By Jerrell Richardson
The 49ers showed how dangerous of a team they can be when they get contributions from everyone. No single player had a standout performance because so many added to their domination of the Titans.
While Tennessee was able to avoid a shut-out, this game was never in doubt, and over early in the third. San Francisco used ball control on offense, a stifling offense and timely special teams play to run over the Titans 31-17. The win was the 49ers fourth in a row, and San Francisco will now travel to London looking to make it five straight and head into their bye week on a roll.
The 49ers used a balanced offensive attack to keep the Titans guessing. With Tennessee unable to take away anything from their opponent, San Francisco was able to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. It started with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who used his arms and legs to beat the Titans defense. The dual threat quarterback passed for 199 yards, rushed for another 68 and became the focal point of the Titans defense, opening things up for everyone else.
As a team, the 49ers rushed for 153 yards. Frank Gore had a modest 70 yards, but the important thing was that the team kept feeding him the ball as he finished with 24 touches. The commitment to the run helped set up the big play ability of the passing game that averaged over 15 yards per completion, and kept the Titans secondary from crowding the line of scrimmage. Anquan Boldin made several spectacular catches, leading the way with 74 receiving yards and Davis added 62 yards on four catches.
While the offense got a little something from everybody, the best thing the 49ers offense did was protect the ball. Kaepernick got away with an interception that was nullified due to a penalty, but otherwise the young quarterback made no mistakes. This game, the offense did its part and then some. Not only did they put up points, but they controlled the clock, holding the ball for 10 more minutes than Tennessee, which kept their defense fresh and allowed the 49ers to wear down their opponent on both sides of the ball.
The Titans scored some points late, but the 49ers defense played exceptional. Jake Locker racked up 326 yards through the air, with the majority earned well after the Titans hit desperation, and 66 was all Chris Johnson on a short pass that the speedy back made the entire 49er defense miss a tackle. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman combined for 15 tackles, and helped hold Johnson to 39 rushing yards, but the star linebackers were not alone.
Tramaine Brock snatched another interception, Justin Smith added two sacks, Ahmad Brooks had both a sack and a pass defended, while Eric Reid continues to impress. The only blemish for the defense was the fact that they allowed 17 points in the fourth, and almost let the Titans back in the game.
The final stats might not show it, but the Titans could do nothing against San Francisco for three quarters, and even the yards and points given up in the final quarter are no reason to be alarmed. All of the late game breakdowns are easily correctable, and gives the defense more to improve on as they prepare for the next opponent.
Special Teams: A+
While the special team units have showed up all year, for the first time this season, they iced the game. Andy Lee averaging 46.7 yards per punt on his six attempts and Phil Dawson hitting his only field goal attempt in the first quarter. However, it was the coverage team that put this one out of reach. After a day of great coverage as a team, Kassim Osgood scored on a muffed punt late in the fourth, making it a three-score game, and sending Titan fans to the exits.
A Complete Team
It would be hard to give out a game ball after this game because everyone contributed to the win. The offense used the run and pass to do their thing, the defense was completely dominating as usual and it’s the special teams that continue to be the most consistent of the three.
Not only did the 49ers win their fourth straight game regular season game, something they failed to do last year, but they did so with a statement. The Titans are no scrubs, yet had no answer for the 49ers across the board, so don’t let the final score fool you. San Francisco will look to keep their winning streak alive when they take on a winless Jaguars team that has no right beating the 49ers, especially coming off this performance.
For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.
Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.