Eric Davis spent 13 years in the NFL as a cornerback. He's now in his second season as part of the 49ers broadcast team. After every 49ers game Davis will breakdown the game in his "Wrap Up" column. Here's Davis' first column of the 2009 regular season.
One thing that stood out to me from this first game was the relentlessness of the 49ers defense. Guys were making plays, chasing down balls, getting turnovers, and getting in Kurt Warner's face. The pass rush is what gave them an opportunity to win the game. It kept them in the fight long enough for the offense to be able to put together a touchdown winning drive and get a victory in tough territory on the road.
The scheme that the secondary used was great against Warner. He is a guy who is all about rhythm, spacing, and timing. He had his best years when he could sit back and through the ball in tight barriers and allow his receivers to run through those windows and catch the ball in stride.
But what the 49ers did was put bodies on bodies and pushed around those receivers. They also had a good scheme up front, allowing guys to crash across his face and blitzing guys up in the middle to get in his face so that he didn't feel comfortable just standing in the pocket. He doesn't like to through on the run and that was a perfect way to play Warner; keep him moving, kill his timing by jamming up the wide receivers, and make him have to do something out of his comfort zone. That's the type system that you want to have against any quarterback. It will work. You take away the deep ball. You beat up the receivers. You give your rush a chance to get there. The 49ers secondary had a solid day and if they continue to do that, it will really give them an opportunity to be successful this season.
On the other side of the field, you have to give the defensive line for the Cardinals respect for the way their front played. Their defensive lineman Darnell Dockett was very disruptive. He didn't allow for a lot of the 49ers pull schemes to work. He was pushing the point of attack back.
Whenever that happens it's going to disrupt the offense.
Offensively, what I saw was that
When the pocket broke down initially, you would see him almost freeze at times and gather himself and collapse and prepare for the hit. As the game went on, he got a little bit more confident and did the things that he was capable of doing. After he got the big pass to
The important drive came at a point when the 49ers had to have something. He stepped up in the huddle, led his guys down the field, and he put that drive on his arm. That is what they have to do if they are going to get eight or nine people out of the box. He is going to have to make plays with his arm. That was the type of efficient and effective drive that he was capable of putting together. That is something that they can build on and hopefully they will be able to get more of those drives in games to come. Drives like that not only chew up the clock, but gives a rest to the defense and puts points on the board to win games.
I can't finish this column without talking about the way
You have to also look at the way
On the back end, defensively, you name the guys and they played well.
The guy has already come in and shown that he is a special player for the last two seasons. He stepped on the field for game one of this season and has not taken a step back. He just picked up where he left off. Against Arizona, he was all over the field making plays. He looked like a safety the way he broke on his interception and snatched it out of the air. That wasn't a body catch that you normally see from a linebacker. The guy was off in space, read the quarterback, broke on the ball, and grabbed it at the highest point. That was textbook defensive back 101 manual. It was amazing watching him do that. He couldn't have done that any better.