The San Francisco 49ers came away with a victory as they started their extended road trip. They beat the Titans 31 to 17. This was the fourth straight win for the 49ers. The game was another one in which the 49ers stuck to their formula for success: run the ball well, win field position battle, create turnovers and turn them to points.
Colin Kaepernick dusted off the quarterback keeper part of the read option as he rushed for 68 yards. He looked like his old self, especially on a 20 yard touchdown scamper. He was asked what made them bring out the read option against the Titans. Kaepernick replied; “It’s going to depend on what the defense is doing. They were giving us that opportunity with the looks that they were given us. It’s just another part of the offense. I’m very confident in what we are doing.”
There was zero hesitation by Kaepernick when he was running. He gained a first down scrambling also. It was on third and 11. The defense didn’t touch him until 20 yards later when he was pushed out of bounds by Cody Sensabaugh.
Kaepernick also showed how much he trusts Anquan Boldin when he looked his way on a few throws in which he was covered. Boldin made three sensational catches in the first quarter. Kaepernick spoke about what that means to him when he said; “It’s huge when your players go out and make plays for you. The offense starts rolling when they’re doing that.” He and Vernon Davis continue to be the primary targets for Kaepernick. Boldin had five catches for 74 and Davis had four catches for 62 yards. They accounted for nine of Kaepernick’s 13 completions.
Frank Gore scored two touchdowns and rushed for 70 yards on 24 carries. Kendall Hunter couldn’t get going against the Titans defense. He was bottled up on a few inside runs. Lamichael James was inactive for this game. All together, the 49ers gained 153 yards on the ground. They were averaging 143.3 yards per game coming into this game.
Delanie Walker said that Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman nor Donte Whitner could cover him. He said that he wanted to make the 49ers pay for not signing him. Walker’s impact was minimal. He had three catches for 52 yards including a 26 yard touchdown in mop up time. Willis was upset with rookie safety Eric Reid after the Walker touchdown. It looked as if Reid could have made a play on the ball but pulled back.
Willis and Bowman continued to shine against the run. Bowman had five tackles while Willis led the 49ers with eight. The Titans were only able to gain 70 yards rushing. The 49ers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first half which caused the Titans to abandon the run. They only ran the ball a total of 13 times. Chris Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
The 49ers had a 50% conversion rate on third down. They were 8/18 in third down situations. All together, they had 19 first downs.
Eric Reid and Donte Whitner suffered minor injuries during the game. Reid returned and laid a hard hit on Kendall Wright in the fourth quarter. Whitner sat out the rest of the game and was replaced by C.J. Spillman.
The 49ers only committed five penalties which cost them 42 yards. One of the penalties was a pass interference call on Tarrell Brown when he was covering Kenny Britt on a go route. It set up the touchdown by Delanie Walker.
Kyle Williams continued his barrage of fair catches on punt returns. For some reason, he seems to be quick to call for a fair catch. It may be a directive from his coaches. He did catch the ball well on punt returns in traffic at least.
Quinton Dial saw his first action as a professional. He played a few snaps early in the game. The 49ers wasted no time getting him involved after he was activated this week.
The 49ers coverage units continued to play extremely well. They smothered the Titans return unit. Darryl Morris caused a muffed punt that was recovered for a touchdown by Kasim Osgood. It was the first touchdown by a special teams player since Scott McKillop recovered a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams in 2009.
Justin Smith had two sacks today. The first one was a highlight in which he simply overpowered left tackle Michael Roos. Ahmad Brooks also had a sack in which he chased Jake Locker down from the backside.
Tramaine Brock continued his stellar play as he had an interception. He is making a strong case for the 49ers to resign him at some point in the near future.
This was another signature 49er victory. They excelled at all facets of the game. They will look to carry their momentum to London for their next game against the Jaguars. The 49ers are considered the “home team” in this game. They flew directly to London from Tennessee after the game.