So, you think you can ball? If not for two kick/punt returns by Ted Ginn, the 49ers may not have won last week against the Seahawks. Dallas is coming to town, and San Francisco will need to step up their game. The Cowboys barely lost a game to the New York Jets last week, and they’re looking to even their 2011 record.
For the 18th time in franchise history, the 49ers can be 2-0 to start the season. And that huge rivalry with the Cowboys? The 49ers are winning it, 16-15-1. Woah. This means the Dallas Cowboys can tie the franchise series between the two teams, on Sunday. The teams last played in 2008, with Dallas winning 35-22.
How are the 49ers going to stop Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, and the rest of the blue & white?
Limit mistakes. Alex Smith has thrown 30 career red-zone touchdowns compared to just a single interception. Those are the numbers of a quarterback that really doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. However, outside of the red zone it has been an incredibly different story for Smith, but he has changed that a great deal as well. Alex looks to be a lot more decisive in the pocket. He knows where second read is and feels the pocket collapse, and that’s two extremely important indicators of a quarterback’s ability to succeed at the NFL level. These are also things that Smith lacked prior to the last couple of seasons; he wasn’t able to fully understand what it meant to have a “mental” clock in the pocket. Last week he recognized when and where the pressure was coming, changing targets accordingly. He has thrown one interception in his last seven games (182 pass attempts). I understand conservative playcalling doesn’t win a season, you also cannot just give the game away to the opponent.
Keep the quarterback safe. DeMarcus Ware is a guy that the 49ers are aware they need to watch out for. The offensive line did not allow a sack last week against the Seattle Seahawks, but the Dallas Cowboys are a different story. If Vernon Davis needs to stay in to block Ware, the passing game will be limited. Plus, the Niners weren’t exactly run-happy last week (59 yards on 22 carries for Frank Gore) so the O-Line will need to pick that bit up as well.
Keep your defense top-notch. The 49ers held the Seahawks to just 219 yards of total offense, ranking 4th in the NFL. The defense also forced six, 3-and-outs and held Seattle to just 3.42 yards per play, to lead the league in both categories. Again, the Cowboys have many more offensive weapons, so Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, and the rest of the guys will need to keep the Dallas offense off of the field.