‘Win Monday’ for 49ers after road victory in Seattle

OK, first things first. I called it Victory Monday. The 49ers actually call it “Win Monday.” I believe my phrase has a little better alliteration, but oh well.


 

OK, first things first. I called it Victory Monday. The 49ers actually call it “Win Monday.” I believe my phrase has a little better alliteration, but oh well.

Anyway . . .

Coach Mike Nolan had his day-after game press conference:

–When asked about the improvements made on offense, Nolan first pointed to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. He said there is a real belief in what Martz does with the offense. He also added that the team acquired some good players who have given the team an upgrade. Three of those newcomers were particularly productive yesterday: QB J.T. O’Sullivan, WR Isaac Bruce and WR Bryant Johnson. Nolan said he expects backup RB DeShaun Foster to play an important role at some point this season, too.

–OK, now about that 4-2-5 defense that the 49ers played. Nolan said he does not regret the decision. He said part of the reason for playing that defense was so that the 49ers did not have to constantly match the Seahawks’ personnel. He said Mike Holmgren’s team is very good about getting new players onto the field quickly, and if defenses try to match them, they’re always a tick behind.

Nolan said he believes that defense gives his team the best chance to win, player on player against the Seahawks. The 49ers used this same defense two years ago when they pulled off an upset in Seattle against a team that was healthy at the wideout spots, featuring WRs Deion Branch, Darrell Jackson, Nate Burleson and D.J. Hackett.

My questions were about the team not putting pressure on QB Matt Hasselbeck. Nolan said just because they didn’t get much pressure on Hasselbeck, it doesn’t mean that they did not call some blitzes. He said blitzes were called, but they were generally not effective.

Also, when I asked about why the 49ers would go with five defensive backs against a team that figured to want to run the football, Nolan said the size difference from their base package to their “sub” package is not significant. Basically, in the team’s front seven, they’re swapping in SS Michael Lewis (222 pounds) for LB Manny Lawson (240).

Sure, it does not seem particularly logical that the 49ers would load up against the pass (and put no pressure on the QB) against a team that had just three unproven receivers available for the game. But did it work? Hasselbeck completed just 50 percent of his passes and had the lowest passer rating of his career (42.5). Meanwhile, the Seahawks rushed for 169 yards on 34 attempts.

–On the eight sacks, Nolan said the blame was spread around. He said O’Sullivan was part of the problem as he held the ball too long on occasion. Nolan said the line was also to blame for some breakdowns.

O’Sullivan didn’t take too many big hits. Although Nolan said he’ll be curious to find out if a Seattle player (Brian Russell) is fined for leading with his helmet at the end of an O’Sullivan run. O’Sullivan slid feet-first but still took a big hit.

–But with the bad came some good. Although O’Sullivan did not always get rid of the ball as quickly as he should have, he also kept some plays alive with his feet. He completed seven passes of more than 20 yards.

–RT Jonas Jennings was removed from the game in the second half because of a shoulder injury, Nolan said. When Jennings is healthy, he’ll return to his starting role. Veteran Barry Sims played well in Jennings‘ absence yesterday.

–Nolan had no injury updates on Jennings, S Dashon Goldson or CB Shawntae Spencer.

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RB Frank Gore was walking gingerly today after taking a physical pounding in yesterday’s game. Gore said the Seahawks went to great measures so that they would not “let me go crazy.” But now that the 49ers have showed they can throw the ball effectively, “I can go crazy again,” he said. He said teams will not be able to load up the box to stop the run.

–Gore was asked about O’Sullivan’s demeanor in the huddle. Gore said when he calls the play in the huddle, he points to each player and really emphasizes everyone’s assignment.

–This figures to be a fun week, as the offensive players await Martz’s game plan on Wednesday. Knowing Martz will be going up against the team that fired him at the end of last season, Gore said, he expects “a lot of crazy stuff.”

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Fun fact: The last time the 49ers came back to win from a two-touchdown deficit was their last playoff victory. The 49ers were down 38-14 to the N.Y. Giants in the third quarter of their Jan. 5, 2003, playoff game. The 49ers won 39-38.

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