Falcons 20 - 49ers 16: My optimism used to know no bounds....not so much anymore

(Courtesy of wjackalope)

There are still 2 minutes left as I start this but I'm not quite seeing a similar comeback like Week 1 against the Cardinals.  I think the fact that this team showed some good things on offense on two of their drives makes me all the more frustrated with the outcome.

All in all I have several bones to pick after this disappointment.  I've got some positives, but I want to unload with the ugly first.

Game Management
Even when things have gone well in the past, the use of timeouts has been HIDEOUS.  I'd love to go back and see how many times the 49ers have used up their timeouts with more than 2 minutes left in a half.  It has to be a higher percentage than most any team.  This pisses me off as much as anything else.  If the 49ers had 1 or 2 timeouts left today, maybe they could have more time to make things happen.  Doubtful, but at least it would be an option.

Alex Smith
Oh dear lord was he horrible for most of the game today.  3 interceptions and overthrowing/underthrowing receivers left and right.  In the past I've been willing to make excuses, but this is the first game where I just feel helpless with him at quarterback.  I've already got a post in mind for this week to generate some discussion.  I'll get that up tomorrow along with a new poll.

Play Calling
Somebody explain something to me.  The first drive the 49ers drive down the field behind solid running and more importantly, Alex Smith bootlegging to his left with a pair of passes to Vernon Davis.  They follow that up with 2 quarters of Smith dropping straight back and overthrowing receivers every which way.  Then on that last field goal scoring drive they mix in some more Vernon Davis plays.  WHY? WHY? WHY?  I just don't understand how you abandon what worked so well in the beginning.  Somebody please explain this to me.

The Good
Considering we just lost to the Atlanta Falcons I'm going to keep this brief, because moral victories suck.  Vernon Davis looked good when he wasn't making stupid penalties.  When the team was getting him involved they moved the ball.  When they didn't, the offense sputtered.  I'm going to guess that was NOT a coincidence.

Andy Lee continues to rule and aside from one quality return, the special teams coverage brought it's A-game.  It's sad to say Dashon Goldson's tackle on that penalized fair catch play might have been the highlight of the season.

Patrick Willis continues to be a tackling machine and also got credit for the first sack of his career.  As Adrian Peterson literally runs away with Offensive Rookie of the Year, Patrick Willis is doing the same on the defensive side of the ball as he now has 83 tackles and a sack on the season.  I think he actually will take over the NFL lead in tackles as Barrett Ruud only had 1 tackle today.

Looking ahead
We're gonna get waxed in Seattle.  I'd like to come up with reasons to think otherwise, but this team has sufficiently beaten me down.  I think just to try and change things up a little bit, I'll pick Seattle in our prediction game.  Maybe THAT will mix things up a little bit.  If the 49ers were to win I'd never pick them to win a game again.

[EDITOR'S NOTE 1:45PM] - Feel free to use this as a Colts-Pats thread.

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