Fresh off a bye week, the San Francisco 49ers remain in first place of the NFC West with a 1.5 game lead over the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated the Minnesota Vikings 30-20 at home on Sunday.
The 49ers, themselves, will play a third consecutive division game in Week 10 when the St. Louis Rams visit Candlestick Park.
While the Rams are alone in last place in the NFC West at 3-5, Sunday’s game remains pivotal for both teams. Since 2000, 29 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and proceeded to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.
The 49ers aim to make sure the Rams aren’t the 30th team to make the group.
San Francisco is coming off a strong showing in Week 8, a 24-3 win over Arizona that featured impressive quarterback play from Alex Smith.
The NFC’s Week 8 Offensive Player of the Week’s performance was reviewed in greater detail by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who believes the 49ers remain Super Bowl contenders heading into the second half of 2012.
“I really like what I’ve seen out of him this year, mostly,” King wrote about Smith, who is second in the NFL with a 69.4 completion percentage. “He’s as accurate an intermediate passer as I’ve seen this season. I think he’s going to be asset, not a question mark, as the 49ers make a Super Bowl push.”
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers a comprehensive review to the first half of the 49ers season including some strong thoughts on the 49ers improved pass defense. Maiocco: “With 15 sacks in the first half, the 49ers are on pace for 30. They had 42 sacks last season. But the pass rush is doing plenty right. After all, opposing quarterbacks do not have enough time to sit in the pocket and pick the 49ers apart down the field. Third cornerback Chris Culliver has made the biggest improvement, and starter Tarell Brown is also having a good season. Carlos Rogers has been solid, as well. As a result, the 49ers are allowing just 184.0 yards passing per game. That’s an improvement of 46.9 yards per game over a year ago.”
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee graded the offense, defense, special teams and coaching of the 49ers thus far. Barrows: “The 49ers are more mature, more complete and better than they were a year ago. Through eight games, they are perfectly positioned to realize those lofty offseason expectations. Grade: A-.”
Sheerly Avni of the San Francisco Chronicle shares details on Aldon Smith’s acting role in a short film.
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Tags: Aldon Smith, Alex Smith, Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver, Eric Davis, Randy Moss, Tarell Brown, Ted Robinson
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