Colts have the horsepower to outrun 49ers on Sunday

Here is my Friday column previewing the 49ers-Colts game.

Even if Indianapolis hadn’t traded for Trent Richardson on Wednesday, the 49ers still would have a tough time beating the Colts on Sunday.

Look at the facts: The Colts ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards without Richardson. They average 5 yards per carry. To beat the 49ers, you have to run the ball well and that’s what the Colts do. They probably could have run on the 49ers with the running backs they had already, Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown, but Richardson is better than both of them.

Forty Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio gushed about Richardson: “He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s got a good stiff arm. He’s a move-the-pile kind of guy, but he’s also got some shiftiness too where he can bounce it outside or inside.”

Gee, the 49ers could use a running back like that.

Expect Richardson to run on most first and second downs like Marshawn Lynch did Sunday night. And on third downs, expect Andrew Luck to play much better than Russell Wilson did last week.

The 49ers’ defense forced Wilson to stay in the pocket and he struggled because he’s short. Luck isn’t short and doesn’t struggle in the pocket. He succeeds in the pocket. Expect Luck and the Colts to convert more than half of their third downs and score at least three touchdowns.

Can the 49ers’ offense keep pace?

I don’t see how it can.

It’s a run-first offense without a running back. Frank Gore’s legs aren’t coming back. You’ve seen Gore play this season. Can you picture him breaking out around either end of the formation on a pitch or sweep? Maybe a year ago but not now.

When Gore takes a handoff, the defense doesn’t have to worry about him bouncing a run outside because his legs have no bounce and he’s slow. If he’s going to be effective he has to run up the middle.

That’s why the 49ers have to use the Pistol formation. They need the implied threat of Colin Kaepernick sprinting around the outside on the read-option. If Kaepernick lined up under center like a traditional quarterback, how would the 49ers run the ball? They wouldn’t. They’d be easy to stop – just plug the middle.

And the Colts’ defense can plug the middle. They have allowed only 2.5 yards per carry between the tackles this season according to Pro Football Focus. They have three stout defensive linemen – Cory Redding and two former 49ers, Ricky Jean Francois and Aubrayo Franklin.

It is outside the tackles where the Colts’ defense is vulnerable, giving up 8.1 yards per carry this season. But Gore can’t take advantage of that. Kaepernick is the only 49er currently fast enough to run around the outside against the Colts. You should expect him to carry the ball 10 to 15 times on Sunday.

But the Colts are expecting that, too. They’re going to stack the box with eight defenders and try to force Kaepernick to throw the ball like the Seahawks did.

Then, expect the Colts to combo-cover Anquan Boldin with a cornerback and a safety. The Colts don’t have someone like Richard Sherman who can single-handedly erase, but double coverage erases most receivers. Expect Boldin to be erased.

The Colts are going to try to force Kaepernick to pass the ball to anyone but Boldin. Vernon Davis pulled his hamstring against the Seahawks. Hamstrings usually take three weeks to fully recover. Sure, Davis still can block but can he get open? Can he outrun linebackers and safeties down the field? Will he further injure his hamstring trying?

Your guess is as good as mine.

If Davis isn’t a receiving threat, and this week he probably won’t be, Kaepernick will have to throw to unproven guys like Kyle Williams and Vance McDonald. This is Williams’ fourth year in the NFL and he never has caught more than five passes in a game. Can he consistently beat the Colts. No.2 cornerback. Vontae Davis, Vernon’s brother, one-on-one? Probably not. And McDonald is a mere rookie.

I expect Kaepernick to play a brilliant game. He’s a brilliant player, just not brilliant enough to beat the Colts by himself.

The Colts will win 24-17.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. There is no way 49ers lose twice in a row. Won’t happen. The coaching won’t let it. Never in a Harbaugh era have lost twice in a row. And when they do lose, they outplayed the following team.

    1. The way it looks like, you’re right Grant. If the 49ers can’t run the football, they might lose more games this season. I doubt they’ll
      even make the playoff’s. Somehow Kap isn’t in any position to take this 49er team on his back.

  2. You’re forgetting one thing, the Colts aren’t a good team. Assuming Aldon plays this week, probably even if he doesnt, the D-line is going to dominate one of the worst o-lines in the league. 31-13 49ers.

    1. The D-line as a hole is banged up Justin Smith missed practice,we lost our NT and I don’t believe McDonald has practiced at all this week. If Aldon doesn’t play I think we may be trouble not just this game but the rest of the year. Our front 7 helps the secondary if it doesn’t do its job our secondary is in real trouble. Go 49ers

      1. Gotta agree with Michael, plus our offense starts slow. We really need them to step up in this game. I’m thinking we win by 3 if Aldon is effective.

      2. Lemonier will shine and hopefully its a blessing Aldon gets suspended. Lemonier needs to replace Brooks. Patton needs to replace Kyle Williams. Hunter needs to replace Gore.

      3. Vic Fangio will be gone at the end of the year and Ed Donatell will be the 49ers new defensive coordinator.

        Anyone want to 23 welcher bet me?

      4. FDM,

        I don’t even address your posts. Why don’t you respect me enough to keep degrading me out of your posts. If I’m asking too much, let me know.

      5. Its not my fault your reputation proceeds you 23 welcher. You will forever be known on this blog and in my heart as the guy who made a bet, welched, and came back as yellow as they come. Sorry dude, this is all on you.

  3. What a horrible piece of Journalism. How do you even have a job, seriously? It’s so bad, I don’t even know where to start picking it apart.

    Okay then “old wise one”, if Gore has no legs and apparently has a fork in him already, then why do defenses feel the need to stack 8-9 guys on the line of scrimmage to stop him? Last time I checked, no one stacked 8-9 guys on the line of scrimmage to stop Kevin Barlow. Just sayin

    1. Because as slow as Gore has become, he is still the Niners main weapon. The Niners WR’s just don’t scare a half-way decent defensive team, as proven by Seattle last week. So they blitz, and blitz, and take away the run…and the Niners become what you saw last week: an impotent offensive team (3 points in 4 quarters of football).

  4. If we are beaten by the Colts we will really have our work cut out for us to keep pace with the Seahawks in our Division. This game is going to tell us whether we are as good as we thought we were before the Seattle disaster.

  5. Grant why do you even write about the 49ers? You don’t seem to be a fan of theirs, why don’t you try to get a job writing for the Raiders? Did your Daddy get you this job? I wish a real Niner fan would write this Blog!

    1. That’s right! Press Democrat managing editor, please replace the guy who drives readers to the site, and who keeps them coming back over and over and viewing the adds that generate revenue. Replace him with a “fan” who can write fluff pieces that are more biased than anything Grant has ever written, and watch the page views and comments plummet. Now that is a great business model.

      No offense, but those of you who think Grant has, or keeps, his job because of his father are simply ignorant of the economics of entertainment/opinion journalism. It is all of you who, spewing your vitriolic verbiage, cannot help but comment and cannot help but come back and read what people write to and about you that drive this blog. Grant just plays you like you were a violin, and he does so masterfully.

      Grant, do you ever sit back and engage in maniacal laughter when the rubes call for the job of the person whose blog generates more comments than most of the other 49ers blogs combined?

    2. Grant makes valid points on a lot of his analysis, I may not like them or even question them. But he gets the topic of discussion going and I enjoy reading his opinions. If you don’t like it, then don’t come here. No need to be a douche and waste everyones time throwing a temper tantrum worse than a 4 year old.

  6. I’m not worried about Trent Richardson. He just joined the team a couple days ago, and is still probably gaining familiarity with the offense and getting chemistry with the OLine. On top of that, our defense plays much better at home.

    Grant: “The 49ers’ defense forced Wilson to stay in the pocket and he struggled because he’s short. Luck isn’t short and doesn’t struggle in the pocket. He succeeds in the pocket. Expect Luck and the Colts to convert more than half of their third downs and score at least three touchdowns.”

    That paragraph doesn’t even make sense. You have a different game plan for every offense that you face. While our game plan for Wilson was to keep him in the pocket (which it worked), it doesn’t mean that we’re going to have the same plan for Andrew Luck (allowing him to make easy throws inside the pocket). Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rogers are EXCELLENT from the pocket – how has that equated to wins for them?

    Luck converting more than half of their 3rd downs? lol HIGHLY unlikely. Our 49ers always have great bounce-back games after a huge loss, and we’re at home this time. Not to mention that our coaches are very familiar with his strengths/weaknesses. If a 1-2 team beats us at home, we might as well pack our bags and look forward to next year.

    Don’t see it happening. I don’t even think Grant truly expects them to beat us. He’s more worried about making outrageous claims and predictions, using faulty logic to backup his claims, and gain extra views to the blog because of the controversy he stirs up. He got me to spend 15 minutes of my day reading this stuff and loling, so I guess I’m a sucker too. Damn it Grant. Back to work.

  7. Serioulsy, I stopped reading this half way through. I enjoy the well educated commentors on this blog WAY more that your writing. With articles like this, I might not even come here for that anymore.

      1. But you can take an article like this seriously?!? I feel like I’m reading the work of a spoiled 7th grader who lost a bet… it’s a joke

      2. Benny:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. While I am on record stating my issues with some of Grant’s pieces, him being a biased 49er hater isn’t one of them.

        And however misguided you think Grant’s article may be, throwing a temper tantrum like Joseph did isn’t the way to get anyone to take your complaints seriously. I think MikeinSF#2′s approach was much better.

      3. CB,

        I see what you mean about the monocle, but have you taken a good look at your avatar? At least Joseph’s avatar doesn’t look threatening. Yours looks absolutely crazy, and quite dangerous.

        People with equally bad, and probably worse, avatars as the person whose avatar the first person was criticizing, shouldn’t throw stones.

      4. Red tooth? Hah! Boy, are you clueless. It’s a tongue, like MJ! Not many people noticed it, but, like my avatar, MJ also had a bit of a diamond shaped head.

      5. CB,

        I also like MikeSF#2′s approach.

        I’m also happy to hear that he opened another location. MikeSF#1 has gotten so crowded.

      6. JPN:

        If you mean no offense, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly. I’m watching you.

        Actually, I guess I’m watching exgolfer because his avatar is immediately above mine, but you know what I mean.

        exgolfer:

        A tongue? Then you’ll be even more outmatched in a biting fight.

        All the cool kid’s avatars have diamond-shaped heads.

      7. Claude.. always respect your comments.

        My knee jerk reaction is my example of acting like Grant with sarcasm. He makes such ridiculous statements after such a small sample of work to gather from. The PD gets all the hits because of the return readers here who comment on a daily basis. It’s by far the most engaging and user friendly place to comment on Niners stuff.

        BUT… with that said… most of his posts are just cut n paste from the transcripts. Every once in awhile he’ll actually write something and when the planets are aligned and all is good in 49er heaven he writes how they are the greatest and everybody gets a A+++ and so on. But when they lose ONE game the most hostile place in the NFL everyone gets a F… the sky is falling…. Gore sucks and it’s over for him… no legs… they’ve figured out Kap under center… go to pistol… blah blah blah.

        Can’t speak for anyone else but I do NOT come here for informative writing. I come for the circus and when I read a article like the one above… I respond accordingly because it’s ridiculous.

      8. CB,

        Thanks, you obviously went to a lot of trouble to make that video of yourself clapping just to give me props.

        Who knew how right JPN was when he said your avatar was a good representation of you? It’s almost like he saw that video before he commented. Spooky.

      9. I did.

        That show has been outstanding pretty much from its inception (the hyperbole is warranted), but this season has surpassed all expectations for me, and I had really high, what I thought were impossible-to-meet expectations. And as much as I eagerly await the next two episodes, I also dread them because I know they will be the last.

      10. Claude I’m right there with you. Breaking Bad has set a whole new bar for quality and is going to be hard to see go. The last few episodes have been insane. I had heart palpitations watching it last week.

      11. Blue, purple, whatever.

        Breaking Bad is ridiculously good.

        Rocket,

        I always thought of your avatar as sort of like a compound Chinese symbol. You know, several things layered on top of one another.

        I see a clothes hanger over a yellow triangle with a sideways colon and an MJ tongue sticking out of the bottom.

        Coincidentally, the meaning is “Wile E. Coyote on Two Hits of Acid”.

      12. Alert! To all Breaking Bad fans, if you don’t know already, the final two episodes will be 75 minutes long including commercials. Check your DVRs. It’s probably already picked up, but better safe than sorry.

    1. That’s hilarious. What’s really funny is I watched for a couple of minutes, all the time thinking, “How long is that dope, Huell, going to stare at the door, like our dog, when one of leaves the house?” When is realized I was watching a loop. It’s also funny that clip is almost an hour long.

  8. Niners are on a complete different level than the colts. And haven’t lost back to back games under harbaugh. With a margin of victory after a loss that above 10 I believe. No way the Niners lose this game to a team that is this inferior to them.

    1. Check that. Niners margin of victory after a loss or tie is 17.5 points. Plus just look at the matchup. Niners have a better defense in every facet. Colts have a new RB and one WR. Niners win 31-17

      1. colts have more than one wide receiver. They have dhb ty Hilton to go along with wayne. They have da’rick Rodgers Stanley halivi ahmad bradshaw trent Richardson dom jomes coby fleener who can all catch the ball well. Plus they have run the ball better than the 49ers so far.

    2. 49ers are 7-0 coming off a loss with an average victory margin of 17.5 points. Not sure I like Grant’s odds of being successful this week.

  9. Grant Cohn – Sept 17th 2013: “To get the running game going, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman need to get clever. The pistol isn’t working. Gore keeps getting hit in the backfield. Runs from the pistol don’t hit the line of scrimmage as quickly as runs from under center. In 2011 and 2012, the 49ers’ offensive line dominated defenses on trap plays and power off-tackle runs. Old-school plays. The 49ers hardly have run any of those plays this season. That needs to change right now.”

    Clearly implying they need to run the pistol less and get back to traditional power run old school football.

    Grant Cohn – Sept 20 2013: “That’s why the 49ers have to use the Pistol formation.”

    Ummm Ok.

    1. Last quote should have included this: “If Kaepernick lined up under center like a traditional quarterback, how would the 49ers run the ball? They wouldn’t. They’d be easy to stop – just plug the middle.”

      Seriously Grant, with 3 days in between these two quotes could they be more contradictory or eachother if you tried?

      1. Ideally they would go back to the power running game but they don’t have any running backs who can execute it against an eight-man box so they need the pistol and the implied threat of the read-option.

        1. It’s true they need to go back to the power run game, it’s what suits the offensive line best. But Gore can’t execute it because he isn’t an inside and outside threat any longer like Trent Richardson currently is. Gore would be pretty easy to stop from a traditional I-formation because you know he’s running between the tackles. Gore needs the threat of Kaepernick on the read option. The 49ers are in a bad position with their running game.

      2. Grant, do you realize that Gore has been running succesfully against 8-man fronts his entire career, since the start of 2007? They don’t need the threat of the read-option in order to run the ball. If you go back and look at the film (I have the game-rewind coaches’ view), our O-Line was simply missing their blocks. Even Bruce Miller whiffed on multiple occassions.

        Go look at the first run-play of the game. The Seattle has 8-men in the box. 49ers go with a counter-run to the right with Ipuati and Bruce Miller leading the way. Every O-Linemen blocks their man head up, leaving 2 unaccounted for defenders on the right side. We have 2 blockers heading that direction, with no one to account for Gore. So what happens next?

        Miller looks like he wants to block the inside defender (LB), but he changes his mind and bounces out to block the outside defender instead (Safety). Iputi is pulling to that side and thinks about also blocking the inside defender (LB), but also decides to block Miller (yes, his own man) and the outside defender (safety). Leaving the inside defender to single-handedly stop Gore at the line of scrimmage.

        That sums up a lot of plays in this game. We often had a man-to-a-man in the blocking scheme, but all it takes is for 1 guy to whiff or miss their assignment, and the entire play gets blown up. This is not Gore’s fault.

        Yes, Gore is mostly an inside runner, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a lot of success running inside the tackles for the majority of his career – even though defenses know that’s where he likes to run.

      3. That is true, Dan, but Gore also used to be able to surge forward even in a pile. He has done so rarely the first two games of the season. I am not quite on board with Grant that he is through (although some of that may sentimentality), and I hope he proves Grant wrong, but I am worried that he may not be able to push the piles forward like he did before.

      4. Grant,

        I’m assuming that you feel this is an answer to the question posed; so, I can only infer that you came to the realization that Gore is shot in the three days between the comments in question, and that realization led to your complete 180 degree change of opinion on the pistol vs QB under center. Is this correct?

        1. I didn’t change my opinion. The 49ers need to get back to the power running game and if they had Trent Richardson or a 29-year-old Gore they would. But after re-watching the Seattle game and re-watching Gore I don’t think he can be effective from an I-formation against an 8-man box anymore and I think the 49ers’ know it and that’s why they’re using so much pistol.

    2. I feel like you can make that argument on any power back. If the D stacks the box and focuses on stopping the run like GB did or if you’re playing Seattle in Seattle you’re going to struggle. Richardson ran for just over 3 yards per carry last year, his legs were fine. The o line needs to step up a bit and its been some scheduling luck and game planning. Gore will be fine. 9ers win Sunday AT HOME 31-17. Colts o-line is subpar.

      1. colts have number one run blocking oline this year. ballard averaged 4.8 yards a carry behind it. Bradshaw 4.1 and brown 4.3. But trent is different than those guys. He might get close to 5 behind it. Plus if you stack the box to stop him luck will get you with his arm. now if niners running game gets on track and kap has all day to throw they could win easily, but that’s only if they shut down luck and all his receivers.

  10. Grant you jump ship into panic mode faster than the most fair-weather fan… I come here for the comments because journalism like this is as bad as it gets. God I wish Democrat would get an actual professional writer back on this blog

    1. I agree. I really respect writers that are objective and use valid points to back up their arguments. Everything Grant writes is subjective, and has the same “the world is ending” mantra. One bad game and all of a sudden we’re this horrible team with problems everywhere. We’ve only played 2 games in a 16-game season, and the way Grant writes – you’d think we’ve just been eliminated from the playoffs by a 8-8 Cowboys team.

      Every year people doubt Gore and claim that he’s done after a bad game or two. Then every year, we shore up our blocking and learn to execute better, then all of a sudden Gore looks like he’s 27 again. This year won’t be any different.

      1. You guys are babies who don’t understand the difference between reporting and a column. You’re so predictable: human interest and positive pieces equal good journalism, and critical pieces equal bad columns.

        You’ve been smoking so much “49er” that all you can do is whine. Don’t you have the ability to refute the arguments?

    2. Really Oaktown?

      90% of the posts are copy n pasted transcripts. Were you on here when Maiocco or Branch were writing this Blog? It was intuitive, thought provoking and professional. I come here because the interface to comment and interact with others is the best. But reading through things like him getting into a fight with A.Davis because he said he squealed like a pig, or him having a tantrum when they didn’t draft Fleener, or trying to make an argument why the Niners should have signed Tebow, or giving every single faucet of last weeks grade a F and so on. His trigger finger is on rapid fire and he freaks out after one loss and it’s embarrassing to what this blog used to be. He back tracks and contradicts himself on almost a weekly basis. So I’m just calling it as I see it… it’s my opinion.. end of story

  11. Andrew luck has 76 of those 272 yards. They are getting almost nothing out of their running backs. Saying they’re going to run on the niners like a top 5 running team makes no sense in a two game sample.

      1. Citing stats as a trend and using them for support of a statement after 2 games is ludicrous.

        I won’t be surprised a bit if the Niners win by 21 points or more. There is now way to slice the Colts being better than the Niners. Nope, can do it.

  12. Let me get this straight, Grant. The Colts had to COMEBACK at HOME against the RAIDERS.. then lose to the DOLPHINS at HOME, but are going to go on the road and handily beat one of, if not, the best team(s) in football? Struggle against bottom feeders, go on the road and beat an elite team…. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  13. Colts are 5th in the nfl in rushing. Maybe because they faced the raiders and dolphins in their first two games. I’m not looking much into their run game. Niners front 7 will be playing mad. How about the colts pass pro. Anyone see their game vs the raiders. Luck was running for his life. And was sacked twice. Niners pass rush should have a field day rushing luck. And in the pass game we gotta cover Wayne and that’s it. TY Hilton DHB and Fleener cannot beat the niners.

      1. Grant, u r comparing two teams that will be lucky to reach .500 with the 2nd best team in NFL…a team that will be #1 after week 14.

    1. Adam,

      The 49ers pass rush is nothing without Aldon Smith. He has accounted for 52% of their sacks since the start of 2012.

      1. A .15 BAC is often seen as being an indicator of a high risk offender on its own. The timing of the stop at 7:00am exacerbates the risk indicator here. If he were still inebriated from the night before, as is often the case in morning DUI arrests, his BAC when he went to sleep was likely higher than .225 (the body metabolizes alcohol at a rate around .015% per hour; five hours of sleep would be .075% metabolized).

        Smith is a big guy. Reaching a BAC of .225+ would require imbibing a great deal of alcohol.

        By the way, despite .15 BAC being nearly twice the legal limit of .08, heavy drinkers often will not feel inebriated at that level, and some can even pass the field sobriety tests at .15BAC. Smith may have thought he slept it off even thought he still has a high BAC.

      2. Houston,

        How do you know AS didn’t go to sleep? I’m not saying he did, either, but how do you now he didn’t? And why call JPN clueless? He’s one of the better posters on this blog, and it seemed he had some interesting and salient info on his last comment.

      3. Golfer, I was kidding with the guy. No one knows what happened so conjecturing about blood alcohol level seems a bit too soon.

  14. Laron Landry ruled out for game. One of the colts best defensive players so far this year. Change your opinion at all grant?

    1. Maybe the 49ers score 20. The Colts still will load the box and double Boldin and force Kaepernick to throw to Williams or McDonald.

      1. Seems like your expecting the colts to take a Seahawks approach but they have no one near the talent of Sherman or Thomas. I’d be shocked if this colts D is capable of holding niners under 20.

        1. The Seahawks didn’t double team Boldin. The Colts will and leave Kyle Williams one-on-one against Vontae Davis and take their chances.

  15. Grant,

    Did you make your prediction before or after hearing of Smith’s arrest? If it was before, how would you change it?

      1. I get you right now, hands down, straight up they don’t score more then 21. All of a sudden in one loss the defense gives up 30 at home to the Colts?!? SMH

  16. Grant, I am more positive on most of your posts. This one is terrible.

    The 49ers lost the best homefield team in football last week. If you actually expect their offense to produce 100 yards of offense this week against a Colts team that got run off their homefield by the Dolphins, then you are simply not very good at what you do.

    Is it possible Indy could upset the 49ers? Yes, if you want to take one game (Seattle) to judge a team coming off a SuperBowl appearance.

    Do you think Indy is going to be able to press the 49ers receivers like Seattle, then you simply havent bothered to compare the teams personnel.

    You just didn’t bother to do any research.

    1. if colts do beat niners it will prob be in a shoot out if the colts blowout the niners I think a lot of people would be scratching their heads but not many would be surprised by niners blowing out colts

      1. Well Pagano did very little of the coaching last season unfortunately. And that’s comparing one year to two. In this situation I am taking the superior team at home.

      2. Harbaugh > Pagano.

        Pagano hasn’t coached a full season.
        Pagano hasn’t amassed the the record Harbaugh has.
        Pagano has never lead his team to a conference final.
        Pagano has never lead his team to a Super Bowl.

  17. Grant, I’ve read your articles for a long time but find myself questioning why you write about the niners. You have picked them to lose every game of the season so far and constantly hate on them. What’s up with that? When was the last time you wrote a positive article about the consensus top 5 team in the nfl?

  18. “Even if Indianapolis hadn’t traded for Trent Richardson on Wednesday, the 49ers still would have a tough time beating the Colts on Sunday.

    There you have it folks. No need to play the game. The Colts have already won according to Grant.

  19. Wow-you have the homers out big time with this article today, Grant!
    I think we need to establish our passing early, especially some long balls-,
    then if we are successful-we can be more balanced with the run.

    1. Has nothing to do with homers, if the 49ers can’t beat, or even have a tough time beating the Colts at home it means they aren’t a good team which isn’t true. Theres a reason Vegas has the line as 49ers by 11, because there is no way this should be close.

      1. Vegas has the line at 11 because they know many think like you, and they want money on both sides. Their spreads are mostly about perception.

      2. Jack
        An 11 point spread is huge. That’s more than perception. This is not an even matchup, otherwise, the spread would 49ers by 3.

      3. Jack,

        What you’re saying is true, to a point. While the initial betting lines take into account the predicted percepetion of the public and are adjusted up or down to achieve some balance to the money split, the spreads aren’t affected by public opinion enough to not make the 49ers overwhelming favorites in this game.

        So, maybe they should really be nine point favorites, is that really that much of a difference?

      4. Jack,

        The public overrates the Colts constantly and its likely that they aren’t overrating the 49ers after the shellacking they took in a nationally televised game.

  20. wow, how do you continue to write this blog? Who would ever want to put up with these personal attack comments? I give you credit, I don’t think I could take it. I may or may not agree with your opinion but it is always informative and thought provoking. Keep up the good work.

  21. I don’t see the Colts winning…primarily because as Miami showed, if you keep good pressure on Luck, he’ll have a tougher time throwing the ball downfield. I’d also caution not to let Seattle’s success running the ball equate to the Niners being unable to control Indy’s. Indy doesn’t have the OL Seattle has nor do they have two bruiser RB’s. With all the talk about Richardson, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see Gore bust out with a big game. Our OL knows they had a bad game Sunday night…and aren’t about to repeat it vs Indy. In addition, our defense is substantially superior to the Colts. Put it all in a blender, mix it up and a Niner win comes out.

    1. colts have two bruisers in ahmad bradshaw and trent Richardson. bradshaw ran for over 116 yards last year versus niners. Luck is mobile and will use that to help nullify 49ers pass rush. If flacco can light up niners secondary so can luck.

  22. grant, the colts should have lost to the raiders. I don’t care if the whole team is suspended. we will destroy them

      1. Grant the Seahawks were on the road the first week and played at the noise machine the 2nd thats the difference. Its really pretty simple.

      2. The Seahawks were playing at home with a unreal advantage. The colts r playing on road, against a very good, pissed off team. Show a little objectivity dude. The fact that u have picked a loaded team to lose every game so far, is a bit of an embarrassment.

  23. Colts road results last year:
    L @Chicago 41-21
    L @NYJ 35-9
    W @ TEN 19-13 OT
    W @ JAX 27-10
    L @ NE 59-24
    W @DET 35-33
    L @ HOU 29-17
    W @ KC 20-13

    Whenever they played a good team they got beaten by at least two scores, if this game is close its time to panic.

    1. Colts are not a real playoff team. They may be able to sneak in but they have little to no chance to actually win once they are there. Their defense is not good. And their offense is slightly above mediocre. I am not worried about this game at all. Especially coming off a loss and we are the home team

      1. The Broncos lost to the Ravens as well, I don’t see your point especially when the Colts lost by 15 and the 49ers lost by 3

  24. Of course there is always the possibility that the 49ers go up early, take the Colts away from their running game and put it all on Luck, which is exactly what the 49ers would love to happen. As good as Luck is, he did throw 18 INT’s last season. My prediction: No less than two picks this game if the 49ers take an early lead and force him to throw.

    But if the 49er offense bogs, this could be a close game, though. Still, even with the injuries on the DL and possible Smith suspension, I think they eek out a win, but it could be an ugly one.

  25. Grant, please stop the negative writing about our team, we really don’t want to hear glimmers of truth regarding the possible downside of out team/players. You completely ruined poor AJ right off the bat. We need you to be rah rah niners are invincible.

  26. Speaking of AJ, lost in the Alex Smith debate earlier was the fact that AJ Jenkins had his first NFL regular season catch during the Chiefs v. Eagles game.

  27. Grant, the great Jim Brown is quoted as saying Richardson
    is just an “ordinary talent”. If he’s so good, why would
    the Browns give up on him after 1 season even if they
    are starting to rebuild under a new regime? Even if he
    is good, he certainly isn’t Marshawn Lynch. The Niners
    are 7-0 after losses under Harbaugh and are playing at
    home. Your pick does not make much logical sense.

  28. Since you sure don’t write as a team beat writer Grant like all the others, do the 49ers try to get out of inviting you to team functions?

  29. Im really looking forward to see Patton get involved..I think K Williams is a #4 ..I have this wierd feeling Patton is going to turn into something special..
    As far as Grant goes its fine to be objective but your whole “sky is falling” approach is what wears on people..You seem to despise Haurbagh and the 49ers and revel in thier misfortune..Its personal with you and it shows..The Niners are still one of the best teams in football and the colts are not coming across the country and winning at the stick..Anyone with a set of eyeballs knows the Colts are not even close to the team the 9ers are..Coukd they win? Of course…its any given Sunday..Is it likely?….No

  30. Grant,

    I have to disagree with your analysis as well, but you are getting a high number of responses, so job well done. But did you really have to go for the cheesy pun? “Colts have more horsepower..”? Really? ;-)

    The 49ers are significantly better than the Colts and have better personnel in almost every position. I don’t see this game being close, especially since the 49ers are still pissed off about last week’s loss and are looking to take it out on the Colts this weekend.

    1. In the dark recesses of my soul I am hoping it is a close game. I’m almost hoping that the 49ers beat the Colts 50 – 49 with Colby Fleener scoring 7 TD’s. It would be hilarious to read Grant’s “I told ya so” columns that would surely follow for the next month.

      But then he’d have to change this to the Inside Colby Fleener blog with player profiles and fluff pieces about his likes and dislikes with emotional exposes on his high school and college careers. That would be extremely creepy not to mention bizarre for a Santa Rosa paper to have a blog devoted to a player in Indianapolis. Which, of course, is exactly what we did have for some time after that draft.

    2. >>But did you really have to go for the cheesy pun? “Colts have more horsepower..”? Really? ;-)

      How about this:

      49ers are going to holster these Colts.

      At least it’s a cheesy pun in our favor.

      1. Rib,

        How about: “49ers to test Luck as Colts Take Their Shots”

        A bonus title of a possible post game article: “Coby Fleeners the locker after 49ers impose their Willis.”

  31. Grant,

    The more you write, the dumber you come off.

    First let me mention that the niners are 101/2 point favorites. That line GREW after the loss to Seattle. If you’re that confident the colts will not only cover on the road but win too, put your money down.

    As for the colts running game, look at that division, conference, and schedule; they haven’t faced anything like the 49er run defense. To assume that will continue after acquiring an average back who has practiced once with his team is a bit of a stretch.

    As for gore, tell me this, grant: when has gore ever in his entire career been a back known for speed and getting to the edge? He’s a back who relies on instincts and patience, something you don’t necessarily lose overnight. Further, if you watched the all 22 film (which, don’t lie, you haven’t), you’ll have seen both GB and Seattle loading the box, compressing the field, and forcing the niners to beat them over the top. Kaepernick was able to do that week 1, but in Seattle, kaepernick didn’t have a chance with the way the offensive line played and the way our receivers got off the line of scrimmage. And do I need to remind you that we have other backs on our roster (see: hunter) who are terrific at running off tackle and an offensive line that are terrific blocking in space and getting to the second level? Any thoughts on that?

    To that point, you seem to believe that merely loading the box and doubling boldin is the magic formula. Bravo, grant – im sure you make your daddy so proud! But you’re not only relying on an extremely small sample size, but you’re comparing seattles schemes to what the colts will do. Here’s the thing: you can’t just play defense like Seattle without 1) the personnel (among other things), and 2.) that home crowd. Just last week qualified nfl minds like tony dungy said kaepernick can make any and every throw. That he is as difficult to gameplan against as there is in the entire league. But after one game, that all changes? Do you know something these former players, GMs, coaches….Harbaugh doesn’t know?

    With respect to our running game, you seem to forget the last year and half with Alex smith where Harbaugh exercised conventional offensive formations to run the ball. And during that time, we were #1 in the league in rushing. And that was during a time, by the way, where we had minimal production through the air.

    And please stop with the Vernon David garbage. Davis has never been a polished route runner, nor is he an especially adept pass catcher. Our offense, as much as you seem to believe, doesn’t revolve around him, especially through the air. Remember, he had roughly 40 catches last season, yet according to football outsiders, we had one of the more efficient offenses in the league. Calm down.

    Lastly, grant, no mention of the niners defense and special teams? Of course not. Why? You think of the game the same way a 7th grade kid does. Youre ignorance is embarrassing.

    1. Do you really feel embarassed? Tell us about that… what is the affect of that embarrassment? Constipation? Mud butt?

  32. This game could wind up being closer than I initially thought due to the injuries and stupidity of Aldon Smith, but I don’t see the Niners losing this game. The running game will get untracked this week with the legless Gore finding prosthetics to get him through and Hunter having a larger role. Kap is not going to be pressured much but if Davis can’t play, it’ll be tough to find big gains, so I see a lot of passes to the RB’s, Kyle Williams, and McDonald.

    The Niners with or without Aldon Smith will get pressure on Luck and the running game will be held under 100 yards. The Colts will make it interesting but the Niners will win.

    Niners 27
    Colts 20

  33. Dear Mr. Baake, thank you for giving us so many great skill set players over the last 3 years, especially the big, fast wr’s, young talented db’s, and Gore’s eventual replacement at rb. As my good friend,-George Bush said, “good job Brownie,” ur-I mean Baake. I am sure that Harbough will still love you if we don’t make the playoffs this year!

  34. Thanks to Aldon Smith, the niners are distracted.
    Distracted teams do not play their best.
    End of story.

  35. once again, you’re not factoring in scheme and game situations when addressing Gore and the Niner’s running game.

    If the Colts pinch the middle of their D-line and penetrate into the backfield and the Niners run slow developing run plays, then yes the Niner’s run plays are not going to work.

    The Colts run a single gap 3-4 “hybrid” defense…at least according to Pagano. So they’re going to be penetrating into the gaps. But if the Niners adjust their offensive running scheme then they will probably be successful.

    If the Colts are as focused on stopping the Niner’s run game then it will probably leave their secondary vulnerable. 8 in the box plus less focus on the pass rush. This didn’t work for them in Seattle. Seattle’s secondary was good enough to hold it’s own while their D-linemen got into the backfield to harass Kaepernick. But if the Colts don’t have an elite secondary, then Kaep should be able to have enough time to get the ball to an open receiver. Given enough time, even Boldin can get open against sticky coverage. Plus with more time Kaep can find 2nd and 3rd receivers.

    I’ll say again: the Kaepernick needs a security blanket. Ideally a true Tight End or a slot receiver that can run option routes and find ways to get open Davis is basically a jumbo stiff Wide Receiver that can inline block. But he’s not the find the holes in the coverage type of Tight End that become QB’s go to best friends.

  36. Grant, you should be EMBARRASSED that you actually think for yourself. Doing your homework, consulting statistics, and then using your God-given right of self-determination just makes you so… so… elitist. How dare you write something without consulting Vegas or Mat Maiocco first! And Matt Maiocco looks so good with his shirt off.

    Can’t you make deluded rose colored glasses assertions and personal attacks like the rest of us?? Come ‘on! ’9ers for Life!! If you were really “down” as a blogger, you’d go commit a drive by on the Colts right now.

    Can’t you tell that Harbaugh’s kakhis, black shirt, and black baseball make him so manly that all of you writers are made gay just by entering the room with him?? Well you are.

    Please keep your criticisms to yourself. Aldon Smith can mutilate babies and grandmothers as long as he puts up 2 sacks a games and stops the run.

    I’m going to go find a writer that bores me to tears, so that I don’t even have to ready anymore… God! Why you always trying to make me read? Oh, and then you make me so mad that I actually need to respond.

    I’ve had it with you Cohn. Now I’m going to leave mean comments twice as often.

    1. Homework? Statistics? Where?

      We’re not hammering grant for having an opinion; we’re attacking him for putting together lazy arguments and understanding of the game. Someone with his background and education doesn’t deserve to run a niner blog for a newspaper, however small and awful it might be.

  37. Grant

    Your tone, style, and message are exactly the same as Lowell’s. Time to move out of his house and into your own place, or maybe move into a place with that hot girlfriend of yours. Then, set yourself up with a writing nook and get to work on finding your own voice. Capiche?

    I still love you.

  38. The responses to Grant’s prediction are very similar to those last week. Let’s hope the actual outcome of the game is different.

    1. Actually the boo-birds are out in greater force against Grant this week due to the seattle beatdown. I think the Niners will fire out for a win and restore calm to the kingdom. They lose…the anti-Grant faction will explode if they haven’t already.

      My 2 cents.

    1. I know it hurts our chances but I think Smith should be benched for the Colts game in order to address this ongoing problem.

  39. Grant, how dare you say the 49ers won’t win and present an argument to support your prediction! Don’t you remember how well that worked out for you last week! Oh, wait…

    Personally I think the 49ers win this one. The 49ers defense is still good stopping the run in the base formation, and as Jack’s stats pointed out the Colts don’t often run out of the 11 formation which would get the 49ers in their nickel. In the passing game I think the biggest threat will be TY Hilton – he’s the sort of player the 49ers typically struggle with. But the Colts pass protection is poor, so Luck won’t get a lot of time in the pocket.

    I also think the 49ers offense matches up pretty well against the Colts. Expect to see a lot more Hunter in the game, and the Colts DBs and pass rush aren’t that good, so Kaep will have time to find open receivers.

    1. Haha thanks for the response, Scooter.

      Do you really think the Colts won’t run out of 11 personnel this week? They did it in the fourth quarter last week and the numbers say you have to do it against the 49ers. The Colts would me remiss not to, especially now that they have Richardson.

      I’m not convinced Hunter is ready to contribute. You think he is?

      1. It will be interesting to see if they do. Without Allen they will probably be more inclined to use their 11 personnel, and run out of it. It isn’t what they like to do though, and I think that is partly because the OL is still a work in progress (to put it kindly). And they’ve now lost Donald Thomas for the season. The 49ers DL should match up well against the Colts OL.

        As for Hunter, he doesn’t look back to 100%, but he’s still the 49ers fastest back at the moment (assuming LMJ is out again). The Colts defense can be susceptible to outside runs, as you mentioned. Hunter has to be an option this week to see if he can turn the corner for a few runs.

        1. How much worse is Indy’s O-line than Seattle’s O-line without Okung? Seattle had no problem rushing out of 11 personnel without Okung.

      2. Andrew Luck is going to shread the niners D, and the 49ers offense is going to stall again without their running game. The age is catching up to F. Gore.

      3. Even without Okung the Seahawks OL is better than the Colts. The Colts OL is really bad. Thomas was their best interior OL and now he’s done for the year. The interior of the OL is also where they’ve had the most problems in pass pro, so without Thomas they could really struggle to keep Luck upright. Their OTs are also only average at best.

      4. The Ninets Oline looks the 31st ranked run blocking unit right now. I finally forced myself to watch the Coaches film and the number of missed blocking assignments was a disgrace. I lost count on the number of times Staley, Iupati and Goodwin took the wrong guy or whiffed completely. On one play Goodwin and Iupati both ignored the guy in front of them and allowed a run to be stuffed in the backfield. The run blocking is a joke right now.

      5. No joke. That is main reason why it is hard to know if Gore’s legs are gone now. You can’t go anywhere if your line keeps missing their blocking assignments thus allowing him to be stuffed in the backfield.

  40. Horsepower doesn’t mean anything if they can’t punch it through our defense. Just ask the Eagles about how well that theory for them last night against the Chiefs.
    The wildcard in this game is Kaep. If he can rebound from his horrendous outing in Seattle, then we will head to St. Louis on Thursday sporting a 2-1 record.
    It will be a tight game until the Niners put it away in the fourth quarter. Niners 25 Colts 17.

    1. luck and Richardson are the wild cards. Plus if bradshaw drops another 116 yards again this year the 49ers could be in trouble.

      1. The wildcard for the Colts is their OL and how it will perform against the Niners DL. Going against the Raiders and Dolphins DLs is nowhere near enough the type of test needed to prepare for our guys on the line.

  41. love how Grant writes his stuff and some think its a joke .he’s doing a fine job he; Grant is writing an article and he’s not supposed to kiss 9er …,just call as he see’s it. settle down the the comments from us the reader, are about stupid avitar’s get on with his article and disagree no problem that’s why this is fun to read.

  42. Keep on dreaming that the niners running game is going to be great. I see the niners by the 7 week will be be 2-5 record. Alot of people gives the Kap & the niners team to much props, they the 49ers are overrated, the only bright side of the team is the defense, thats it. Kap is so overrated, without gore producing kap is just an average Qb. lol !

      1. Gore is a problem. Hunter is quite good and if given opportunity would to dice as he did past two years. He has run 7 times the season? First game he averaged 4 yds a carry with 8 in the box. Second game he only got he ball 1 time for -7 yds with the guy getting through line before he even got the ball. LaMichael James was productive for us last year coming off bench and he has yet to play. Like Grant, not much data to support your opinion. In fact, if you go back to last year, the numbers would contradict what you r saying.

      2. Seahawk fan, huh? Yes, we loss to them at their ridiculously loud place, however, any team can beat any team in this league at any time. It’s one game. There’s only one stat to say to arrogant seattle fans. Jim Harbaugh has done in 2 years what it’s taken seattle almost 4 decades to accomplish. 2 Conference Championship games and 1 super bowl. Seattle=Unwarranted Arrogance/Mediocrity/Pre & Regular Season Celebrations/0-1 in super bowl.

      3. I guess theres also an excuse losing to the Colts 27-7.. Wow ! The 49ers has alot of issues and they have alot of key players that are wounded..

        Andrew Luck is a much better Qb then Kap.. In the long run A. Luck will be a hall famer someday.

  43. I predict that Grant will predict that the 49ers will have little chance against the Rams on a short week, and a thirty point blowout by the Texans. It’s time to start planning for the draft.

    A lot of “experts” predicted the Seahawks loss. How may are predicting a loss to the Colts? Maybe they aren’t using the most valid data.

    1. how many experts predicted the colts beating greenbay last year. Trent Richardson was an emotional boost for the team. If he comes out on fire the 49ers could find themselves in one epic battle.

    1. @3jordan, I hope you are right for your teams sake. Because i don’t see the 49ers chances making the playoffs this season..The 49ers have no running game, I don’t see Gore making big plays for the offense, ages has caught up to gore. Dixon and the rest of the 49ers RB on the rosters all sucks. Kap won’t be able to carry the team on his back, thats why they call the game of football a team effort.

      1. Gore is a problem. Hunter is quite good and if given opportunity would to dice as he did past two years. He has run 7 times the season? First game he averaged 4 yds a carry with 8 in the box. Second game he only got he ball 1 time for -7 yds with the guy getting through line before he even got the ball. LaMichael James was productive for us last year coming off bench and he has yet to play. Like Grant, not much data to support your opinion. In fact, if you go back to last year, the numbers would contradict what you r saying.

  44. Have u actually watched the colts play this season. Terrible! I don’t care if Richardson is playing or not, just not a great team. Don’t see it. Niners win by 14.

    1. I admire your perspective of the colts team. Every week is different scenrio, the colts has a better intelligent QB name Andrew Luck. Don’t just right them off. His way better than Kap, kap was just lucky to be with a team that have good players and coaches. If Kap went to Indy he probably wouldv’e struggle. Even though A. Luck is not surrounded with good players around him he still show how good of QB he is. In the long run Andrew Luck will be a better Qb then Kap when said and done.

  45. Pigskin Prognosticators Predict:

    Between the inter-island traveling and the migraine after the seattle beatdown we’re gonna try this again, late but whatever.

    Grant: The Colts will win 24-17. I expect Kaepernick to play a brilliant game. He’s a brilliant player, just not brilliant enough to beat the Colts by himself…Maybe the 49ers score 20. The Colts still will load the box and double Boldin and force Kaepernick to throw to Williams or McDonald.

    TkamB: 31-13 Niners. You’re forgetting one thing, the Colts aren’t a good team. Assuming Aldon plays this week, probably even if he doesnt, the D-line is going to dominate one of the worst o-lines in the league. 31-13 49ers.

    Adam707: 31-17 Niners. Niners margin of victory after a loss or tie is 17.5 points. Plus just look at the matchup. Niners have a better defense in every facet. Colts have a new RB and one WR. Niners win 31-17

    Shane: 31-17 Niners. If the D stacks the box and focuses on stopping the run like GB did or if you’re playing Seattle in Seattle you’re going to struggle. Richardson ran for just over 3 yards per carry last year, his legs were fine. The o line needs to step up a bit and its been some scheduling luck and game planning. Gore will be fine. 9ers win Sunday AT HOME 31-17. Colts o-line is subpar.

    Rocket: 27-20 Niners. This game could wind up being closer than I initially thought due to the injuries and stupidity of Aldon Smith, but I don’t see the Niners losing this game. The running game will get untracked this week with the legless Gore finding prosthetics to get him through and Hunter having a larger role. Kap is not going to be pressured much but if Davis can’t play, it’ll be tough to find big gains, so I see a lot of passes to the RB’s, Kyle Williams, and McDonald.
    The Niners with or without Aldon Smith will get pressure on Luck and the running game will be held under 100 yards. The Colts will make it interesting but the Niners will win. Niners 27 Colts 20

    MidWestNiner: 25-17 Niners. Horsepower doesn’t mean anything if they can’t punch it through our defense. The wildcard in this game is Kaep. If he can rebound from his horrendous outing in Seattle, then we will head to St. Louis on Thursday sporting a 2-1 record. It will be a tight game until the Niners put it away in the fourth quarter. Niners 25 Colts 17.

    Phil Fan: 24-14 Niners. Niners rebound to stuff the running game and break the Colts 24-14.

  46. Question to all. How can you tell if a RBs “legs are gone” if the longest run has been 5 yards. Gore has always been a patient running back. Give it time. I remember this argument two years ago in 2011. 1st three games he had 59 carries for 148 (2.5 ypc) which is a worse start than this year. We will keep pounding the rock and things will happen. Peoples over reactions are comical.

    1. Watch him run and watch the plays the coaches call. He hasn’t run outside at all this season. He doesn’t bounce anything outside and the coaches haven’t called one sweep or toss for Gore this season. They won the game in Green Bay last season running Gore outside. Gore rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown outside the tackles in that game.

      He’s currently averaging 2.0 yards per carry, so this is a worse start than 2011. And it’s bleaker too because he’s 30, not 28.

      1. My question is if his legs are “gone” as you say, why wasn’t this a bigger issue during training camp? I seems like if age has finally caught up to him this year it would have been noticeable during the camp practices that you and numerous other reporters watched. From my perspective on the couch he looks similar to what I have seen from the last 3-4 years. When his run blocking is poor, he looks bad and people question his legs.

      2. But it’s comparing 59 carries to 30. Gore hasn’t ran more than 5 yards all season, the blocking has been atrocious. If his legs are in fact done why isn’t hunter getting more carries. I think it’s an over reaction. He may be done. But I’ll give it some time. He played well in playoffs too last year. Averaging what 4.8 or 4.9 ypc.

  47. Better combo: Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson in 2013 or Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James in 1999? The Colts went 13-3 and scored 26.4 points per game in ’99.

    1. Seems like you would have to throw Harrison and Hilton in the mix as well. I will say 2013 Colts have a better overall receiving corps than 1999 Colts. Another interesting point is that in 1999 the average team scored about 30 less points over the season than in 2012. The Colts were the 3rd highest scoring team in 1999, in 2012 they would have been 7th.

        1. I think Hilton becomes the Colts’ No.1 receiver this season if he hasn’t already. Asomugha will have his hands full.

      1. You have to like the young offensive weapons they are putting around Luck, to complement Reggie Wayne. When healthy, they’ve got Richardson, Allen, Fleener, Hilton and Heyward-Bay. That is some good young talent that will only get better.

        Grant, I know I said the supporting cast wasn’t quite top-notch the other day, but I do think it will be in the near future.

        1. I agree, they’ve got to prove it on the field before they’re considered top-notch.

          I think Hilton is in the process of breaking out right now, though. He’s special. It’s too bad Baalke hasn’t gotten a player like Hilton for Kaepernick.

      2. Hilton has been limited in practice with the groin injury. It will be interesting to see if he is full go tomorrow.

        1. True, but the Colts listed him as probable. It seems like they were resting the injury in practice. We’ll see if it slows him down.

      3. Jack: I thought about that but went with Hilton because of big-play ability. However, that’s why I noted the depth of the 2013 Colts receiving corps. I barely recognized the other Colts receivers/TE in 1999.

      4. Scooter,

        You have to like the young offensive weapons they are putting around Luck, to complement Reggie Wayne. When healthy, they’ve got Richardson, Allen, Fleener, Hilton and Heyward-Bay. That is some good young talent that will only get better

        Out of this group, Hilton is the only one who has shown an ability to be a top notch player and at his size I’m not sure he’s #1 caliber.

        The rest have potential and in the case of Heyward Bay one good season, but I don’t see much elite level talent in that group.

      5. Another point: Edge was absolutely incredible in 1999. 369 carries for 1553 yds and 13 tds PLUS 62 catches for 586 yds and 4tds – as a rookie. In 2000 he actually improved on those numbers….of course he played 20 games combined in the next two seasons. Sad to see how that much of a workload will wear down a running back.

      6. Geez rocket, your a harsh evaluator. Richardson, Allen, Fleener and Hilton all have one season of NFL experience to their resumes. That’s it. They all looked decent as rookies, even Richardson despite playing on a really bad team and Fleener despite many people on this blog desperately wanting him to fail so they can stick one to Grant.

        Heyward-Bay is probably the 3rd best WR on their roster. Not many clubs can boast a talent like Heyward-Bay is their 3rd best WR. I sure wish he was a 49er right now.

        I also forgot to mention Vick Ballard. He’ll be a very nice complementary back to Richardson next season when he’s healthy again.

      7. I’m not trying to be harsh Scooter, just realistic. The players listed have potential but that is all it is right now. Before comparing them to the Colts of a decade ago they need to play a little more imo.

    2. Scooter,

      I’m not trying to be harsh just realistic. The potential is there but that’s all it is right now. It’s the same reason I’m not crowning the Colts for the trade. Richardson is a name, good College player who was a top 3 pick. The problem is he’s shown nothing special on the field so far. These guys have to do it on the field before I start comparing them to the players who were on the Colts a decade ago.

      1. I think the Manning/James – Luck/Richardson comparison is interesting and fair. Richardson could turn out to be a better running back than James whose career ypc was just 4.0.

      2. Rocket, that was pretty much my point. Lots of young talent – not there yet but there is a lot of promise. Yes they still need to prove it on the field, but early signs are encouraging – they all have shown the flashes of talent to think if they put it all together they could be a very good group moving forward.

        I wasn’t comparing them to the early Manning era Colts. However, if I did, I’d say they currently have better young talent at the skill positions overall than they did with Manning in 1999.

      3. I’m not trying to spoil anybody’s fun here. Just saying I don’t see the comparison yet. You have a lot of names without a lot of production on that list. The potential is there but to me that’s more due to Luck and his ability than those individuals.

      4. Young players in their second season that haven’t had a lot of production yet – I’m shocked! :-P

        Those guys from the 2012 draft class all put up above average #s as rookies. There is definitely reason to think they will end up pretty good.

      5. Wow Grant, you do know that Edge is 11th all-time in rushing yards and 13th all-time in total yards from scrimmage. That’s in the history of the league. The only non-HOFers ahead of him on these lists are Tomlinson, Bettis, Barber, and Owens. There’s a very good chance Edge is in the HOF soon. I like Richardson but he has a long way to go to get to that kind of rare air.

        1. How many carries do you think Richardson will get this season? James rushed the ball 369 times as a rookie and 387 times his second season.

      6. Scooter,

        I’m talking about letting them play before comparing them to established players from history. The potential is there and I’ve clearly stated that multiple times now.

        Andrew Luck is a special player and threw the ball more than most teams did last year. TY Hilton could be a #1 receiver, or he could be a #3 guy who benefitted from the guys in front of him and the pass heavy offense. The TE’s were pretty good but nothing screams elite from their rookie year, neither does Richardson’s play in Cleveland. People are so quick to anoint players instead of actually letting it play out on the field. To borrow a line from Denny Green: “If you wanna crown ‘em, then crown ‘em.” I’ll wait and see what happens.

      7. Grant I think there is about zero chance that Richardson will get even get to 350 carries this season. Which is why I think the Edge/Richardson comparison is a little suspect.

      8. Jack I’ve been meaning to ask you something, based on your review of the All-22 are the Niners even running the quick-hitter/trap/wham type plays that Grant and numerous others have mentioned as being more effective against the types of fronts the Niners have seen the first two weeks. These plays were very effective last year especially against the Lions and the Seahawks (at home). I haven’t seen any of these plays, but I didn’t rewatch last weeks game and the side view from the couch can be a little deceiving at times. I’ve been wondering if VMac might not be ready to deliver those very effective wham blocks that Delanie abused the Lions with last year.

      9. Greg,

        No they haven’t utilized the quick hitting trap and wham plays yet. It’s been mostly power o and zone type stuff.

        I was just rewatching the Seattle game to update my charts and noticed on the first series of the second half they came back to the same running play they opened the game up with. The first time Iupati missed his block so Gore had to fight for a 2 yard gain. The second time, Iupati pulls up into the hole correctly and Gore ends up with a nice 5 yard gain.

        I bring this up because of all the discussion regarding Gore losing his legs. I’m not sure if I agree with that after only 2 games, mostly due to this type of stuff. Even the chart Grant linked to earlier today shows that Gore is among the most hit backs in the backfield. It’s tough to break tackles and hit holes when you’ve got guys hitting you on your side of the line of scrimmage.

      10. Exactly Jack – the biggest issue with the running game the first two weeks is the blocking execution, not the RBs.

      11. It looks like they are out of sync and along with the missed assignments up front, Gore is not sticking with the blocking either at times. They may catch a break today with both Landry and Angered out.

  48. Grant, how in the world can we take league wide rankings seriously after 2 games? How is it impressive that the Colts are “fifth” in the league in rushing, when their opponents have been Oakland and Miami (and Andrew Luck has done the bulk of that damage on non-designed runs).

  49. Having a great back like Richardson will make Andrew Luck job much easier comes sunday against the 49ers. Just go back to the seattle game their RB M. Lynch had a field day with the 49er’s defense. And Luck is a much better Qb then Russel Wilson and Kap.

  50. ESPN is just had their run-through on Aldon. Tom Jackson referred to the Jimmy Johnson plan; Play him regardless. Carter( he has some insight), Keyshawn (the voice of reason ?!?) and Ditka say No. Ditka said, “You get what you tolerate.”
    Interestingly, someone brought up it might NOT be OK for the team to deactivate him (per CBA), but I think it was Key who said, So, dress him but don’t play him.

  51. Raiders are the better team in Bay Area right now. It isn’t some freak occurrence that SF fans got the nickname “niner whiners”…..nor was it a freak occurrence that Raiders came within a couple yards of beating the Colts Week 1.

  52. Niners are historically a classy team in all but one aspect: when it comes to losing. Harbaugh is the less-qualified Harbaugh brother, with zero personality and seems clueless when any adversity raises its head. His postgame PC’s are atrocious, even after wins. KP was the trendy flavor of the week last year, but was always just a one-trick pony. Right now, Oakland is the better SF Bay Area footbal team, is more exciting to watch, and has surprised even some hater naysayers. Even if Oakland loses tonight, they should move ahead of SF in the Power Rankings, but prejudice and bias will keep that from happening. If Oakland upsets Denver, I bet that even then, SF will somehow be rated higher than Oakland in the PRs. After next Sunday, SF will be 1-3 and Oakland will likely be 2-2. Playing Aldon Smith after his alcohol & pot bust on Sunday killed any remaining credibility York or the SF organization had left over from last year.

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