Defense, again, leads way for the 49ers


Defense, again, leads way for the 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even while the 49ers' offense was going nowhere in the second half, their lead remained safe.The 49ers' defense made things difficult for second-year quarterback Colt McCoy and the Cleveland Browns' non-existent run game on Sunday at Candlestick Park. The defense powered the way to the 49ers' 20-10 victory."I thought the effort that our guys play with is evident to me to the guys on our team," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Ahmad Brooks, down after down, he's just giving it everything he has. Same with Justin Smith."Looked up and down the defensive roster and you see them come off the field and they're just pouring everything out of their bucket. They're giving everything they've got."The Browns only points came on Phil Dawson's 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half and on McCoy's 45-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs with 6 minutes remaining.The 49ers are 6-1 for the first time since 1998, and their five-game win streak is the franchise's best since 2001.
"It feels good," said 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who recorded a team-high 11 tackles. "We just wanted to come into this game and pick up where we left off. A lot of teams are getting complacent after their bye weeks and we didn't want to be that team. We wanted to separate ourselves and I think we did that."Browns running back Peyton Hillis did not suit up for the game due to a hamstring injury. Montario Hardesty started but managed just 6 yards on two carries before leaving the game with a calf injury.Cleveland managed just 66 yards rushing on 23 carries, as the 49ers have now gone an NFL-best 29 games without allowing an individual to gain 100 yards on the ground against them.There were plenty of defensive highlights:--Brooks recorded two sacks in the game, including a strip of McCoy on the second play of the game. Isaac Sopoaga recovered the ball at the Cleveland 20-yard line, leading to the first touchdown of the game. Brooks did it all without his helmet."My helmet came off during the pass rush and I was just going to lay my shoulder on the quarterback and make sure he was down and maybe even strip the ball," Brooks said. "But right when I was going to do that, I saw Justin Smith somehow come into the play and I just ran into the quarterback head first."After the play, I was kind of dizzy. I was bleeding and leaking as if I just got into a fight and lost. But the thing thing about it is I got the sack. It was well worth it."--Rookie Aldon Smith recorded a sack for the fourth consecutive game. He has recorded each of his team-leading 6.5 sacks in those games. Smith already ranks third in franchise history for sacks from a rookie. Charles Haley had 12 sacks in 1986, and Dana Stubblefield recorded 10.5 sacks in 1993.--Outside linebacker Parys Haralson forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. He is tied for the NFL lead with three forced fumbles on the season.--Safety Dashon Goldson intercepted a McCoy pass in the end zone in the third quarter. It was his sixth career interception and his first since December of last season against the Seattle Seahawks.--Linebacker Patrick Willis recorded seven tackles and picked up his first sack of the season.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.