The 2010 San Francisco 49ers had huge expectations coming into the season. The NFC West was wide open with the retirement of Kurt Warner from the Arizona Cardinals leaving the Niners the most talented team in the division.
However, they looked anything but on Sunday afternoon in Seattle. The Niners were torched by the Seahawks, 31-6, as the team looked in disarray throughout most of the game. Alex Smith started out extremely well, completing 9 of his first 10 pass attempts, but the Niners, for whatever reason, couldn't really get Frank Gore (17 carries, 38 yards) and the run game going, and they turned into a one-dimensional offense once they got behind. They looked pretty good in the first quarter, although they really should have came out of it with at least 1 touchdown, but things changed drastically in the 2nd and got even worse after halftime. The Niners were shut out in the 2nd half, gaining just 95 yards of total offense, where everyone looked to be on a different page. There were missed routes by the receivers, and a bunch of penalties on the offensive line, but the worst part of that game for San Francisco was the inability to capitalize early in the red zone. The 49ers could have easily taken a 14-0 lead, in the 1st quarter, something a good team would have done after getting inside their opponents 5-yard line 3 different times. However, the Niners couldn't seem to get the plays in on time, forcing them to rush things and make dumb mistakes.
The defense, for the most part, did a pretty good job, although their secondary got a beat a few times on basic out-n-up routes ran by Seattle, in which Matt Hasselbeck looked like the Matt Hassellbeck of '05-'07. It surprised me too, because the Seahawks really didn't get any kind of a run game going, so the Niners knew they were going to be passing, and they still couldn't slow Seattle down after the first quarter. Now, I'm not at all ready to panic after just 1 game, but the defense, which was supposed to be the sure thing on this team, was exposed on Sunday, and they were exposed by one of the weaker teams in the league. Next Monday night, the Niners play host to the reigning champ New Orleans Saints on National Television, so a 0-2 start is looking like a realistic possibility at this point. If the Niners are going to have any hope at upsetting Drew Brees and Co. at Candelstick next week, they're going to need to get a %100 improvement from their safeties and nickel db's, and they're going to have to establish a run game. Whether that's mixing in Brian Westbrook to give the Saints a different look, or maybe using some more play-action, quick passes to open up the run game a bit. Either way, they'll need more than 38 rush yards per week out of Frank Gore if they're going to be successful, no matter who they're playing.
Raiders Smoked By Titans: The Raiders didn't fair much better, as they traveled to Nashville and got beat by the Tennessee Titans and Chris Johnson, 38-12. As expected, the Raiders just didn't do much offensively, as Jason Campbell struggled with a 69.7 QB rate (22-37 for 180 yards, 1 TD-1 INT) and got sacked 4 times. It wasn't really his fault though, the Raiders receivers didn't do much in the way of forcing space between them and Titan defenders. Fortunately for the Raiders, they have one bright spot come out of Sunday's beating. Darren McFadden had one of his best games as a pro, contributing 150 YFS (95 rush, 55 receiving) and a score. The general consensus coming into the year was that McFadden would compliment Michael Bush in Oakland's backfield, but DMac looked like a starter on Sunday.... Also, if your going to be doing and betting on the Raiders or Niners this year, check out Allen Eastman's "99 system". At a %70 success rate, it's the best NFL Betting System on the net!