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San Francisco 49ers 2010 Season in Review: Week 7, AT Carolina Panthers

This was not a good sign for those of us that were rooting for San Francisco against Carolina. Not a good sign at all!!!
This was not a good sign for those of us that were rooting for San Francisco against Carolina. Not a good sign at all!!!

After the 49ers got their 1st victory of the season against their cross-bay rival, Oakland Raiders, it was time for them to get on a roll. Despite being 1-5, the 49ers were within a couple games of the division lead in a weak NFC West.

What better way to start a winning streak, right? Carolina was winless on the season, and had looked real bad up to that point in the 2010 season. How would the 49ers respond following their 1st win? Could they get that much elusive road victory? Or would they revert back to old form?

Carolina won the toss and would start their initial drive at their own 35 yard line. DeAngelo Williams took the first carry off of the right side for one yard, a nice play by Justin Smith kept Williams from breaking it. On the very next play Williams would run to the opposite side and pick up ten yards and a first. After two minimum gains, Carolina would be attempting their first 3rd down of the game, however, it was not to be, as Matt Moore would miss short right to Steve Smith.

Following an Alex Smith incomplete pass deep to Vernon Davis, Frank Gore would take the ball directly behind Mike Iupati and plow for 20 yards to Carolina's 46. On the very next play Smith would roll right and hit Vernon Davis for a long 53 yard gain, Charles Godfrey would tackle Davis from behind at the 1. Smith to Davis would be the connection for the 1 yard TD on the next play giving the 49ers the lead. (7-0 San Francisco)

The 49ers would let Carolina convert on two consecutive third down on their next possession. The ladder coming on a short pass to David Gettis, who broke two tackles to get the 1st. Carolina's drive would ultimately stall after a great play by Justin Smith, who stopped DeAngelo Williams for negative yards on third down. John Casey would connect on a 47 yard FG to put Carolina on the board (7-3 San Francisco)

San Francisco began their next drive at their own 20 when Frank Gore would carry the ball four consecutive times, the first three resulting in a total of 11 yards and a 1st down. A couple plays later and 3rd-and 2 from their own 39, Alex Smith would hit Michael Crabtree on a short 3 yard slant for a 1st down; the 49ers drive continued. Another 3rd and short came up a couple plays later, however, Charles Johnson would break up a short pass to Ted Ginn forcing a 49er punt.

The 1st quarter would come to an end with an 8 yard run by DeAngelo Williams (7-3 San Francisco, End of 1st Quarter)

Carolina would be forced to 3-and-out, as Dashon Goldson made a great play on Williams. San Francisco would begin their next drive just inside their 40, but quickly lose possession on another 3-and-out.

An Andy Lee punt was then returned 32 yards by Steve Smith near mid-field, and after a Matt Moore completion to David Gettis Carolina was in business at the 49ers 32. However, Nate Clements would force a DeAngelo Williams fumble that was recovered by Parys Haralson at the 44. What a great play by Clements.

Alex Smith would begin the next drive with three consecutive completions. The first to Frank Gore for 22 yards and the other two going Crabtree's way for 7 and 3 yards respectively. The 49ers appeared destined for a TD as Frank Gore ran up the middle for 12 yards to the Panther 12. The 49ers drive, however, would falter and Joe Nedney connected on a 24 yard FG (10-3 San Francisco)

Carolina would get it going on their next possession. Matt Moore would hit Steve Smith 21 yards. There was a missed coverage somewhere as Patrick Willis had to drag Smith down. A couple plays later on 3rd down Taylor Mays would be called for a pass interference penalty , and a couple plays later Will James would also be called for the same. Side note: Doesn't the defense have as much of a right to the ball as the offense? Anyway, Carolina would have the ball at the 49ers 34. Eventually, Matt Moore would hit David Gettis for 18 yards and a TD (10-10 Tie)

Both team would mount much of a rally on their final drives of the half and the 49ers would go into the locker room tied

The 3rd quarter could not have started out any worse for the 49ers. Vernon Davis would be called for a holding penalty on the 2nd play of the drive setting the 49ers back inside their own 10. Then on the very next play Charles Johnson would sack Alex Smith for a loss of two. Absolutely horrible blocking by Anthony Dixon enabled the sack, and Smith was injured. Little did we know that he wouldn't be back for a couple weeks. On 3rd and 28, David Carr would come in and throw a wobbling duck incomplete to Vernon Davis.

Andy Lee would boom a 53 yard punt from his own end zone, giving the 49ers defense some breathing room. After an initial 1st down, the 49ers defense would clamp down and force a long John Kasey FG attempt. Casey promptly hit it from 55 yards to give Carolina their first lead of the game (13-10 Carolina)

Do we really need to get into the rest of the game? Well, I guess so. But, suffice to say David Carr was now leading the 49ers offense. After Frank Gore ran for three yards on 1st down, Carr connect with Gore on a screen. On 3rd down and 6 Carr would miss on a deep right pass to Ted Ginn. Ginn had a step, but Carr missed him. The 49ers were forced to punt.

Neither team was doing much on offense now. On 3rd down Matt Moore would connect with Brandon LaFell for 13 and a first down. But, a real dumb play by Steve Smith would set Carolina back to mid-field and bring up a 3rd-and- 23. Moore would hit Smith for a 1st down, but Shawntae Spencer would force and recover a fumble Smith, stalling the drive.

With David Carr in the game Frank Gore knew that he had to step up big time, and that he did. On the first play of the drive Gore would run on a sweep left for 19 yards to Carolina's 40. The 49ers would gain another first down on a Gore run and Morgan reverse, thus giving SF the ball inside Carolina's 30. On 1st down Gore would run the ball up the middle for 11 yards; more great blocking by Mike Iupati. The 49ers would get negative yards on two consecutive rushes, one by Brian Westbrook and the other Gore. On 3rd down a David Carr pass was tipped and the 49ers were forced into a FG situation (13-10 Carolina, End of 3rd Quarter)

Joe Nedney would hit a 38 yard FG to tie the game up (13-13 Tie)

Carolina would start at their own 14 after great punt return coverage by Taylor Mays. A couple of players later, on 3rd down, Matt Moore would connect with Brandon LaFell for 15 yards and a 1st down. However, what came next was absolutely amazing. Matt Moore being pressured by Travis LaBoy would throw the ball right into the hands of Ray McDonald, who stomped 31 yards into Carolina's end zone for a TD. Great blocking by Takeo Spikes also helped McDonald get into the end zone. (20-13 San Francisco)

Carolina would net only 17 yards on their next drive, setting the 49ers up with an opportunity to put the game away. But, San Francisco could not get out of their own way. Frank Gore would lose four yards on two consecutive plays, and Josh Morgan was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty, forcing the 49ers to a 4th down and close to 30. Bad blocking on the two Gore runs, and a bone-headed Josh Morgan play led to that situation.

On Carolina's second play of the next drive David Gettis would burn Nate Clements on the outside for 39 yards, but the Panthers would fail on 4th down as Moore would fail to hit David Gettis in the end-zone. Turnover on Downs!

Derek Landri sacked David Carr on 1st down, and Frank Gore would gain 8 yards to bring up a 3rd down. But, instead of trying to pick up 7 and move the chains, David Carr went deep for Ted Ginn; the ball fell incomplete and the 49ers were forced to punt without taking much time off the clock.

Mike Singletary and Co. decided that it would be best to play soft zone coverage against Carolina with just over 4:00 left in the game, and it came back to burn the 49ers. Moore would connect on three consecutive passes, all underneath the zone coverage; but good enough for a Panthers 1st down. After an incomplete pass to James Stewart, Moore would hit Dante Rosario for 10 yards and a 1st down. NaVarro Bowman on coverage, again playing weak zone. On the next play Bowman would be called for illegal contact, setting Carolina up at the 49ers 30. After two consecutive short passes to Williams, Matt Moore would bait the 49ers into a short read, and then go up top to David Gettis for 23 yards and a TD; Shawntae Spencer was burned bad on the play. (20-20 Tie)

Who here had an idea what would happen next with Carr in the game? After two completed passes, David Carr would hit Richard Marshall in stride. The problem is that Marshall plays CB for the Carolina Panthers, not WR for the 49ers. Carolina would drive down the field, and hit a 37 yard GW FG with :29 remaining in the game. (23-20 Carolina, End of Regulation)

Post Game Quote From Niners Community

Well, just when I was wondering how the 49ers could find a new way to kick us in the junk, they do it (Fooch 10/24/11, opening sentence of post game thread)

A few reasons

They gave up drives for points after each Niners scoring drive. They played soft with 4-minutes left and a seven point lead. They allowed Carolina to reach FG range at the end. (SpurredOn, 10/24/11)

On what went wrong against the Panthers:

"Too many big plays. We weren't detailed enough in our coverages. We had some mix-ups on the offensive line. A few guys got hurt, so the continuity wasn't there. I guess to sum it up, too many mistakes to overcome." (Mike Singletary, 10/25/11)


The 49ers made plays to win the game, especially Ray McDonald and Frank Gore; however there were way too many mistakes, mental lapses and bad coaching strategies to win this game. The defense gave up nearly 400 yards to the worse offense in the NFL and were on the field way too long (over 36:00). San Francisco also committed 11 penalties, most of them mental lapses. My blood in boiling right now after watching the game again because this team was much better than Carolina, but that really doesn't matter. The minute that David Carr came into the game I knew we were doomed.

The Good

There was some good here, mainly individual performances. But, that will be reserved for standout performances. In reality, I don't see much good came out of this game from the team as a whole. The defense did hole Stewart and Williams to a total of 73 yards on 33 rushes, 2.2 AVG; that isn't too shabby. The 49ers were also +2 in turnover differential, uncharted area for them so far this season. Really, that is about it!!

The Bad

As referenced by the 11 penalties, two personal foul penalties, and completing only 44 percent of their passes, it wasn't a good game for the 49ers. Carolina held the ball for 13 minutes longer than the 49ers did, and ran 20 more plays. The 49ers defense couldn't get off the field on 3rd downs, as Carolina went nearly 50 percent in those situations. Matt Moore threw for over 300 yards, for only the 3rd time in his career, and two Carolina rookie Wide Receivers, David Gettis and Brandon LaFell, combined for 14 receptions, 216 yards and 2 TD.

Standout Performances

Frank Gore averaged over 5 yards per attempt and had over 160 total yards, but he didn't do it himself. Mike Iupati was great in the run game, well with the exception of a mix-up or two, something you expect from a rookie. I saw Iupati open up lane after lane for Gore, who took full advantage. Additionally, Aubrayo Franklin, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith played great; especially in the run. Willis finished with 11 tackles, 8 solo. Justin Smith had 8 tackles and 2 QB hits. As i have referenced before sacks do not mean everything; Smith was all over the Carolina backfield in this game.

Game Changing Plays

The David Carr interception sticks out in my mind, but there were way too many of these types of plays to single out one. Josh Morgan's personal foul penalty, broken coverage on the two long David Gettis completions, and Carr's inability to hit a wide open Ted Ginn. Take your pick, there were a lot of them. However, I would have to go with the play that Alex Smith got injured on. Anthony Dixon completely whiffed on a block, and it cost the 49ers the game. David Carr couldn't get anything going and Alex Smith looked good prior to the injury.


I had previously said that the Kansas City game represented my low for the 49ers 2010 season, but this game sticks in my mind even more. It was Carolina's first win of the season, a game they really didn't deserve to win. The 49ers game the game away in every possible way, and David Carr was simply atrocious. Stupid penalties, bone-headed plays, bad coaching, soft defense etc....


Alex Smith: 9/19-129 Yards- 1 TD- 0 INT- 1 Sack (84.7 Rating)

David Carr: 5/13- 67 Yards- 0 TD- 1 INT- 1 Sack (23.6 Rating)

Frank Gore: 19 Rushes- 102 Yards- 5.4 AVG 4 Receptions- 57 Yards

Vernon Davis: 4 Receptions- 74 Yards- TD

Matt Moore: 28/41- 308 Yards- 2 TD- INT- 1 Sack (96.4 Rating)

DeAngelo Williams: 19 Rushes- 44 Yards- 2.3 AVG

David Gettis: 8 Receptions- 125 Yards- 2 TD

Brandon LaFell: 6 Receptions- 91 Yards

Box Score

1st Downs 15 22
Passing 1st downs
9 16
Rushing 1st downs
6 2
1st downs from Penalties
0 4
3rd down efficiency
4-13 7-15
4th down efficiency
0-0 0-1
Total Plays 56 76
Total Yards 282 379
Passing 183 303
14-32 28-41
Yards per pass
5.7 7.4
Rushing 99 76
Rushing Attempts
22 34
Yards per rush
4.5 2.2
Red Zone (Made-Att) 1-3 1-3
Penalties 11-81 4-35
Turnovers 1 3
Fumbles lost
0 2
Interceptions thrown
1 1
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 1 0
Possession 23:55 36:05