The 49ers overwhelmed the Buffalo Bills 45-3 in week 5 of the NFL season. Here are some things we learned from this week:
Alex Smith is great when given solid pass protection.
Smith had a field day against the Buffalo Bills thanks to a solid offensive line being able to handle the Bills defensive line. Smith had more than four or five seconds to throw the ball. Receivers were eventually able to get open when needed and the offense kept the drives alive. When there was a broken play or everyone was in coverage, Smith was able to scramble for yardage without worry. The offensive line deserves credit for the passing game being as great as it was. Smith threw for 303 passing yards and three touchdown passes for the day.
The defense has no trouble when playing in the nickel.
For this the game, the Bills were consistent as playing three wide receiver sets. There were only a handful of times where we saw less than two receivers on the field. The 49ers were never had problems in terms of giving up a deep pass. Steve Johnson and Donald Jones were ineffective only combining for 79 yards for the game. Whether it was being in coverage or pass rushing, the LBs had a great day in both duties.
The depth on this team is immense.
While some players were limited or not playing, the 49ers don’t have a problem with whoever they put in. An argument can be made that some bench players could be starters on other teams. Brandon Jacobs was inactive for today’s game, but it didn’t stop the 49ers from mixing it up with running the ball. Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore did just fine at running with big gains. Chris Culliver had to have significant playing time because of nickel defense and he did a great job at covering his opposition. An interception summed up his day in how solid he was. There were contributions from several receivers in this game. Even though Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis dominated the stats, Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham also made an impact with touchdowns of their own.
The 49ers worked on their red zone execution.
The 49ers didn’t have to depend on a pass of more than 20 yards to score as their only form of offense. During the first scoring drive that led to a field goal, the 49ers didn’t execute the blocking to score a touchdown. The next time they were in the red zone for the second half, Frank Gore didn’t have a problem diving over the offensive linemen for the touchdown. The goal line formation worked and after some early frustration, the team executed when it needed to. They were able to use Colin Kaepernick on one possession where he ran the ball in off a zone-read play. Finally, late in the game Anthony Dixon was able to score from the goal line on a short run for the final touchdown.
For now, the only team that can beat the 49ers is the 49ers themselves.
Early on, the 49ers committed several mistakes when they shouldn’t have. In the first half, big plays were wiped away because of penalties that were unnecessary. Frank Gore was called for a chop block, Delanie Walker was called for a tripping and Mike Iupati was flagged for holding. Even though these mistakes were not costly, it did prevent this game from being over early. The Bills were kept in this game with the mistakes in the first half. As long as the team addresses their penalties and small mistakes, teams will find it near impossible to beat the 49ers.