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Vic Carucci's Take Five: Niners hang around, but it matters little

Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 45-16 victory against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday worked out:

1. Don't give the Niners any reason to feel confident. Not exactly. The 49ers scored first, on a 33-yard Phil Dawson field goal that was set up by a Tyrod Taylor fumble at the Bills' 28.

The Bills came back with a touchdown, but the 49ers regained the lead, 10-7, when a blown coverage allowed Colin Kaepernick to connect with a wide-open Torrey Smith on a 53-yard touchdown. The Niners stayed within striking distance through the rest of the first half before the Bills began pulling away in the third quarter.

As much as the Bills tried to let the 49ers hang around in the first two quarters, their level of superiority -- not to mention the Niners' level of incompetence -- was never going to allow this game to be any more competitive than the final score indicated.

2. Keep winning the turnover battle. Nope. The Bills, who entered the game ranked second in the NFL with a plus-nine turnover ratio, lost two fumbles while the 49ers lost one.

Again, it didn't hurt the Bills, because the Niners are an awful team.

3. Keep pounding the ball. Check-plus. The Bills did precisely what they needed to do against the NFL's 31st-ranked run defense with 44 carries (including 11 by quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel) for 312 yards, the franchise's highest rushing total since 1992.

But this wasn't merely a case of the Bills taking advantage of an opponent's weakness. This is what Rex Ryan has long believed an offense must do in order for his defensive-driven team to be successful. That was the formula during his six seasons coaching the New York Jets, and it isn't about the change any time soon.

The Bills have arguably the most dominant player in the NFL in LeSean McCoy, who ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns. It was his first three-touchdown-rushing game since 2011 when he was in Philadelphia. And the ground-and-pound approach also makes sense considering that there continues to be no indication the Bills have a franchise passer in Tyrod Taylor.

4. Continue to get big production from Charles Clay. Semi-check. Calling Clay's production "big" would be a bit of a reach.

But the Bills definitely featured their No. 1 tight end in their game plan. Clay was targeted a game-high seven times and caught five passes for 52 yards, an average of 10.4 yards per catch. He had a long gain of 20 yards.

Clay wound up leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.

5. Special teams need to be special. Check. The Bills were sound on special teams, which was all they needed to be on a day when they mostly controlled the game on offense and defense.

Despite dealing with tricky winds that were gusting at 22 mph at kickoff, Dan Carpenter made the only field goal he attempted, from 40 yards. And after having an extra point blocked in last Sunday's win against the Rams, he made all six of his PATs.

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