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49ers vs. Packers: The Frustration Of 53 Seconds

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Fooch's Note: Ironically enough, as I was writing this the Raiders tried to make something happen with 1:16 left and McFadden fumbled the ball. Different situation given the score, but still kinda funny.

There was a whole lot to be frustrated about in today's game, whether it was the bad tackling or some of the poor offensive play-calling. The 49ers seemed to be in the game in the first half and then they found a way to get absolutely steam-rolled by the Packers in the second half. The Packers made some adjustments and it was pretty much all over.

One small thing that frustrated me as much as anything was Mike Singletary's decision to run out the final 53 seconds on the clock to close out the first half. The 49ers had cut the Packers lead to 14-13 on a 66-yard catch and run by Vernon Davis and then forced a 33 second three and out by the Green Bay Packers. They had two timeouts left and were starting on their own 17 yard line. On the first play they ran a draw that gained a quick 11 yards and then got the timeout with 46 seconds left. Given the positioning I can live with a quick draw to start. It gives Troy Smith some room to work and maybe even loosens up the Packers defense a little bit. A late half score, even if just three points, could have been huge for momentum.

And then the 49ers ran Westbrook twice up the middle and ran out the clock. Huh?

This is not the first time this season that we've seen the 49ers elect to run out the clock with a decent chunk of change left to play. I can understand some concern about turning the ball over and giving up more Packers points. At the same time, when you're on the road and a huge underdog, don't you have to take more chances? It comes across, to me at least, as if Mike Singletary is coaching not to lose rather than coaching to win. I suppose if Troy Smith had thrown a pick I might very well be complaining about not running out the clock. I don't think I would, but you never know.

The point being is that this really struck me as a playing not to lose decision and a lack of killer instinct that has been somewhat glaring in 2010. When you're on the road and have hung close and have a chance to get some more points, at this point in the season don't you have to get greedy? Considering the team was going to remain in the divisional race even with a loss, is it really worth leaving some potential points on the field?

I'd argue It's decisions like this as much as anything else that are what actually cause me to lose confidence in the coaching. There are plenty of reasons to complain about the coaching, but this right now is one of the truly frustrating reasons.