The 49ers played their most complete game of the Harbaugh era on Sunday at Candlestick Park, beating the Tampa Buccaneers 48-3 to run their record to 4-1. 49ers Public Relations presents the following notes and quotes from the Week 5 matchup.
With the Win…
- Head coach Jim Harbaugh becomes the 5th 49ers head coach to start his career 4-1.
- The 49ers started 4-1 for the 1sttime since 2002.
- The 49ers improved their overall series record vs. the Bucs to 16-5, including 12-2 at home.
- San Francisco has won 3 consecutive games, marking the 1st time since 2006 the team won 3 in a row (11/5 vs. Min., 11/12 at Det., 11/19 vs. Sea.).
- The 49ers scored 48 points vs. Tampa Bay, marking the most points scored by the team since 12/7/03 vs. Arz. – 50 pts.
- San Francisco defeated the Buccaneers by 45 pts., which is the largest margin of victory for the team in the regular season since Dec. 27, 1987 when they won by 48 pts. vs. LA Rams on 12/27/87 (48-0). It is also ties for the largest margin of victory in the NFL this season (Det. beat KC 48-3, 9/18).
- In the last 6 qtrs., the 49ers have scored 69 pts. which are the most pts. in a 6 qtr. stretch since 12/7/03 vs. Arz. – 12/14/03 at Cin. (67 pts.).
- The 49ers offense scored TDs on their opening possession in both the 1st and 2nd halves. According to Elias, it marks the 1st time in the last 20 years that San Francisco has scored a TD on their opening drive of both the 1st and 2nd halves in the same game.
Large and In Charge
- The 49ers offensive line did not allow a sack on the day, marking the 2nd time this season and the 1st time since opening day vs. Sea. (9/11).
- The 49ers rushed for 213 yds. on the day and did not allow a sack, marking the 1st time the since 12/14/06 at Sea. that the team rushed for over 200 yds. and did not allow a sack.
- On their opening possession, QB Alex Smith connected with TE Delanie Walker on a 26-yd. TD pass. The TD marked the 1st time the 49ers have scored a TD on their opening possession since 12/12/10 vs. Sea.
Holding Them In Check
- The 49ers allowed only 3 points on the day, marking the fewest points allowed since 11/29/09 vs. Jax. (3 points).
Beasts on the Ground
- The 49ers racked up 213 rush. yds. on the day, marking the most rush. yds. in a game since totaling 261 rush. yds. at Arz. on 11/29/10.
Run Defense Continues Streak
- The 49ers run defense has not allowed a 100-yd. rusher in the last 27 games, which marks the longest active streak in the NFL. The next closest team to not allow a 100-yd. rusher is Chicago (14).
- With 1 rushing TD on the day, RB Frank Gore moved into 4th place in franchise history with 38 career rushing TDs, passing QB Steve Young and RB J.D. Smith. He trails RB Roger Craig, RB Joe Perry (50), and RB Ken Willard (45).
- RB Frank Gore rushed for 125 yds. and 1 TD, marking his 26th career 100-yd. game. The 49ers improved to 19-7 when he hits the century mark on the ground.
- The 125 rush. yds. performance today marks the 7th time in Gore’s career that he has hit the century mark in back-to-back weeks (Last time, 10/24 at Car. – 102 yds. and 10/31 vs. Den. – 118 yds.).
Setting the Tone
- QB Alex Smith tossed 3 TDs on the day (26 yds., 23 yds. and 14 yds.), marking the 1st time (5th career) since 12/12/10 vs. Sea. that he had 3 passing TDs in a game.
- Smith registered a QB rating of 127.2 on the day, marking the 1st time in his career he recorded a QB rating of 100+ in consecutive games (112.1 at Phi.).
- Smith has a QB rating of 104.1 on the season, ranking 3rd in the NFL prior to Sunday and Monday nights games.
- In his last 10 starts, Smith has a passer rating of 99.8, completing 159 of 263 pass atts. for 1,986 yds. and 15 TDs with 2 INTs.
- Smith finished the day with a rating of 127.2, improving his record to 13-1 when he has a passer rating of 96.0 or better.
- QB Alex Smith connected with TE Vernon Davis for 2 TDs on the day (31st and 32nd career TDs). Davis has now accounted for 23 of Smith’s 58 career TD passes (39.7 pct.). Since 2001, Smith and Davis have the highest TD percentage among all active teammates (with at least 20 or more touchdown passes thrown). The two have connected on a TD in 8 of the past 13 games.
- TE Vernon Davis tallied his 3rd career multi-TD game, his 1st since 10/25/09 at Hou. – 3 TDs.
- TE Delanie Walker hauled in his 2nd TD of the season (4th career), marking the 1st time in his career that he has multiple TDs in a season.
- CB Carlos Rogers recorded his 3rd INT of the season and returned it 31-yds. for a TD. The return marked his 2nd career TD and 1st since 10/7/07 vs. Det. as a member of the Washington Redskins.
- Rogers has now recorded an INT in 3 consecutive games, becoming the 1st Niner to record an INT in 3 consecutive games since LB Takeo Spikes (9/28/08-10/12/08).
- Rogers’ 3 INTs on the season rank t-1st in the NFL.
- Rookie CB Chris Culliver notched his 1st career INT after picking off QB Josh Freeman in the 2nd qtr.
- The picks by Rogers and Culliver in consecutive defensive series marked the 1st time the team has accomplished that feat since 12/12/10 vs. Sea.
- The 49ers have now notched an INT in each of their first 5 games of the season, marking the 1st time since 2009 that the team has accomplished this feat.
- Going into the night games, the 49ers defense ranks t-2nd in the NFL with 8 INTs.
- S Dashon Goldson knocked the ball loose from Buccaneers WR Mike Williams, tallying his 1st FF of the season and 4th of his career.
- LB Patrick Willis recovered his 2nd fumble of the season and 4th FR of his career. It also marked the 1st time he registered multiple FRs in a season.
- The 49ers now have 5 FRs on the season, ranking t-2nd in the NFL prior to the Sunday and Monday night games.
- Rookie LB Aldon Smith registered 2 sacks on the day, giving him back-to-back games with a sack. Smith leads the team in sacks and ranks 2nd in the NFL among rookies with 3.5 sacks on the season. (Den. LB Von Miller – 5.0)
- DT Justin Smith registered his 3rd sack of the season and 68th of his career.
Back For More
- RB Anthony Dixon registered his 3rd career rushing TD and 1st since 11/29/10 at Arz.
Making Their Debut
- Rookie undrafted free agents NT Ian Williams and DT Demarcus Dobbs each played in their 1st career game.
Extending Their Streaks
- TE/LS Brian Jennings has now played in 181 consecutive games.
- DT Justin Smith has now started 160 consecutive games, dating back to his rookie season in 2001. Smith’s consecutive start streak ranks 3rd among defensive players and 5th among all NFL players.
- TE Vernon Davis has now started 64 consecutive games, which ranks 3rd in the NFL among TE’s behind Tony Gonzalez (75) and Jason Witten (72).
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference – October 9, 2011
San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Was that about as well as you guys could execute?
“It was good, it was definitely very good. Felt like everybody contributed: offense, defense, special teams. I think you’re going to see a lot of good play by a lot of folks. Secondary stood out, probably the most, shined the brightest. Getting their hands on balls all over the field, getting takeaways, making huge plays, scoring, just thought it was a phenomenal effort by them. [LB] Patrick Willis, [LB NaVorro] Bowman all over the field, again. Next thing to highlight, just the play of our receivers and the way they blocked, and the way the tight ends blocked. There was second level blocking; there was hustle, just outstanding. Then, yards after contact by our skilled players, thought was really good. It all got going with the passing game. Thought [QB] Alex [Smith] did a terrific job. Offensive line, I thought, was at their best today, in all regards. No sacks and coming off the ball; really felt they played well. Stopped the run, our guys were set up to do that, they wanted to do that. They made that a point of emphasis and they got that done. Across the board, I thought it was an outstanding day by our team.”
You mentioned the yards after contact by the receivers. How much of that is Alex Smith putting it in a nice place for them to keep going down field?
“I think Alex was really on point today, right from the opening snap of the game. Came out, read the play properly, got it to [RB] Frank [Gore], because it was covered down field. Then, just made really cool headed decisions all day long. That was big. His location, though, his accuracy, I thought was the best of the season. One high ball to [WR] Michael Crabtree on a third down, and Crab again goes up and makes the high catch. He makes it look so easy the way he does it. I’ve never seen a guy with that strong of hands, to just pluck a ball at the outer ring of his catch radius is really outstanding.”
When Alex is on like that, what is sort of different? What is important for him fundamentally, mechanically that is different from him being just okay to being really, really good?
“I think it’s all the guys. It’s always the unit. It’s always how they play together, how they function together. I think he had time to see things today because the offensive line did a great job protecting, not just straining but locking guys up at the line of scrimmage. All together, receivers that make plays for you like that, running game that gets cranked up, I think it all feeds on each of those phases.”
How big of a play was CB Carlos Rogers’ interception return to kind of get everything going in your favor?
“I thought that was huge because we had just turned the ball over on the fumble when we had knocked it down in there on a long drive and came away with no points. But then, Carlos gets that interception, that puts us right back in business. That was huge. I think he’s had three in a row now, right? Three games in a row with an interception. Just outstanding.”
Does this surprise you at all? Here you are 3-1 and you played so well today…
This early in the season, I mean that things have come together so quickly?
“I think a lot of you think it’s a cliché that we’re really just focused on getting better. Being better tomorrow than we were today. Being better today than we were yesterday. That’s how we’re judging success, so we didn’t put any limitations on ourselves or any things like that. We’ll just keep moving on with that plan, improving. Not changing but improving.”
What kind of setup was this, though, to get you to the next level?
“Thought it was a great win for our team, great thrill of winning. We take the next step. It was a step. I feel like our team performed well, competed hard.”
Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman didn’t get into a rhythm during that game at all. It seemed like he had a lot of trouble with your coverages early. Did you guys do anything different for a plan in the secondary?
“We were doing some things, we were changing some things up. We don’t really talk about the scheme. I thought that our players, especially in the secondary, were just breaking on balls and fast. Fastest I’ve ever seen our guys break and cover and read. I thought they were getting the jump, and I think that’s just good. It’s good playing, it’s good coaching, it’s good scheme. I think it was tied in very well together. The line, the linebackers, the secondary, everybody was on point today.”
The play that Joshua Morgan got hurt on, it was 41-3 and it was a pass. It’s easy to second guess that, why were you still in kind of a passing mode?
“You’ve got to play. You can’t take a knee with four minutes left in the game. It could have been a run. Josh was competing; I think he’s going to be okay. [QB Colin] Kaepernick is competing; he’s got to get to work. We’re not taking a knee with four minutes left in the game.”
You talked about the running game being cranked up; Frank Gore had another strong game, second game in a row. Can you talk a little bit about him?
“Another strong game by Frank. I thought he was seeing things really well today, I thought he was seeing holes. Thought he was planting very well, he was making the shallow cuts today. He had his burst back. He looked like Frank. He’s having fun out there. That’s the thing I see in Frank most of all right now, is that he’s enjoying football.”
QB Alex Smith
Would you say this is the most complete team victory this season?
“Probably this season. I think the best two halves of football we’ve put together for sure. I think the four games prior to this we’ve had good halves here, good halves there, and never really put a full game together. I think that was the best example of that, putting two halves of football together.”
Does that mean the coaches are very detail oriented?
“For sure. Yeah absolutely. I think these coaches do a great job of teaching. Explaining things to us, putting us in situations to succeed, and I think the team’s done a great job of taking that on and really executing. The offensive line taking a lot of criticism the first three weeks of the season, and just continued to work hard and get better. And to do that today versus a 3-1 football team, just absolutely dominated up front. Running the ball, protection was great all day. Says a lot.”
You said last week, you’re trying not to think too much, not overdoing anything or over-thinking anything, is that something you remind yourself every series, or how do you actually do that?
“I think really just kind of staying in the moment. Just taking in one play at a time, not getting too far ahead of myself. Really felt like I did a great job today on the first half. Second half there, a couple plays obviously I’d like to have back. But, that’s every game. But, continue to get better, and make strides.”
Have you ever felt the confidence you do now as a pro quarterback?
“I’m not thinking about that right now to be honest with you. I’m just focused on playing football. New challenges every week that present new challenges every week with the defenses we play. And, I’m trying to make steps. I feel good about where I’m at. But, as far as—and I’ve said this in years past and I know you guys, but as far as seeing things and what’s happening as far as defenses and what they’re trying to do to me and us on offense, but at this point just really trying to take the steps within the offense. Play within the system, be myself, make the plays when they’re there to be made.”
Alex, how did it feel standing on the sideline of the winning end of a blow out? It hasn’t happened too often.
“Feels great. I don’t know what else to say. It’s hard to put into words. Feels great. You worked so hard, you put in so much time, you sacrifice. And to be sitting there as the clock’s ticking down to all zero’s, and you’re up like that. It feels good.”
As a team you have four turnovers in five games, is Coach Harbaugh somehow responsible for that?
“Oh yeah. It doesn’t happen by accident yeah. Turnovers are something that’s emphasized. Being smart with the football, not being careless, making good decisions. All that stuff, yeah no question, emphasized from the top down every day. And I think the guys on offense have done a great job with it.”
Are there other things you can do besides talking about it and emphasizing it? Because obviously a lot of coaches do.
“Yeah, like I said, I think yeah there’s coaches that talk about it especially after the fact. But, it’s something that’s harped on every single day. Details of what we do every single day. Ball carriers, making smart decisions at the quarterback position. Those are things that don’t periodically get emphasized all the time.”
WR Michael Crabtree
You’re a blocking machine now.
“I’m no blocking machine. I’m a receiver. Whatever they need me to do, I’m just going to get it done and just get the win.”
I didn’t mean that as a shot at your receiving. I mean that as you took out two guys in one play when [WR Ted] Ginn [Jr.] got up field for that 24-yard gain. I was talking to [T] Joe Staley and he said those are the sorts of things that happen when a team is on point.
“It’s just like in the middle of a play to make things happen. Teddy [WR Ted Ginn Jr.] and [WR] Josh Morgan are like my brothers. When they have the ball, I’m going to do the best I can to block and make that play go further.”
TE Vernon Davis
Can you talk about what is different about the team? The whole team excelled across the board.
“Just playing together, expecting to win, having confidence. That will take you a long way, confidence. And that’s what this team has right now. Everyone is hungry everyone wants to win. And we are putting it all together.”
Describe the play of [QB] Alex Smith?
“He’s always been a fighter. I always knew he had it in him. Just from the look on his face. I’ve been with Alex since day one, and to see him have success it means a lot.”
“Some guys it just takes time. It takes time for a man. Alex hasn’t always had the same offense. Every year we are always changing our offense. He didn’t have time to really grasp anything. Harbaugh came in and brought his crew, and they were able to talk to Alex in a way he could learn and grow as an outstanding quarterback.”
Would you call this the most complete game of the season?
“Yeah we put almost 50 points. I would say so. Me and the wide receivers were talking. We didn’t really have to do much. We just had to make plays when they came our way. We didn’t have to work it down field. It’s a win. A great win.”
When was the last time you felt like this, walking off of the field?
“A long time. It’s been a long time. Last week was a pretty nice victory we had there. But to be really ahead like we were today. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen anything like that.”
RB Frank Gore
How long has it been since you felt the team has been on the same level?
“I’ll say this part, it has been the first time since I’ve been here that we are looking this good. We are going to keep working, keep taking one game at a time and just keep trusting in our coaches and that’s all we can do. I still feel that we still have room to go. That’s all we can do, just keep getting better. As long as we keep working hard and just keep believing in our coaches and in ourselves.”
What’s the difference in your run game. Seems like you were getting a lot of room to roam in this game verses not so much in the first three games?
“I think everybody is on the same page and like before, everybody was just trying to get the ball and stop the run. [+QB] Alex Smith is playing great ball and they don’t know what to defend. As long as we just keep working and take one game at a time and try and get better every day on the practice field, I feel like we can do whatever we want to do.”
DT Ricky Jean Francois
You guys have given up just three points in six quarters. What are you guys doing? What’s working?
“Just listen to [Head] Coach [Jim] Harbaugh; our D coordinator who stays up and night and puts the game plan together; our DB, linebacker and D-line coaches who make sure we get our technique right and make sure we focus in on that. Getting rest and lifting weights. We make sure we put our heart and passion into it. You can see the results.”
How have you guys been able to create turnovers? You guys are plus-10 for the year as a team.
“That’s [Defensive Coordinator] Vic Fangio’s biggest thing. He said the only way you’re going to win games against teams like the Buccaneers is you have to get turnovers.”
CB Carlos Rogers
When you guys have a big lead going into half time there might be a sense of relaxation. How did the team keep the foot on the pedal?
“Coaches kept coming and stayed in our head. We came out, especially the defense, in the second half of the game to not let the other team drive. Keep pounding on this team. And this team also happens to be a comeback team. They have shown a lot of comeback, with their quarterback leading them back into games. We didn’t want that to happen.”
What was the game plan going in staring down [QB Josh Freeman]?
“We knew they had a good running back and a good young quarterback who makes comebacks like I said. Main challenge was first stop the run. The defensive line put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure they wouldn’t run the ball on us, secondary just contain the quarterback. He is a big guy. He can run. He can make plays down the field. He can scramble for first downs. When we had an opportunity to make plays, we had to capitalize on them.”
T Joe Staley
It seems as though a lot of the players this year are the same as last. And one could say the difference is a new coach and coaching staff. I’m not asking you to knock anyone who was here before, but what do these guys bring that has made you 4-1?
“It’s about the confidence in the locker room right now. The players believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in the players. Everybody’s really detailed in what they’re supposed to be doing. Everybody knows exactly how we fit in the offense – how this block is important, how this route is important to open up something underneath. Everybody is really executing right now. It’s very exciting. It’s the confidence thing more than anything.”
But it’s the general culture on the team that you feel is different.
“Everybody sees the success we’re having and we’re on it. Today is a great example. It was a full team win and that’s what we can do every single week. It breeds confidence in the system and your teammates. We just have to carry this momentum moving forward.”
TE Delanie Walker
You’re five weeks into this and you have already adopted the personality with no minicamp, nothing. How does that happen?
“Well our training camp was pretty hard. We didn’t really get any days off and we worked hard. He (Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) tried to embed it in us, make us a civilized team. Tuck in your shirts, being on time, never late to a meeting, coming out early, getting proper stretch in and watching film on your own time. He kind of pushed us to be that type of player and I think that is what you see now. Even though we didn’t have OTA’s or mini camps, he made sure that he did it during training camp and I think that worked out just fine for us.”
Can you pinpoint what’s happening with your running game now that wasn’t happening earlier in the season? Seems like you guys were five, six, seven yards at will at times today.
“It’s just schemes. Our coaches are coming up with better and good schemes for our o-line to block d-linemen and making it nice and easy to pick up and that’s just the difference you’re seeing here. We started out, we really didn’t want to show too much. It was early in the season so we went to our basic stuff, but now we are getting into the playbook and we are opening it up.”
LB Patrick Willis
To win 48-3 against a pretty good team, could you have imagined that final score?
“I’m not going to say I could’ve imagined the score being 48-3, but I could’ve imagined winning this game. We knew coming in that Tampa Bay is a good football team. We come into work each and every day and we practice hard. We know what we want to accomplish. Knowing what we have and what we want to do, the sky’s the limit for us. Everybody else who talks, we let them talk. We just know it’s us and we have to keep on working.”
Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris
“Obviously it was a disappointing loss. Flat start, flat finish, flat middle—everything. We didn’t even get off the plane this time. We came out here this time and were a little bit punch drunk I guess and didn’t work, didn’t play as hard as we normally do. It’s disappointing for us, but all we can do is bounce back for the New Orleans Saints when they come into our place.”
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