TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At Tennessee Titans

San Francisco 49ers
Tennessee Titans
SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 29: Colt McCoy #2 of the San Francisco 49ers takes his first huddle of the night againt the San Diego Chargers during the first quarter of a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 29, 2013 in San Diego, California.
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at LP Field on October 11, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Colts defeated the Titans 31-9.
(credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The 49ers had one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league last year once Colin Kaepernick took over under center, and Jim Harbaugh was expecting his quarterback to be even better this season. It hasn’t worked out that way as Kaepernick has looked tentative at times. He needs to be more decisive and accurate in his throws.
The Titans were rolling with Jake Locker at quarterback, but his injury forced Ryan Fitzpatrick to take over and the offense has slipped a couple of notches. Fitzpatrick is a gutsy leader who can extend plays and knows how to find the open receiver, but he is not as accurate as Locker and that’s why the Tennessee offense has struggled the last two-plus games.
Offense
Winner The 49ers will come at the Titans with a bone-crunching ground game led by running back Frank Gore, who has run for 477 yards and has seven carries of 20 yards or more. Anquan Boldin has 29 receptions and will fight hard to catch any ball he can reach. Vernon Davis is an excellent weapon from the tight end slot while Kyle Williams can get the job done converting third-down plays.
While Chris Johnson has game-breaking speed, this is one of those seasons opposing defenses have him marked and his production has been limited. Johnson is averaging a measly 3.1 yards per carry. Nate Washington is a solid receiver who has caught 23 passes for 377 yards. Delanie Walker keeps the chains moving as nine of his 20 catches have gone for first downs.
Defense
Winner The 49ers are still adjusting to life without Aldon Smith, as they rank ninth in overall defense and just 18th against the run. NaVorro Bowman has the speed to make plays all over the field and he leads the Niners with 53 tackles. Donte Whitner is a nasty defensive back who is second to Bowman with 32 tackles. Patrick Willis will punish any running back or receiver who goes over the middle.
The Titans rank 11th on defense and 10th against the pass. Strong safety Bernard Pollard is making a solid bid at a spot in the Pro Bowl as he leads the team with 45 tackles. He also has five passes defended and two interceptions. Defensive end Roman Pitoitua may be one of the most under-appreciated players in the league, but he leads the Titans with 4.0 sacks.
Special Teams
The 49ers are decent in their punt and kickoff coverage. Williams is a decent returner, but he is not explosive. Phil Dawson has been slightly above average as a kicker, making 8-of-11 FG attempts. Andy Lee is averaging 48.6 yards per punt.
Winner The Titans have done a good job in special teams coverage and head coach Mike Munchak believes Darius Reynaud can break a long punt or kickoff return. Rob Bironas has been one of the most dependable kickers in the league for several years, but he is just 2-of-4 on FG attempts of 40-49 yards.

The Winner Is

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 29: Colt McCoy #2 of the San Francisco 49ers takes his first huddle of the night againt the San Diego Chargers during the first quarter of a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 29, 2013 in San Diego, California.
Winner San Francisco 49ers
3 out of 4

The Titans would have a good chance to pull an upset in this game if Locker was healthy, but he is not. Fitzpatrick is a competitive quarterback, but he will force the ball into coverage at crucial times and that’s going to make it difficult against San Francisco.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

    The Steelers and Patriots meet in Foxboro for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  2. ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

    Two MVP candidates at quarterback meet up in Atlanta for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  3. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS New York

50 YEARS OF NEWS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Listen Live