– When the 49ers opened their season with a 21-19 loss to
Falcons Sunday, Dispatch columnist Brett Edgerton was there for his
Here’s a look inside his notebook:
SAN FRANCISCO – When the 49ers opened their season with a 21-19 loss to Falcons Sunday, Dispatch columnist Brett Edgerton was there for his cutting-Edge analysis.
Here’s a look inside his notebook:
– Overall defense: There were weak spots along the way, but no one in Ninerland could be displeased with this group after Week 1. These guys not only prevented a 100-yard rusher for the 20th straight home game, but also held the usual-mobile Michael Vick to just seven yards on the ground. For the game, the Falcons gained just 227 yards and were a mere 1-of-11 on third downs.
– Eric Johnson: The tight end was obviously ready to go after missing all of last season with a fractured collarbone. Johnson led the team with eight catches for a career-high 86 yards. On the Niners’ final drive, he caught a pair of third-down passes and a 16-yard touchdown with 44 seconds remaining.
– Linebackers: Any question which is the strongest unit for San Francisco? Derek Smith was all over the field with a team-high 11 tackles. Morgan Hill native Jeff Ullbrich intercepted a pass deep in Falcon territory. Julian Peterson and Jamie Winborn sacked Michael Vick three times. And Peterson even added two forced fumbles.
– Cedrick Wilson: In the spotlight for the first time in his career, Wilson led all San Francisco receivers with seven catches for 94 yards. His eight-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter pulled the Niners back in it.
– Showing a little fight: Do give the Niners a little credit for getting back in it. Said receiver Brandon Lloyd: “A lot of guys could’ve folded, put down the camp and went home. But we stuck in there, came back and left it on the field.”
– Overall offense: Quick, name two players on the Falcons’ defense … exactly my point. Against a unit that ranked last in the NFL in 2003, the Niners’ offensive players seemed to only woke up once they realized they were down 21-6. Before that, they was fairly dreadful, accumulating just 122 yards in the first half and settling for a pair of field goals when they actually made it to the red zone.
– Kevan Barlow: It was just ugly from the start. After the Niners blocked a punt at the start of the game, Barlow proceeded to fumble on the team’s first play from scrimmage. While he ended up with 76 yards on the day, it was struggle for the most part. And Barlow heard it from the fans.
– Andy Lee: Sure the winds made life difficult, but shouldn’t that be expected in San Francisco? Punts under 30 yards – the rookie from Pitt came up with two of those – are not exactly the improvement the team was seeking.
– Coverage of Alge Crumpler: Atlanta’s tight end is good, but the 49ers made him look like Kellen Winslow … the old one. One of his six catches went for a 30-yard score after a laughable tackling attempt by Tony Parrish.
– Tim Rattay: Give him credit for toughing it out and coming back to nearly rally his team. But his ineffective play before the injury and the inexplicable fourth-quarter interception that was returned 85 yards dug the Niners too big a hole. Like Barlow, he drew plenty of boos at times.
– O-Line: It’s not like Rattay and Ken Dorsey received much help, though. The quarterbacks aren’t exactly fleet of foot and the linemen in front of them looked utterly confused every time the Falcons blitzed. And they blitzed plenty.
– Rattay: Missed the middle part of the game with a strained right shoulder. He came back in, but an MRI Monday revealed a second-degree separation. He’s considered doubtful for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
– Dorsey: Left the game in the second half after a neck stinger. If Rattay can’t go this weekend, though, Dorsey will be ready.
– Ahmed Plummer: Cornerback sprained his neck, but should be ready for Aaron Brooks and the Saints.
– Peterson: Just a right hip-pointer. Nothing serious.
– Mike Rumph: Suffered a more injury than Plummer. The corner left in the first quarter with a pulled groin muscle and is considered doubtful for Week 2.