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!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two Streaks Alive For Struggling Passing Game

Matt Maiocco, The Press Democrat

The 49ers head into Sunday's game against the Giants working on two streaks. These aren't any nuggets you'll find the 49ers touting to prospective season-ticket holders. Nonetheless, the streaks are quite astounding. The first streak began at the Meadowlands in 2004, the last time the 49ers traveled to New Jersey to face a "New York" team. On Oct. 10, 2004, Niners quarterback Tim Rattay (right, with "the great Dennis Erickson") completed 38 of 57 passes for 417 yards in a 31-28 overtime victory against the Cardinals. The next week, the 49ers played the New York Jets. It was Game 1 of a streak in which the 49ers have gone without having a 300-yard passer. That streak has now reached 48 consecutive games . . . or three complete seasons.
But this next streak is one that's even more difficult to fathom.
Anything less than 200 yards passing in an NFL game is pretty crummy, right? (This, by the way, is the first time I've ever written the word "crummy" in this blog, thus ending a streak of 400 consecutive crummyless posts.) Anyway, the 49ers are working on an amazing streak. The 49ers have not recorded more than 200 yards of net passing in 18 consecutive games. This is not a typo. They have gone 18 consecutive games without breaking past the 199-yard barrier.
Alex Smith threw for 293 yards in a Week 3 loss last season to the Eagles (with sacks, the 49ers had 269 net yards passing). Since then, the 49ers have failed to eclipse the 200-yard mark.

The 49ers' problems in the passing game did not start with offensive coordinator Jim Hostler. But nobody really noticed the team's troubles in this area last season with Norv Turner as coordinator because the run game was so good. Seven times last season during this streak, the 49ers ran for more yards than they passed. Moreover, in the victory over the Raiders, the running game accounted for 165 yards, same as the passing attack. The difference this season is that the running game has topped 100 yards just once in five games. And even that was window dressing. The 49ers rushed for 109 against Seattle, but 28 of those yards came on a second-and-20 draw play with no time remaining in the first half.

I asked Nolan yesterday if Smith needed to adopt more of a "gunslinger" mentality. But Nolan said a gunslinger is more of a personality trait than a playing style. "I wouldn't call Peyton Manning a gunslinger; he's an awfully good quarterback, as is Tom Brady. Neither one of them are slingers because they don't have that personality," Nolan said. "Now, Brett Favre, without question, is a gunslinger. John Elway was a gunslinger. Joe Montana? No. "I think that's a personality issue more than anything else. It doesn't make a guy good or not. Sometimes the scheme can help you do that, but if you try to make someone just 'chuck and duck' or gunslinger as you call it, every down, you can get a guy out of his strength. I think it has to do with whether a guy's a pocket guy, outside the pocket, three step, all those types of things."

Nolan said Smith has been too careful, at times. But he said the offense, as a whole, has been too careful. When asked about it yesterday, Smith agreed that the offense has been too tentative. He pointed to the final drive against the Cardinals as a time when the offense just went out, didn't think too much and just played football. It's questionable whether Smith will play Sunday against the Giants. When he returns, Smith has to be given enough slack to just go out there and wing it around a little bit.

The 49ers' season and his development as a quarterback depend on it.

- Trent Dilfer, not Alex Smith, was the No. 1 quarterback in team drills yesterday. For the last week and a half, Smith had circled the Wednesday practice on his calendar. If he was able to practice that day, he would play against the Giants. Dilfer led practice. So afterward, Mike Nolan made the announcement - Dilfer will start against New York, a team he once beat in the Super Bowl. -

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