Ahhh, so that's what a loss feels like. The 49ers entered Thanksgiving 9-1 and will head home for a few days rest at 9-2 after being on the receiving end of a butt-whupping. The game was extremely close through the first two and a half quarters, but in the third and fourth quarter, the Ravens handled their business.
This game was disappointing in most aspects, but the apparent lack of in-game adjustments and the poor play of the offensive line are the two biggest concerns coming out of week 12. When your quarterback gets sacked nine times, it is safe to say the offense failed to adjust to the Ravens pass rush. The lowlight of the evening was when Alex Smith was called for intentional grounding after four Ravens basically had a jail-break pass rush with no blitz mixed in. The 49ers could not stop the Ravens pass rush the entire game and it cost them.
The offensive line was just brutal tonight. It's as simple as that. The game-planning could have been better altered, but even still, the offensive line was not pretty. And it really didn't matter who we were discussing. Alex Smith was running for his life most of the night. You're not going to get a consistent passing attack going when your QB can't set up and fire passes away.
There was a lot of discussion about the officiating. There were some questionable calls, but the 49ers execution and play-calling cost them a lot more than any poor officiating. I do think Tarell Brown had a little too much hand on Torrey Smith. I do think Alex Smith did intentionally ground the ball late in the game. The first call was a bit ticky-tack and probably doesn't get called in San Francisco, but it is my understanding you cannot get that physical down the field in the current NFL. As for the latter call, I was more annoyed by the amount of time it took to actually throw the flag.
If you wanted to take some positives from the game, David Akers bounced back in a big way from his Week 11 struggles. He nailed 45- and 52-yard field goals. He remains absolutely money for the most part.
The 49ers rush defense held up again, particularly with a great stop inside their own five to prevent the Ravens from getting a red zone touchdown. Although the rush defense was excellent, it came at the expense of the pass defense and pass rush. The Ravens attacked the 49ers zone early and absolutely blew up that zone all day long. They really didn't get much in the way of deep passes, but they were eating up those 7-13 yard passes all night long.
As they were hitting all these passes, it was frustrating to not see more blitzing. It might have opened things on the back end, but if Flacco was going to keep picking apart the defense in the zones, is it really that bad an idea to try something else? There had to be something better they could have done, right?
The 49ers now sit at 9-2 with five games remaining on the season. They get ten days until the St. Louis Rams come to town in week 13. I'd imagine the players will get a couple days off to recover and the coaching staff will figure out (or just observe) what went wrong.
It was a disappointing showing tonight, but it's not the end of the world (in spite of what some might think). The team has time to get Bruce Miller back and hopefully get Adam Snyder 100%. Sorry Chilo and Moran, I think your days are numbered in San Francisco. Those two personnel issues do not explain all the struggles Thanksgiving night, but getting Miller and Snyder completely healthy will be a big step in the right direction. Hopefully the coaching staff can realize they need to make more adjustments in this league against the best teams.
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. It wasn't a fun close to the evening, but that's life. Most teams give up a stinker at some point. Hopefully this qualifies as the 49ers last stinker of the year. The 49ers will be back in week 13 looking to bounce back. We can relax and enjoy some Sunday football with no 49ers pressure and get ready for the Rams in ten days.