The Run Game
The Bucs finished with 42 carries for 162 yards, their third game in the last four with 154+ yards. Rest has been good for Cadillac Williams. He had a juking, clobbering, tackle-busting 26-yard run in the 4th to put the 49ers away for good.
The Run Defense
Pounding the rock is no longer San Francisco’s strong suit, but Gore is a good back and the Bucs aren’t used to this kind of performance. The Niners’s Gore ran 12 times for 23 yards.
Is it time to crown this secondary the best in the NFC? Barber followed Troy’s eyes, got his 40th interception today, the most in Tampa Bay history and effectively took the wind out of the stadium. The Bucs have 15 interceptions and still no serious pass rush.
Gerald McCoy got his first sack…sort of. He’s credited with a half-sack. Maurice Stovall looked a little rusty on the coverage units for one play, but could definitely contribute as a receiver. If they were to ever use the up-tempo 4-WR offense, defenses would be tired and Freeman would extend plays. In that event, their strength would be keeping Graham, Williams, or Winslow in the backfield with Williams, Stroughter, Benn and Stovall as the four receivers. Both Stovall and LeGarrette Blount went airborne. Adam Hayward showed great pursuit on a sack of Smith.
The conservative play-calling in the red zone before connecting on the Penn pass. Conservative, conservative, a little bit risky.
Conner Barth had a tough miss from 41 yards that ended an otherwise nice drive.
While – for the most part today – 49ers corners had issues with the physical Benn and Mike Williams, Williams appeared to have gotten away with a push-off on a 33 yard gain. In a defensive battle without a lot of points, it’s hard for the officials because one blown call can really alter the course. Something tells me that offensive pass interference will be a new “point of emphasis” this offseason for officials. I’m not certain there’s anything they can do if they aren’t spotting it now. Williams is still tied with Dez Bryant for the rookie lead with 6 TDs
LOOKING AHEAD: The Bucs D kept Troy Smith from involving his playmakers. Ginn, Davis and Crabtree altogether had 3 catches for 25 yards. The Niners had just 130 yards of offense with 11:20 left in the game. The last home shutout for the 49ers was October 9th 1977, the year Star Wars came out. Is there a young QB in the NFL you’d rather have in the 4th quarter than Freeman? If the Bucs secondary and run defense can come up with something like this against Baltimore or New Orleans, this team will have taken the next step.
It’s crazy how at the end of last year, Mike Singletary was the young coach with the team headed in the right direction and Raheem Morris was the one people said was in too deep.
Now, Raheem has won 9 of his last 13 games and Mike Singletary might be out the door. It’s not easy to win with young players like Singletary has, and that’s what makes it all the more amazing that Raheem Morris has the Bucs at 7-3.
Yes, I thought San Francisco would continue their roll and win a close one, but it seem the Bucs win every time I pick against them and I’m picking against them next week. They are going to need to come out and play physical and daring to beat Baltimore on the road.