While the Miami Dolphins defense did let the 49ers back in the game a few times they did hold them off at the bitter end when the game was almost tied as time ran out.
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Having a come from behind win seems to get so much admiration from media and fans but the other side of that coin gets almost vilified. The bottom line is that it is a team win scoring a victory in a game where they should have prevailed. When it comes down to it stopping a team from tying as time runs out is just as exciting as having a come from behind win it is the notion of letting a team back in the game that gets frowned upon.
Colin Kaepernick rushed for over 100 yards, he needed six more yards to tie up the game, Ndamukong Suh was having none of that and chased him down from behind corralling him with Kiko Alonso finishing him off. On top of the 113 yards Kaepernick ran for he also tossed 3 touchdown passes and gained 296 in the air that were evenly distributed, some had drawn comparisons to his 2012 year. With the running threat of a mobile QB it becomes harder to penetrate against the run and spy’s have to be assigned, on a few points in the game those spy’s were Suh and Wake with mixed results, but that is what had to be done to cover all bases.
Chip Kelly should also be mentioned for his ability to get his team up to speed despite their record that alone is no easy task. He called a goal line passing TD that was nothing short of genius as it was so hard to defend by fitting the exact weakness of this defense (pressing ability).
Just last week I was giving coach Vance Joseph accolades for masterfully setting a perfect workload to best balance his talent on the depth chart, that quickly vanished this game and may be the main culprit in how they did not carry the day as they had done last week. Joseph had stated Jelani Jenkins would be better off playing part-time yet played him at almost 70% of the snaps although his 3 tackles fared well. In comparison Neville Hewitt had 2 tackles and three assists playing 30% of the snaps, why not split the difference? They could get the extra special team snaps from someone like Lafayette Pitts although he was injured during the game.
The runs from those other than QB were held in check for the most part, 80 total yards, Carlos Hyde with 65 and DuJuan Harris with 15.
Jordan Phillips and Earl Mitchell are still getting a fair amount of playing time with around 50% of the snaps collectively although only Mitchell had results with just one tackle, their lane presence alone should be a deterrent.
Mario Williams had to leave the game early with stomach illness playing just 12 snaps and new Miami Dolphins player Nicholas Williams had his first 10 snaps.
Kiko Alonso had up and down play, with the upside outweighing the downside in the end. He took an inside route allowing Carlos Hyde to get open on a 11-yard touchdown pass during the 49ers first successful drive near the goal line. On the previous play safety Michael Thomas had a nice breakup of a touchdown. Alonso had been over pursuing his assignments not taking good angles leading to missed tackles. Although he did have the 2nd most tackles with four to Byron Maxwell’s five, Kiko also had eight tackle assists to go with an interception and a recovered fumble.
Byron Maxwell and Bacarri Rambo (credited to Maxwell) forced the fumble that was recovered by Kiko Alonso. It was Maxwell’s third forced fumble of the season as well as Alonso’s third fumble recovery in as many games. For the interception Alonso had it was Tony Lippett that broke up a pass allowing it to happen. Bacarri Rambo also had a nice pass breakup forcing a punt.
After that first drive TD allowed the Dolphins defense started staying home more with better lane discipline. However just the slightest of mistakes could allow Colin Kaepernick to run free which he did a lot even with scouts deployed at times. It was a fine line that Vance Joseph had to skirt the entire game.
Team Stats 49ers
First Downs 25
Net Pass Yards 282
Total Yards 475
Third Down Conv. 7-14
Fourth Down Conv. 2-2
Time of Possession 29:28
Ndamukong Suh and Kiko Alonso handed Colin Kaepernick his lunch, don’t even think about tying this game.
This is what the defense had to deal with all game, Kaepernick is sneaky elusive.
•Terrence Fede had his first game stats going back to week five, a tackle and two assists from 25 snaps.
•The Miami Dolphins defense have allowed three teams to rush for more than 100 yards during the past five-game winning streak. Counting the QB this makes it four teams as he had 113 yards while the rest of the team had 80 yards.
•This was the first opening drive TD allowed going back to week two.
•On a 3rd & 13 49ers play Bobby McCain had his helmet knocked off by the player he was defending and still made the tackle forcing a punt, as much as I beef on him allowing TD’s in the end zone this is where his play can shine on the other end, playing with toughness.
•Up by ten with time running out in the 3rd the defense shined, first Ndamukong Suh bulldozed the center and then RB Carlos Hyde for a loss. Shortly afterwards Cameron Wake got a sack and then Andre Branch got one as well.
The defense did what they had to do to stick around, letting the 49ers back in it a few times but held them out when it counted the most. After they carried the team all game last week no one should fault them this time around. Penalties were down and turnovers were up this can lead to winning football.