Hey there football fans, and welcome to the NFL Down Under ‘Team of the Week’ column for Week 5. As our loyal readers we figured we should hear which team you think played best each week, instead of having us rant and rave in our narrow-minded and subjective ways. Every Tuesday we will send out a Facebook post and tweet, and based on your responses the team with the most mentions will be crowned weekly champion.
THE NFL DOWN UNDER WEEK 5 WINNER IS...
THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS!Record: 4-1 Week 5 Results: San Francisco 49ers 48 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3. The Bucs entered the Bay area expecting an entertaining game between two teams on the rise. They left the field with their tails between their legs. In short, Tampa was manhandled by a new-look 49ers outfit that is bringing all sorts of physicality to the table. San Francisco posted 41 unanswered points. Enough said. Divisional Standing: First in the NFC West, +64 point differential (second best in the league).
Standout Players: The entire 49ers defence. It picked off Josh Freeman twice (including a 31-yard INT TD by Carlos Rogers) and completely stuffed the Tampa run game, reducing them to just 86 yards off 23 attempts. On the other side of the ball, Frank Gore made light work of the Tampa defenders rushing for 125 yards while young Kendall Hunter continued to prove his worth with 65 yards of his own. Patrick Willis (12 tackles), NaVorro Bowman (6 tackles) and rookie Aldon Smith (2 sacks) completely shut the Buc’s offence down. Polarising QB Alex Smith also threw for three TDs and zero INTs. I’ll say it – he’s having a good year. So should I take back all my jeers from the offseason? No way, I’m way to proud to do that.
What it Means: The 49ers are 4-1 in a very weak division. This can mean one of three things: 1) New coach Jim Harbaugh is a mastermind. 2) Alex Smith isn’t all that bad. 3) The Seahawks, Bengals, Eagles and Bucs are all in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes and so none of San Francisco’s wins are actually legitimate. I’ll let you be the judge of that one.
Fun Fact: The last time the 49ers went 4-1 to start a season was back in 2002. It was their most recent playoff appearance. Once more, the last time the 49ers snapped an eight-year playoff drought was in 1981 – they went on to make the postseason 18 of the next 21 years. A sign of things to come, perhaps?
Next week: The 49ers take on Detroit at Ford Field in a game that will have the world watching with great intrigue. San Fran is 2-0 away but Detroit is 2-0 at home. Lions by 14.
Final Thought: Is the NFC West still the worst division in the NFL? Look out for the AFC South to take the crown by the end of the season – I’m predicting some bad, bad things for those four teams.
Reader Speak: "Who was the best team in Week 5?"
Grant William Philpott "Having said it every week except week 2 I can now be absolutely justified in saying the 49ers! To win against another fancied opponent is one thing. To absolutely lay it on them on both sides of the ball is another. Sets up an awesome clash with Detroit too." Jack Provest "Niners all the way!"Agree? Disagree? Let us know!