Whatever the actual impact of Mike Singletary's outburst, I think San Francisco has regained their footing and can make a run at decent. The team has collected linebacker talent and a simple move to a 3-4 did wonders for their rush defense. Manny Lawson had two tackles for a loss, a quarterback hurry and a sack. A stepped up pass rush can make up some for a shoddy secondary. Should a real GM ever sign on, one who can fill out the Niner's impressive list of impact players with above average role players, San Francisco has the fundamentals of a good defense and a competent offense.
Walter Jones Dominated by-Roderick Green?
It's amazing how good Walter Jones still is. Amazing. He's arguably a top five left tackle. And it might be beating a dead horse, but his one weakness is edge rush. For the first time, I saw a defense really attempt to exploit it. Twice, San Francisco matched pass rushing specialist Roderick Green against Jones, and twice, Green shifted wide setting up a bald-faced edge rush. The first, on the first play of Seattle's second drive, worked without a hitch. Green shot past Jones, cut inside and forced a hurried, nearly-intercepted pass targeting Jordan Kent. The second, and I believe Green's second appearance in the game, was countered with a John Carlson chip. Mark it down because it's meaningful: Mike Holmgren protected his one-day Hall of Fame left tackle.
Bryant = Beastly
That's the note beside the second play of San Francisco's third drive. Bryant ran left guard David Baas laterally right, keeping Baas out of his body and tackling Frank Gore for no gain. It was shades of Marcus Tubbs.
Seattle's Future Left Guard
I advocated Seattle signing Mike Wahle. I think Seattle has a fine offensive line. And this offseason, with a pick likely in the low teens, I hope Seattle drafts a replacement left guard. I assume Robs Sims will supplant Floyd Womack, so right is stable. Womack, escaping the eye of many, makes mistakes every game. On Seattle's first play of their last offensive drive of the first half, Womack perplexingly blocked in, joining Chris Spencer doubling Aubrayo Franklin. That allowed Justin Smith untouched into the pocket, and barring Julius Jones' self-sacrificing, sideways and indubitably awesome block, would have allowed a sack.
Smith, a signing I slagged, manhandled Wahle at least once. It's one thing when Justin Tuck flattens you, but Wahle has serviced all comers. His pass blocking is below average. Oddly capable pull blocking, he just doesn't generate much pop pass blocking. If Wahle regains strength, perhaps he's still capable of a stretch like 2003-2005, when he allowed 3.75 sacks. He topped that last season alone: 4.5. This season he's allowed 1, but the blown blocks and allowed pressures are mounting. That's the seeds of sacks and opponents' will eventually cash in. So, this is going to get better or a lot worse. Should the latter occur, may I suggest Duke Robinson?
Is Brian Russell so bad that he can sabotage a play pre-snap? He did his darnedest on Frank Gore's 29 yard rush. Before the snap, Russell runs into the "box" and across from the left guard. Before the snap, Russell runs out of the box, kinda picking Julian Peterson and forcing Peterson to face the right sideline. Before Russell could reset, San Francisco snapped, and Peterson and Russell didn't factor. From the pile erupted Gore. He nearly scored. Instead, the play flipped 44 yards following a bonehead facemasking penalty by Gore. It was one of two personal foul penalties forced by Russell's shenanigans. Talent, pffft. Russell contributes with his chicanery, shit talk and head games.
Breaking on routes, forcing fumbles and returning a pick for 6.
That's Josh Wilson this week. Kelly Jennings, meanwhile, tripped on another deep route. That's...troubling.