Last week I focused on the 49ers week 3 and 4 games against Kansas City and Atlanta respectively. As what was a continuing theme throughout the season the 49ers showed up in one game, and not the other.
Today, I will be focusing on San Francisco's week five home game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Prefacing this article, I must say that this may have been the most entertaining game of the first three quarters of the season. It had everything; a Mike Singletary melt-down, Alex Smith acting as the hero, then the goat. The game had San Francisco down by two scores in the 4th and the crowd chanting for David Carr, yes that Davis Carr.
It also must be noted that this is the game that I lost all confidence in Mike Singletary, and came to the conclusion that he would not and could not return for the 2011 season.
The Philadelphia Eagles were coming off of a 17-12 loss to the Washington Redskins in Kevin Kolb's first game replacing the injured Michael Vick. San Francisco, on the other hand, was coming off a devastating loss on the road against Atlanta. Something had to give in this game. Could San Francisco salvage a season that started with high expectations? Or would Philadelphia find their QB of the future?
The game could not have started any better for the 49ers. Ted Ginn Jr returned the David Akers kick-off 44 yards to near mid-field, this time no penalty to call the play back. San Francisco started with three consecutive Frank Gore runs that ended up giving them a 1st down inside Eagle territory. After a great Nate Allen open field tackle on Frank Gore for a loss of four yards. On 3rd down and 10, Alex Smith would hit Dominique Zeigler for 20 yards inside the red zone. Three plays later, Alex Smith would hit Michael Crabtree up the middle for a seven yard TD pass; great throw by Smith. (7-0 San Francisco)
Philadelphia's initial possession would see a Kevin Kolb pass to Brent Celek go for 32 yards to the 49ers 30 on the 3rd play of the drive. Just a footnote, Shawntae Spencer looked completely lost on the play, and the 49ers paid dearly for that. Takeo Spikes would then make two outstanding plays against his former team. The first, tackling Mike Bell for just a one yard gain, and the second fighting off blockers to tackle Lesean McCoy short of the 1st down on a nicely set up screen pass. However, a direct snap to Desean Jackson on the next play would net 8 yards and a first down; the 49ers were caught completely off guard on that play. Philadelphia would not see another 3rd down on the possession, and on 2nd and goal from the 8, Kevin Kolb would hit Brent Celek for a TD after both Ray McDonald and Manny Lawson missed on sack opportunities. (7-7 Tie)
After a surprising Frank Gore fumble and Ernie Sims recovery the Eagles would set up shop at San Francisco's 45. End of 1stQuarter
The 49ers two best defensive players, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith, would come up big. San Francisco would hold Philadelphia to a FG (10-7 Philadelphia)
The 49ers next possession would end on a bad pass by Alex Smith, who was going deep for Ted Ginn. However, Philadelphia cornerback, Dimitri Patterson would only return the ball to the Eagles own 3 yard line; giving the 49ers field possession. The Eagles would push the ball to their own 21 before being forced to punt.
Alex Smith would target Josh Morgan on the initial play of the next drive, but a good play by Quintin Mikell broke it up. On 2nd down, Frank Gore would lose four yards running to the left. On 3rd down the 49ers decided against attempting anything worthwhile, instead, deciding on a run from Frank Gore out of the gun. He would gain nine yards, but not a first down.
Desean Jackson returns the Andy Lee punt 22 yards to near mid-field (bad return coverage by S.F.) Kevin Kolb would then hit Jackson for four yards and 22 yards on consecutive plays, setting the Eagles up inside San Francisco's 30. On the very next play the 49ers rush defense would completely break down as Shady McCoy would take it 29 yards up the middle for a TD. A combination of missed tackles and bad angles led to the easy TD. (17-7 Philadelphia)
The 49ers were now in a desperate situation, needing some type of momentum heading into the half. And, they would get it. Running a spread formation, Alex Smith would hit passes of 17,11, and 22 consecutively setting the 49ers up inside Philadelphia's 40. After an awkward looking incompletion to Frank Gore, and a short pass to Vernon Davis, the 49ers would be in a 3rd and long situation. Each team traded off 5 yard penalties and Smith would miss on deep pass to the left sideline setting up 4th down. Joe Nedney came on and connected on a 50 yard FG, giving the 49ers the momentum they needed heading into the 2nd half. Or so you would think! On Philadelphia's 2nd play with less than 40 seconds remaining in the half, Manny Lawson would sack Kevin Kolb and force a fumble. The 49ers were not in a situation to cut further into the lead. However, it would not be. Joe Nedney, seconds after hitting from 50, would miss wide right on a 40 yarder. (17-10 Philadelphia) End of 2nd Quarter
Philadelphia would drive the initial possession of the 3rd quarter to the 49ers 33 before the drive stalled on a nice play by Nate Clements, breaking up a deep pass to Jeremy Maclin. Philadelphia would be forced to punt because of windy conditions
The 49ers could not take advantage after driving the ball inside Philadelphia's side of the field. Once again, because of another Frank Gore fumble. Not much else would happen in the 3rd quarter, so I am going to move on to a very eventful 4th. (17-10 Philadelphia) End of 3rd Quarter
Like clockwork, Alex Smith would hit Josh Morgan for 16 yards to the Eagles 40 yard line on the 1st play of the 4th quarter. After a 5 yard run by Frank Gore, Alex Smith would get sacked Brandon Graham and Quinton Mikell would take the rock 52 yards for a TD. If you want to re-live the horror of that play click here on the 1:55 mark. I still have no idea what Alex Smith was thinking on that play, I really don't. (24-10 Philadelphia)
At the 13:00 minute mark of the 4th quarter the drama really began. Mike Singletary and Alex Smith would get in a heated conversation on the sideline, David Carr would be warming up and the fans started to chant "we want Carr, we want Carr", words that are just not in my vocabulary. However, the intense argument seemed to light a fire under Alex Smith.
After both teams went three and out, the 49ers would look to somehow salvage the game and the season. With 11:10 remaining in the game and San Francisco down 2 TDs, they would begin the next drive at their 31. Alex Smith would get into a groove and complete six consecutive passes, topping the drive off with a 7 yards TD pass to Vernon Davis (24-17 Philadelphia)
Philadelphia would drive down the field taking up valuable time on the next possession. However, a great play by Takeo Spikes on a pass intended for Brent Celek would force a 45 yard FG attempt by David Akers; he would hit it putting Philadelphia up by 10 (27-17 Philadelphia)
Once again Alex Smith would get into a groove, completing five consecutive passes to start the next drive, three of them to Michael Crabtree. And, on 3rd and goal from the 1 with just over two minutes remaining Alex Smith would connect with Frank Gore for a TD, bringing the 49ers within a FG. At one point, Smith completed 11 consecutive passes. (27-24 Philadelphia)
The 49ers defense came to play on the next drive when all decks were on hand. Justin Smith would tackle Shady McCoy for a loss of three, and Dashon Goldson would come up huge. He would stop McCoy short of the 1st down on 2nd and long, and break up a 3rd down pass intended for Brent Celek. The 49ers defense did their job, and now the 49ers offense had the opportunity to tie or win the game
With 1:28 left in the game Alex Smith would hit Josh Morgan, but the 49ers receiver would be tackled short of the line of scrimmage on a nice play by Darryl Tapp. On 2nd and 13, Alex Smith would hit Vernon Davis on a seem rout splitting the Eagles secondary for 27 yards to mid-field. After two consecutive incomplete passes, do you want to guess what happened next? If you said Alex Smith would throw a dead duck into the hands of Eagle defender Trevard Lindley, you would be correct. A Kevin Kolb kneel down, and the game was over (27-24 Philadelphia) End of Game
Post Game Quotes From Niners Community
"Successful college coaches generally do not succeed at the NFL level. Yes some do find success, but often those coaches (see Tom Coughlin as example #1) had a decent amount of NFL experience mixed in. Jim Harbaugh currently has two years as a Raiders offensive assistant under his belt. Yes he played the QB position, but I just don't see that as enough justification to roll the dice on the college flavor of the month" (Fooch on Harbaugh 10/11/10)
This had to be the most frustrating, albeit, entertaining 49er game I watched this season. At times San Francisco looked like a 10 win football team, other times they looked like they couldn't beat my Novato High School JV team of the 2000's. There was absolutely no consistency mixed up with a little bit fandom that went over the top, and nicely squeezed in with a little bit of Mike Singletary craziness. On a serious note, however, this was the game that I decided the 2010 season would continue to be the most frustrating season I had ever seen as a 49er fan.
There was some good in this game. For example, the 49ers did put up 364 yards and over 20 first downs. They also want 8/13 on 3rd down conversions, not bad. The Manny Lawson play at the end of the 1st half was nice, as was Michael Crabtree's performance. I also noticed that the 49ers had two 100 yard receivers in the aforementioned Crabtree, and Vernon Davis.
I still love to use Edgy's quote "Oh Boy" that pretty much sums it up. Where to start? The 49ers had the ball in Philadelphia territory a total of 5 times in which they came away with 0 points. This means that five separate times the 49ers threatened and came away with nothing; that is just stupid. You cannot have 5 turnovers in the NFL and expect to win, especially against a pretty good football team. Five possessions inside Philadelphia's territory that resulted on 0 points, and five turnovers; that is winning football. Let me give you a little laundry list here, just to end my suffering quicker. Double digit penalties, 2 fumbles from your best offensive player (Frank Gore), Alex Smith sacked four times and hit five times, a home team crowd that sounded downright defensive, a coach blowing up on the sidelines, and chants of David Carr. Does that sum it up enough for you?
Michael Crabtree had nine receptions for over 100 yards and a TD. He looked like the player San Francisco drafted him to be. Takeo Spikes was all over the field against his former team, he played great football all game long and ended up with 8 tackles. Justin Smith was awesome with 4 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 QB hits and 2 sacks; way to fill up the stat board my man. And, even Dashon Goldson came up with some nice plays, especially with a couple breakups.
Frank Gore wasn't himself all game long, I have no idea what it was; he just wasn't good. Gore fumbled twice, both times inside Philadelphia's side of the field. When you best player has a game like that, chances of you winning are slim. Shawntae Spencer was just horrible in this game. He continued to take bad angles, couldn't cover if his life depended on it and was lost throughout. Anyone else notice the "deer in the headlights" look he had on occasion? Alex Smith, despite leading the 49ers back into the game and completing 11 consecutive passes, cost them when it really mattered. Some may defend the dead duck he threw up at the end, but there is no defense to the fumble he had the resulted in a Philadelphia TD.
Game Changing Plays
See above, the 49ers were near mid-field in a one score game, and Alex Smith decided to do his best drunk Keifer Sutherland impersonation. Seriously, I still have no idea what he was doing. And, it pretty much cost the 49ers the game
I pretty much said it all above. The 49ers couldn't help but kick themselves in the butt all game long. Inconsistency is a word that I do not use lightly, but it was all over the field in this game. I know that I sound like a broken record, however, 5 different possessions inside Philadelphia's side of the field with 0 points, and five turnovers. You tell me that is going to happen before the game starts then there would be no reason for me to watch it.
Alex Smith: 25/39-309 Yards- 3 TD- 2INT- 2 Sacks (92.8 Rating)
Frank Gore: 18 Rush- 52 Yards- 2.9 AVG- 2 Fumbles- 2 Lost
Michael Crabtree: 9 Receptions- 105 Yards- TD
Vernon Davis: 5 Receptions- 104 Yards- TD
Kevin Kolb: 21/31- 253 Yards- 1 TD- 0 INT- 4 Sacks (103.3 Rating)
LeSean McCoy: 18 Rushes- 92 Yards- 5.1 AVG- TD 5 Receptions- 46 Yards
Jeremy Maclin: 6 Receptions- 95 Yards
Brent Celek: 3 Receptions- 47 Yards- TD
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||3-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||1||0|