The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

2-0 49ers Visit The 2-0 Steelers - Gut Check Time

We get our first real look at what the 49ers are actually made of , at least offensively, as San Francisco faces its first AFC opponent tomorrow when they travel for the second week in a row, this time to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. After more than a decade under Bill Cowher, the Steelers seem to have adjusted quickly to Mike Tomlin’s leadership with two decisive victories over the Browns and Bills. In the back-to-back wins Pittsburgh has outscored their opponents 60-10. The Steelers secondary led by Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu has been downright stingy, giving up 148 yards passing per game, good for third best in the NFL. Cornerbacks Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor have both notched an interception each on the season, as well as showing up in run support. Free safety Ryan Clark is the team’s starter but the Steelers have been rotating Anthony Smith in at that position much like the 49ers did last season with Mark Roman and Tony Parrish. In defending the run, the Steelers have allowed only 74 average yards per game with 11-year veteran James Farrior leading the team in tackles, as he’s done for the last three out of four seasons.

Offensively, the Steelers have steamrolled their opponents, ranking 2nd in rushing with an average of 195 yards per game. Willie Parker made his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and has been the team’s workhorse the last two weeks with a 109 and a 126-yard performance. Parker runs behind a well-oiled offensive line. The team picked up a new center in Sean Mahan from the Bucs and then benched Max Starks in favor of second-year right tackle Willie Colon. The two new starters join an experienced bunch in left tackle Marvel Smith, Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca, and right guard Kendall Simmons. The group is well-versed in facing a 3-4 defense, meaning the 49ers front seven will have their work cut out for them in preventing the run and in getting to the quarterback. The 49ers defense totaled six sacks on Marc Bulger last week, but the Steelers have allowed only two sacks for a total loss of 8 yards so far this season.

Roethlisberger threw for only 161 yards against Cleveland but enjoyed a QB Rating of 114.3 with four touchdowns and zero picks. He put up 242 yards through the air against Buffalo, with one touchdown and one interception while spreading the ball to nine different targets. His primary targets at receiver are still Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, with Holmes more of the deep threat, but the Steelers have also come out in several two tight end sets. Heath Miller leads the tight end group with 6 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, but rookie Matt Spaeth has also come up big with 3 catches for 15 yards including two touchdown catches in the red zone.

For the Niners to win this game, two things are clear. The defense must continue to play the same outstanding bend but don't break style that it has been thus far, and the offense can't just be spectators in this one. Frank Gore needs to have a solid game on the ground, which requires better blocking up front. If they do get better blocking, it will allow Alex Smith to finally participate in this offense and throw the dam ball!! I expect this game to be a year's snap shot of what you can hope to base your season's expectations of the 49ers. Playing on the road, 2-0, against the Super Bowl Champion from 2 years ago, we will see what every part of the team is capable of. Will we see another nail-biter, hang on til the end, hope we outlast our bonehead mistakes game? Not a chance. If they want to win this one, they will have to step up and have the offense finally join the defense in execution level. In our poll this week, approx 60% of those voting are looking for the Niners to squeak out another one. Wishful thinking, or realistic expectation? Gut check time boys. We'll see.

Check back here for postgame analysis, news and notes!

Game - 10 am (PDT) on Fox

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