Personnel: Thirty-four men suited up for the 49ers with just seven in their last or only year in the NFL showing a dramatic infusion of talent joining the team
Right linebacker is handled by Pete Wismann and Don Burke. Joining the Niners is shoulder tackling, undersized, middle linebacker Hardy Brown. He red dogs up the middle on many plays and is not much of a factor as a pass defender. Though he can be blocked; Brown must be accounted for due to his ability to hit with his shoulder and lay out a runner and/or force a fumble. The leader of the defense is a savvy veteran left linebacker named Norm Standlee (also plays some
Safety Jim Cason earns a pro bowl berth at safety as he records 8 interceptions, and is a willing tackler. One of the most improved players on the team is starting right corner Lowell Wagner who excels in man coverage. Gordie Soltau earns a Pro Bowl berth at left offensive end. An excellent route runner, who displays superb hands and is tenacious going over the middle to make key reception.
Frankie Albert is a master commander at the play fake, roll out, and finding a receiver with an accurate pass on a crossing route. Joining the team from the disbanded Colts is Y.A.
The most outstanding 49er for the season is All-Pro right offensive tackle Leo Nomellini. Powerful as a drive blocker, and more than adequate in pass protection, he also is a destructive force at left defensive tackle. Amazingly quick for a man his size, he is an outstanding pass rusher, and virtually unblock able as a run defender. Leo also contributes in the kicking game as he blocks a punt for a touchdown against Los Angeles.
WHAT THE STATS TELL US: San Francisco ranked 4th in total offense (second in rushing), and 4th in overall defense. The Niners dramatic improvement in pass defense (second in the league in the defensive passer rating system) was a key element in the team's success. San Francisco allowed 470 yards on the six long touchdown passes recorded by the opposition during the year, but the other 152 completions netted just 10 yards a completion to demonstrate the hustle and tackling ability
|Colorization by John Turney|
Detroit punts and San Francisco will drive 90 yards to take an early lead. Frankie Albert completes three passes on the drive for 38 yards to Gordy Soltau (
The teams exchange punts into the second quarter with Hart and Dibble making key receptions to keep the drive alive before
Third quarter: Walker returns the Niner punt 25 yards to the San Francisco twenty-three yard line. Lindy Pearson (taking over for Hunchy) and Pat Harder keep the Lion ground game going until Hardy Brown forces a fumble with his patented shoulder tackle. Leo Nomellini recovers on the 49er four yard line. Again, San Francisco punts, but Ed Henke's sack of Layne forces a Lion punt, by Lowell Wagner fumbles with hit by D'Alonso (recovered by
Slot right formation and Layne pitches to Dibble behind the coverage for 30 yards and the score.....
SUMMATION: San Francisco has turned the corner and now rank with the elite teams in the league. They need speed at halfback on offense to become true title contenders.