While watching the Bret Farve telethon Sunday night, I was surprised to see a 49er exhibition game spliced into the fawning endeavor. How annoying. What was NBC thinking? There must have been at least a hundred more facial expressions that this legendary bacterium had in his repertoire that we were denied seeing. Puuuuuuuuuuuuuke!!!!
Three cheers for Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes for grinding Farve into the Candlestick turf on his one and only appearance on the field. Off the field was another story. Have I said this yet? Puuuuuuuuuuke!!!
The 49ers did something in Sunday’s exhibition game against the Vikings that they did not do all of last year. They scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. With Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Frank Gore lounging on the sidelines, no less. Superb.
During that drive, the O-line provided something we have also not seen very often in recent years. A pocket for the QB. Those cute little half-shells that surround the QB, instead of wash over him, and allow him to have the time and vision to operate properly. That this occurred against the formidable Vikings defense, made it even more encouraging.
Our rookie O-line guys, Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis, appear to be holding up surprisingly well. There is probably no other development that directly relates to the team’s success this year than the performance of those two giants. Be still, my heart. These could be the missing pieces to the playoffs.
Phillip Adams sure looked solid Sunday. This site had earlier ticketed Adams for the practice squad, but the 7th round rookie might just crack the roster, especially with the injury to Will James. He sure looks like a keeper, at any rate. Nice late round gem. Along with 6th rounder Nate Byham, who might even get some reps as an H-back this year, allowing the team to keep Moran Norris on the sidelines as often as possible.
Travis LaBoy debuted, finally, and he looked reeaaallly good. So did his competition for the 4th, and presumably final, spot at OLB, Diyral Briggs. Briggs has PS eligibility (and no history of injuries), but there is no way he would clear waivers at this point. A dilemma for the team. It would be a shame to let either one of them go. Especially with Ahmad Brooks’ injury and the possibility that Manny Lawson will not be here next year.
The 49ers pretty much dominated Sunday’s game from start to finish. Yet, as the goofy 40 yard QB scramble for a TD in the waning moments demonstrated, the score did not comfortably attest to that dominance. The team really needs to learn how to put games away. Far away. Past the realm of one weird bounce or lucky break turning the game into a nail-biter, and possible last second defeat.
Nate Davis duly trotted out to perform against real NFL players Sunday, a much anticipated and long pined for event by the fans who don’t care much for Alex Smith. And right away, Nate showed why fans fall in love with him, heaving an eye-popping 60 yard bomb to Ted Ginn. What an arm!
After that, however, there was not much to see. Davis twice let the clock run down, blowing two timeouts, and was excoriated after the game by Mike Singletary. Singletary questioned Nate’s work ethic during the off season in learning the playbook and the nuances of playing QB in the NFL. It was rather a crushing dissection for the Davis bandwagoners. Perhaps this was a motivational effort by Singletary, but if not, then Davis was given an ultimatum of sorts that he had better get serious about his work between now and the end of the season or he may find himself out on the street come 2011.
All in all, another enjoyable practice game. Next up, the Black Hole.