The 49ers had a huge opportunity to improve to 2-0. They had a chance to make a statement against the Dallas Cowboys. They had a chance to take a step towards erasing the embarrassments of the last five years. And instead they created a whole new embarrassment.
The 49ers were looking like world beaters early on in this game as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Late in the second quarter they forced the Cowboys into a fourth down punting situation and looked ready to finish the Cowboys early. But wait. A flag for offsides turned that fourth down into a fresh set of downs for Dallas and they quickly took advantage as temporary replacement QB Jon Kitna connected with Miles Austin for a 53-yard touchdown. The 49ers did manage to grab a ten point heading into the fourth quarter, but after a quarter and a half of 49ers dominance, things changed for the worse at this point.
Before we head past the jump, all I ask is that people try and remain somewhat civilized in discussing this game. Complaints are certainly allowed, personal attacks are not. It was a brutal loss that will leave a bad taste in our mouths for much of this week, but that's no excuse to be an ass too other people on the site (yes, site decorum remains off).
There will be plenty to criticize and there will be plenty to analyze from the game but just a few quick issues that arose (after the jump).
1. Frank Gore and the rushing game simply could not get anything significant going. Some will say Gore has lost a step, some will say the offensive line is struggling in run blocking. Whatever the case, the 49ers running game has looked fairly abysmal through two games.
2. Taking the points over the penalty. This will get a ton of talk this week. I probably would have taken the 15-yard penalty, but I don't think it's so blatantly obvious that you don't take the points. The discussion surrounding it shows that like minds can disagree on that decision. I would've taken the 15 yards, but Harbaugh either had confidence in his defense or was concerned about a possible turnover. Whatever the case, this did not make or break the game. Yes, they could have gotten four more points, but to say they would have done this or they would have done that in hypothetical is not particularly productive.
3. Alex Smith through the first half had never looked better. The pass to Kyle Williams was one of the best throws you'll see and he had the offense rolling. Alex Smith in the second half? Almost a complete 180. He had the great throw to Delanie Walker but other than that he looked too tentative at times, got a little too excited on throws, or simply just couldn't make a play. It really was a tale of two halves for him. The search for a complete performance continues.
4. The pass rush - Yea, so when exactly are we going to see a steady mix of blitzes on defense? Or are we at this point? The 49ers defense gave Tony Romo, then Jon Kitna, then Tony Romo again, way too much time to make plays. Romo made some huge plays without a ton of time too, but more consistent pressure would have been a difference-maker.
5. Jason Witten - Just a beast. He made most of the 49ers secondary his [site decorum] today.
6. Miles Austin - Witten was eating up the 49ers underneath and without even noticing some of the catches, Miles Austin finished with nine receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns. I need to go back and see who exactly the 49ers had on him because it seemed like Carlos Rogers was not the consistent man and should have been. I might be wrong so I'll check it out.
I'm heading out the door to go catch a screening of Moneyball and hopefully take my mind off the game for a little bit. This was a brutal finish and the 49ers blew a huge opportunity to move to the front of the NFC West. Instead they're 1-1 and have plenty of question marks still remaining to be figured out. They desperately need a productive few days this week.