Every Monday throughout the season, 49ers.com will ask a different player to break down Sunday's game in this Team Issued column. This week, we asked tight end Vernon Davis to review Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins from his perspective.**
It surprised me when Joey Porter came up to me personally and started jawing with me during our pre-game warm-ups. I didn't expect that, but I can't really even remember what he was saying to me because I was so focused on the task at hand. He was just being Porter.
I wasn't worried about him because I don't worry about any player I face. No matter what, I'm going to compete and you better believe that I'm going to do whatever it takes to win. And that's what I did every time I was matched up against him. I didn't let the pregame talk even enter my thoughts.
Now that we've gone over the film, I think our offense did a great job of setting the tone of how we wanted to play, particularly the offensive line. I think they did a good job of controlling Miami's front five and they opened up some running lanes for DeShaun Foster and Michael Robinson. Our line handled everything well and I think they did a good job of playing physical. And Foster did a great job taking most of the carries while filling in for Frank Gore.
On our second possession I caught a crossing route and saw that Dolphins cornerback Will Allen was coming up to make the tackle. I tried to read him and as I got closer to him I saw that he was starting to squat and when I see a defensive back squat, that usually means that they're going to hit me in my knees. So in my mind I decided that I wasn't going to try and make a move and that I would instead leap over him. I didn't quite clear him unfortunately, but it was still a positive play for us.
On that drive we had to settle for a field goal and that continued throughout the game. It was definitely frustrating not being able to score on the long drives that we had early in the game. As an offense we all expect to get in the end zone. But they played tight coverage and did a good job of doing their part. They matched up on our receivers and backs and as a team we didn't execute as well as we could have.
I caught five passes in the game, but I'm upset that I had a drop in the second quarter. On that play, I was close to the sidelines, so I slowed down on my route to make sure I could keep my feet inbounds and I kind of misjudged the ball. But that's no excuse; I should've caught that ball. I hold myself accountable for that one.
Later on, when we had a 16-play drive at the end of the quarter, we definitely have to get in the end zone. That's just who we are and what we're capable of doing. And when it doesn't happen, it's certainly frustrating for all of us. We have to correct that and the only way we can do that is by holding ourselves accountable.
In the fourth quarter I had my first carry of the season and I enjoyed it. Anything that has to do with getting me the ball – I'm all for it. I did play a lot of different positions in my football career, so it kind of reminded me of my youth.
Later in the fourth, there was a third down play where Shaun Hill threw a quick pass in my direction before I was ready. I think Shaun and I have to do a better job of being on the same page on that particular play. Shaun got the ball out before I looked and that's not anybody's fault. We just have to be on the same page in that situation and we'll make sure to correct that going forward. On that play, we were both reading the defense before the snap. If they bring five or six guys, then I know it's going to be a hot-route. I looked back, but I turned a little too late in that one to make the catch.
I think our defense did a great job in the game, especially in the second half. We needed them to come up with a stop with less than three minutes left and Manny Lawson did a great job of beating his block and stopping Ronnie Brown in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. The entire unit did a great job and that's what we expect them to do. They gave up zero points in the second half and haven't given up more than 14 points in the last three games. I think they're coming on strong and they played a great game against the Dolphins.
When I saw Miami miss their field goal after Manny's tackle, I thought we had a chance to win the game. That's the only thing that came to my mind at that moment.
Once we got the ball back, a lot of guys made big catches on that drive. Isaac Bruce caught one on the sideline on our first third down. I think Isaac has shown over the course of the season how reliable he is. He has great hands and we can really depend on him on third downs when we need to move the chains. He's great at running routes and he always gets to where he needs to
And then two plays later Michael Robinson made an impressive over-the-middle catch in which he was blasted by the safety. Those guys stepped up and made big plays on that drive when their number was called and it was awesome to see. That's what we have to do, when our number is called. When you play teams like Miami that are in the playoff race, you need plays like that in order to win the game.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish out on those final plays. Miami hasn't allowed a touchdown in the last few weeks and they were able to prevent us from scoring when he needed it most. That's a credit to them, and also a matter of us needing to execute better.
With two games left on our schedule, we're all looking forward to this next game against St. Louis. I think we're going to think about the mistakes that we made and use it as motivation for this next game against Rams on Sunday. There were a lot of positives from this game that we can take away, like controlling time of possession, but when you're not able to score touchdowns, it can hurt you.
We have to do a better job this week when we play the Rams again.