Mugging in Motown

Have I mentioned the San Francisco 49ers are BACK?! Are we through shocking the world yet? We’ve taken down the Dream Team in Philly and Sunday we took down the Darling Team in Detroit.

For the third straight game, the team stepped on the throat of an NFL eastern team considered to be a contender. For the third time in three tries, they have come back in the fourth quarter — on the road — in the east — to win a game. The team heads into the Bye week as the number two seed in the NFC.

Sunday’s bludgeoning of the previously unbeaten Detroit Lions was a vintage street brawl. The Motor City Motor Mouth, a guy named Suh, got his lips handed to him, plain and simple. Fifteen penalties and two turnovers and yet the 49ers still stayed calm and bulled their way to victory on a clutch fourth down game winning TD pass from Alex Smith to Delanie Walker, followed by two close out stuffings by the amazing defense. There’s no way this team would have won this game last year, or even kept it close.

Winning is contagious and the contagion is spreading. For the past few years, there were only four players on the team that you could regularly be proud of: Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Justin Smith, and Andy Lee. That is no longer the case. Each week, new players keep stepping into the limelight. Aldon Smith, Alex Smith, Chris Culliver, Anthony Davis, Ahmad Brooks, Kendall Hunter, NaVorro Bowman …

In previous years, you would look at the schedule and try to find teams we could beat. You look at the schedule now and try to find games they might lose. The team will probably not win every game the rest of the year, but there isn’t a game left on the schedule that isn’t winnable.

And these guys don’t even know most of the playbook yet!

Despite all the false starts Sunday, the O-line again played a dominant game. The signature effort might have been Anthony Davis shoving Ndamukong Suh back on the goal line, allowing Gore to drill in for a TD. A true nutcracker, in your face moment. And a second straight game with 200+ yards rushing. Not methodical yards, but punctuated by two spectacular Frank Gore blow outs up the middle. Right over Suh’s spot in the line, I might add. And it was the rushing attack that put us inside the Detroit ten for the game winning pass.

The defense is gathering much more league wide acclaim than the offense at this point, and deservedly so. The offseason addition of Carlos Rogers, and now Culliver, have turned the secondary from a liability to a strength. The D-line is playing lights out and the pass rush is strong from start to finish. Aldon Smith is fifth in the league in sacks as of today, and he’s getting better every week. Gore is 5th in rushing. Smith is the 8th rated QB. Bowman is 5th in tackles.

As a fan, this game revealed how much my perceptions have changed in just a few short weeks. I was not daunted by that hellacious beginning to the game and never once lost confidence in the team’s ability to win. This was especially telling in the fourth quarter, as the team got the ball for what surely would be its last chance to grab a victory. In other years, I have watched these moments with fatalistic despair, knowing it would be a miracle if we succeeded, wondering who would screw it up, and virtually every time we failed. Sunday, I did not have that feeling. It never entered my mind. Even when it came down to the one last play, I was a bit sphincter fisted, but I did not lose hope. I expect this team to win now. And that is a brand new world.

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80 comments on “Mugging in Motown
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I do believe our offense is getting better each week. This week was a big test because the D-lie we faced was really good, hedging on great. Our QB was under siege and the running game took over.
    People can say whatever they want, but getting hit on almost every throw will cause a QB to throw off of his back foot. Both QBs were a little inaccurate yesterday. A good pass rush will cause that. But our O-line and QB nutted it up when they had to. A nice drive to end the first half and then another nice one to finish the game. I saw it as another nice team victory, so much so, it was hard to pick a player of the game.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    A big surprise for me was seeing Brown covering Calvin Johnson for most of the game. I did see Culliver on him a few times but kudos to Brown.

  3. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The O-line must have told Gore, just go dorsal, we’ll carry you on our back!

  4. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    It looks like Shawntae Spencer will finally get to be on a winning team here – but he’ll be sitting on the bench to watch it. Culliver & Brown have taken his spot.

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Shawntae is probably still a bit banged up. Unfortunately for him, that is normal. He is like the David Baas of CBs. When he is healthy he is a good CB. I love having him as a 3rd CB, it adds a a lot of needed depth, especially with Brock’s injury.

  6. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Another interesting development is they played Aldon Smith for most of the game. Harralson doesn’t appear on the stat sheet.
    Is this a chnaging of the guard or just situational against Detroit?
    Smart of Niner coaches making Lions one dimensional.
    A milestone, GPS tyoe win that should propel this team to the playoffs.

  7. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Haralson had a “mild” hamstring strain.

  8. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Bullitt, if Aldon Smith keeps getting two sacks a game, no one is going to be able to keep him out of the lineup. 5.5 in the last three games. Not too shabby.
    From the last thread: Berger, what’s wrong with the offense? Well, two turnovers and a gazillion penalties. We moved the ball at times but were way too sloppy. Also way too inefficient on third down – 2 of 14 converted is pretty lousy. This was a gut check win, where our offense did not bring its ‘A’ game, but we toughed it out on the strength of some big runs by Gore. And the defense played a superlative game. We actually held the Lions to 2 of 15 on third down.
    To me, this was the defense making a statement. The Lions got plenty of hype, and the 49ers wanted to show that WE had the best defense on the field yesterday. Of course the East Coast Media will never admit that. They’d rather snicker about chardonnay and finesse.

  9. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    Great win! Great effort! And that 4th down with the game on the line…Alex came through… how about our young players…havent heard how bad our GM is anymore…looks the a GREAT draft. (with imput from Harbaugh im sure)…by the way …the Bucs who we destroyed beat uo New Orleans…our guys can play with anyone…

  10. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    Yea Grumpy…havent heard the finesse word to describe our team like they used to back in the day…

  11. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Grumpy- rob and I were figuring out how to beat the Lions before the game. I told him rush for 200 yards and fahgetaboutit! Guess what? With all of our mistakes and penalties, we gained 200 yards and fohgotaboutit!

  12. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    Harbaughs and the coaches he brought in are fantastic…and kudos to Balkie…Aldon Smith will be the defensive player of the year (i had never heard of him)..Culliver was a safty..they move him to corner … take a defensive end and make a starting fullback…Free agents we picked up …others we let go… Abrayo, and the rest…new contract to McDonald ….great moves….great team..go niners

  13. bigtimNo Gravatar says:

    a huge win with all the drama you could ask for, media hype that delivered the goods unlike many of the contests that get all the attention and fall flat on there faces.
    the only thing that was missing was Schwartz getting punched in the face for his bad behavior at the end, instead Harbaugh keeps his cool and Schwartz gets the poor sport winer award for loosing not only the game but his head as well.
    Smith may not have had the best game but as Harbaugh said in the post game locker video he was Clutch when they needed it

  14. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Tony, Culliver played corner his senior season. Bullitt, the Niners played 2/3 of the game (if not more) in their 4-3 defense. A Smith is the 4-3 DE in that (passing) defense.
    Yeah, our front 7 are in the top 3 easily. .
    The funny thing about all this is THIS is the team the Singletary envisioned. He couldn’t do it. Harbaugh seems to have the golden touch. Keeping Tomsula, Solari and Rathman, while jettisoning the rest? Perfect. Tomsula has the D line as good as they can be. Solari has quietly built a solid line that has produced 2 200 yard effforts in the run game. Bruce Miller’s 2 huge blocks yesterday to spring Gore on his 2 big runs were Rathmanesque in their execution. Fangio and Roman are light years ahead of Mike Johnson/Jimm-Hat Raye, and Greg Manusky. Heady days, indeed.

  15. allforfunnplayNo Gravatar says:

    chuck, yes it’s what Singletary wanted, a dominant power run game. the key of course is that he didn’t know how to achieve it. Harbaugh has the offense in exotic personnel packages that have so many blockers that defenses can get confused and overpowered. Singletary, of course, just lined up his I formation 21 package and basically yelled to the opposing DC “here we come, try and stop us!!!”.

    But I have to think that the league will figure out how to counter Harbaugh’s exotic personnel heavy package run game. Hopefully by then Smith will have ironed out his QB accuracy issues and the line will consistently pass protect to step up when the run game is challenged. At some point you’re probably going to see additional Defensive Tackles and Defensive Ends subbed in for linebackers and we’ll see a jumbo defensive package to match the Niner’s jumbo offensive package (I’m obviously exaggerating to a certain degree but defenses will come up with counters to the run game). then we’ll see if the passing game can answer.

  16. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Kudos to the whole organization. Owner, GM, Coaches and players. I liked this win way more than the TB game. Even though our offense was shaky just look at what they had to overcome, they never lost their heads and in the end we stuck it to-em but good. Like Boone said: it’s good to be a Niner. Also, Baalke has shown that he is a master at drafting with all the contributions we’re getting from this years class. Excellent job.

  17. robNo Gravatar says:

    omg !

    are we 5-1 right now !

  18. robNo Gravatar says:

    the best part of this game was our decision to go with up to seven DB’s on defense !
    fangio is the man imho !

    i saw a three man rush at times (which worked btw ) but how about that defense !

    how many teams could go there !

    imo our DB’s kick butt !

    rogers , goldson , reggie , brown , gulliver , williams or whitner (at S) … AND SPENCER !

    OMG !

    how many teams are that deep in the secondary !

  19. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    How many INTS does Nate Clements have?
    ZERO . . .

  20. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    I said it over on my blog.
    4 rookies had huge roles in the win yesterday:
    Aldon Smith
    Chris Culliver
    Bruce Miller
    Kendall Hunter

  21. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Not bad for Baalke’s first draft without Singlenut.

  22. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    The draft class that had everyone shaking their heads going “Who?” looks pretty damn good.

  23. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    The only guy I had heard of was Hunter. The reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeest? Nope.

  24. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Looks like Gore needs 110 yds rushing to move into the #2 all-time rushing mark for the 49ers.

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Watching the Miami D-line is painful. No penetration except occasionally by an end or OLB. This is classic Mike Nolan.

  26. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Wait until we get WR Swain, Dobbs and Ian Williams into the mix later in the Season.
    Aldon = All Done. Kid is MONEY.
    I’ve always loved Defensive Football and we’ve got ourselves an extremely talented group now.
    I’m already putting Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw on my Draft list for next year too.

  27. robNo Gravatar says:

    our defense kicks butt !

    we’re 4th in pts. allowed !

    our offense is 6th in pts. scored !

    alex smith QB rating is 6th in the league !
    behind only rogers , brady , manning , and brees !

  28. robNo Gravatar says:

    NFL rankings have us in the top 5 !!!

    and just think …
    we’ll keep getting better as the season goes on !

    dammm ! do we dare say the ‘p’ word ?

  29. robNo Gravatar says:

    once or twice more i think but i can’t remember when ! if you have the game recorded , the color guy mentions it at some point .

    the play i remember best was the one where our LB (brooks i think) tried for an int on a ball thrown over his head. that play imho is where it would be really nice to have lawson back ! we had good pressure AND coverage on that one !
    the one where we got the foul against one of their 0-linemen for diving at our player’s feet is one reason i like this new defense . we get after it instead of playing our old read -and – watch the other team make a play defense !

    oh btw what’s your season prediction (after 5 games)?

    i’m upping mine from 9-7 to 10-6 or better , and a division title !

  30. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The cool thing is we are 5-1 after just going through the hardest part of our schedule!

  31. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Whether this team is good or not is moot at this point. A 5-1 record says if we’re not good we are, at least, good fakers.

  32. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Twice this year we have made the big play at the end to win, instead of not making it, like we did before. J. Smith’s strip and A. Smith’s TD pass. We’d be 3-3 but for those two plays.

  33. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    And we made both those plays on the road, which makes them even bigger.

  34. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    And both plays were made by team leaders. Making them even more bigger. Stay tuned for the biggest bigger. If I can think of one.

  35. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    The difference is mostly the coaching. Yeah, we have some good new players, but Singleneuron would still be losing with them.

    Berger, 5-1 now. Skeebs said 11-5 and I laughed. Not laughing now as I enjoy my crow. With our schedule, 11-5 is now pretty easy. 12-4 or 13-3 is not impossible. Crazy year. Harbaugh is damned close to getting himself anointed as the Second Coming.

  36. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Here it is: Alex Smith threw a game winning do-or-die TD pass with less than two minutes to go for the first time in his career – thus taking the no-clutch monkey off his back. Steve Young will be along shortly to perform the accompanying dance.

  37. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Grumpy- Agreed. When Skeebers said 11-5 I told him I wish I could be that hopeful, or something like that. What kind of sauce should I put on my crow? This is going to taste good.

  38. robNo Gravatar says:

    yup SKEEBS 11-5 is looking pretty good right now !

  39. robNo Gravatar says:

    anybody want to trade gore for forte ?

  40. robNo Gravatar says:

    one of the QB needy teams is looking at troy smith

  41. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The reason I never gave up on Alex is the coaching he had was always so bad. Between no continuity, getting thrown under the bus and then constantly running up the middle out of the same formation, who could succeed?

  42. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Carson Palmer just traded to Raiders.

  43. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    They’re saying a 1st and a conditional 2nd 1st for Palmer. WTF? Wow!

  44. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Now for something totally meaningless, but fun when you win, we are moving up the power rankings. Generally between 4 and 5.

  45. robNo Gravatar says:


    you get the prize for sticking with smith ! i bet you 50 to 75% of the people on these blogs would have traded alex smith and at least one of the first rd. picks cincy just fleeced LA for before the season started !

  46. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    It’s not been a big deal on this blog Harbaugh/Schwartz but it triggered the memory that the NFL once banned handshakes between coaches and pst game gatherings on the field because Ronnie Lott and Phil Simms got into a scuffle after a playoff game. Article is from 1991 and I know there are a lot of old Niners here that remember this.

  47. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    rob- We can win with Alex. It will be a while for me to say he is the answer. At the moment I’m feeling good about the decision to stick with him. He never had the environment to be a good QB. He is now in a situation to see if that materializes. So far, so good.

  48. robNo Gravatar says:

    oops i meant to say … for carson palmer

  49. robNo Gravatar says:

    we are without two of our three best WR’s btw ! omg ted ginn started for us vs. detroit !

  50. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    I feel sorry for Jason Campbell.
    the Raiduhs were his team and now with Palmer and the big bucks he’ll be a backup until Palmer decides to retire. Kyle Bollar must feel like David Carr. You’re the backup QB, finish off a game and then they look for someone else because you suck. Easy money.

  51. robNo Gravatar says:

    the raiders should be much better off with palmer of course.
    hey , they might even be a good team now !

  52. robNo Gravatar says:

    gawd i hate the fu(king raiders !

  53. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Alex Smith now needs to work on those high throws down the middle that have INT written all over them and pick six as a possibility.
    Sunday his throw wasn’t beacuse he had to get it over a rusher that was about to take his head off, but it seemed he was too amped up and that throw will doom a team because a safety is almost always back there to make the pick.

  54. robNo Gravatar says:

    BULLIT !

    on that pic alex bought some time when he stepped into a space in what he had left of a pocket … but he rushed the throw ! imo this is because he is so used to having no protection in nolan and sings jail break offensive “scemes”.

  55. robNo Gravatar says:

    imo he’ll get it together

  56. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- Alex has a tendency to drop his hands too low before he throws. This will cause a ball to sail. He has fairly good form but it gets loose at times. This is where good QB coaches come in. They see this and remind the QB. Most good QBs have a good QB coach on the sideline. Alex has good knee bend this year also, something that had escaped him in some previous years. Good coaching really helps.
    Alex was getting hit fairly hard vs the Lions. That will cause most QBs to get loose with their mechanics. Usually they start throwing off of their back foot. Your thinking he could’ve been amped up could also be accurate.

  57. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Steve Young used to very often overthrow a pass or two early in the game because of pure adrenaline. People got over it because he usually was pretty damned good the rest of the game.

  58. robNo Gravatar says:

    uh oh , aldon smith has 5.5 sacks in 6 games … as a rookie !!!

  59. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Im not sure if Alex will ever be an uber accurate passer. Montana
    and Young spolied us. They had the ability to choose the 8 or the 0 and hit Rice at that spot.

    Sportstalk is asking if Raiders gave up too much for Palmer. 2 #1’s if they make the playoffs?
    A #1 and 2 if they don’t. I feel they should have given up less given it’s middle of the season.
    How effective is Palmer going to be?

  60. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Smith has been very accurate with everybody but Crabtree. It’s weird. Maybe all those missed camps really does matter.

  61. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    Alex is going to get Crabtree’s ribs broken because of these high throws and the WR exposing his ribcage. Alex wasn’t on the same page with Gore because his throws were bullets on a short dumpoff.

    Berger thanks for the QB 101 tutorial

  62. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, Alex has been more on the money than off, but all the work he can get only helps. I remember the Cincy game mainly because when the game started most of Alex’s throw were low. Like Harbaugh had him doing something differently. Eventually they settled down to being more catchable. He does tend to get antsy at times, but Detroit has a lot of guys that got into the backfield fast, so he rushed that deep middle throw. Still and all, if you had told me at the beginning of the season that 6 weeks in, Smith would have 8 TDs and 2 picks, I’d have said ‘halleluia!’

  63. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Bullitt, Alex is going to stop throwing to Crabs because he doesn’t understand that he has to get his feet down to make a catch. He tried to score a TD rather than ensure his feet were down. This isn’t college. I can’t wait for Edwards to come back.

  64. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    As far as the Raiders go, they are crazy. Palmer is fragile and rusty. Oakland’s line is shakey at best. One hit, and HE’S out for the season.

  65. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    I think the Raiduhs made the trade partly because they want to be relevant this year not willing to take a back seat to the surging Niners. Sorry but Raiduhs got fleeced sacrificing a possible 2 drafts for a middle tier QB. Palmer is a younger Hasslebeck.
    The fact that the Lions just traded for Ronnie Brown doesn’t bode well for Best.

  66. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Best got hurt, didn’t he?

  67. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    He reportedly had a concussion.
    Nothing like sticking it to a guy who said he hated the Niners.

    Roster move. Beeler has been added back and JT’s nephew the WR has been cut from practice squad.

  68. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    KNBR is now reporting a rumor that Ron Wolf will be the new Raiduh GM with John Madden as a figurehead consultant.
    Watch out Madden will want Brett Favre.

  69. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Boom! Pow!

  70. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Ron Wolf is a GM who builds monster D-lines.

  71. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Wolf was GB, right? Back in the early Favre days?

  72. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Yes. He had Sean Jones and Reggie White on the D-ends and 3 very good D-tackles. One of who we acquired after he hurt his knee. Gabe Wilkens? They also had Santana Dotson and Gabe Brown. That was a great D-line.

  73. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Ron Wolf is also 73 years old and been retired for over 10 years.
    Mike Sherman took over for him at GB.

  74. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Oops! I think the guy I called Gabe Brown was acually Gilbert Brown. He was huge.

  75. robNo Gravatar says:


    it looked like 6 DB’s to me too , but the color guy said 7 !

    the point imo is this …

    our secondary might be the one of the best from top to bottom in the league (and we should take full advantage of this )!

    a secondary featuring rogers , goldson , smith , brown , culliver , williams/whitner and spencer has to be reckoned with !
    i mean how many teams are so deep at DB that they have a guy like spencer as their SEVENTH !

  76. Supreme72No Gravatar says:

    Very good point rob, our depth on the back end will be plus. The front office has brouth in guys and developed which were late picks. You left Brock off your list too that’s another late pick. They are holding there Owen so far, competing brings the best out of him.

  77. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

2020 Schedule
9-13: L Cardinals 24, 49ers 20
9-20: W 49ers 31, Jets 13
9-27: W 49ers 36, Giants 9

10-4: L Eagles 25, 49ers 20
10-11: L Dolphins 43, 49ers 17
10-18: W 49ers 24, Rams 16
10-25: W 49ers 33, Patriots 6

11-1: L Seahawks 37, 49ers 27
11-5: L Packers 34, 49ers 17
11-15: L Saints 27, 49ers 13


11-29: W 49ers 23, Rams 20

12-7: L Bills 34, 49ers 24
12-13: L Washington 23, 49ers 15
12-20: L Cowboys 41, 49ers 33
12-26: W 49ers 20, Cardinals 12

1-3: L Seahawks 26, 49ers 23

2020 Draft Class
1. DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
1. WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
5. OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
6. TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
7. WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
2020 Prognostications (Mulligan Version)
Bullit: 6-10
NJ49er: 6-10

Skeebers: 7-9
Winder: 4-12

Grumpy: DNP