The 49ers will be going for their third straight win today when the go up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3). The 49ers are just two games off the pace of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and a win would certainly keep them in the hunt.
Troy Smith will also be making his third consecutive start and Mike Singletary announced earlier in the week that Alex Smith would be active and would be the backup. Joe Staley will also be out with a broken fibula. Singletary did not say who would start at left tackle so I’ll have that update once it’s official.
The weather at Candelstick is pretty nice right now. The field was covered and the grounds crew rolled off a lot of water. Taylor noted that it looked like the world’s largest slip and slide and it reminded me of the scene in Bull Durham when the players slide around the base paths.
Stay tuned for the inactives 90 minutes before the game. I will be talking to Ted Robinson shortly for our “Teddy Football” segment as well. Click here to listen to the audio.
View the photo gallery from today’s game.
49ers: QB David Carr (3rd QB), K Joe Nedney, CB Tramaine Brock, CB Williams James, LB Keaton Kristick, LB Thaddeus Gibson, T Joe Staley, T Alex Boone
Buccaneers: QB Rudy Carpenter (3rd QB), FB/TE Erik Long, LB Quincy Black, T Will Barker, T Derek Hardman, WR Preston Parker, DE/DT Kyle Moore, DT Ryan Sims
***LINEUP CHANGE: Barry Sims will start at LT for Joe Staley***
Tampa Bay received to start the game. Adrus’ kickoff bounced short of Micheal Spurlock who returned it to the 24. On 3rd and 4, Josh Freeman couldn’t find anything down field, but had room on the right side to scramble for the first down. On 3rd down, Freeman was pressured, made the first man miss, but couldn’t escape Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson who combined for the sack. Williams returned the punt and had his facemask yanked during the tackle. The officials missed it though – no call.
The 49ers were stopped for no gain on first down, but Smith hit Gore on a nice screen on 2nd down for a gain of 14. Smith just got rid of the ball as the Bucs brought pressure on 2nd down. It turned out to be too much pressure as the Bucs were flagged for roughing the passer, giving the 49ers 15 yards and a first down at the TB 42. Smith hit Morgan on a quick pass to the left side. Morgan was hit as he made a move up the field and the ball came loose and was recovered by Tampa Bay. A promising drive early for the 49ers ended with a turnover.
The 49ers defense came up big, giving the ball back to the offense after three plays. They pressured Freeman on 1st and 3rd down and stuffed Blount on 2nd down. Malone’s punt went over Williams’ head and he decided to let it roll. The ball barely got into the end zone for a touchback.
The Bucs read the screen on 1st down. Smith tried to scramble but was brought down from behind for a sack. Smith threw for Gore on a screen on 3rd down. Gore picked up 6, not god enough for the first down. Lee’s punt was returned to the 38 by Spurlock.
Blount got the carry on first down and knifed forward for 5 yards. On 3rd and 1, Willis hit the whole and dropped Blount for no gain – another 3 and out for the 49ers defense. Spurlock took the snap on the punt and Anthony Dixon showed he could rush the passer, knocking down Spurlock’s pass. That could really swing th momentun as the 49ers got the ball inside Tampa territory at the 47.
Gerald McCoy beat Rachal and dropped Smith for a sack on 1st down. Smith scrambled on 2nd and long and had running room, gaining 15 yards and a first down. Gore was stopped for a four-yard loss on first down. Smith;s pass on third down was nearly intercepted and Lee came on to punt. Lee’s punt was nearly perfect, but it took a big hop and Spillman couldn’t down it before it went into the end zone.
On 2nd and 10, Blount showed how difficult he is to take down as he plunged up the middle for a gain of 11. Josh Johnson came in for Freeman and ran the option to the left side and gained enough to move the chains once again.
Standout Stat: After not converting a third down last week, the 49ers are 0-2 so far today on third downs.
Highlight Reel: The 49ers have had good pressure so far and Willis and Lawson were able to wrap up Freeman.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers have struggled to regain their form after Morgan’s fumble on the 49ers’ first drive. The defense has played well, but things are still scoreless. Blount has played well so far so it could be important for the 49ers to get out to a lead to take Tampa out of the running game.
1st and 10 from the 41, Freeman his Williams to the right side for a first down inside 49ers territory. Freeman scrambled for a first down at the 16 and the Bucs are seriously threatening. On 3rd and 1, Freeman gained just enough on a QB sneak. On 2nd down, Williams got the carry up the middle and was barely touched on his way to a 6-yard touchdown run. It was a 14-play drive that lasted 7:31.
Bucs 7 – 49ers 0
Ginn gave the 49ers good field position to start the drive as he was tripped up at the 39. Smith had Gore wide open out of the backfield on 3rd down, but the pass was a little behind Gore who couldn’t make the grab. Spillman dropped Spurlock at the 21 after the punt.
The Bucs offense continues to move the ball well as Freeman hit Benn to the left side for a first down. Blount continues to get good yardage on first down. This time he picked up four up the middle. Before the third down play, Freeman called timeout as the play clock was winding down. On 3rd down, Reggie Smith came on the Blitz and forced a high throw by Freeman. Reggie Smith called for the fair catch at the 31.
On 3rd and 5, Smith scrambled to buy time and hit Crabtree on a comeback along the left sideline for 15 yards and a first down. Delanie Walker got the handoff on the end around on first down. Walker was dragged down by the collar of his pads drawing the disapproval of the 49ers Faithful as no flag was thrown by the official. On 3rd down, Gore got the carry on a draw and had nowhere to go. Spurlock signaled for a fair catch at the 10.
On first down, Williams got around the right side and picked up 7 as the Bucs go with a hurry up. Williams spun a gained enough for a first down on the next play. Williams got one more carry and the clock will run out on the half.
Standout Stat: Blount has 55 yards rushing (4.2/carry) while Gore has 13 yard rushing (1.4/carry).
Highlight Reel: Blount is really running hard as evidenced by his huge hit on Parys Haralson.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers offense hasn’t done much since their opening drive. The Bucs are running the ball much better than the 49ers and the 49ers receivers have had a tough time getting open. The Bucs’ sack were mostly a result of Smith holding onto the ball too long after not finding an open man. The 49ers will get the ball to begin the second half so it will be important to get out to a good start and close the Bucs 7-point lead. The 49ers did not play well in the first half, but the good news is it’s still a one-score game.
Tony Wragge took the kickoff on the bounce and returned it for positive yards. I sure wouldn’t have wanted to tackle him. Smith hit Morgan on the first play of the drive as he got out near midfield. Morgan was shaken up on the play, but was able to walk off the field. After a holding call against Baas, Smith hit Walker over the middle for a gain of 14. On 3rd and 3, Smith’s pass was behind Crabtree, but the Bucs were lined up in the neutral zone so the 49ers still got the first down. Smith hit Walker on 2nd on a screen to the left side to pick up 6. Smith’s pass was high on third down and the 49ers elected to punt. Lee’s punt was downed at the 6.
On 1st down, Freeman rolled to his right and hit Winslow for a gain of 11. On 3rd and 7, Freeman made it look easy as he stepped up and hit Winslow crossing for 10 yards. On 3rd down and 4, Freeman converted once again on a screen to Stroughter. Freeman then hit Stovall along the right sideline for a gain of 22. On 3rd and 9 from the 29, Freeman hit Winslow who was met immediately by Goldson short of the sticks. Barth’s field goal was wide left to keep it a one-score game.
The 49ers couldn’t take advantage though as Smith hit Morgan short of the sticks on 3rd down. Lee’s punt was downed at the 6, but Brown was the first man to touch it after running out of bounds. The Bucs will elect to have the 49ers re-punt. That proved to be a costly penalty as Spurlock returned the next punt to the 36.
Freeman hit Williams for 33 yards to start the drive.. Then Blount broke a tackle and hurdled a defender for 16 yards on the next play. On 3rd and 1, Freeman threw for Williams who caught the TD over Spencer.
Bucs 14 – 49ers 0
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 25. On 2nd down, Smith hit gore over the middle for a 9-yard gain.
Standout Stat: The 49ers have just 112 yards of total offense.
Highlight Reel: Williams made a nice adjustment coming back to the ball for a big catch. Spencer and Goldson didn’t see the ball.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers offense has not been good. They’re down by two scores and haven’t been able to get in a rhythm in the run game or passing game. They need to keep drives going on 3rd down. It’s do or die time and they might have to take some chances now on 4th downs.
On 3rd and 1, Smith rolled right and hit Gore to move the chains. Smith was stopped short on the next third down, but the offense stayed on the field. On 4th and 3 from the 44, Smith’s pass was too long for Davis who never turned around to see it.
On 3rd and 11, Willis came around the left side and dragged down Freeman from behind. Willis is pretty fast. The 49ers nearly blocked the punt. Williams fielded it and returned it to the 18. With 11:23 remaining, there’s still plenty of time.
On 1st down, Smith tucked it and scrambled for 6 yards. On the next play, Smith threw it right to Ronde Barber who returned it to the 7.
On 2nd down, the Reggie Smith was flagged for defensive holding. 1st and goal from the 3, Blount was stopped just shy of the goal line. On 2nd down, Spikes flew to meet Blount in mid-air for the stop. On 3rd down, Freeman rolled right and threw a TD to the tackle, Donald Penn.
Bucs 21 – 49ers 0
Ginn reversed his field twice and got out to the 31. On 1st down, Smith scrambled up the middle for 11. On 2nd down, Smith was under all kinds of pressure and was sacked for a big loss. Smith made up for it, hitting Walker for 23 yards on the next play. On 3rd down, the 49ers were called for an illegal shift. On 4th and 3, Smith’s pass was overthrown intended for Zeigler on the right sideline.
We have to go down to the field now, but we’ll keep you updated the rest of the way on Twitter.
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