Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thoughts on 49ers Game

A reader sent in this general question about the 49ers game:
The defense played a great game to keep the Dolphins in it and get another win. Davone Bess had a couple of nice returns. What are your thoughts on the game as the Dolphins make a run at the playoffs?
The most encouraging thing about the defense's performance today was that it continued its strong play the entire game, despite the fact that it was on the field for over 38 minutes, a whopping discrepancy in the time of possession.

As the game wore on into the fourth quarter and Miami was allowing the 49ers to keep it close, I started to get nervous for the defense's ability to hold up after being on the field for so many plays. The fact that they held up and put the skids down when it mattered most was encouraging.

The front seven did a great job getting pressure on Shaun Hill, and on the back end the secondary did a relatively decent job of keeping the big play at bay. Will Allen struggled a bit today, as Isaac Bruce had a lot of success against him throughout the game. I don't expect that to become a trend though.

As far as the push to the playoffs is concerned, it really does seem like things are shaking up for the Week 17 game against the Jets to be for all the marbles. Obviously, Miami can't afford to overlook the Chiefs, especially since that game could be a mess weather-wise.

My concern at this point is that it is unrealistic to think that the defense can continue to shut opponents out of the endzone for the rest of the season. Teams will eventually pass the pylons, and when they do, Miami's offense is going to need to start to score more points. The offense started off tremendously today, but with limited time on the field, they never got into any rhythm and stalled out continuously throughout the second half. It's now been since the Patriots game that Miami has scored over 16 points. That likely won't be enough over these next two weeks.

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