Frank Gore had become somewhat of a forgotten man in the Niners recent pass-happy offensive attack when the Niners made the switch to Alex Smith. However, in his last 3 games, Gore has gotten back into the mix and shown why he needs to be touching the football 25 times per week.
Gore didn't have his most prolific rushing game on Sunday, he collected just 71 yards on 28 carries and a score, but he did enough on the ground, when needed, to keep the Niner's offense on the field. He also contributed big time in the passing game, an area in which I think he can be more of a help to this team. Gore caught 4 passes for 81 yards, including a beautiful 48 yard catch-and-run that set-up his short TD run. Gore has really come alive in the last 3 games, and coincidentally, the Niners have gone 2-1 in those 3 contests. Alex Smith also played well in Sunday's win, throwing for 230 yards and a touchdown, while completing 20 of 31 pass attempts, good for a QB rating of 97.8, his second highest rating of the season. Even though the Niners are out of the playoff race this season, there's still is a lot to be determined about this team over these last two games, one of them being Alex Smith's future. I said it a few weeks back and I'll say it again. Smith should be named the teams starting QB for 2010, and the announcement should be made immediately after the year. The only way this offense in particular is going to flourish is if they gain some sort of stability, and I think naming Smith the starter going forward would do just that. They have their running back and they have finally gotten a few recieving threats into the offense (Vernon Davis and Micheal Crabtree) for the first time since Terrell Owens.
Defensively, the Niners played very well, as their defense seems to have a few guys who are really emerging as play-makers. I talked about Dashon Goldson here after the Arizona game 2 weeks back in which he was in the center of 3 turnovers caused by the Niners D, and he shined again on Sunday, making a key interception while the Lions offense was gaining some momentum for the first time. Another guy who got some attention with the Arizona game and came up big yesterday is Ahmad Brooks. The pass-rushing linebacker sacked Drew Stanton once and caused another couple of fumbles. I think Brooks and Goldson have emerged this year as defensive mainstays going forward, and I think they've been a big reason why the Niners defense has really tightened up. Manny Lawson is another guy who was all over the field on Sunday, leading the team with 7 tackles, including a few key tackles for losses. This Niner defense is very close to being a dominant unit. If they can add one more solid talent to each area of their defense, it will be close to complete. Even just one more cover-DB, and another pass rusher on the line could make them a top-10 defense. The Niners aren't that far off, they just need a few tinkers to this roster and they'll be a 10 win team.
Basketball Talk: With the football season winding up here, we'll still be following what goes on with the Niners and Raiders during the off-season, and talk some NFL Playoffs, but we'll soon be talking a lot more basketball, both NBA and Collegiate, including 2nd half NBA Odds and Picks, and much more MLB off-season coverage this January! If your looking for San Francisco Giants offseason discussion, or Golden State Warriors talk now, check out The Giants Baseball Blog
and The Warriors Rundown!