Now that was an ugly game. From the very beginning, it looked like it was going to be ugly for just one team, the San Francisco 49ers. Andy Dalton went 5-for-5 on the team's opening drive, for 61 yards and led his team right into the red zone. The Bengals ran the ball a couple times and then Dalton threw his first incompletion. This led to a field goal, which was good for the 49ers, but if the Bengals were going to keep playing like that, it signified bad things to come for San Francisco.
Fortunately, they didn't keep playing like that, and with a big 39-yard reception to Vernon Davis in the third quarter set the 49ers up in the red zone. Then, Alex Smith hit Michael Crabtree in the back of the end zone for a beautiful touchdown, but a referee throws the flag and says Crabtree was out of bounds, then came in to touch the ball first. A replay shows that he was definitely not out of bounds, but being unable to challenge a flag means the 49ers had to settle for a field goal.
That being said, those two drives were the lone bright spots offensively. Well, there is the small matter of the 49ers' fourth quarter drive to take the lead. Joshua Morgan started things off with a first-down reception, and then it was rookie Kendall Hunter, replacing Frank Gore after a bad fumble (which led to three Bengals points, giving them the 6-3 lead), with a toss to the left that should have got about eight yards, but he fought for the extra two and got a first down.
Vernon Davis catches an eight-yard reception, and it's Hunter again to pick up the two and get the first down. Davis gets another eight yards on his next play, though it should have been ten, but he fumbled. Rookie fullback Bruce Miller was on it and it's officially eight yards. Vernon Davis gets the next one, a throwback screen that goes for huge yardage and takes the 49ers into the red zone. Hunter takes it on the left side for a huge touchdown and that's a lead the 49ers would never relinquish, taking a 10-6 lead over the Bengals. David Akers would put up another field goal to give them a 13-6 lead, and the 49ers would give up a free safety at the end of the game to run the clock out, making it officially 13-8.
Aside from that, it was definitely an ugly game on both sides of the ball for both teams. While the 49ers defense played well, they were porous at times, and couldn't get the kind of pressure that the Bengals were able to get. The secondary had lapses where they gave up big chunks of yardage, and at other times looked like they'd shut down any offense. The inconsistency on defense is scary ... if they give up huge chunks of yardage on the first and last drives of the game, but are shutdown for everything in between, it still will probably not be good enough to win games.
After giving up six sacks to the strong Dallas Cowboys pass rush, they gave up another six to the Bengals. Frank Gore didn't look great, and it's still up-in-the-air as to whether or not that's because of the offensive line. Smith was inconsistent, but good play from Kendall Hunter and Vernon Davis give hope for the offense. They did have ten penalties, and while some of those were on defense, most of them were the issue of the offensive line.
It's a good win, as all wins are, but an ugly one. The 49ers will need to play significantly better in week four against the Philadelphia Eagles, but for now, they'll enjoy the 2-1 record.