The 49ers were dominant in a 34-0 shutout against the New York Jets. Here are some things we learned from this game:
1. The defense can rebound after a not-so-great performance.
This game was summarized by the defense being as perfect as possible. Mark Sanchez faced constant pressure all day and was forced to pass the ball in tight situations. The running game for the Jets was completely useless as Greene and Powell combined for only 45 yards on the ground. Tim Tebow was in for two snaps to run the ball and didn’t pickup a yard of gains. The passing game was also inept for the Jets. Overall, the Jets only converted two of 13 third down attempts. A vast improvement from the seven out of 14 last week against the Vikings.
2. The 49ers have some college trickery in their playbook arsenal.
Before the game, spectators were focused on seeing what Tim Tebow does when he’s on the field. What really happened is what unique plays go on when Colin Kaepernick is on the field. Colin Kaepernick was in for several snaps and it threw off the Jets’ defense. The 49ers used him for a triple option in the pistol formation, a naked bootleg in a “wildcat” package as well as using Kaepernick’s arm for a deep bomb that was broken up. There will be more tricks up the team’s sleeves throughout this season when Kaepernick comes in to take the snap. Whether it’s using his legs or his strong arm, team’s will need to be ready for when the 49ers use Kaepernick. Alex Smith also executed a zone-read option and speed option during this game as.
3. David Akers is human.
After being automatic in the first three games of the season (minus one blocked kick), David Akers missed two kicks and wasn’t on form for this game. He missed a forgiveable 55-yard attempt, but also missed a 40-yard attempt that was something that should’ve been made. He did redeem himself later in the game with a 40-yard FG and also made a 36-yard attempt earlier.
4. The defense can make plays on the ball in forcing turnovers.
Donte Whitner talked about how the team wants to force fumbles and make a play on the ball to give it to the offense. This time it worked as Dashon Goldson forced Dedrick Epps to fumble a ball after making a fast catch. Aldon Smith made the key tackle on Mark Sanchez for the second fumble by stripping the ball from him when sacking him. Patrick Willis did a great job on the third turnover when intercepting Sanchez’s pass for a possible screen. Had the pressure on Sanchez not been there, the screen could’ve gone for a touchdown but Willis was in position to catch a forced throw. Lastly, the fumble by Santonio Holmes was an unfortunate injury fumble and Carlos Rogers was there at the right place and right time to recover the ball and return it for a defensive touchdown. The 49ers took advantage of all opportunities on defense to get off the field through turnovers.
5. The 49ers couldn’t finish their drives on offense.
Even though the 49ers pulled away in the fourth quarter, the 49ers had several opportunities to break the game open earlier. When the 49ers were in Jets territory in the first half, they were forced to settle for field goals or punt. The two back-to-back sacks on Alex Smith is a worry when the 49ers forced Akers into a 55-yard field goal attempt that he missed. If it weren’t for some trick plays including a reverse to Manningham and a few options in the second quarter, the 49ers would have waited more than 40 minutes to score their first touchdown on offense where they started already in Jets territory. The team needs to have more solid offensive drives or else good defenses will stop them. It’s a minor concern that the Jets’ defense kept them in this game when it was 10-0 until the late third quarter.