New England vs San Francisco

Posted: Sunday, October 05, 2008 by Travis Cody in

Even though New England is not the team it was last season, I still think this is a statement game for San Francisco.

RB Frank Gore begins the game with a short gain, and then QB JT O'Sullivan delivers high over the middle for an incompletion. The pass did hit the receiver in the hands, but it was just a little high. Although the 49ers go 3 and out on this first drive, O'Sullivan finally threw a ball away instead of eating it for an unneccessary sack. That's a good sign that he might finally be learning.

So let's call that a good start. No turnovers, no sacks, and a successful punt.

Woooooooooooooooooo!!! The 49ers get good pressure on NE QB Matt Cassel and hit him as he throws. SF LB Takeo Spikes intercepts the pass. The 49ers are in business at the NE 45 yard line.

Dammit! O'Sullivan tries to go deep and take advantage, but the receiver makes a bad play on the ball and NE DB Brandon Meriweather tips it and then catches in on his back for an interception at the 4 yard line.

The SF defense stands up and forces a 3 and out.

Nate Clements gets a great return on the punt. I despise the tactic of giving up ground to try and find running room, but in this case it works for Clements as he gets 13 yards.

Sweet. NE gets caught on defensive holding in the secondary and SF keeps the drive going when it looked like they had come up short on a 3rd down play.

Touchdown! Wooooooooooooooo!!! O'Sullivan to Gore! SF leads 7-0.

After a fumble on the snap from center, Cassel hits WR Randy Moss in stride for a 66 yard TD pass on the deep post. The Patriots offense may be struggling, but there's no doubt Cassel can throw an accurate deep ball.

The score is tied now at 7-7.

The 49ers come back behind O'Sullivan to veteran WR Isaac Bruce for 38 yards. Bruce was wide open by 10 yards on what looked like a blown coverage.

Gore bursts through for 16 yards to make it first and goal. And then O'Sullivan hits Bruce for the TD.

Woooooooooo and Hoooooooooooooo!

It looks like NE has a bit of running back by committee with Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Sam Morris, and LaMont Jordan. And maybe they should leave the running to the backs. They just gave the ball to Moss on an end around and he got swallowed by the 49ers defense.

Yup. Let RBs run the ball. Morris powered through the line for 14 yards. But then the drive stalls as SF gets a sack of Cassel, and NE must punt. That's big for the defense to hold and not allow NE to march down for some kind of answering score.

SF is really trying to stretch the field and attack the Patriot secondary. O'Sullivan missed on another deep ball, but this is going to force the DBs to play for the long ball first, which opens up both the running game and the short passing game.

But not on this drive. SF goes 3 and out.

Cassel tries to go deep again, but the 49ers double Moss this time and get the interception. Once again SF is unable to move the ball.

NE has gone to a power running game, perhaps to try and sustain a drive and bring the safety up in run support for SF. That could open up the secondary a bit for the passing game.

SF has played well defensively so far. They gave up the one long ball to Moss, but otherwise Cassel has only thrown for a total of 88 yards and SF has picked him off twice.

The strategy is effective on this drive. NE has been able to run effectively and slow down the tempo. The Patriots have been able to keep the down and distance manageable, keeping all options open on 3rd and short, which makes it more difficult for the 49ers to get in the right defense. So NE is able to convert 3rd downs with running plays and run time off the clock.

However, when you finally do go to a short pass you have to complete it, otherwise you find yourself in a 3rd and long which cuts loos the pass rush. Cassel threw incomplete on 1st down, Faulk ran for a short gain, and Cassel was sacked on 3rd and 6. The drive comes up short and NE settles for a field goal.

SF leads 14-10.

And now SF is unable to run the ball effectively on a 3rd and short. Both defenses are playing well.

Wow! SF had an ineligible player downfield on the punt, so NE decided to make SF kick again. Punter Andy Lee booms the kick 82 yards into the oppositive endzone for a touch back. There's a boost to your net average!

SF is playing against the long ball in their 2 minute defense, so NE continues to go with runs and short passes to march straight down the field.

And yet again the 49ers sack Cassel on 3rd down, but this time SF got his facemask and the personal foul gives NE a first down.

The penalty hurts SF as NE gets the TD on a short run by Faulk. The score is 17-14 at the half.


  1. This makes absolutely no sense to me.
    "SF is playing against the long ball in their 2 minute defense"......

    That hurts my brain.

  1. Jamie says:

    I'm still stuck on baseball and watching the Dodgers beat the Phillies.

  1. Travis says:

    Mimi: Sorry. I don't mean to hurt your brain.

    Jamie: We can relax until Thursday.

  1. We didn't get this game. We got to see our Cards kick the snot out of the Bills, though. Woooooooo!