Wake Finds Second Home In Niners Backfield

Posted Dec 9, 2012

Speedy defensive end wreaked havoc on San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO – So much attention was being paid to San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and his league-leading 17.5 sacks coming into today’s game that Cameron Wake was lost in the shadows. He changed that with another highlight-reel game.

Wake sacked Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick three times, giving him 14 on the season, and he forced a fumble on the first one. He matched his career-high for sacks set in 2010, when he made his first Pro Bowl and it was his second multi-sack game of the season (he had 4.5 at Arizona on September 30th). Of course in both cases the Dolphins came out on the wrong end of the final score.

“I would give away every sack I got for a winning record and the opportunities that we’re not capitalizing on,” said Wake, who ranks 8th all-time in franchise history with 42 career sacks. “It’s hard to concentrate on that kind of stuff when we’re losing.”

It wasn’t just Wake’s pass rushing that was effective against the Niners, as he showed up in the run defense, too. He finished with six tackles (all solo), two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a forced fumble. He sealed off the edge a number of times and forced running backs Frank Gore, LeMichael James and Anthony Dixon to go inside as the Dolphins held San Francisco to under four yards per carry up until Kaepernick broke free on his 50-yard touchdown.

Known for his scrambling ability, Kaepernick managed just three yards on five carries until that final drive and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s game plan seemed to be working. One of the Niners’ other touchdowns came on a 9-yard drive following a fumbled punt by Marcus Thigpen, but Wake still wasn’t satisfied.

“Doing it for 90 percent of the time and not getting it done when you need it is not going to get you where you want to be,” Wake said. “In this league, the margin for error is small and on that last play, if we get the stop there and give our offense back the ball we might have gone to overtime and had a chance to win.”

Fellow defensive end Jared Odrick added a sack from his defensive end position opposite Wake and the entire front seven left an impression on the Niners and their own coaching staff, but the lack of a complete game and the ability to finish in the fourth quarter loomed large.

“I thought our coaches put together a good plan of attack and our defense came up with some big plays but we couldn’t compliment the other units,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “We got a sack there in the fourth quarter but then we fumbled a punt so that’s not good.”

Wake’s forced fumble in the first quarter was recovered by San Francisco, costing another possible turnover chance. He did finish with one more sack than Smith, which looks good in the statistics, but Wake doesn’t strive for those kinds of victories.

“This is getting very repetitive and I’m tired of saying all the time, ‘almost, almost,” or ‘way to hang in there.’ There is no such thing as moral victories,” he said. “Either you win or you lose. If you almost beat them nobody gets a pat on the back. We didn’t get it done and I’m tired of saying it.”

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