Monday, November 28, 2011

The Good and the Bad of the San Francisco 49ers' Loss to the Baltimore Ravens

It is not often we can find good things about a loss at the hands of a playoff-bound AFC foe on one of the greatest stages the NFL has to offer. But the San Francisco 49ers managed to escape Baltimore on Thanksgiving Day with at least a little of their dignity and a secure spot as one of the remaining elite in the NFL.

The 49ers lost 16-6 to the Ravens behind a terrible defensive line and offensive line effort that saw the Baltimore defense put relentless pressure on poor Alex Smith. He would be sacked nine times on the most thankful of days.

What did Smith have to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day?

The fact he left Baltimore with his limbs, as Terrell Suggs almost took them with him.

Besides all that, the 49ers managed to show some good play despite all the bad that appeared on the surface.

The Good

Limited Turnovers

Alex Smith only had one interception on the day, which was a pass in the endzone to Braylon Edwards in a panicked moment with time ticking down in the second quarter before the half. The 49ers could have definitely used those points.

But for how much Smith was bombarded time and time again by the Ravens' defense, it is a wonder he did not fumble the ball or even throw a couple more interceptions.

Smith takes care of the ball and that was evident with just one turnover on Thanksgiving Day

The Secondary

We can talk about how the defensive line was close to invisible in the eyes of Joe Flacco on Thanksgiving Day, but the secondary really helped them look a little better.

Flacco is a better version of a game manager, which he showed the 49ers time after time and resulting in zero turnovers in the game.

However, the Ravens' wide receivers are talented. Carlos Rogers was able to keep Anquan Boldin in check, for the most part, and the there was rarely a ball over the top of the 49ers' defensive secondary.

Baltimore does not put up many points, but it was nice to see the San Francisco secondary growing up in a big game.

The Bad

The Offensive Line and Defensive Line

We might as well group these two together to save some time because it is a no-brainer on ths one. There was zero pressure on Flacco from the defensive frontline, and next to zero protection from the offensive line.

Oh, to be a fly in the wall after the game when Harbaugh wished both lines a Happy Thanksgiving.

Credit to the Baltimore defensive minds who strategized that bombardment of flurries from the likes of Suggs & Co. Their offensive line was not bad either, holding one of the better defensive front lines to next to zero damage.

Frank Gore

With no offensive line comes no Frank Gore, and that was never more evident than on Thursday i Baltimore.

Gore was supposed to be the running back rushing for over 100 yards. Who expecte him to run for a long of nine yards on the day?

Not many.

It seemed like Kendall Hunter was more of a force at times in the backfield, which is why the entire offense needs to take a breather, forget Thanksgiving Day and re-group for Sunday against the Rams.

Jim Harbaugh

Where was the game-plan we all could not wait to see in primetime on Thanksgiving Day?

If this was an offensive genius at work on Thursday, I am still waiting.

There simply was no game-plan from what it looked like. The game-plan relied on the offensive line making plays and Gore running for many yards. When that did not happen, it was scrambling time.

Wasn't that the point, though?

Counter to the Ravens' game-changes. However, Harbaugh & Co. did not have that and were not prepared. So we start from square one again and pray for a better showing in the playoffs when the 49ers meet their next notable opponent.

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