Tuesday, December 27, 2011

49ers Beat Seahawks, Cut Braylon Edwards

The 49ers barely made it out of the Seattle game limping, but they did manage to pull off the 19-17 win, but it didn't come at cost.

There's no doubt, this win vs. Seattle was one of the bigger wins of the season, going into their house (loudest stadium in NFL) with the Seahawks hungry and the 49ers fended them off like a good team would do. They didn't have their A-game, as Smith was just 14-26 for 179 yards, but once again, he held onto the ball and never gave Seattle good field position via turnover. Gore was Gore, going for 83 yards and a score while Kendal Hunter provided the burst off the bench (12 runs, 73 yards). The big play of the game though to me, came at the hands of Michael Crabtree, who in my eye has graduated from mid-level NFL wideout with huge talent into a real good NFL wideout. His maturation is probably a big reason the 49ers felt they could cut Edwards and not miss a beat at the wideout position, though I'm a little concerned. The reason they won this game though, again, was due to their tremendous defense. Yes they allowed "Beast Mode" to go for 100 yards and a score, but they had no Willis, so the 100-yard rusher streak should still be alive. Navarro Bowman and Larry Grant (Willis' replacement) each led the team in tackles while Grant also forced a fumble in the defensive oriented game. Alson Smith and Ray McDonald each delievered sacks as well. All-in-all, the 49ers went up into a packed Seattle house vs. an underrated, hungry football team, in a playoff environment and won, bottom line!

Onto the notables. Delanie Walker (jaw-bone) and Kyle Williams (concussion), two very key contributors in the 49ers passing game, took some gnarly hits on Sunday vs. Seahawks that were both head shots. Walker looks to have a broken jaw-bone and will likely be out 4 weeks, meaning he could miss the first playoff game and more if they go on. That's a big loss as about 1/2 the 49ers offensive packages came with 2-TE sets in which Walker and Davis were the guys. Perhaps the bigger injury though, lies with Kyle Williams, who now all the sudden is thrust into the starting flanker spot full-time upon the releasing of Braylon Edwards. I think the Edwards release surprised me as much as anyone else, as the 49ers just don't have receiver depth to begin with. Not to mention, Teddy Ginn has had a bum ankle and he may miss next weeks finale. He must have been fussing about his lack of targets or something, otherwise I don't get this. They still may bring in another veteran wideout to help for their playoff run, but they've been trying out names like Brian Finnernan and Chris Chambers at Santa Clara in recent weeks and haven't found anyone yet. With Edwards out though, they're going to need someone else to fill that roster spot and it's most likely going to be a wideout. If I had my choice, I go for someone who's played recently, most notably former Niner Jason Hill. Bernard Berrian or Brandon Stokley would also be nice alternatives. I believe Antonio Bryant or T.O. could have obviously have the biggest impact of all the free agent wideouts, but both already have some spotty history here in the Bay.

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