Archive for the ‘Vernon Davis’ Category

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One can’t help but wonder if the Week 10 meeting been the 49ers and Panthers would have been any different had Vernon Davis not left midway through the second quarter when he was concussed by strong safety Mike Mitchell after running a flat route on a swap boot play-action pass. It was only his second target that game, his lowest of any game this season.

But nine weeks later, the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers are set to square off again, and Davis will be a critical factor in the game. He’s fresh off a two-catch game, but on seven targets. That high volume of targets has become the norm for him, having been targeted at least five times in all but two games since his injury, according to Pro Football Focus. We¬†can expect to see him get a similar amount this game if he can escape the absurd athleticism and crafty coverage of linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

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If Bill Walsh was alive today, he’d be proud of the San Francisco 49ers being in the Super Bowl. He’d probably be pissed too.

The former is because he coached them to multiple championships, and the latter simply because he’s no longer doing it. This matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is one that he probably would have liked, as his famed West Coast Offense — now altered for the postmodern era of football — would have a great chance of attacking the seam, something that it does better than any other scheme. Fortunately, the 49ers still do this, and they do it with many of Walsh’s old concepts, which will come in handy against the Ravens’ slow cover linebackers.

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And so do the rest of us. It’s a brave new world out there in San Fransisco, one in which offense is possible again.

We’ll have a more thorough overall reflection on what exactly we witnessed Monday night a little later on this morning, but first let’s focus solely on one man. One glorious, magnificent man who took Colin Kaepernick out for at least five steak dinners last night.

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It’s OK, embrace fear. Embrace worry. Embrace it all, and welcome it into your life, Vernon Davis owners.

A week ago, Davis was just a man without a target, let alone a catch from a target. He was completely absent during the 49ers’ 13-6 win over Seattle, as one of the league’s premier players at his position went an entire game without even being targeted, and given an opportunity to contribute.

That was last Thursday, and while the worry was already escalating then because pulling parts of our body out is a long-held fantasy ritual, there was an assumption/hope that what we saw last week was just a one-game outlier. And in a basic sense it was, as Davis was actually targeted last night, but only twice. Those two targets turned into two receptions for 34 yards.

After being held off the scoresheet completely last week, Monday night was Davis’ third straight game with less than 40 receiving yards, and he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3. He’s now on pace for 748 yards, his lowest total since 2008.

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While those who enjoy making free money off of NFL football lost, oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million collectively last night due to Jim Harbaugh’s decision to take points off the board and decline a safety (Pizzola’s Twitter rantings properly show the seven stages of grief), fantasy owners of the few skill players worth starting Thursday had another source for their ire and/or incessant worry.

More specifically, it’s Vernon Davis who’s causing hair to change color along with the tree leaves this fall. Davis entered last night as the second-highest fantasy point producer at his position with 55 points through six games, which is behind only Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez using standard ESPN scoring. Yet the Seahawks held him to zero receptions last night, the first time that’s happened since 2008.

But they did more, and the extra measure they took to truly stuff Davis is what’s petrifying. He didn’t even receive a single target.

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