By Gabe Schapiro
Last week the San Francisco 49ers (1-1) were hit with a reality check in the form of the vaunted Seattle Seahawks squad. This Sunday they will look to regain their composure when they face off with the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at 1:25 PM, back home at Candlestick Park. The Colts are a considerably easier task, but they are a young and improving bunch that can’t be underestimated either.
In what was expected to be an intense dog fight between two division rivals, last weeks matchup was ultimately dominated by the Seahawks, who sent the 49ers packing with a decisive 29-3 victory. The game remained close up until the third quarter where Seattle began to pull away, and the fourth quarter where they hammered the win home. Against what may be the best defensive unit in the league, the San Francisco offense couldn’t get anything going. In uncharacteristic fashion the 49ers turned the ball over five times, with Colin Kaepernick being responsible for four of them (three interceptions, one fumble). The bright sides were few and far between, but Kaepernick did manage to make a few good runs after last week primarily relying on his arm, rookie safety Eric Reid hauled in his second interception in two games, and overall the defense held up better than the 29 points allowed would indicate.
While it may be hard to remember after an ugly outing like that one, the 49ers remain one of the most talented teams in the league. The Seahawks may present problems in the future, but for now they need to set their sights squarely on the incoming Colts.
Indianapolis is coming off of a close loss to the Miami Dolphins, 24-20. They are led by sophomore quarterback and former first overall pick Andrew Luck. He is young but in many ways plays with wisdom beyond his years. His primary weapons are Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Colby Fleener, and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Through two games their offense is right in the middle of the pack, tied for 15th in the NFL in yards. On the defensive side of the ball they have struggled a bit, ranking 23rd.
While the Colts present an easier task, unfortunately San Francisco will be heading into the matchup having to deal with a few of fresh injuries.
In last weeks loss the previously mentioned Reid suffered a concussion in the second quarter. It is not initially believed to be serious, but with concussions it is hard to know for sure. He will need to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol before being allowed to practice and play again. Should he have to miss any games, Craig Dahl will replace him in the starting lineup.
Star tight end Vernon Davis suffered what is currently being called a hamstring strain, but he is still undergoing further testing to assess the severity of the injury. It is not yet known if he will be able to play this weekend, but if he can’t rookie second round pick Vance McDonald will likely be asked to take on a larger roll in the offense.
More seriously, starting nose tackle Ian Williams suffered a broken ankle in the first quarter, and has been placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Glenn Dorsey, signed this past offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs, will be starting, and played well last week in relief of Williams.
All three potential losses to the lineup are concerning, but thankfully the 49ers have better depth than most, and should be able to adjust accordingly.
This week look for San Francisco to try and re-establish their offense early and often. After an electrifying opener from the likes of Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin, both were almost entirely held in check by the Seahawks. In addition, Frank Gore has yet to really get it going this year, but he will now be facing a Colts defense who has allowed the fourth most rushing yards during this young season.
Game Notes: The 49ers have signed FB Owen Marecic, formerly of the Cleveland Browns….Aldon Smith has 3.5 sacks through two games, leading the team…Eric Reid has both of the teams interceptions.