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Sherman shines: What we learned from Game Rewind

Two weeks into a new season is hardly the time to jump to conclusions.

After all, last year at this time, Alex Smith was the pride and joy of San Francisco, Russell Wilson was a project and the pistol was nothing more than a gangster's plaything.

We're still gathering clues, so let's keep that in mind as we roll through this week's observations from Game Rewind and the glorious All-22:

  1. Frank Gore never got going, but the 49ers sure tried. On San Francisco's first play from scrimmage, it stacked two tight ends -- Vernon Davis and Garrett Celek -- off right tackle. More help arrived post-snap as left guard Mike Iupati pulled right to trail fullback Bruce Miller into the fray. Four extra blockers, and Seahawks backer K.J. Wright still found his way to Gore, tripping him up before Michael Bennett made the stop. Gore finished with 16 yards on nine carries.
  1. Niners offensive coordinator Greg Roman continues to use quarterback Colin Kaepernick creatively, but Seattle has the chess pieces to go move for move. Especially in the passing game, where cornerback Richard Sherman blanketed Anquan Boldin all night. Their battle mostly came off-screen, but the All-22 revealed outstanding coverage by Sherman. Boldin isn't an option on this first-quarter play that resulted in Kap's first pick of the night:

"It doesn't matter if I'm playing against Boldin, Cecil Shorts or Andre Johnson -- when I go up there, I want to dominate whoever is in front of me," Sherman wrote Wednesday for TheMMQB. "There are certain standards we have on our defense that must be upheld."

  1. Green Bay's offensive line was a point of concern after bookend Bryan Bulaga was lost for the year, but David Bakhtiariheld his own against the Redskins. After struggling against the 49ers, the rookie was far from a disaster protecting Aaron Rodgers.
  1. Randall Cobb's first-quarter touchdown didn't count (he was out at the 17), but I'd like to see Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather take a better angle here. Washington's secondary was dealt a bad hand facing Green Bay and Philly out of the gate, but matchups aside, this defense is a tough watch.
  1. It's no secret Robert Griffin III looks uncomfortable. He's been plagued by drops, but any casual viewer sees a slowed, tentative version of last year's wunderkind. Griffin was sharper than what we saw in Week 1, but too many of his passes lacked zip against Green Bay. Cue the tape:
  1. The Chiefs are one of the league's more interesting All-22 specimens after two weeks of play. Alex Smith dipped into the read-option and used his legs to gain yardage on a creative opening scoring drive against Dallas.

Smith's arm isn't special, but coach Andy Reid has made the most of his quarterback's gifts -- especially his mobility -- during a 2-0 start. Smith and Colin Kaepernick boast equal yards per carry (6.8) through two games, and that's not all:

Here's one example why:

  1. Another outstanding game for Dontari Poe. Kansas City's monster nose tackle ate up Cowboys rookie center Travis Frederick for two sacks on Tony Romo. He also anchored a run defense that allowed just 37 yards to Dallas. I saw the Cowboys running away from him. Poe's a core reason Kansas City owns the league's second-best defense. Watch him flame Frederick:
  1. Eddie Royal has been a beast, with five touchdowns over eight quarters. Three came against the Eagles on Sunday:

You'd think Philly's D would be ready for the Royal-in-space act considering what it's up against in practice all week. Not the case. Nobody gets near him as he releases from the slot to take this one home:

  1. Michael Vick missed his targets on a handful of long, sure touchdown strikes, but he also played some of the better football I've seen from the quarterback. Philly was three plays away from scoring another 20-plus points. Barring a rash of injuries, this offense will shatter records.
  1. Especially DeSean Jackson. In just two games, he's piled up a third of the catches (16) he had all last season (47). His 297 yards on the year come from repeatedly being targeted deep. Only four players in NFL history have had more than 300 receiving yards in a game. Jackson will do it more than once this season.
  1. Ahmad Bradshaw's 4.3 yards per carry on 15 totes against the Dolphins are exactly what the Giants could use right now.
  1. Losing tight end Dustin Keller was rough for Miami, but coordinator Mike Sherman has done a nice job filling the void with Charles Clay. Helped by the presence of Mike Wallace, Clay -- a fullback/tight end hybrid -- has shown reliable hands and the ability to get open. Colts linebacker Pat Angerer learned that the hard way:
  1. The Colts allowed three sacks but none to Cameron Wake. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus held his own, and Indy wisely used Bradshaw (one of the league's better blockers) to lend a hand. Andrew Luck's outstanding backfield vision helped.
  1. Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton made the most of Darrius Heyward-Bey's injury, hauling in six catches for 124 yards. Everything we saw in August translated over. "We've just got to keep designing ways to get him the football," coach Chuck Pagano said after the game. It's clear to everyone he's the team's No. 2 behind Reggie Wayne. Check out this thing of beauty:

We'll take another look at the All-22 next week. Shoot me a tweet at @MarcSesslerNFL if there's something you'd like us to focus on.

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