I've seen enough debate these last few days, so lets try something different with this attempt to co-operate.
We're facing a 1-5 team that I believe is much like our own 0-5 Panthers; a team that "coulda" and "shoulda" but haven't. If some one told me, at the start of the season, the 49'ers would be 1-5 with Frank Gore, Brian Westbrook, Michael Crabtree, Tedd Ginn, Vernon Davis, and adequate quarterback play from Alex Smith when we met in week 7, I'd have definitely taken them up on a bet that they would, in fact, be better than that (much better than that). 3-2, in my mind, would absolutely not have been out of the question.
So, lets take a moment to look at a few quick stat comparisons to think about, then we can talk strategy in the comment section (since, you know, the internet might be the only place Panther strategy is discussed these days) below.
There's no I in TEAM!
Overall, Carolina leads San Francisco 9-7. Our current streak is "W2" dating back to 11/14/2004. We have scored 415 points on the 49'ers since November 5th of '95. Meanwhile, they've scored 377 on us in the same timespan. We have went into overtime twice against them and lost both by field goals.
In 2010... the 49'ers have 1,906 total offensive yards (1,359P/547R), we have 1,180 (682P/498R). They have out-performed us both through the air and on the ground. They amassed those yards on 371 plays, averaging 5.1 yards per play. We gained ours on 296 plays at 4 yards per play, average. The 49'ers have only missed one field goal, as have we, with both teams completing 5 of 6. The 49'ers have scored 11 touchdowns compared to our 5. They ran for 2, passed for 8, and their defense grabbed 1. We have ran for 2 and passed for 3. The 49'ers have allowed their QB to be sacked 12 times, we've allowed ours to be sacked 17 times. They've nearly split their T.O.P evenly with opponents at 29:55, meanwhile we're at 25:53.
Looking at the offensive portion of the team comparison would seem to give the edge to the 49'ers, however the defensive side of things may lean towards the Panthers...
The 49'ers defense has allowed opponents 1,874 (1207P/667R) of total offensive yards compared to our defense allowing 1,584 (912P/672R). The 49'ers have given up a total of 14 touchdowns: 3 rushing, 9 passing, and 2 to opposing defenses. The Panthers have allowed 11 touchdowns: 4 rushing and 7 passing. The 49'ers have brought the QB down for a sack 12 times (a sack for a sack?), meanwhile we've only reached the QB and brought him down 7 times this season. The 49'ers have a turn-over ratio of -8 and the Panthers a ratio of -4.
Factor in the bye week the Panthers are coming out of and it looks like it'll just be the bad playing the ugly this Sunday. Neither team has had much cheer for this year but the 49'ers have atleast notched 1 win and found the end zone more than twice as frequently as we have. The bye has just made our statistically bad season look terrible. Compared to the rest of the league...
Points: 30th SF - 32nd CAR
Yards: 19th SF - 32nd CAR
Pass Yds: 15th SF - 32nd CAR
Rush Yds: 28th SF - 20th CAR
Hey, wrong team! (QB)
The 49'ers Alex Smith has completed 134 passes on 223 attempts for 1,425 yards. That gives him an average of 6.4yds per throw and a 60.1 completion percentage. In these passes, 8 went for touchdowns (3.6%) and 9 went for interceptions (4%). His longest pass of the year went for 41 yards. He has taken 12 sacks and lost a total of 66 yards (5.5yds/sack). His QB rating is 73.9.
Our own Matt Moore has completed 25 of 59 pass attempts for 342 yards. That gives him an average of 5.8yds per attempt and a 42.4 completion percentage. Of these, 2 went for touchdowns (3.4%) and 6 went for interceptions (10.2%). His longest pass of the year went for 37 yards. He has taken 8 sacks and lost a total of 59 yards (7.4yds/sack). All of this lends to a QB rating of 33.3.
This one's definitely a bit lopsided in some areas considering Moore hasn't been the solidified starter. I only compared Moore and Smith because Moore is our starting QB this week and, as such, I feel he needs our full support. Despite the drastic difference in attempts, Matt Moore has thrown touchdowns at a similar rate as Smith, both having 3% of their passes find the end zone. The biggest difference I see here is Matts 10%+ interception rate. Lets hope that figure is inflated due to unfavorable (and unlucky) situations.
I give the edge to the 49'ers.
Zoom, zoom, zoom! (HB)
Frank Gore has rushed 116 times this year for 471yds and 1 touchdown. He has an average of 4.1yds per carry and a long of 64. He has also caught 33 receptions for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gore has fumbled the ball 4 times and lost half of those (2). Dixon and Westbrook have accounted for a combined 5 rushes, 20 yards, and 1 touchdown.
DeAngelo Williams has carried the ball 68 times for 317 yards and 1 touchdown. He has an average of 4.7yd per carry and a long of 39 yards. He has caught the ball 7 times for 42 yards and no touchdowns. He hasn't fumbled at all this year.
Jonathan Stewart has carried the ball 36 times for 119 yards and 1 touchdown. He has an average of 3.3yds per attempt and his longest run of the year is 24 yards. Stewart has caught 4 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown. He has fumbled once this year and lost it.
It's no secret here that both teams possess running backs that can single handedly change the course, and outcome, of a game on any given Sunday (or Monday... or Thursday). The biggest difference I see here is systematic. Whether that word means what I think it means or not, I don't know, but it sure sounds good. The 49'ers have their workhorse in Frank Gore, while we're content in running a comittee between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. So, which system will prevail this week?
I don't know, I'm calling it a
Fly like a butterfly... (WR)
Frank Gore has 33 receptions for 284 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a long of 41 yards. Vernon Davis has 28 receptions for 348 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a long of 41 yards. Michael Crabtree has 24 receptions for 301 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a long of 32 yards. Josh Morgan has 18 receptions for 204 yards, 1 touchdown, and a long of 35 yards. Vernon Davis appears to be their biggest threat. The rest of their receivers just look like... well, our receivers.
Steve Smith has 13 receptions for 174 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a long of 37 yards. David Gettis has 10 receptions for 119 yards and a long of 21 yards. Dante Rosario has 10 receptions for 92 yards and a long of 26 yards. Mike Goodson has 9 receptions for 111 yards and a long of 23 yards. Steve Smith should return as our biggest threat.
Would you look at that? As far as receptions go, their leading receiver is a running back. Their second leading receiver is a tight end. Finally, their third leading receiver is an actual wide receiver. Maybe we should try that, considering they combined for 7 touchdowns alone. I'm not above short passes and dump offs that "only get a first down".
Once again, I give the 49'ers the edge.
Sting like a bee! (DEF)
Patrick Willis leads the 49'ers defense with 47 combined tackles (38 total/9 assist). Parys Haralson and Travis LaBoy are tied for the lead in sacks, each having 3. Nate Clements, Manny Lawson, Taylor Mays, and Ricky Jean-Francois each have 1 forced fumble. Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer each have 2 interceptions.
James Anderson leads our defense with 53 combined tackles (38 total/15 assist). Jon Beason leads in assisted tackles with 16 (45 combined). Charles Johnson leads in sacks with 2. James Anderson, Richard Marshall, Sherrod Martin, and Greg Hardy each have 1 forced fumble. Charles Godfrey leads the team in interceptions with 4. We have five other defensive players that have interceptions.
Overall, I think we have the better defense here. I'm giving the edge to Carolina.
Now that that's out of the way, we all have a similar picture of what each team has done leading up to this game. As you can see above, I've given the 49'ers the edge 2-1-1. That doesn't mean I don't think we will win this Sunday, it simply means that I believe the 49ers have had a more successful season up until this point than we have.
The point of this FanPost is to hear what you guys think we should do to generate the upperhand on Sunday. I know some of you are good with x's and o's while others may not be but I still want to hear your ideas.
To start things off, here are a couple ideas...
1. Firstly, I think the most obvious thing to do here is put Steve Smith in the slot. Let Gettis, Thomas, Clowney, and LaFell fight it out to see who plays outside but Smith needs to be in the slot. I'd personally have Gettis and Thomas wide with Smith in the slot.
2. Next thing, I would involve Armanti Edwards. I didn't suggest to start him but I'd definitely have him subbing in at each position to see how he fits. I'd even have him in at running back. I know some people don't care for the idea of having Williams and Stewart on the bench at the same time but we haven't exactly been winning with them out there either. Why can't we do this? Because we might lose?
3.While the first two ideas are to get the offense rolling, I'm absolutely going insane to see this next one. I want Charles Johnson and Eric Norwood on the ends, with Greg Hardy and Derek Landri as the two defensive tackles. Everette Brown has completely let me down thus far this year, I'm ready to see Norwood step in his place. Johnson has been playing well enough that I couldn't pull him off the line. That leaves the defensive tackles. Landri has impressed me and I don't think Ed Johnson has been bad but I believe Hardy is a beast that needs to be on the field. I'm completely sold that Hardy can pressure the QB and flatten the RB on his way, if need be, from any position on the line. I think this would definitely help our defense generate sacks without compromising our ability to stop the run.
Those are but a few of my ideas, so lets hear it guys! What would you do to get an upperhand on the 49'ers and kick start our season?