Last week i covered the first two games of the 49ers 2010 season, and they couldn't have been any different. The 49ers were flat and played as poorly as possible in the opening game loss to the mediocre Seattle Seahawks. The next week San Francisco hosted the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, and lost on a last second FG.
The 49ers week three matchup was on the road against the surprising 2-0 Kansas City Chiefs, who ended up winning the AFC West. In fact, Kansas City was the last remaining undefeated team in 2010. Going into the season this game seemed like one that the 49ers could mark in the "W" column, but much like the rest of the 2010 season, it just didn't turn out that way. This game was pretty much unwatchable from a 49er fans point of view.
After the jump I will take a look back at this game, and give my opinion on exactly what did or did not happen. Note to Fooch, if you see a man hanging from the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow morning with a sign saying "Why fooch? Why!!", just a heads up, it is me.....
Our San Francisco 49ers came into this week 3 match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs with a nice amount optimism, even after starting the season 0-2. This optimism was because of the previous weeks game against New Orleans, in which San Francisco completely outplayed the defending Super Bowl Champions, only to lose because of being -4 in the turnover battle. Kansas City, meanwhile, came into the game at 2-0 after wins against San Diego and Cleveland.
Kansas City won the coin toss and elected to receive, however they didn't do much with the first possession of the game. After an initial 16 yard pass from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe, San Francisco forced a Chiefs punt without surrendering a another 1st down. The 49ers then started their initial drive with two Frank Gore runs, one netting 5 and the other a single yard. On third down, Alex Smith hit Vernon Davisfor 10 yards and a 1st down; a nice pass by Smith putting it right on target. The 49ers drive eventually stalled and Andy Lee was forced to punt on 4th-and 1.
As with their 1st drive Matt Cassel connected with a 1st down, this time a 15 yard pass to Tony Moeaki. Kansas City picked up another 1st down before being forced to punt. A real nice play by Parys Haralson forced the punt. The ensuing 49ers drive brought on a 3rd and 3 when Alex Smith hit Frank Gore on a short screen to the right. Gore turned up field for 31 yards and a 49ers 1st down. However, in what would be a continuing theme in this game the 49ers kicked themselves in the proverbial arse. Chilo Rachal was called for a holding penalty forcing a 3rd and 20. Needless to say the 49ers didn't pick up a 1st down and were forced to punt.
Kansas City picked up a 1st down on a Jamaal Charles run to the left side, horrible tackling by Dashon Goldsonenabled the run. On the next play Casey Weigmann was called for a holding, thus eliminating a 23 yard Charles run. After two consecutive Cassel incomplete passes, the 49ers could not get off the field on 3rd and long. Jamaal Charles took the delay up the middle and broke multiple 49er tackles before being tackled after a gain of 24. End of the 1st Quarter (0-0)
Kansas City went for it on 4th and short from midfield, and a direct snap to Jamaal Charles resulted in a 1st down. A few plays later with the Chiefs Driving, Shawntae Spencerintercepted a Cassel pass ending the threat. However, just three plays later Alex Smith telegraphed a pass to Michael Crabtree, the ball was tipped into the air and picked by Brandon Flowers. A veteran QB cannot make a mistake like that. On the very next play a Cassel screen to Dexter McClusterwent for 31 yards and a TD on a misdirection(7-0 KC)
After A Gore 4 yard run and Smith incomplete pass the 49ers were in yet another 3rd down situation. This time, Alex Smith would hang in the pocket and hit Michael Crabtree for 12 yards and a 1st down. On the next play Smith would once again hook up with Crabtree, this time for 22 yards and another 1st down. However, the 49ers drive would stall after a hectic 3rd down play in which Smith, Crabtree, Gore and then Smith touched the ball. Joe Nedneywould knock in a 51 yard FG, putting the 49ers on the board (7-3 KC)
Kansas City would miss a field goal and the 49ers would go three and out on the next couple of drives, the score remaining 7-3 Kansas City. Javier Arenas would return an Andy Lee punt 19 yards, setting Kansas City up outside of their own 40 with just over a minute remaining in the half. The 49ers would go into an infamous soft zone coverage and Cassel would pick them apart for 44 yards on 4 completions. Ryan Succop would hit on a 32 yard FG as time expired in the 1st half (10-3 KC)
The 49ers would once again kick themselves in the butt on the initial drive of the 2nd half. Tamba Hali would break through the pass protection and sack Alex Smith for a loss of 5 yards. After an incomplete pass to Vernon Davis, Alex Smith would connect with Dominique Ziegler for 19 yards and a 1st down. It looks like the 49ers are driving, however, it wouldn't be. Rookie offensive tackle, Anthony Davis, would be called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after getting in a skirmish following the play. This would set the 49ers back, and they wouldn't recover. Another bone-headed play, and another 49ers punt.
Both Kansas City and San Francisco would go 3 and out on their next possessions, and the game remained a one score difference, until.... The 49ers were caught completely flat footed by a Kansas City trick play. Dexter McCluster would take the direct snap with Matt Cassel lined up a WR, McCluster would run laterally to the left side, handing the ball off to Matt Cassel who would throw deep left to Dwayne Bowe.. see the play here at the 1:26 mark). Once again Dashon Goldson was caught on a deep route and gave up a huge 45 yard TD. (17-3 KC)
The 49ers next possession was just plain ugly. Alex Smith would be called for intentional grounding on a play that he had two players wide open, however, the protection broke down and Smith panicked. On 3rd down and 9, Alex Smith would be sacked once again forcing yet another 49ers punt
The 49ers would let Kansas City put the game away by converting on two big 3rd downs. A coverage breakdown allowed Jamaal Charles to gain 22 on 3rd and 4. A couple plays later the middle of San Francisco's defense broke down letting Tony Moeaki score on an 18 yard TD from Matt Cassel (24-3 KC)
No need to re-live the agony of the 4th quarter in too much detail. But, the 49ers would convert on a 4th down on their next drive and bring the ball inside the Chiefs 30, before stalling. On 4th and 8, Alex Smith had a wide open Vernon Davis, but didn't see him. Instead, Smith decided to throw to Dominique Zeigler, the pass dropped incomplete and the drive ended with 0 points on the board for San Francisco.
Kansas City would add another TD on a 3 yard run by Thomas Jones and San Francisco would score a TD on the final play of the game with a pass of 12 yards from Alex Smith to Josh Morgan. The game finally comes to an end with the score (31-10 KC)
Post Game Quotes from Niners Community
"If you lose by 4 Tds you are embarrassed you lose by 450 and you have a story for your children. You can say I watched that game where we lost by 450 tds it was legit" (Manraj7, 9/26/10)
Now Smith has no more excuses for his mediocre QB play. It’s all on him now. (Drummer, 9/27/10)\
"Well after I got back here I went home, and I said you know what, I'm just going to go back and look at the film. So, I came back here and basically spent the night here looking at film. And just kind of looked at the overall view of where we are, and looking at where we need to go, and felt that I needed to make the change. And so that's really all it was." (Mike Singletary on changing his mind and firing Jimmy Raye, 9/27/10)
This could have been the most unwatchable 49er game of the season. I really didn't expect a let down after almost pulling off an upset against New Orleans the previous week. However, they 49ers just didn't come to play in this game, and Kansas City did; it pretty much is that simple. Navorro Bowman, Dashon Goldson and Shawntae Spencer had horrible games. Missed tackles, not converting on 3rd downs, falling for trick play(s), being completely out coached, and not making changes during the half. It really is a laundry list of mistakes and errors by the 49ers players and coaching staff. The players did not execute, and the coaches didn't put them in a great opportunity to execute. Head were rolling and Jimmy Raye was fired; but as the rest of the season shows, he was pretty much a microcosm of a greater issue.
The Good: Can you really come out of a 21 point loss with any positives? I really don't think so, but i will try. Joe Nedney hit a 51 yard FG, that is good right? And, Andy Lee averaged over 47 yards a punt. Oh, and Frank Gore had almost 150 yards of total offense. Other than that, not much to see here.
The Negatives: Oh boy, taking a quote from Edggy. Where to start? Missed tackles, missed tackles, missed tackles, oh and......missed tackles. Poor execution, dropped passes, telegraphed passes, bone-headed penalties etc... The 49ers went 4/17 on 3rd downs, and Kansas City was 50% in such situations. The 49ers gave up over 450 yards of offense and over 200 rushing. The 49ers got absolutely no pressure as Justin Smith was pretty much absent from the boxscore. The 49ers averaged 4 yards per play, and Kansas City, nearly 7. By my estimates Kansas City received three 1st downs on 49er penalties, and San Francisco offensive penalties caused an abundance of 2nd/3rd and longs.
Standout Performance(s): Frank Gore caught 9 passes for over 100 yards on 13 targets. When a RB averages about 8 yards a target, he is doing a nice job on the receiving end. Dwayne Bowe had two catches, and the one long reception was on Dashon Goldson, not Nate Clements. Overall, Clements played a real solid game. He was all over the field with 9 tackles (2 for loss). Other than that, there really isn't anything you can point to on the 49ers side that was a stand out performance.
Ugly Perfomance(s): Where to start? Alex Smith looked completely confused in the pocket, maybe it was the pressure Kansas City put on him, but his indecisiveness wasn't acceptable for a veteran QB. Additionally, Smith missed a few open receivers and completed just barely over 50 percent of his passes. The offensive line was absolutely horrible in this game, Anthony Davis was a wreck throughout. Smith was sacked 5 times, and hit another 10 times, and Gore averaged less than 3 yards per carry. Ugly performance on the offensive line goes to the rookie Davis who also had a bone-headed penalty, although both players were to blame (Kansas City's Shaun Smith was actually fined 10K for dirty play). Dashon Goldson was continuously lost all game long, he gave up big play after big play. And, for the second consecutive game appeared not to understand the offensive scheme pre-snap, something that an NFL calibur starting safety has to get. Michael Crabtree had the bal thrown to him 8 times, but came away with just 3 receptions and 37 yards, not a good ratio for a player that should be the 49ers #1 WR. I could continue with another four players or so, but i will end with the performance of the 49er coaching staff. The defense didn't change scheme after Kansas City proved it could move the ball at will, the offensive play calling bordered on horrible and Mike Singletary found a scape goat in the name of Jimmy Raye.
Game Changing Plays: It was still a one score game when Kansas City ran a successful trick play and made Dashon Goldson look like a cat with his head in a 12 pack. That was the game changing play, in a game where the 49ers didn't deserve to even be that close so late in the game.
Conclusion: What to say? I think I can sum it up in a sentence or two, if nothing else just to end my agony. One of the most horrible perfomances i have seen from a 49er team in recent memory. They did not come to play, they were flat, the coaching was horrible and the 49ers deserved the end result; a 21 point loss to fall to 0-3.
Scoring Plays: Dexter McCluster 31 yard pass from Matt Cassel (7-0 KC, 10:52 2nd), Joe Nedney 51 yard FG (7-3 KC, 7:30 2nd), Ryan Succop 32 yard FG (10-3 KC, 0:00 2nd), Dwayne Bowe 45 yard pass from Matt Cassel (17-3 KC, 9:21 3rd), Tony Moeaki 18 yards from Matt Cassel (24-3 KC, 1:25 3rd), Thomas Jones 3 yard run (31-3 KC, 3:27 4th), Josh Morgan 13 yards from Alex Smith (31-10 KC, 0:00 4th)
Alex Smith: 23/42- 232 Yards- TD- INT- 5 Sacks (68.8 Rating)
Frank Gore: 15 Rush- 43 Yards- 2.9 AVG 9 Receptions- 102 Yards
Dominique Zeigler: 3 Receptions- 38 Yards
Matt Cassel: 16/27- 250 Yards- 3 TD- INT- 0 Sacks (111.7 Rating)
Jamaal Charles: 12 Rush- 97 Yards- 8.1 AVG
Thomas Jones: 19 Rush- 95 Yards- 5.0 AVG- TD
Dexter McCluster: 3 Receptions- 69 Yards- TD
Dwayne Bowe: 2 Receptions- 61 Yards- TD
Red Zone (Made-Att)
Defensive / Special Teams TDs