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49ers Win 33-17 on 9/11/2011

In a weak offensive game, the 49ers pull through to be crowned the victor.  On the 10th year anniversary of 9/11, the NFL opened its season with a classic 49ers vs. Seahawk matchup.  The rivalry grows stronger this year with 1rst year head coach Jim Harbaugh playing a head to head game vs. Seattle’s head coach Pete Carrol.  These to have had a sore attitude towards each other since there days coaching.

Although most fans were focused on seeing the Harbaugh/Carroll feud play out and to see how Qb Alex Smith in his shaky return to the 49ers, the players were actually more focused on the Offensive Linemen.  Left tackle Joe Staley explains in this link, if the Linemen go through the game with unnoticed, then they have done their job correctly.  With shaky preseason performance that gave up 12 sacks and countless of Qb hits, these front 5 players preformed exceptionally well.  In the match-up on Sunday, the 49ers gave up 0 sacks and only 1 Qb hit inside the pocket.  However, the offensive line lacked a sufficient run block throughout the game giving pro bowler Frank Gore limited rushing lanes to break free for a few yards.  Getting to their blocks at the second level was an issue for 2nd year players Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis.  Overall though, there skills at pass protection outweighed their lack of production run blocking.

The real all-star of this game has to be Ted Ginn jr.  “Teddy” Ginn returned a booming kickoff from within his endzone.  With defenders blazing down field, Ginn used their poor lane control to his advantage.  He swooped behind the first defender, broke a tackle, spun free and had a clear open lane to sprint down.  The only man to beat was the Seahawks’s kicker, which was no problem for the star kick returner and he finished with a touchdown; right after the Seahawks had just scored making the game from 19-17 to 26-17.  However Teddy was not done with his breakout plays.  The Seahawks punted on their next possession following the kick return touchdown by Ted Ginn jr.  On the punt, Ted had efficient blocking by his teammates that allowed him to break free and bring the ball back for his second return touchdown of the game.  At this point the 49ers led 33-17 giving the 49ers a much needed cushion from the Seahawks.  These two return touchdowns has now become a franchise record as well as being game clinching scores.

In Jim Harbauch’s first game as head coach, his offense produced when needed, although lacked sufficient statistics.  The defense played strong.  But the special teams were stellar.  This win was extremely important for the team’s moral with their first year head coach.  Alex Smith showed his maturity and confidence leading the offense to 5 offensive scores (4 field goals and 1 rushing touchdown).  At the end of the game, Pete Carroll and Jim Harbauch shook hands professionally and kept their conversation brief.


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