The 49ers may have only recorded 50 yards passing, but the run game, defense, and special teams picked up the slack. Ken Dorsey started the game at quarterback and moved the team around a little bit. He eventually left the game with the 49ers up by two points in the fourth quarter, due to an ankle injury. Dorsey, the 49ers second string quarterback is doubtful for next week. Cody Pickett the teams third string quarterback stepped in and fed the ball to Barlow and Gore who kept the sticks moving. Pickett made one key throw on third down to Brandon Lloyd (who he eyed the entire way) to help keep the clock moving. Despite Joe Nedney gave the 49ers some breathing room putting the team to 15 points, and the defense did the rest.
Offensively, the 49ers had the best play from their offensive line they have had all season. The line kept opening up holes for the run game, even with Tampa stacking the box. They also did not allow a sack for the first time this season. It was not what I would call an inspiring performance from the line, but it was certainly a step in the right direction. Kevan Barlow and Frank Gore kept the ball moving and helped to convert a few key third downs. There is no doubt that the tandem function well together, the only questions is who should be getting more carries.
The story of the day though, was really the defense. Bryant Young recorded 2 sacks, a third was called back by penalty. He also forced one fumble. With 8 sacks on the season already, Young is having one of his best play making years of his career. Andre Carter was a force to be reckoned with creating pressure all day, and recording one sack. Anthony Adams also had a sack, as did Derrick Johnson. Shawntae Spencer and Brandon Moore each had an interception, and Derrick Smith lead the team in tackles. In all, the defense stood its ground, and got a huge boost of confidence against a young quarterback, especially considering the miserable defeat of last week.
No doubt, the coaching staff had the 49ers prepared to win this week. Even without the teams starting quarterback, and later back up quarterback, the 49ers coaching staff managed to rally the troops towards a win. It was a step in the right direction. A sign of what might be the future. But we do have to remember, the 49ers have not turned a corner yet. The team got lucky catching Tampa at just the right time. Nevertheless, it shows that when matched up with a team that has similar talent at quarterback, the 49ers can put together a plan that can win, and can field a team of players that can win. As the 49ers quarterbacks develop, it is likely that the rest of the team will continue to improve too.