is becoming a safety net for Kaepernick in third down situations. On one play, Boldin caught the ball across the middle and broke a tackle attempt by Darrelle Revis as he muscled his way to the first down marker.
The 49ers also began to use the bunch formation that I have been waiting to see. This time they ran it out of trips. Boldin lined up furthest inside at the wing position off of the line of scrimmage. Davis is on the line while Crabtree is outside of Davis and off the line. This formation allows the receivers to get a free release almost every time. Boldin runs a spacing route by releasing to the flat and then cutting back inside while Vernon runs a clear out. Crabtree runs the slant. This was a play that they used on third down and Crabtree was wide open on the slant. Boldin ended up getting the ball as he made a one hand catch for the first down.
The other thing that the 49ers did was stay with the running game. Kendall Hunter averaged five yards on eight carries. Frank Gore ran the ball 22 times. He was struggling to get yardage inside the tackles but the 49ers kept pounding the ball. Staying with the run allowed the 49ers to do what they do best which is pass off of play action.
The 49ers saw early that Vernon Davis is surely capable of running by Mark Barron. Greg Roman called a play action pass in which Davis ran a post. Kaepernick unleashed a beautiful strike that Davis ran under for a 52 yard touchdown. This is the most dangerous aspect of the 49ers passing game.Jim Harbaugh described the catch. “It was a heck of a throw. The way Vernon extended and ran that ball down, it looked like Willie Mays running a long fly ball in centerfield. Just tracked it down with his feet and his eyes and extended to make a big time play.”
The 49ers played a good game defensively as well. Aldon Smith was able to register two sacks on the day. He was setting Donald Penn up well on his pass rush. His speed and athleticism was too much for Penn. Smith would start outside and use a swim move to beat Penn as he slanted back inside towards the quarterback. Smith also showed his bull rush capability when he walked Demar Dotson back to the quarterback and stayed with the play to get his second sack. He was able to consistently get pressure on Mike Glennon and force him to rush his throws.
The Bucs had trouble getting anything going on offense for most of the game. They did have a nice scoring drive to end the first half. For some reason, the 49ers defensive backs don’t use press coverage. Glennon was able to work his way downfield by connecting with his receivers for 8 – 10 yards per clip. He then connected with Vincent Jackson for a 16 yard touchdown on Tarell Brown. The other score came on a blown coverage between Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner.
The 49ers held the Bucs to a 10% third down conversion rate. They were only able to get one first down out of their ten third down attempts.
The Bucs were only able to get 183 total yards. They got 39 yards rushing and 144 yards passing.
The 49ers dominated in time of possession. They had the ball 39:50 while the Bucs only had the ball 20:10.
Phil Dawson has now been successful on 24 straight field goal attempts.
Michael Crabtree will receive an x ray on his hand and Bruce Miller will also have an MRI on his shoulder.
Dashon Goldson and his former teammates exchanged greetings multiple times during timeouts and commercial breaks. Goldson had four tackles on the day. He also had a nice pass break up on a pass intended to Anquan Boldin late in the game.
Eric Reid stopped the Bucs last drive with an interception in which he deflected the ball to himself. After the game, he and Dashon Goldson talked for a while.