The 49ers ran roughshod over the Raiders Saturday, piling up 239 yards on the ground. You might recall, however, that they performed a similar feat in this game two years ago, running for 275 yards against Oakland, 129 of them by then-rookie Glen Coffee. It didn't carry over into the regular season. The 49ers finished 25th in rushing that year, which goes to show you shouldn't take any one preseason game too seriously.
Still, a number of 49ers deserve credit for their part in a 17-3 win Saturday, none more so than the first-team offensive line, which bounced back from a bad performance in New Orleans. The second- and third-team offensive lines also played well. Others of note:
RB Kendall Hunter. Hunter had a nice quote about the short-lived nature of holes in the NFL game. "You can't tap your feet too long," he said. "In the NFL, if the hole's right there and you don't hit it then - you ain't going to get through it." Hunter definitely does not tap his feet. He accelerates very quickly through the openings. You see him on one side of the line of scrimmage. He disappears when he hits the hole. (He's only 5-7, after all.) And then he pops out the other side like a surfer from a tube. Hunter's no-nonsense approach, of course, is in contrast to No. 2 running back Anthony Dixon who has been criticized for dallying too much. Dixon, however, also had a nice game (12 carries, 53 yards) but did not have the flashy plays Hunter had. Hunter also showed nice pop as a blocker, upending a blitzing Raiders safety. Backup Xavier Omon had a good game, too. He carried the ball seven straight times on the 49ers' final scoring drive, including on a five-yard run for a touchdown.
WR Braylon Edwards. Bad hands? That's the rap on Edwards. But he turned in a circus-like one hander on a perfectly thrown sideline route by Alex Smith. The quarterback said he saw that Edwards was matched one-on-one with a cornerback with no safety over the top, so he let the ball go. Edwards led all receivers with 46 receiving yards and would have had more, but Raiders safety Tyvon Branch did a nice job pulling another would-be catch from Edwards' grasp in the first quarter. Edwards didn't start the game. (Morgan and Ginn did). But like last week, he played a lot with the first unit. And like last week there was a sense that he and Smith are starting to jell. A very good sign.
QB Alex Smith. No, Smith detractors, his game wasn't perfect. He failed to see defensive end Matt Shaughnessy drift back in coverage and then threw the ball right to him. But otherwise Smith made good decisions, seemed on point throughout and hit big plays when he had the opportunity. He had 32 yarders to both Edwards and Morgan. Second teamer Colin Kaepernick, meanwhile, was 6-8 for 52 yards and said he was far more comfortable in his second game than he was the first.
FB Bruce Miller. The rookie saw action before fellow fullback Moran Norris did, although Norris ended up playing more with the first-team offense. Miller had a nice catch and run on a pass from Kaepernick in the second half, which showed how much more fluid and athletic he is than Norris. After the game, Harbaugh praised Miller, saying he "likes the look in his eye." That's a good sign for the rookie's 53-man prospects.
ILB NaVorro Bowman. He made the first two tackles of the game and then got a hit on Jason Campbell on a third-down incompletion. Bowman had a strong week of practice, and it carried over into the game.
OLB Aldon Smith. He didn't get into the game as quickly as he did last week. Starter Parys Haralson, who had a big fourth-down sack in the second quarter, played through the first half. Still, Smith again seemed to be around the ball quite a bit. He was credited with two tackles and a quarterback hurry.
WR Kyle Williams. His outing wasn't as flashy as last week's but he continues to display the grit that coaches want to see out of a small-ish receiver. Williams had two catches for 25 yards against Oakland.
K David Akers. You have to give it up for a guy who, in his first game for the new home crowd, is forced to play punter and then nails his first attempt for 44 yards. Akers also had to absorb a blocked punt on a botched play in which the 49ers only had 10 men on the field.
Others who deserve praise include left tackle Joe Staley, back up guards Daniel Kilgore and Tony Wragge and second-string safety C.J. Spillman who looked good on special teams and was a wrecking ball in the defensive secondary. The other second-string safety, Madieu Williams, also played well.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio got a long look at his backup cornerbacks. With Carlos Rogers (Achilles) and Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) out of the game, Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock started the game and played into the second half. Third stringers Cory Nelms and Phillip Davis never even got into the game.
The Raiders seemed to be picking on Brock early on but the defense turned in another strong performance. Brown intercepted Oakland backup Trent Edwards. Safety Madieu Williams had another interception on a short pass attempt by Kyle Boller. Rookie Chris Culliver also played extensively. He's been entering the game in nickel situations.
Adding to Fangio's evaluation is Phillip Adams, who is coming back from a broken ankle. Adams has made improvements over the last three week to the point where the 49ers used him on punt returns Saturday. He fair-caught one and took another back 32 yards.
-- Matt Barrows