49ers vs. Buccaneers: 3 First-Half Observations for San Francisco

Matthew ConnollyCorrespondent IIIOctober 9, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers stands next to head coach Jim Harbaugh during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick Park on September 18, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

In a matchup of two promising three-win teams, it's all San Francisco in the first half, with the 49ers leading 24-3. The Niners have truly dominated all three phases of the game through 30 minutes.

Here are three adjustments the Bucs can make to help them come back in the second period. 

1. Continue keeping the Bucs’ offense off the field

When they haven’t turned the ball over, the Bucs have done a decent job sustaining long drives and tiring the Niner defense in the process. After Alex Smith led a fast and furious drive culminating in a TD snag by Delanie Walker, he was forced to sit and watch Josh Freeman for over 10 minutes (6:28 play clock). When the sometimes hot, sometimes not QB gets in a rhythm, you have to keep him loose.

2. The run is coming back

The Bucs were stacking the line from the get go, which worked out wonderfully for Alex Smith, but the run game is gradually picking up steam heading into the second half. After a horribly slow start for Frank Gore, including a fumble deep in Bucs territory, the feature RB is now on pace for the big numbers he put up last weekend against Philadelphia. Kendall Hunter has been almost nonexistent in this matchup; it would be good to see the rookie get some more snaps if the 49ers can maintain this sizable lead later in the game.

3. Keep taking care of the ball  

The Niners cannot afford to fumble the ball, particularly when their field position should merit at least three points on the board. That being said, Gore’s fumble is the only blemish on a nearly flawless first half where Alex Smith was well protected and was subsequently not sacked or picked even one time. 

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