Monday, December 10, 2012


A family gathering precluded me from following yesterdays 49ers/Dolphins game much, if at all. It wasn't on TV in New York, so even if I was home, I would have been relegated to streaming audio. As I mentioned last week, my 0-2-1 record when streaming left much to be desired, so maybe this was for the best. The downside to this, however, is that I don't have much, if any, idea of how the game played out. But I'll do my best to try to sum it up.

The 49ers and Dolphins meet only once every 4 years, but they did once meet in a Super Bowl, number XIX. The 49ers blew out Miami 38-16, behind Joe Montana in the first Football game I ever watched, and the reason I became a 49ers fan in the first place. Their subsequent meetings have come in years where one team was usually quite good and the other quite bad. This year appears to be no different. Though the 49ers came into the game at 9-3-1, their lead over the suddenly resurgent Seattle Seahawks was merely a game and a half. A matchup that will more than likely determine the division champion will take place in 2 weeks in Seattle (a game that's been flexed into Prime Time). In addition to that, the 49ers have only a half-game hold on the #2 seed in the NFC ahead of Green Bay and their annoying bandwagon, with that all important first-round bye at stake. On the other side, Miami is Miami. The point here is that the 49ers could ill afford to look past the Dolphins, inferior as they may be, because a poor performance could bite them in the ass, much like it did last week in St. Louis, and then all hell would break loose. In addition to their game in Seattle in 2 weeks, they also play at the New England Patriots next Sunday. never an easy place to visit. So, the 49ers would have been well wise to get their act together.

Given the result and the way the game played out, I'm not sure that the 49ers totally got their act together, but they did enough to win the game. Though Colin Kaepernick and the offense really didn't seem too much in sync, the defense did what they always do, and make life difficult for the opponent. The defense did plenty to keep the Dolphins from doing very much of consequence; the lone drive they had in the 49ers Red Zone was cut off by a sack and ended in a Field Goal. But the 49ers could only manage Field Goals of their own, and only led 6-3 at halftime.

The 49ers didn't catch a break until Miami muffed a punt early in the 3rd quarter, which ended up recovered by C.J. Spillman deep in Miami's end. Frank Gore punctuated the short drive with a Touchdown, making the score 13-3 and giving the 49ers a bit of breathing room. But they never really pulled away. An Anthony Dixon score made it 20-6, but Miami responded with a Touchdown of their own, and then stopped the 49ers on their ensuing possession. With about 5 and a half minutes to go, Miami was now in possession to tie the game.

Fortunately, the defense, which has been every bit as good as they've needed to be this season, came through once again. Miami only advanced the ball on a roughing the passer call, and eventually was forced into a 4th down attempt which failed. Miami hoped to be able to stop the 49ers running game and get another opportunity, but though they stacked the box, Kaepernick ran through them all anyway for a game-clinching 50 yard Touchdown Run to cap off a mostly unexciting 27-13 victory.

Kaepernick was, once again, somewhat underwhelming. He didn't make the same mistakes he did in the Rams game, but outside of his TD run, he also didn't do anything truly spectacular, at least not that I was able to glean. I'm not totally sure if Kaepernick is still trying to figure it out or if the play calling is limiting what he's allowed to do, but these next two games are going to tell us a lot about where this team is going. New England might not have the world's greatest defense, but they can muscle up against the run, and everyone knows how they operate on offense. Seattle already slugged it out with the 49ers once this season and I'm sure they're itching for another crack. Though things still seem to be firmly in hand for a postseason spot, it could get ugly if things don't break the right way. Interestingly, with the flexing of the Seattle game, the 49ers will be on Sunday Night Football in back to back weeks, which means we'll all be getting a nice healthy dose of Faith Hill and fawning over Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

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