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Notebook: Offense Rewrites Record Books

Posted Oct 7, 2012



Vernon Davis was shocked by what he just heard.

Posted up at his locker following Sunday’s 45-3 domination of the Buffalo Bills, Davis was given some perspective on the historic thrashing that just took place at Candlestick Park. He and his teammates had just racked up 621 yards of total offense, the highest single-game output by any team in franchise history.

Not to mention the 49ers became the first club in NFL history to record 300 yards rushing (311) and passing (310) in the same game.

“It means a lot just being part of this,” said Davis, who had five catches for 106 yards. “We’re talking about legends who played here. Legends. Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice. To be able to perform on this level and do it better than what they did? That’s a huge honor.”

Pick a player on the 49ers offense, any player. Chances are they had a big day against the Bills.

Alex Smith went 18 of 24 for 303 yards and three touchdowns to post a 156.2 passer rating, the NFL’s highest mark since Week 16 of the 2010 season. Michael Crabtree (six receptions, 113 yards and a touchdown) joined Davis as a 100-yard receiver, while Frank Gore (106 yards and a touchdown) eclipsed the century mark for the 31st time of his career.

Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham also hauled in their first touchdowns of the season before Colin Kaepernick and Anthony Dixon recorded scores of their own. None of it would have been possible without the offensive line, which didn’t allow Smith to get sacked all afternoon and owned the line of scrimmage.

It was a banner day for offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who showed up to his postgame press conference with a bloodshot right eye.

“It’s a mystery on what happened there,” Roman said. “I think it’s just lack of sleep and thinking too hard.”

Roman and the rest of the 49ers coaching staff become night owls during the regular season and it’s for good reason. Not only was Sunday’s result a product of execution by the players, but preparation by the coaches.

“He’s an evil genius,” Alex Boone said of Roman. “I love the things that he calls up. He’s a great offensive coordinator, knows exactly what to dial up and that’s G-Ro’s specialty. I’m glad he’s on our team, even though he does have a little sleeping problem.”

The score was knotted at 3-3 well into the second quarter before Williams turned in the first showstopping score of the afternoon. Streaking down the right sideline with a defender on his hip, Williams and Smith improvised on a deep back shoulder throw more than 30 yards down field, before Williams spun past his man and into the end zone for 43-yard score.

The touchdown was especially important for Williams, who dropped to his knees and pointed skyward to honor his late grandmother as the NFL celebrated breast cancer awareness. Williams made sure to get the ball from the ref following the play, a memento for the momentous occasion.

“I wanted to get the ball and he was making sure that I wasn’t trying to do something extra with the celebrations,” Williams said. “I was just telling him I was saying hello to my grandmother.”

Williams’ catch wrapped up a quick, two-play, 74-yard drive that also included a 36-yard connection between Smith and Crabtree. The talented wideout caught an intermediate pass from Smith before outrunning defenders and picking up another 15 yards on the ground.

Crabtree also scored the next touchdown, which was perhaps the most crucial one of the afternoon. Following a Kaepernick fumble, the Bills took over at their own 17-yard line with 46 seconds left in the first half. Patrick Willis stripped tight end Scott Chandler, Dashon Goldson recovered it and the 49ers made the Bills pay the next play.

Crabtree ran a flag route near the left pylon and hauled in a perfect pass from Smith for a 28-yard score. The catch gave the 49ers a 17-3 lead, it gave Crabtree more than 100 yards receiving and it wasn’t even halftime yet.

“We’ve got athletes, we’ve got playmakers,” Crabtree said. “We just have to use them, we’ve got to create that identity. Like said, we can’t talk about it, we’ve just got to go do it.”

Once the second half started, so did the offensive onslaught. Kaepernick provided a change of pace at quarterback on select plays and helped set up Gore’s 1-yard, third-quarter touchdown run with a 15-yard scamper down near the goal line. On the score, Gore followed his powerful offensive line before leaping over the pile into the end zone.

“I feel good,” Gore said. “I feel fresh, young. I’m just out there having fun.”

Next on the touchdown train was Manningham, who was wide open before catching a 10-yard reception from Smith to make it 31-3 early in the fourth quarter. To wrap up the scoring, Kaepernick rushed one in from 16 yards out and Dixon scored from the 3-yard line.

“It was an all-around great performance on offense,” Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley said. “Everybody was on their ‘A’ game today. That’s what can happen when everyone’s on the same page and everyone’s executing like we were today.”

Combined with last week’s 34-0 road win over the Jets, the 49ers have outscored their opponents 79-3 in the past eight quarters. But with the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants posed to return to Candlestick in Week 6 after the teams had two tough battles in 2011, Smith said the celebration will be short-lived.

“There’s a lot of baggage, a lot of history,” Smith said. “A little unfinished business.”

Kaepernick Carves Out Role

While it wasn’t like last week’s career performance when he totaled 50 rushing yards and a touchdown, Kaepernick played a big role in Sunday’s victory. The second-year signal-caller was sprinkled in to plays throughout the game, before taking over mop-up duties in the final stages of the game.

“The more I can do to help this team, the better I’ll be as far as running all those things,” Kaepernick said. “So I just want to get out there as much as I can and do as much as I can to help this team.”

In all, Kaepernick carried the ball four times for 39 yards and score, while also completing his only pass of the day for seven yards. Roman even put Kaepernick in motion for an end around play, showcasing the quarterback’s unique athleticism.

The 49ers had five ball carriers with at least 20 yards rushing Sunday, including Kendall Hunter (81), Smith (49), Kaepernick and Dixon (21).

“You never want a defense to know what you’re going to do,” Kaepernick said. “Our coaches do an amazing job of game-planning and I’ll leave that up to them.”

Dominating Defense

The Bills had trouble getting anything going on Sunday, as their only points came via a first-quarter Rian Lindell field goal. The 49ers defense turned in its second straight remarkable performance and has only allowed 3 points in the last eight quarters.

Along with Willis’ forced fumble, the 49ers received another turnover from Chris Culliver in the second half. For the year, the 49ers have forced 10 takeaways and are plus-5 in turnover differential.

To Ahmad Brooks, who provided constant pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick and picked up his third sack of the year, it was the most dominant 49ers performance under Jim Harbaugh’s watch.

“When you have an offense overall 600-and-something, that says it all,” Brooks said. “And with the defense playing the way it did, yeah.”

In total, the 49ers limited the Bills to 89 yards rushing, 126 yards through the air and 10 first downs.

Notes and Quotes

Sunday’s contest marked the first time since 1961 that the 49ers had a 300-yard passer (Smith), a 100-yard rusher (Gore) and two, 100-yard receivers (Davis and Crabtree) in the same game.

“Very pleased with our guys,” Harbaugh said. “Good football. Good team victory.”

David Akers has converted field goals in each of his 21 games with the 49ers, tying a franchise record set by Bruce Gossett during the 1970-72 seasons.

Undrafted rookie tight end Garrett Celek hauled in a 4-yard reception from Smith in the third quarter to record his first NFL catch.

Game Pass: San Francisco 49ers