As the San Francisco 49ers (1-0) go on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1), it will be a game in which the 49ers aerial attack should find success.
A team that smash-mouthed their way to victory in Week 1 behind second-year RB Carlos Hyde, expect the opposite to happen on Sunday as WR Torrey Smith, WR Anquan Boldin, and TE Vernon Davis should all be open, as the Steelers stack the box.
Last week, saw New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski torch the Steelers secondary as he recorded five catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns, and I expect a similar performance from Davis in Week 2.
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Davis was the team’s leading receiver in Week 1 as he hauled in three catches for 47 yards, good for a 15.7 yards per catch average. Look for that trend to continue on Sunday as I fully expect Davis to shine, while being QB Colin Kaepernick’s sole security blanket down the seams.
There is no Steelers linebacker or safety that can stay stride for stride with Davis. At 6-3, 250, with sub 4.4 40-yard dash speed, it’s no wonder Davis presents a sizable mismatch as the two teams square off. Not to mention, Davis can take advantage of his big-bodied frame as it allows him to box out defenders down in the red zone, look for Davis to score at least one touchdown when it’s all said and done.
The 49ers love to use 13 and 22 personnel down in the red zone, and while the Steelers will surely stack the box, as they are light on the outside at setting the edge, that should allow Davis a free release off the play-action pass.
To think that Steelers OLB Jarvis Jones, OLB Arthur Moates or rookie first-round pick (No. 22) OLB Bud Dupree possess the speed to matchup with Davis one-on-one is being ignorant, so look for Davis to get open quite often between the 20’s, as 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick makes him his go-to-guy throughout the day despite the Steelers providing safety help over the top.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) September 16, 2015
But why am I so sure that Davis will be open on Sunday? Because the team finally has a deep-threat in WR Torrey Smith who can beat one-on-one coverage on the outside essentially clearing out half of the field. The Steelers starting cornerbacks are currently CB Cortez Allen and CB William Gay, none of which have the speed to matchup with Smith –making safety help over the top a top priority for their defense. If the 49ers wide-receivers can keep the secondary honest on the outside, that should open up the middle for Davis and that’s where his elite playmaking will come into play.
Whether working the seams, deep-posts, or corner-routes, I fully expect Davis to score at least one touchdown on Sunday while garnering a stat line similar to five catches for 62 yards and one touchdown.
I expect Davis to break off a big-play against Steelers off PA-pass on a deep-corner or post-route. Steelers FS Mike Mitchell is too slow. — Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) September 16, 2015
In two career games against the Steelers, Davis has recorded 10 catches for 128 receiving yards and one touchdown.
What are your thoughts Forever Faithful? Do you think Davis will score on Sunday? Leave your comments below and start the discussion.
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