I think that simple headline pretty much sums up this game. For every good thing that happened, about ten bad things happened. Alex Smith pretty roll out and touchdown to Jason Hill? Let's follow that with back to back interceptions early in late-game drives. Stop Chris Johnson on 2nd down? Let's give up a touchdown on the friggin option!
Before anybody points to the last touchdown, I'll say that I can't give it a whole lot of credence given that the team was down two touchdowns. It's great that Smith was able to move the team down the field on a host of short passes, but it's just not enough. I'm not even going to say it's something to build on. The previous two games saw Alex Smith do more good than bad, and maybe start to head in the right direction in terms of his career. However, we can say that this game showed some of the worst of Alex Smith. He had a good drive, but when you cover it up with so much suck, the good just doesn't matter. I'd be one of the first to bark about the good drives. He looked good on some of his throws. But the next step in any development is showing actual consistency. At the very least mix in really good with some average play. Smith mixes in some fairly good with some god-awful.
After the thread I've got some thoughts on Jimmy Raye and the fast-approaching battle with Chicago...
Throughout the game threads the biggest complaints seemed to be about play-calling. I do agree there were times that the play-calling seemed off (those short outs on the last touchdown drive, for instance). However, I actually liked the way things were mixed up a bit. We still had runs up the middle, but the team mixed in some early screens, mixed in a couple of nice little play-action pitches to Gore, and otherwise seemed to actually try and get creative. The problem came down to execution. Two of Alex Smith's interceptions came to receivers who were covered and led to pop-ups that were easy to grab. The third interception saw a safety just snipe in and pick the ball. Smith has to see that safety.
I realize many folks will disagree with this, but I just think this goes beyond play-calling. Raye does mix passes and runs, but the play-calling simple doesn't matter when you can't execute it properly.
Thursday vs. Chicago
As miserable as this game has left us, the team now has a short week to prepare for a Chicago Bears squad that was smacked around by the NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers host the Bears on the NFL Network's 2009 premier game. I can only imagine how excited the NFL Network is after both teams crapped the bed today.
We're now looking at a 3-5 49ers squad hosting a 4-4 Bears squad, both of whom are desperate for a win. If the 49ers had won today I'd say a win over Chicago is fairly likely. Even with the Bears big loss to Arizona, I now really have no idea who will win this game. Really, it might come down to who actually WANTS to win this game.
So the one positive to come out of this game besides a fairly solid Gore game and Jason Hill emerging from the dead? We get to move on to a new game very quickly. If the 49ers can win this Thursday it might take some of the bad taste out of our mouths after today's loss. I'm not saying as win Thursday means the team will make it to the playoffs, but at least it might get some of the negativity out. People are perfectly entitled to be negative, and it's reasonable to be negative right now. However, I think most people would be happy having something to be happy about. Maybe we can get that this Thursday.