Ouch. The 49ers put a serious man hurt on the New York Jets Sunday, steamrolling over them 34-0. It looked like a throwback game to the 1930’s as nine different runners combined for 245 in your face yards on 44 carries. The 49er defense had the day off as the Jets were unable to find an offense to put on the field. As Jets coach Rex Ryan admitted after the game, “We should have just forfeited and saved ourselves the embarrassment.”
The Jets contained Frank Gore fairly well, holding him to 62 yards on 21 carries, but had no answer to Kendall Hunter and the 49ers new secret weapon Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick looks like the best wildcat QB the league has seen since this type of player was introduced a few years back by, ironically enough, the Jets OC Tony Sparano when he was the head coach of the Dolphins. Tim Tebow, the league’s most famous wildcatter even though he’s mainly a dry hole, could only stand on the sidelines and turn Jet green with envy.
The 49er passing game contributed only modestly to the rout, even trying out Mario Manningham as the new deep threat. Mario was open on several plays, two of them deep sideline routes, with one pass barely eluding his fingertips and the other sailing over his head while he was being impeded by the Jets CB who wouldn’t let go of his arm. The new old refs declined to prosecute the play, proving that new, old, or replacement, the refs are still vision impaired.
It might be folly to read too much into one game, but it looks like the reason Randy Moss hasn’t played much is that he just isn’t very good any more. He can’t outrun anybody, doesn’t want to get hit, and his only contribution Sunday was to thwart a Jets interception of an ill advised Kaepernick bomb into triple coverage. And Michael Crabtree, bless his shy soul, just doesn’t look like anything more than an average, possession receiver. He never gets open by much and isn’t very fast or elusive.
Of all the plays in the game, the one that upcoming opposing DCs will fear the most is the ease with which Kaepernick scored on the QB keeper for the Niners first touchdown. In four games, Kap has been virtually unstoppable as a runner and the 49ers can afford to use him that way because he’s not the starter. If he were the starter, they’d want him to stay in the pocket and avoid the potential damage that guys like Michael Vick absorb over the course of a season. It’s to Jim Harbaugh’s credit that he’s found a way to get such a talented and exciting player on the field. I’d expect to see a lot of Kap as the season unfolds.
All in all, a pretty easy win. But not one that is apt to be repeated.