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The Tape: 49ers @ Seahawks 3rd Qtr

Calling all guards: Brandon Mebane has found his first step. Don't be surprised if he finishes the season with more sacks than Rocky Bernard.

The feats and failings of Courtney Taylor: I like this guy so bear with me.

Taylor first caught my eye on the third play of Seattle's first drive of the quarter. It's 3rd and 3 from the Seattle 49. Hawks break 3WR, I. Niners *yawn nickel. Weaver rushes for the short conversion, but en route Taylor blocks Dashon Goldson, sealing the left edge and perhaps allowing the first.

On the next play, Weaver blows a block, but more importantly Taylor drops the pass.

To be continued.

John Carlson is an excellent athlete with the necessary skills to contribute immediately in the NFL: Next play, Seattle starts in a 2 WR, SB, TE formation but motions the left back out wide. Niners, nickel. At the snap, Carlson runs a simple out route into the right flat. His cut is square, deceptive, efficient and it sheds Jeff Ulbrich. Matt Hasselbeck targets Carlson and near simultaneously Nate Clements breaks on Carlson. Carlson squares his shoulder towards the line of scrimmage, shields Clements out of the play, jumps, catches, lands and twists for the first.

Sanction of the victim: Hasselbeck suffered two interceptions on two tipped passes. Matt Hasselbeck suffered one interception he himself did not create.

Ninth play of the same drive, Seahawks driving. 2nd and 14, San Francisco 25.  Seattle breaks 3 WR, SB, but motions the right split back wide. Niners... Billy McMullen is wide-out in the left slot. At the snap, McMullen runs a skinny post, Hasselbeck targets him, Walt Harris working in zone coverage closes in on McMullen colliding as the pass... hits... Harris square in the numbers. Harris. Not McMullen. The ball ricochets wildly, finds one of the seven 49ers not within five yards of McMullen at the time of target, and you know the rest. So Hasselbeck threw into cover, hit the DB, but did suffer an abnormally unlucky outcome. Otherwise, still a bad pass.

Deon Grant makes a wonderful free safety: Four plays after pick two, Niners at the two. Both teams are in classic goal line formations. Grant is wide right playing contain. At the snap, Frank Gore runs into an impenetrable pile but escapes, breaks right and runs unabated for the score. Grant is 100% to blame. At the snap, Frank Gore runs into an impenetrable pile, but when he begins breaking right, Grant can be seen indubitably staring into the pile, at the center of the field, away from Gore, unaware of Gore and out of the play as soon as Gore hits the corner. Just a terrible play by a player I really like.

Mike Wahle is a badass pull-blocker with something to prove: Sixth play, final Seahawks drive of the quarter. Seattle breaks 2 WR, TE, I. Mike Nolan takes a shower. At the snap, Jones runs up left tackle. Wahle engages Aubrayo Franklin, continues to block and doesn't stop until Franklin is one with the turf. Chris Spencer pulls, moves into second level, puts a big hit on Patrick Willis, bumps him back a yard, but loses the block. Willis gets back into the play and combines with Michael Lewis for a tackle after eight.

Eight play, 1st and 10 San Francisco 40. Seahawks 2 WR (Right), TE, Hb (left), Rb. Nolan flosses his teeth. At the snap, Wahle drops, slides left, shoots forward and expertly cut-blocks Dashon Goldson. Jones rushes for 9.

Ninth play, 2nd and 1 San Francisco 31. Seattle 3 WR, I. Nolan walks Mike Martz's dog. At the snap, Wahle and Spencer combo block Franklin, drive him back and as Jones moves into the hole, Wahle disengages and blocks out Willis. Jones rushes for 6.


Godless: There are few things I hate more than Shark Week. Dropped passes, quit routes and homonyms. I don't think Taylor quits this route.

Tenth play, 1st and 10 San Francisco 25. Seahawks break 2 WR, TE, I. Nolan wipes the sleepers from his eyes. At the snap, Taylor jogs into Clements, gets his shoulder into Clements back, breaks into a run but sees the ball fall before him. On the one hand, Taylor jogs, no doubt. On the other, that jog led to good separation. Hasselbeck could have easily connected with Taylor had he thrown it shallower, but Beck expected Taylor to run. I'm not sure if Taylor was gaming Clements, but it worked but it didn't work.

Eleventh play. Seahawks, Niners break in identical formations as the previous play. Clements plays off Taylor. At the snap, Hasselbeck throws out to the uncovered Taylor and Taylor does something I haven't seen a Seahawks wide receiver do since Branch went down, he begins to run even as he's catching it - but still catches it! In stride, Taylor is dangerous and the first ten come easy. He's got it, good God help he get there.