Fox replays singled out C Al Johnson for a missed block in the third quarter where Niners' NT Mike Adams pushed him back into Julius' Jones running lane. While the replay made it seem that Adams was getting the better of Johnson, in fact the opposite was true. Johnson regularly won the running play battles against Adams, especially on short yardage plays. Adams is a runt of a NT, listed at 300 lbs. Johnson will have a tough chore this week with Ted Washington. Washington is listed at 365 lbs. and may be a small child heavier than that.
On the other side of the ball, Dallas NT LaRoi Glover had trouble against the run. He was regularly turned and pushed back by 49er doubleteams.
Glover did not struggle alone. The entire Dallas linebacking corps had a ragged day against the San Francisco running attack. ILBs Dat Nguyen and Bradie James were late in recognizing and filling the holes. It seems the Cowboys did not expect the 49ers to challenge them on the ground, since the linebackers' first tendency was to backpedal. Al Singleton, his interception aside, had the most difficulty. He was regularly turned inside on sweeps and tosses to his side. Scott Fujita got some reps Sunday and after Singleton's performance, will likely get a lot more this week.
49ers safety Mike Rumph is a headhunter. His fumble-producing hit on Julius Jones in the second quarter was aimed at Jones' jaw. In the fourth quarter, he tried to break up Drew Bledsoe's long pass to Terry Glenn with a shot to Glenn's earhole. (Scroll down to photo.) As anyone who's played can tell you, a direct shot to an earhole or the back of the helmet is an almost certain concussion. Rumph led both times with his helmet and could see a fine from the league office.
There was some concern in the threads about Julius Jones' second half decline. I think 49ers adjustments are to blame for his drop in rushing yards and Jason Witten's disappearance from the second half stat sheet. If anything, this shows the flexibility and depth of the offense. Jones and Witten are put on the shelf and Drew Bledsoe goes crazy with the deep ball, throwing for over 200 second half yards. As long as the skill position players stay healthy, it's going to be a matter of picking your poison for most defenses.
The Cowboys executed a screen pass to perfection in the second quarter. Sean Payton's call for Julius Jones beat a 49ers blitz for 18 yards. Adding this play to the repertoire would do wonders for the offense's already impressive production.
The draw is back. The draw was Julius Jones' most effective play last year. It was not used extensively in the first two games, but last week Dallas ran it three times, for nine, five and eight yards. Look for that play to get called more often.