Found October 15, 2012 on USA Sports 360:

Written By, Clifford San Monica
Everyone on earth–including me–feels that the 49’ers are a championship caliber club. And that’s mainly because they do two of the three things (almost) all Super Bowl contenders do well—namely run the ball, and defend (and tackle) well. The problem occurs when the opponent (by shutting down the rushing attack and forcing the qb to go underneath all game long) bullies your quarterback into a situation where he HAS TO win the game for you. That’s a tough way to succeed (even if you’re pretty good at it) when you’re going up against another Super Bowl contender—the Super Bowl champs, to be specific.

This afternoon the Giants beat Harbaugh’s team up in the trenches. As I feared, Alex Smith couldn’t bring his team back from a big deficit against a high quality opponent. He was harassed continually even when he wasn’t being sacked (six times by a front four that didn’t rely on a lot of blitzes to occupy pass blockers and generate pressure). To complete the indignity, the Giants did this to the 49’ers on their own turf… To me, you have to vary your offensive attack and take more shots down the field. Success in that area will make an already good ground game that much more formidable and also translate into more rest for the defense throughout the course of a game.

Once again, Randy Moss was an afterthought. I don’t think he was even on the field for 80% of the plays. Now is the time, in my opinion, to give him meaningful reps in order to ready him for tight situations when he can actually make a difference as the season progresses. It can only help—especially in white-knuckle games like this one. All that said, this team is going to be okay. We’re too well coached and have too much talent on both sides of the ball to panic. But the next two or three games will be telling…


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