(By Daisy Barringer)
Sometimes you need a stress-free win. A win where you’re happy and relaxed the entire game, where even the stupid mistakes aren’t that big of a deal because you know it’s in the bag. I REALLY needed that yesterday. After a crappy weekend, it was literally all I could handle. So thank you to the 49ers for giving me exactly that with a win that was more of a blow out than the score reflects.
The star of the game was probably Colin Kaepernick who returned to the run and found success. His read-option fake to Gore in the second quarter on third and seven ended in a 20-yard touchdown, his first of the season. I wonder if Titans coach Mike Munchak regrets saying that in order to avoid injury, the “less [Kaepernick] runs the better." Looks like he ran and avoided injury, Mike. Bummer for you.
But even though Kap shined in the game (13 of 21 for 199 yards and 68 yards rushing), the entire team gelled, almost seamlessly. Perhaps it just took them this long to reach their stride or perhaps it’s because they were playing an inferior team. That will only be determined in the coming weeks. However, what we saw yesterday can only instill faith that the Niners—with four consecutive wins—are on track despite their slow start.
On offense, I would be remiss if I didn’t give props (no one says that anymore, do they?) to Anquan Boldin whose one-handed grab at the beginning of the game was a thing of beauty. He ended the game with 5 catches for 76 yards and can I just say how sorry I am that I was ever annoyed we picked him up in the offseason. I was still bitter about the Super Bowl loss and I wasn’t thinking rationally. I literally do not know what we do without him. He’s played a huge role in the absence of Crabtree and Manningham (who will hopefully be back shortly after the bye) and he’s also super fun to watch.
Of course, since the Niners really don’t have a No. 2 receiver, that’s given Vernon Davis an opportunity to continue playing a vital role on the offense. He finished the game with four receptions for 62 yards. And sure the Titans managed to hold Gore to only 70 yards on 24 attempts, but whatever because he ran the ball in for two touchdowns. BAM, suckers.
There's literally not one person I really have anything bad to say about. The defense did exactly what they had to do. If Patrick Willis felt like a rookie last week, he seemed to be back to his old self this week with team-high 8 tackles and 1 assist. Justin Smith stepped up with two sacks and Ahmad Brooks had one. Another highlight? Tramaine Brock’s INT.
In fact, take a moment today to head over to SFGate to read Eric Branch’s inspiring story about Brock’s “improbably rise” in the NFL. Brock has three interceptions in the last four games and I look forward to seeing him continue to thrive this season.
Oh, and let’s not forget (like we could) about Kassim Osgood who recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown.
GOD I LOVE FOOTBALL.
Really the only thing to complain about in terms of play that the 49ers seemed to lose their edge in the 4th quarter. In fact, for much of the game it seemed like the Niners were going to shut the Titans out. But even when the Titans did manage to start making plays, it was pretty clear that the Niners had it handled. Also, I don’t begrudge former 49ers TE Delanie Walker that TD.
The biggest bummer of the game? Injuries to both starting safeties, Donte Whitner and (my new favorite as of this season) Eric Reid. They both left the game with lower leg injuries. Whitner tried to come back in, but left shortly thereafter and Reid did manage to come back in, albeit with a slight limp. Overall, doesn’t look like much to worry about.
Up next: The 49ers face the Jaguars in London. I was supposed to go to the game, but I decided to get a puppy instead. (Big life choices over here.) Luckily, I think the Niners can win that one even without me rooting them on in the stands.
Great job to everyone on the Niners. I think we all appreciated the relaxing Sunday. Have fun in London!