Catch up with former 49ers cornerback Eric Davis each week as he recaps Sunday's game. In this latest column, Davis puts the Seattle game to bed.The 49ers game against the Seahawks was a game that I marked on my calendar.
Seattle has been the barometer, the measuring stick for this division for the past four seasons, and so I wanted to see how the 49ers would compete against the so called kings of the NFC West Division.
This was a HUGE win. For the 49ers to go on the road and win in a hostile environment in the manner in which they did is something we haven't seen in quite some time. The win was not a case of Seattle playing bad football. The 49ers earned and deserved the win.
Everything was not perfect. There were mistakes in all phases of the team, offensively, defensively, and teams. But for the first time in a long, loooong time, the 49ers played with a swagger. They played with character and confidence that bordered on "cocky." They played with the attitude that you must have to be a winning team - not a team with a winning record, but a winning team. There's a difference.
A lot has been said since the game about the 49ers using a nickel package against the Seahawks. It's difficult to say that it wasn't the right call, because they did win the game. When you are not watching all of the game film it's difficult to know what the coaches are seeing. It didn't produce a league record effort on defense. However, it is extremely tough to find fault in a strong road victory like the one in Seattle.
That being said, I expect Manny Lawson to always contribute on the field. He is the hybrid-type player that should be able to play in any defensive scheme. I'm surprised that he was on the field for special team reps only. He did block a punt, and I have to repeat that they did WIN THE GAME.
The nickel coverage scheme played against the Seahawks did give up 23 points, but it also created several BIG plays. None larger than the 86-yard interception return for a touchdown by Joe Staley.
First, I'd like to give credit to Walt Harris on the pick for making a great break to the ball and tipping it to Willis. I'm already on record saying the 49ers secondary is loaded with the type of players that will allow them to create turnovers and have a solid defense. Walt's tip allowed Patrick to show even MORE of his athletic ability. It was no easy feat to avoid being tackled while weaving back and forth, or to have the stamina to run for 86-yards…and be a linebacker. Patrick is a young player who has already done some amazing things in this league. He's not close to maximizing his potential. The touchdown is just another play to add to his constantly increasing highlight reel. It showed how great an athlete he is.
It think 49ers fans all over were wandering what was going on in Mike Nolan's head when he decided to make a career third team guy the STARTING quarterback. O'Sullivan has shown thus far that he is going to take full advantage of the opportunity. Jobs in the NFL are not "Won" or "Lost". That's not the way it works. Opportunities are "Given" and "Taken". Given this opportunity JTO decided to walk on to the field, in a hostile environment, and win a game. He plays with the type swagger you WANT your quarterback to have.
Niner fans expect the quarterback to be a playmaker. Years of excellence at the position has spoiled us all. O'Sullivan hasn't arrived, but he is making plays that everyone should be happy about. I expect him to have more days like the one he had in Seattle.
O'Sullivan is a work in progress. He is learning what it's like to be "THE GUY". With him the offense looks as though it will continue to progress and be one that you can count on to put points on the board. Everyone knows that's been missing for some time now.
All season long I've waited for Isaac Bruce to play like his former self. You know, the guy with the Hall of Fame numbers. He has the same work ethic, prepares for games in the same manner, and is a true pro. Isaac has played in this offensive scheme for so long that he knows how the get free, and when and where to be, and O'Sullivan found him free all day long. Not only was that the case with Bruce, JTO also found Bryant Johnson on quick routes like the slant that he scored his touchdown on. It was done so well it looked routine. Actually, it looked easy. The trust between the quarterback and his receivers is becoming more and more apparent.
I have not even mentioned Frank Gore. His so called "quiet" day still accounted for close to 100 yards and a touchdown. Frank is a star in this league.
But offensive football is simple. It basically boils down to one simple fact - an offense goes as the quarterback goes. Right now, things are going well for JTO and the 49ers.