If you listen closely, the collective sigh of relief from the 49ers faithful fans screams like the winds off the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, on the other side of America, that sound you hear is the New York City media pounding the Jets like an over-the-hill heavyweight (much like the Niners did today).
Completing their two-game road trip one down and one up, the San Francisco 49ers smacked the New York Jets, 34-0. Though this game played par for the course, we learned a few things on this Sunday afternoon.
The San Francisco 49ers are still the best in the National Football League. The defending NFC West Champions can feel okay about starting the season at 3-1 after soundly defeating teams who were expected to make noise this season. More so, the 49ers were able to win 2 of 3 on the road in the same stretch. The victory expressed volumes in each area of play (offense, defense, special teams) and provided answers and questions for both teams.
For the Niners, they were able to reset and play quality smash mouth football. This game, Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, introduced a few wrinkles, including a Colin Kaepernick infused option play that forced imbalance for the Jets.
Both Niners QBs played efficiently. Even rushing the ball, the team used assorted alignments to run for 245 yards with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Kaepernick all running for more than 50 yards. The defense held the Jets to 145 total yards, forced 4 turnovers and even blocked a punt on special teams. Well considered a major part of the game, punter Andy Lee helped keep the Jets offense quiet by placing two punts inside the 5-yard-line. When this team plays at their best, the Niners often appear unbeatable. Next up, San Francisco will play three consecutive home games.
Is Randy Moss a deep threat or a decoy? This question has yet to be answered. This is what we do know. At the age of 35, Randy Moss still scares every secondary lining up against him. They play Moss deep with doubles giving him what he wants under the coverage. Considering Alex Smith has not taken many “coverage” sacks, Moss plays a great part in opening up the opposing defense.
In the first half, Kaepernick listened to our whispers and went deep to Moss for the end zone though he was triple-covered. This is apparent; Moss makes the 49er offense better, (especially the wide receivers). Later this season, he will surely make a few big plays based on the right play call or a crucial mistake by the defense. Go easy, 49ers fans, the Randy Moss move is certainly paying off.
Barring injury to the backup quarterback, Mark Sanchez will NOT finish the season as the New York Jets starting quarterback. Here are the numbers. Mark Sanchez went 13-29, 103 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT. The Jets offense also went 2-13 on 3rd downs. For the season, Sanchez has completed less than 50% of his passes. This is unacceptable for an NFL quarterback.
Against the Niners, the Jets offense was flat, ineffective and lethargic. Sure, the Jets do not have a legit running game. There is one true threat at the wide receiver position (maybe none depending upon the results of Santonio Holmes’ injury) and the offensive line is in question.
Nevertheless, the jury has been out on Sanchez even during and after two consecutive trips to the AFC Championship years ago. He has not explicitly claimed his place as a dependable quarterback and this fact is glaring as bright as the spotlight will soon shine on Tim Tebow. Tebow struggles with the pass. He cannot recognize coverage effectively. Yet, Tebow is a winner and can rally the troops like no other. It has been an easy call all season. Nothing has changed and at a time when the team is near rock-bottom, the Jets can't lose with this move.
This just in, the New York Jets are not what their coach says! Maybe, Coach Ryan’s bark is tougher than the bite of his team. This is still in question. What we saw was a pounding versus the 49ers. San Francisco out-toughed the Jets in all phases of the game. While we watched the Niners defense destroy their opponent, we noticed the Jets try arm tackles for four quarters and get pushed off the ball throughout. The Jets beat the Bills and the Dolphins earlier this season, but when they went head-to-head against power teams like the Steelers and Niners, they had their hat knocked off their head and handed to them. What is worse? They Jets will play Houston next week (4-0). Calling Tim Tebow!!!
Exhale! Thanks to the regular referees, it feels like the NFL is back to normal. Do we expect the “regular guys” to run a perfect record for the rest of the season? No. Regardless, this game was efficient and meticulously managed. It does not matter what happens between now and the end of the regular season, we are much better off than before today.