That headline could very easily include a whole lot of cursing. This game was SO incredibly frustrating. The 49ers offense was absolutely abysmal for about three-quarters of the game. Then, when the team had fallen far behind, the offense opened up and suddenly was moving the ball with ease. This led to another big game from Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree's first career touchdown, and all our hopes raised, only to be smacked down yet again.
The fourth quarter of this game raises a variety of questions related to the offense. Were those last two touchdowns more garbage TDs, or did the offense show the potential it could have over the course of a full game? The team looks great running a shotgun offense, but is that something they could run for a vast majority of the game? I know people are demanding this kind of play-calling, but can a spread-style shotgun offense be effective for 4 quarters? I guess one answer to that is: might as well try it.
On to the good, the bad and the ugly...
Michael Crabtree - The young wide receiver is certainly showing he's a player in this league. Even though Crabtree is not putting up 100+ yards and multiple TDs a game (as some might want), he's showing an amazing ability to make the tough catches that truly great wide receivers make. It's still early in his young career, but if you're doubting Crabtree at this point, I don't know what else to tell you.
Vernon Davis - While he probably shouldn't have ducked on that Smith interception (unless it really was meant for Delanie Walker), Davis had another huge game for the 49ers with a big touchdown to cut it to a 2 possession game in the fourth quarter. Given that only one play (the over the middle pass) seems to work for Smith-Davis, I don't think we can question Vernon Davis's toughness at this point. He gets popped on those catches and always holds on to the ball now. Good stuff.
Josh Morgan kick returner - He's regressed as a receiver, but he had a big kick return for the 49ers in the fourth quarter. I wouldn't be surprised to see Morgan get more chances as a return man. It's overreacting to think this at this juncture, but maybe he can be that John Taylor return man.
The Good and Bad
Alex Smith - I can't stick Smith in the bad and I can't stick him in the good, so he gets his own special category. Smith struggled a lot for 3/4 of the game, before finally making some impressive throws late in the game. Part of the blame does fall on Smith for the struggles, but the offensive line also gets a lot of blame. Maybe going to that shotgun spread is the best option. Then any runs go on direct snaps to Gore?
4th quarter defense - Yes, they finally got sacks on Aaron Rodgers, but they could not make the stop on multiple chances on that last drive. Great defenses get either a 3 and out, or at the very least 3 and out after a first down. They were probably incredibly tired given all the time they spent on the field, but in that last drive, there are no excuses.
LOLffensive Line - As mentioned above, Alex Smith deserves plenty of blame, but the LOLffensive line deserves more of the blame. There were numerous instances where Smith would drop back and as he was going to look down field he'd be sacked within .5 seconds. It's safe to say LOL coach Chris Foerster is on the hot seat. There have been injuries, but adjustments need to be made (so blame Raye as well).
Tackling - Just horrendous tackling by the 49ers defense today. Most of the Packer touchdowns seemed to come after horrific tackling by the 49ers. Even Patrick Willis was missing tackles. When that's happening, something is clearly amiss.
Brief Look Ahead
Week 12 - vs. Jacksonville - The Jaguars pulled out a last second win over the Buffalo Bills and continue their bizarre run, as they now stand 6-4. I'm amazed how well they've played. This is a home game, but the 49ers are going to have their work cut out for them. The run defense has really struggled, and Maurice Jones-Drew could do some bad things if it doesn't improve soon.