49ers football is back. After a week of for the bye week (or “improvement week”), the 49ers will put their 5-1 record up against the Cleveland Browns at Candlestick Park.
Injuries were one of the key storylines going into the game and we just learned that Braylon Edward will be active against his former team, while Peyton Hillis will sit for the Browns.
Inactives: 49ers - QBScott Tolzien, WR Brett Swain, CB Tramaine Brock, FB Moran Norris, G Daniel Kilgore, G Mike Person, NT Ian Williams.
Browns – QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, RB Peyton Hillis, DB Ray Vetrone, OL Steve Vallos, OL Oniel Cousins, DL Austin English
The 49ers won the toss and deferred to the second half. On the second play of the game, Ahmad Brooks beat his man and lost his helmet, but still brought McCoy down for a sack. The ball came loose and was recovered by Sopoaga at the 20.
Clearly, the bye week didn’t make the 49ers come out rusty as Frank Gore got the 49ers on the board first with a 4-yard touchdown run.
49ers 7 – Browns 0
The Browns picked up one first down, but Chris Culliver made a great play on the next third down and nearly picked off McCoy’s pass. Ginn let the punt bounce over his head and it got a good bounce and was downed about as close to the goal line as it could possibly be.
Gore gave the 49ers some breathing room with a 24-yard run up the left sideline…great blocking by the left side of the line. Hunter then entered the game and had a nifty 26-yard run and nearly broke it for the score. Smith then play faked and threw the ball to Joe Staley who picked up 17 yards and added an emphatic first down signal. the drive stalled in the red zone and the 49ers came up short on 3rd and 1. David Akers connected on a 20-yard field goal to extend the lead.
49ers 10 – Browns 0
The defense came up big once again on the next drive, giving up one first down before forcing the punt. The 49ers take over at their own 17.
Standout Stat: The 49ers defense held the Browns to just 38 yards of offense.
Highlight Reel: Ahmad Brooks got things started for the 49ers, losing his helmet and still getting to McCoy for the sack.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers were worried about being rusty after the bye week but it looks like it’s only benefited them so far. Offense and defense are both operating efficiently and have the 49ers have the Browns on their heels.
Gore continues to have a good game early. This time he bounced a run out to the right side and picked up 26. The 49ers got all the way down to the goal line and it was initially ruled that Gore had scored from 7 yards out. The play was overturned and the 49ers were held on 4th and goal from the 1.
The 49ers forced the Browns into a third and long situation after Donte Whitner jarred the ball lose, but it was recovered by Cleveland. Aldon Smith came with pressure on third down and flushed McCoy from the pocket. The pass was incomplete. Ginn fielded the punt at the 36, but didn’t have any room to run.
The 49ers marched down the field, but Gore was again stopped when they got down to the goal line…so Harbaugh went with the pass and Alex Smith hit Michael Crabtree for an easy two-yard score.
49ers 17 – Browns 0
Dashon Goldson was flagged for a blow to the head on Little. The replay clearly showed that Goldson didn’t make contact with Little’s head, but either way it’s a huge break for the Browns as the get out to midfield. Cleveland took advantage of the field position and got in range for Phil Dawson. The 52-yard field goal was good.
49ers 17 – Browns 3
Standout Stat: The 49ers have 143 yards rushing in the first half.
Highlight Reel: The 49ers had trouble running the ball in from the goal line, but Harbaugh dialed up a nice play call as Smith hit Crabtree from two yards out.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers are playing well in all phases. The play calling has been creative with Joe Staley even making a catch. Staley’s play has really stood out in the first half as he’s made several nice blocks, including a play where he pulled and nearly sprung Smith for a score. The 49ers will get the ball to start the second half and have a good opportunity to extend their lead.
The 49ers went three and out to start the half. Crabtree nearly made a nice grab on third down, but couldn’t control it as he went to the ground. Cribbs has a nice return on the punt as he got into 49ers territory.
The defense responded by forcing their own three and out. On 3rd down, McCoy hit Little out of the backfield, but it was read perfectly and he was dropped for an 8-yard loss.
Alex Smith connected with Crabtree on a deep pass play down the left sideline, but that’s as far as the 49ers would get on their next drive.
The Browns were marching down the field. But when they started to threaten, Willis blitzed up the middle and pressure McCoy. He threw into double coverage and the ball was picked off in the end zone by Dashon Goldson.
The offense continues to struggle this half as they quickly went three and out. The 49ers covered the punt well and brought down Cribbs at the CLE 42.
The defense again came up big when they had to. With the Browns threatening, Whitner got in the backfield quickly and rushed McCoy’s throw to for the punt.
Standout Stat: Alex Smith’s QB rating is 103.3
Highlight Reel: It wasn’t a good decision by McCoy to force a throw into double coverage, but Goldson made a nice play to get the pick.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers couldn’t get anything going on offense after being effective in the first half. The defense has allowed the 49ers to hold on to the lead. It looked like the 49ers could have pulled away earlier, but now the main concern is to hang on.
Smith had Crabtree wide open down the left sideline on third down, but the throw was just a bit too long.
After getting the ball back with good field position thanks to a good return by Ginn, the 49ers again went three and out. They lost a lot of yardage on a reverse by Ginn and couldn’t convert on third and long.
That’s it for the blog…have to run down to the field for postgame.
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