49ers: Jekyll and Hyde
The 49ers seemed to be like Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde last season. In this case, Jekyll is desireable while Mr.Hyde is as always self-destructive. They showed you one face, and then put on another, sometimes for the better, other times for the worse. What sort of faces did the 49ers put on?
Looking back we see that the 49ers started the season with one QB Shaun Hill and ended with Alex Smith at the helm. Shaun Hill got them off to a 2-0 start with less than spectacular but manageable statistics. Hill’s best game coming against the horrible Rams where he threw 2 touchdowns but only 152 yards. After an abysmal performance in the week 7 game against the Houston Texans where Hill had completed 6 passes for 45 yards at the half he was benched in favor of Alex Smith. Smith then threw for 0ver 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in the second half. Smith managed to toss 18 touchdowns in only 10 ½ games and throw for 2350 yards. The quarterbacks started out as Hyde but managed to finish as Dr. Jekyll.
They were coming into the season expecting to be a smash mouth football team. It was expected they might run on 1st, 2nd and if need be run again on 3rd down with Frank Gore leading the way for the offense. This approach started out more like Hyde than Jekyll with Gore getting only 30 yards in game 1 against Arizona but broke out against Seattle with 207 yards in a highlight filled game. Reverting back to Hyde’s ugliness Frank Gore was hurt in the game against Minnesota that also turned out to be a soul crushing loss on a miraculous heave by Brett Favre to win the game. The next few weeks without Gore and even after his return the 49ers had moved to more of a spread formation offense with Alex Smith was taking snaps from the shotgun with Frank Gore doing his best to produce. Gore managed to still eclipse 1000 yards rushing to go along with over 400 yards receiving and scored double digits for the first time in his career.
The defense was more Dr.Jekyll for the course of the season but too often during clutch moments or games the defense turned into Hyde as they managed to cough up games with misplays in the final moments against Indianapolis and Minnesota. The defense managed to keep Peyton Manning from throwing a touchdown in a game for the first time in his career only to get beat by a TD toss from Joseph Addai on a fluke play. They completely shut down the Cardinals the second time they played them with 4 sacks, 5 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions only to get embarrassed by the Atlanta Falcons in a 45-10 drubbing at San Francisco.
This brief review of the 2009-10 season reveals the either/or style of the 49ers they played with last year. There are two sides to every story, here’s hoping the 49ers manage to keep Hyde buried at bay this season.