Troy Smith did more than I expected out of him in his debut as a starting quarterbacking for the 49ers. His patience was vital and I found that he waited for plays to develop rather than just forcing plays. It was a bit frustrating at first, but in the fourth quarter, it proved to be all worth it. He was a leader out there on Sunday and that is more than anybody could have asked for quite frankly. Mike Singletary took a gamble, and so far it is paying off. I do not know if it will last in the coming weeks but I most definitely feel better with Troy Smith at the helm than I do with Alex Smith or David Carr, and that is with just one game under his belt.
The Niners had 143 total yards rushing against the Broncos along with two touchdowns. As usual, Frank Gore had the bulk of those yards, finishing with 118 yards. This was Gore’s third straight 100-yard performance, and his fourth of the season. The better Frank Gore plays, the better the Niners offense is as a whole. Look for Troy Smith to surely benefit if Gore continues to play better in the second half of the season. Anthony Dixon needs to play a greater role in the offense as well. He finished with 5 rushes for 11 yards yesterday and we certainly need him to produce at an increased level for the offense to evolve. Shonn Greene of the Jets made some noise for his team as a rookie after a Week 9 Bye. Hopefully, the same will be said of Anthony Dixon. The 49ers offense as we all know is often times too predictable and other players need to step up in order for us to keep opponents’ defenses honest.
Delanie Walker and Troy Smith hooked up really nicely. As a matter of fact, Walker came down with a 38-yard pass by Smith that I thought would have been intercepted. Michael Crabtree had 53 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Josh Morgan’s lone reception went for 30 yards. Troy Smith does not have a grasp of the whole offense and when he does, things can’t get really exciting for the 49er offense. Again, I keep reminding myself that it was just one game, but the offense rallied around him. Hopefully Vernon Davis’ ankle injury is not severe. Troy Smith and Ted Ginn have played with each other before as well and hopefully they can get something good going on the field.
The defense allowed the Broncos to have nearly 400 yards offense; finished with 398. That has got to stop. We knew the Broncos had no rushing game of any kind. Coming into the game, they were last in that category and that is where they remain today. Therefore, one had to know that Kyle Orton and the Broncos offense were going to air it out. And, they did. Orton finished with 369 passing yards. The 49ers need to fix this during the Bye Week. It is not as if the Broncos passing attack took them by surprise. They were not prepared to defend against it. The 49ers were however effective in defending the Broncos’ third-down situations. The Broncos only converted 2 of their 10 third-down attempts and did not go for it at all on 4th down. The pass rush was pleasing as well, sacking Orton 4 times for a loss of 30 yards.
In all, this was a good-not great-game for the 49es. If they can do what they did in the fourth quarter yesterday, over the course of a full game in the weeks ahead, this team will be competitive. This team is clearly talented and has what it takes to compete with the league’s top teams (not suggesting the Broncos are). As much as I dislike Singletary as a coach, I know that he will keep the players in check and not allow them to get over themselves. Having won two of their last three games, they should not get complacent and start looking past teams. They need to remain focused and always thinking about their very NEXT opponent and what it will take to beat them. The poor start to the season needs to be put behind them and keep pushing towards the playoffs during the second half of the season.