Coordinator Vic Fangio is in charge of the defense
Jim Harbaugh has got the 49ers playing outstanding football. They are the surprise of the league and the victory over the very tough New York Giants is one that legitimizes their standing in the league. With a record of 8-1, they are one of the upper echelon teams in the NFL.
Harbaugh has the 49ers believing in the system and believing they can win. This is a team that has indeed bought in to what the coaching staff is teaching them.
Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have helped turn Alex Smith into a productive and winning quarterback. Their offensive play calling is excellent and keeps the opposition off balance.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who is left alone by Harbaugh, runs the defense. He has built this unit into the top defense in the league in terms of points allowed.
Special teams coach Brad Seely has also done a fantastic job. This area does not get a lot of notoriety, but they help the 49ers win the field position battle and also convert on their field goal opportunities.
Against the Giants, the 49ers were very well prepared, as they always are. They kept New York off balance and once they realized the ground game was having trouble, they allowed Alex Smith to throw the ball a lot more.
The key is the variety of plays enables Smith to find open receivers, or have outlets if protection is breaking down.
There were two very notable plays which point to great coaching. The onside kick, which I discussed on the special teams slide was one. The other was when the 49ers scored their first touchdown to take an 18-13 lead. Instead of kicking the extra point, the 49ers went for two.
What was noteworthy is that they had no question or hesitation about what to do. They called a special goal line play with Michael Crabtree coming out of the backfield and heading to the front corner of the end zone. With Smith rolling right, there was no way the Giants could stop the play.
The 49ers were prepared and ready to execute that play. They did not need to call time out or organize their personnel. Everyone was on the ball and that's good coaching.
Coaching: Grade = A