The 49ers today lined up against a good team from the AFC — the team that entered the day leading the East division, no less — and thoroughly dominated.
The 49ers’ 24-14 victory over Brett Favre and the Jets was convincing, to say the least.
The 49ers outgained the Jets 375 to 182.
When left tackle Joe Staley entered the locker room after the game, he shouted, “No. 3, dominate in the trenches.”
And that’s what the 49ers did against the Jets. Staley was referring to Mike Singletary’s five-point outline, “49ers formula for success,”
Eric Heitmann lived up to Mike Martz’s declaration during the week that Heitmann is the best center he has coached in 17 NFL seasons. Heitmann got some help from his guards, but the 49ers completely neutralized Jets’ 350-pound nose tackle Kris Jenkins, who was credited with just one tackle in the game.
The 49ers’ defense was outstanding. Brett Favre and Co. were held without a first down on six of their 11 drives during the game.
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The 49ers are in no rush to name Singletary as the permanent head coach, but that is certainly the way things are moving after this impressive performance.
“I won’t say it’s my team,” Singletary said. “I won’t say that it’s becoming my team, because I’m really trying to help it become the players’ team.”
Singletary, in term, is in no hurry to name Shaun Hill as the starting quarterback in 2009, but that appears to be the way things are going there, too.
Let’s give it up for Shaun Hill. All the guy does is complete passes and win games. He’s now 5-2 as a starter.
Hill outplayed Favre. Hill completed 28 of 39 for 385 yards with two TDs and one interceptions (98.8 passer rating). Favre was 20 of 31 for 137 yards with no TDs and one interception (60.8 passer rating).
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49ers: RB Frank Gore (ankle sprain/contusion), CB Marcus Hudson (concussion) and WR Arnaz Battle (foot sprain) were in the preliminary injury report.
Gore was hobbling around sloooooowly after the game. X-rays were negative. Gore really, really wants to play next week in his hometown of Miami, but we shall see. I’d say right now it doesn’t look good.
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By the way, remember late in the third quarter when the 49ers had a fourth-and-1 from the SF 43 midway through the third quarter. The 49ers drew Jenkins offsides with a hard count. The 49ers did not call a play in the huddle. Their strategy was to draw Jenkins offside.
This is the baseball equivalent of the fake pickoff to third in hopes of throwing out the runner at first. It never happens. But it happened this time. Heitmann called the shot. He said he knew Jenkins would job offside because he was guessing the snap count all game. That play had no real impact on the game — the 49ers did not score on that drive – but it was fun to watch.
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Singletary said he made the decision on Saturday to open the game with an onside kick.
“We knew we wanted to set the tone from the very beginning of the game and just let them know – let our players know, because they didn’t know we were going to do an onside kick — just let the Jets know and let our guys feel it, ‘Hey, you know what? We’re going all out. This is our game.’ “
The strategy did not work, but maybe the strategy did work.
“There were a few defensive guys looking around saying, ‘Who did that?’ ” Singletary said. “I said, ‘Let’s go get it.’ And it worked out well.”
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WRs coach Jerry Sullivan, as he was heading off the field, got my attention to praise the work of his “young receivers.” And, yes, they did a darn good job, too. Jason Hill (4-39) looks like a real player, as did Dominique Zeigler (2-44). And the old goat, Isaac Bruce, was pretty solid, too, with six catches for 70 yards.
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FUN FACT: Billy Bajema wears No. 47. And that’s how many games the 49ers’ tight end went without catching a pass before grabbing a 5-yarder from Shaun Hill on the 49ers’ fourth-quarter TD drive. His most recent reception came his rookie season, 2005, against the Titans.
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I have to get to work on some of my newspaper stuff, but I might try to answer some questions tonight. (Please don’t hold it against me if I don’t.)
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And here is my quickie report card:
Shaun Hill is for real. He just keeps plugging along and winning games. Hill completed 28 of 39 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. His play enabled the 49ers to convert 8 of 15 third downs.
Frank Gore rushed for 52 yards and caught a TD pass before leaving the game in the third quarter with an ankle sprain. DeShaun Foster had 35 yards. Michael Robinson lost a fumble in the first quarter to end a drive.
It was a pretty solid showing all the way around. Isaac Bruce caught six passes for 70 yards. Bryant Johnson had a scoring grab. Jason Hill and Dominique Zeigler also made some important catches.
The line did the job, especially center Eric Heitmann on Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins. Joe Staley was on the spot to recover a fumble in the end zone for his first NFL touchdown. The pass protection was very good from the line.
The three-man line fared very well against the Jets’ offensive front. Aubrayo Franklin came up with four tackles. The pass rush got to Brett Favre three times, and put solid pressure on him throughout.
Parys Haralson recorded 1.5 sacks and got some good pressure on Favre with blitzes up the middle. Patrick Willis had a good game in coverage, as well as against the run.
The secondary held Jets starting receivers Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery to a combined two catches for 15 yards. Cornerbacks Walt Harris, Donald Strickland and Tarell Brown all played very well.
Andy Lee’s net average of 41.0 on four punts was outstanding. The 49ers allowed a TD on a kickoff return, but it was nullified by a penalty, so no harm was done. Punt returner Arnaz Battle fumbled a punt but Reggie Smith recovered it.
This was an impressive game against the Jets, who came into the game leading the AFC East. The 49ers thoroughly dominated. Coach Mike Singletary and quarterback Shaun Hill are making convincing cases for their jobs in 2009.