SAN FRANCISCO — This is the live blog for the 49ers week 5 game at Candlestick Park against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I will update this blog frequently from the press box.
12:26 The 49ers inactives today are QB Scott Tolzien, WR Braylon Edwards, CB Tramaine Brock, RB Moran Norris, G Daniel Kilgore, T Mike Person, NT Isaac Sopoaga. So, NT Ian Williams and DE Demarcus Dobbs are suited and active for the first time.
1:02 The Niners win the toss and defer. That’s their M.O.
1:05 The Bucs start from their own 20. On first and ten Josh Freeman fakes a run to Blount then throws to him underneath for a gain of two yards. Bowman makes the tackle.
1:06 Next play, Freeman hands the ball off to Blount, who gains six yards before Patrick Willis tackles him.
1:07 Freeman completes a first down pass to Preston Parker, but Benn is called for an illegal motion, so the play comes back. 3rd and 7 for the Bucs.
1:08 On third down, Aldon Smith, the left end, flushes Freeman out of the pocket to his right. Ahmad Brooks chases him down from the opposite side of the field and tackles him by his legs. Freeman throws the ball away as he goes down. Bucs punt, and Ginn returns it 22 yards. 1st and 10 for the Niners at midfield.
1:10 First play, Smith checks down to Gore over the middle for a gain of five. Next play, Brian Price gets called for encroachment. First down Niners at the Tampa Bay 40.
1:13 On first down the Niners line up their three tight ends on the right side of the line. Smith hands off to Gore who runs up the middle for two yards.
1:14 On second down, Alex Smith looks downfield but doesn’t find an open receiver, so he steps up and hits Gore on the check down. Gain of 12 yards and a first down.
1:15 The Niners offense hurries to the line of scrimmage, line up in a spread/shotgun formation. Smith throws to Delanie Walker, who lined up in the slot and ran a seam to the endzone. Walker makes the catch and the Niners score first. A 26-yard touchdown pass for Smith. 7-0 Niners. That’s a four play, 2 two minutes and 28 second drive.
1:19 On 2nd and 10, the Bucs fake a handoff to the strong side of their formation, then throw a screen to Benn back on the weak side. He runs for a 33-yard gain.
1:20 Next play, Freeman hands off to Blount who runs up the middle for a gain of nine.
1:21 On 2nd and 1, Freeman throws deep and off target. Tarell Brown almost intercepts the pass, but it bounced off his hands.
1:21 Freeman tries to sneak the ball for the first down, and he does. Gain of 2. First down.
1:21 First and ten at the Niner 36, Blount runs up the middle for a gain of one. McDonald and Jean-Francois make the tackle at the line of scrimmage.
1:23 Freeman telegraphs a quick slant to Mike Williams and Carlos Rogers jumps the route, but Williams makes the catch anyway. Gain of six.
1:23 On third and three, the Bucs run their favorite play – the checkdown to the running back over the middle. This time the play picks up four yards, which is good enough for the first down.
1:24 First and ten from the Niners 25, the Bucs go spread, and Freeman completes a 13-yard pass to Preston Parker. Culliver had the poor coverage on the play.
1:25 Next play, Blount tries to run at Justin Smith, which is a bad idea. Gain of only one. 2nd and 9 from the 11.
1:25 Next play, the Bucs run Earnest Graham up the middle for a bit more success. A gain of five.
1:26 On third and four from the 7, Freeman throws inaccurately to Preston Parker in the end zone, and the Bucs settle for a field goal. 7-3 Niners. Dashon Goldson had the coverage.
1:29 Niners start their drive at their own 25. First play, Smith fakes the handoff to Hunter and passes over the middle to Crabtree for a gain of 21.
1:32 Next play, Niners send Ginn in motion then hike the ball and hand it off to him on an end around. He runs all the way around the left corner, then cuts all the way back to the middle of the field to pick up 24 yards. Crabtree had a good block downfield.
1:33 Two plays later on 2nd and 10, Smith pitches to Gore on a sweep to the right. He picks up no yards. That’s a better play for Hunter.
1:34 On third and ten from the TB 30, Alex Smith hits Joshua Morgan on a quick slant to the left. Morgan picks up 14 yards and first down.
1:35 First and ten, the Niners have zero wide receivers in this formation, so they hand the ball to Frank Gore, who runs up the middle for a gain of four. Good, tough run for gore. 2nd and 6 at the TB 12. Gerald McCoy is down on the field.
1:38 Frank Gore runs up the middle and fumbles. Tampa Bay recovers at their own 11. It looks like Frank Gore ran into his own man, Justin Peelle.
1:42 On second and 8, Josh Freeman throws to Kellen Winslow Jr. on a crossing pattern downfield. Carlos Rogers acted like he was guarding Mike Williams, but he really was in a zone, and he picks off Freeman’s pass and returns it 31 yards for a touchdown. 14-3 Niners. That’s Carlos Rogers’ third INT in three weeks. He is having an outstanding season.
1:46 On first down, Blount rushed up the middle for three yards. Willis brings him down, barely. Blount is very tough for just one man to bring down.
1:48 Third and five, Freeman lines up in the shotgun and completes a pass to Winslow over the middle in between the inside linebackers and the safeties – the weak spot in the Niner defense. Gain of 17.
1:49 Next play, Freeman hits Williams on a quick slant for a gain of 16.
1:49 Next play, LeGarrette Blount beats Haralson to the outside and almost breaks a big run, but Willis brings him down by his foot. Willis is having the best game of his season.
1:50 Gerald McCoy has an ankle injury and his return is questionable.
1:51 Freeman throws a slant downfield to an open Spurlock, but Culliver closes the gap at the last minute and makes a very difficult interception, snatching the ball away from Spurlock. Culliver returns the ball to the SF 43. The Niners are absolutely dominating this game so far.
1:53 On first down from their 44, Frank Gore rushes off the right end for a gain of 6.
1:54 Next play, Gore rushes off left tackle for a gain of 13.
1:55 Next play, Smith throws deep to Vernon Davis down the right side line. He almost makes the catch, but he’s interfered with. First down Niners at the TB 1 yard line.
1:57 On second and goal, Gore rushes up the middle for a 2 yard touchdown. 21-3 Niners.
2:03 On first down the Bucs hand the ball to Blount. McDonald hits him at the line of scrimmage, and Willis brings him down. He’s having a dominant game.
2:03 Next play Freeman tries a play-action screen, and it’s not open. 3rd and 8 from their 15. Freeman rolls right and hits Williams down the sideline, but he caught the pass out of bounds. Culliver had tight coverage. Bucs punt a 36-yard punt, and the Niners take over at their 49 with 6:52 left to go in the second quarter.
2:07 On first down Gore rushes power up the middle for a gain of six yards. The Niners are getting everything they want.
2:08 Next play, Gore runs a counter to the left and picks up 21 yards. Good block by Delanie Walker coming around from the right side of the line.
2:10 On 2nd and 11, Smith throws deep to Crabtree down the left sideline, but he throws too deep, and the pass falls out of bounds incomplete.
2:11 On third and 11 the Niners run one of their favorite running plays – a pitch sweep right. Gore takes the pitch but only picks up six. Akers comes on the field and nails a 37-yard field goal. 24-3 Niners.
2:13 Akers kicks the kickoff off the right upright and the ball bounces back onto the field. I’ve never seen that one before.
2:14 On first down Freeman makes a handoff and throws to Winslow over the middle. He was open, but Freeman took to long to throw the ball, and when it got to Winslow Brown almost picked the pass off. Freeman is having a poor game.
2:15 Blount rushes for four yards, and on third and six Freeman lines up in shotgun. He can’t find anyone to throw to, and Aldon Smith sacks him as he tries to step up in the pocket. The Bucs punt, and Ginn returns the ball 29 yards to the TB 45.
2:17 On first down Smith gets good protection but no open receivers, so he rolls right and instructs Walker to run deep. He throws the ball well to the endzone byut Walker gets turned around and misses the pass. That should have been a touchdown.
2:18 3rd and 8. Smith throws high to Crabtree over the middle. The pass deflects off his right hand and falls incomplete. Crabtree wasn’t open, but if Smith had thrown the ball lower and out in front of Crabtree they could have completed the pass and picked up the first down. Niners punt.
2:20 First and ten from their own five, Freeman hands the ball off to Graham, who picks up seven yards up the middle. Now it’s the two minute warning. The Bucs have the ball at their own 12.
2:23 On 2nd and 3 Freeman completes a pass to Winslow in the right flat. Reggie Smith hits him right away and hold him to a gain of 2.
2:24 The Bucs pick up a first down on 3rd and 1 with a short checkdown pass, then they go to 3rd and 10 on the next set of downs. On third down Freeman lines up in the shotgun and throws a pass in the flat to Winslow. Willis hits him so hard when the ball arrives that he drops the pass. The Bucs have to punt. Niner ball at their own 8 yard line with 33 seconds left to play in the first half.
Here are some halftime stats:
Alex Smith: 6/10, 92 yards, 1 TD, 123.8 rating.
Josh Freeman: 10/22, 101 yards, 2 INTs, 21.2 rating.
Frank Gore: 13 rushes for 59 yards (4.5 average), 1 TD.
LeGarrette Blount: 10 rushes for 34 yards (3.4 average).
2:44 On first and ten from their 20, The Niners line up in a spread formation and Smith hands the ball off to Gore on a draw. Gain of 14. Great play call.
2:45 Next play, Gore runs up the middle for 4-yard gain. Gore is having his second terrific game in a row.
2:46 On third down Smith completes a first down pass to Vernon Davis on the right sideline, but Iupati gets called for the holding penalty. Third and 14 from their 29.
2:47 Spread/shotgun, Smith completes a slant to Crabtree on the right. Gain of 15 yards. First down Niners.
2:48 Smith fakes a handoff to Gore then completes a pass to him in the left flat, but prior to the pass, the Bucs get called for a 5-yard illegal contact penalty. Automatic first down for the Niners at midfield.
2:50 On second and seven Smith lines up in shotgun and throws a perfectly places bubble screen to Joshua Morgan on the left sideline. Morgan turns it upfield and gains 24 yards.
2:51 Next play, Smith completes a pass to Vernon Davis over the middle on a checkdown. Davis breaks two tackles and runs into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. 31-3 Niners. Ira Miller, who’s in the press box today, says he’s not impressed. He’s joking.
2:58 Freeman completes a pass to Winslow, and Whitner smacks him hard. Winslow slaps Whitner in the face as they get up, then Bucs head coach Raheem Morris gets called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for yelling at the refs.
2:59 On 2nd and 12, Freeman rolls right and makes NaVorro Bowman, who was covering Blount, to commit to Freeman. When he does this, Freeman tosses the ball to Blount, who picks up 29 yards.
3:01 Third and two from the Niners 33, the Bucs line up five wide receivers. Freeman throws to Mike Williams, who’s being covered by Chris Culliver. Culliver never turns his head around, but he bats the pass away anyway.
3:02 The Bucs go for it on fourth down. This time they line up Williams on the left side against Tarell Brown in single coverage. Freeman throws too deep, and the pass falls incomplete. Brown had very tight coverage. The Niners take over at their own 31.
3:05 On first down Frank Gore runs off right tackle for a gain of 19.
3:06 False start on Delanie Walker. Ted Ginn Jr. and Aqib Talib get in a little tussle.
3:06 Alex Smith throws deep down the right sideline to Kyle Williams, who was open, but Smith threw the ball late and short and Talib almost picked it off.
3:07 Why would Roman call a pass at this point, anyway? Next play Smith hands the ball off to Gore who runs up the middle for 18 yards.
3:08 Next play, Smith throws to Crabtree over the middle, but Crabtree was held. 10 yard penalty. First and ten for the Niners at the TB 30.
3:09 Back to the run plays for the Niners. Smith pitches to Hunter who runs a sweep to the right for a gain of 14.
3:12 The Bucs have lost their composure. After stopping Kendall Hunter behind the line of scrimmage, safety Sean Jones gets called for a blow to Hunter’s head late.
3:14 On second and 7, Vernon Davis lines up next to Smith in the shotgun. Smith gives the ball to Davis on a handoff. Davis runs left and loses three yards. Nice play call, though.
3:15 On third and goal Smith tries to throw a back-shoulder pass to Crabtree on the left sideline near the end zone, but Crabtree cuts in, and Smith’s pass is almost picked off. Akers makes a 27-yard field goal. 34-3 Niners.
3:20 Freeman completes a quick slant to Williams and Goldson absolutely decks him, forcing the fumble with his right shoulder. Tampa Bay is challenging the ruling that the pass was complete. If the Niners keep the ball, and they should, they’ll take over at the TB 36 yard line with 1:07 left to go in the third quarter.
3:23 On first down Smith fakes a handoff and rolls out to his right. He has Morgan open over the middle and he throws it to him, but the pass is late and Morgan gets hit as he tries to catch it. Incomplete.
3:24 So the Niners go back to the run game on second down, and Gore runs around the left end for a gain of seven yards. They should really stop passing.
3:25 Next play, shotgun formation, Smith hands the ball off to Gore on a draw, and he can only pick up one yard up the middle.
3:28 David Akers hits a 46-yard field goal, but the Bucs get called for a leverage penalty, similar to the penalty Dallas got called for against the Niners in the fourth quarter of week 2. This time with a huge lead already, Harbaugh decides to take the points off the board and go with the first down in the red zone.
3:29 And on that play, Smith hits a wide open Vernon Davis in the left side of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. 41-3 Niners. Raheem Morris is probably wondering what Harbaugh’s deal is right about now.
3:32 Preston Parker tries to take the kickoff back from deep in the end zone, and Colin Jones tackles him by the ankles at the TB 8 yard line.
3:34 With more than five scores to make up in one quarter, the Bucs run on first and second down. Then he completes a first down pass to Kellen Winslow. Winslow beat Whitner on the play. Afterwards, Goldson gets called for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
3:38 On third and six from the SF 41, Freeman drops back and finds no one, so he steps up in the pocket and gets blasted by behind for Justin Smith, who gets the sack. Bucs punt. Ginn calls for a fair catch at the SF 10.
3:40 Colin Kaepernick is in the game at QB.
3:41 Two good things about Kaepernick coming in the game: He gets 10:00 to learn in a real game. Also, Smith can’t get hurt.
3:42 Kaepernick’s second play, he pitches to Hunter who runs a sweep around the left end for a gain of 44 yards.
3:45 The next play is Kaepernick’s first pass. He roles right and fires a rope to Delanie Walker for an 11 yard gain.
3:46 Next play, Hunter runs around the right end for a gain of six.
3:47 Next play, Hunter takes a pitch left for a gain of five. That power pitch sweep to Hunter could be the most effective play in the Niners playbook right now. It’s worked three weeks in a row.
3:48 On 2nd and 11, Dixon gets a handoff and he picks up three up the middle.
3:49 On 3rd and 8, Kaepernick roles right and fires a strike to Morgan, but the completion only goes for five yards. Still, the Niners are going for it. Harbaugh!
3:50 On fourth and two, Kaepernick lines up in the shotgun and fires a back shoulder pass perfectly to Joshua Morgan on the right sideline. Morgan catches the pass for a gain of 19 yards. Down at the TB 1. Morgan is down on the field with an injury and at least 15 49ers are huddles around him. This is why you take your starters out of blowouts in the fourth quarter. Morgan’s being literally carried off the field. Vernon Davis is one of the Niners carrying him. It appears he injured his right ankle.
3:53 On second and goal from the one, Anthony Dixon runs up the middle for the touchdown. 48-3 Niners. I’m going to run down to the field to see what Morris says to Harbaugh after the game. What’s his deal??