Thursday, October 18, 2012

NFL WEEK 7 – THURSDAY NIGHT T&R (thoughts and revelations)


SEATTLE @ SAN FRANCISCO

Perhaps he doesn't understand the ramifications of the call. This was all that went through my mind. I mean, forget about the fact that any fantasy owner that loses by two points or less this week will hunt down Jim Harbaugh and go Jim Schwartz all over him because he took two points off the board. Harbaugh, whose team got the benefit of bad penalty call in the end zone decided not to accept the penalty and rather accept the turnover on downs. You might say, so what? By taking the safety you make it a two possession game, AND you get the ball. Heck, even if Seattle is successful in an onsides attempt, they can't win the ball game. Instead Harbaugh chose to put his team one fumbled snap away from giving Seattle a chance. Yeah, I'm nitpicking, but Harbaugh's decision suggests he didn't understand the difference.

Three quick but important observations from the game:

One, when healthy LT Russell Okung is pretty darn good. The entire Seahawks offensive line was fantastic in this contest, consistently pushing the San Francisco front three a yard off the line of scrimmage. Okung was particularly good, finishing off blocks and providing sustained coverage on his assignments all evening long. This is the second straight game where a team pushed the 49ers front unit to over four or more yards per carry. The San Francisco front five did just as well, plowing the way for Frank Gore to his big evening of 131 yards rushing. Both these guys are running behind lines so well put together that they are basically every week starters, no matter the defense. Thursday night proved that.

Second, Seattle's glaring passing weakness was exposed further tonight. When they couldn't run, they couldn't do anything. Not all of that was Russell Wilson's fault. Four dropped passes, one of which might have been a touchdown, and three others that were first downs, changed the outcome entirely. Wilson made his one mistake late in the game, and it was a bad one, but no worse than Alex Smith's gaffe when his team was 3rd and Goal in the red zone and he threw an interception right to Brandon Browner. More often than not Wilson's receivers couldn't hold onto pinpoint passes, and where Alex Smith missed a few open receivers, Wilson hit them in stride. However, the Seahawks third down conversion rate, their 5.0 yards per pass play, and inability to make the big play means that when this team's defense has a lapse, they're in trouble.

Lastly, I believed Randy Moss would have to be a difference maker in this game. The loss of Mario Manningham meant more coverage for Moss, but should have been an opportunity for him to get more looks. Though he had a few early passes, Moss finished with one catch for 14 yards. They didn't take one shot at him down the field, opting to do that twice with Kyle Williams instead. I don't own Moss in any of my leagues nor did I aim to draft him, but I did expect a bigger payoff than the putrid numbers San Francisco is getting from him: 12 receptions for 174 yards and one touchdown over seven games.