Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/10/12
The San Francisco 49ers used their smashmouth style of play, capitalized on Miami mistakes, and treated their fans to a 27-13 home victory in Candlestick Park. It was a close game through most of the first half, but in the second half the Niners pulled away. The dagger was a Colin Kaepernick 50 yard scamper up the sideline on a read option play that had the Dolphins completely fooled. So what do we take from this game? Here are 5 things we can cling to.1. Aldon Smith is the best pass rusher in football !!Defensive end Aldon Smith is simply a beast!! He was punishing rookie Left Tackle Jonathan Martin all game. Smith recorded two sacks overall in the game. His first sack was definitely a game highlight as he completely knocked over young Martin en route to Ryan Tannehill. That will be one of Aldon Smith's personal favorites in his sack collection for a long time. His second sack of the game gave him 19.5 sacks for the season which is a new San Francisco team record with 3 more games to play. Smith is on his way to breaking the All-Time season sack record of 22.5 set by Michael Strahan in 2001. 2. No matter who is QB, Efficient Play is all the Niners Need for Offensive Success!Colin Kaepernick was solid this week. Coming off of his first defeat as starting quarterback, Kaepernick played strong. 18-23, 78.3%, 185 YDS,  100.2 QBR,  all solid numbers! He made no mistakes in the passing game as far as turnovers. His shining moment came in the forth quarter with 2:10 left in the game. Kaepernick on a read option play darted for 50 yards and a score to seal the game. That play showed why Harbaugh has decided to go with the young quarterback instead of veteran Alex Smith. Kaepernick brings an added dimension to this Niners offensive attack that could possibly get them over the hump. You can't deny that Kaepernick's threat of  running and efficiency in the passing game make the Niners a tough offense to contend with.3. Special Teams Miscues will Take you out of the Game !!The Miami Dolphins played a solid game. The offense and defense of the Dolphins did a good job. Really in the end their bid for a road victory was snuffed out on 2 crucial special team mistakes that  turned into 10 points for the Niners. The first mistake cost the Dolphins in field position. With an opportunity to pin the Niners inside their own 5 yard line, Jonathan Freeny made the mistake of fielding the ball at the 3 and not downing it. He had ample opportunity to stop his momentum. Instead, he allowed himself to come in contact with the goal line giving San Francisco a touchback and  placing the ball on the 20. The Niners parlayed that field position into a David Akers 37 yard field goal as time expired in the first half giving themselves a 6-3 lead.In the third quarter after a Miami defensive stop, Miami Dolphins punt returner Marcus Thigpen muffed a punt that positioned the Niners inside their 10 yard line. The result of that mishap was a 1 yard Frank Gore touchdown that gave the Niners a 13-3 score. That cushion proved to be the undoing of the Dolphins as they had to fight an uphill battle the rest of the way!!!4. Dolphins Team is On The Rise In Spite Of This Loss.The Miami Dolphins played a really solid game. Ryan Tannehill played well in the face of one of the fiercest pass rushes in the game throwing for a score and not turning over the ball. The Miami defense held the Niners for the most part. The defense was eventually worn down by the physical, smashmouth play of the Niners when it was all said and done. The Dolphins, though they came away with a loss, showed that they are definitely moving in the right direction by holding their own with one of the NFL's elite teams!!5. Maybe Jim Harbaugh Is On To Something Starting Kaepernick !!I, myself, was from the school of thought that a player should not lose his starting job because of injury. I still believe that Alex Smith should be the starting quarterback of the Niners, and Harbaugh will regret this experiment if this continues through playoff time. Still credit must be given to Coach Harbaugh. This is Kaepernick's 4th start as signal caller.  He has posted a 3-1 record , thrown for 1073 YDS, 3 TDs, 1 INT,  also adding 5 TDs  and 351 YDS on the ground. Say what you want  but you can't knock the results from this decision.The Niners are on their way!! The Dolphins are on the right track to being a competitive factor in the league. In the end however, the San Francisco 49ers showed that their brand of football was superior in this match-up.
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