In the “unheralded hero” category from yesterday’s game is Pat McAfee. McAfee pinned the 49ers inside the 20 yard line 3 times on 4 punts. Actually, it wasn’t just McAfee – it was the Colts kick coverage as well. Listen to these starting positions for the 49ers yesterday:
- Drive 1 – SF started at their own 13
- Drive 2 – SF started at their own 9
- Drive 3 – SF started at 50 yard line
- Drive 4 – SF started at their own 8
- Drive 5 – SF started at their own 20
- Drive 6 – SF started at their own 8
- Drive 7 – SF started at their own 20
- Drive 8 – SF started at their own 20
- Drive 9 – SF started at their own 41
- Drive 10 – SF started at their own 11
- Drive 11 – SF started at their own 12
That is 11 possessions with an average starting position of their own 19 yard line. It was the best our special teams looked all year. On 7 of San Francisco’s 11 drives, they ran 5 plays or less. Another possession ended in a pick. That leaves just 3 “productive” possessions. One drive was a nice 9 play, 91 yard touchdown drive. That drive included 3 rushes for 54 yards by Frank Gore. Take those 3 rushes away, and Gore ended the day with 8 rushes for 28 yards (3.5 YPR). The other 2 drives were 6 and 7 plays respectively, both ending in punts. Overall, just a dominant performance by our defense. Greg Manusky and Chuck Pagano game planned very well for this one. Nice job by both coaches.
We dominated the time of possession. We held the ball for 36+ minutes while San Francisco held the ball for less than 24 minutes. We gained 23 first downs to just 14 for the 49ers. Darius Heyward-Bey continues to impress. While he only caught 5 passes for 59 yards, you can tell in his body language that he is one tough receiver. Ahmad Bradshaw was fantastic – just fantastic. He had 19 rushes for 95 yards with 13 of those rushes and 63 of those yards coming in the 2nd half. Have no fear about Trent Richardson’s 13 rushes for 35 yards. Remember, this was his first game after joining the Colts in the middle of last week. Not much was expected from him. I said it before and I’ll say it again – T-Rich looks a whole lot like Edge to me. Similar to Edge in his early years, T-Rich eases into holes and then appears to kick it into another gear. I’m so excited about the addition of T-Rich.
Of course, Bradley and T-Rich wouldn’t have had any success yesterday without a great performance from our offensive line. I’ve criticized Samson Satele quite a bit and I have to wonder if his inactive status yesterday actually helped this team. Mike McGlynn played a very nice game at center. Perhaps that is the right role for him. Hugh Thornton played well in his first NFL start. We continue to run block very well. The Colts currently stand 4th in the league in rushing yards per game. When was the last time we were top 5 in that category!
I know – it’s one game. Just one. However, when you see what can be, it’s pretty darn exciting. This was a dominant team performance in all 3 phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. The Jacksonville game next week is a trap game before we host the Seahawks. We have to strive for consistency.