The San Francisco 49ers fell to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, 27-7. Jim Harbaugh is officially under .500 for the first time in his NFL career, and it's hard to argue against that being his fault, at least by a solid margin. The play-calling was bad and the clock management was, once again, bad. But more than that, the offense was incredibly bad.
The 49ers came out and absolutely laid an egg on the first drive of the game, giving up multiple first downs and adding to their list of penalties. The Colts did not face a third down on the 80-yard touchdown drive. Fortunately, the 49ers responded before the quarter ended, with a 90-plus-yard touchdown drive led by Frank Gore. So that was nice.
But that's where the niceness starts and ends. There wasn't strong play by the wide receivers, Colin Kaepernick looked terrible in and outside of the pocket, and the defense committed penalty after penalty. More accurately, Tarell Brown committed penalty after penalty.
Kaepernick ended up throwing for a minuscule amount of yards not worth discussing, and Gore had a bunch of yards that all came in the first quarter because they abandoned the run.
Aldon Smith played, much to the chagrin of some. San Francisco could not suspend Smith, but they had plenty of power to deactivate him in response to his recent DUI arrest. Either way, Smith played and made the start on defense, coming in for the first series. He didn't do anything all game, however.
The play-calling was, again, abysmal. Gore had that monster opening drive, and Hunter had that great draw play, so what do the 49ers do? They toss it outside multiple times, including an outside toss to Anthony Dixon, who doesn't belong in a game outside of short-yardage runs on the inside.
In my opinion, Kaepernick had a bad game. He was 2-for-8 after the first half, and was frequently not looking for his receivers downfield. The secondary play was good for the Colts, but there were players open deep. Unfortunately, Kaepernick had already made the decision to turn around and run outside and throw the ball away by the time they got open.
Vernon Davis didn't play due to his injury but he should be good-to-go going forward. Unfortunately, Patrick Willis went down with a groin injury in the second half and did not return.
Early in the game, the 49ers were called on an unnecessary roughness penalty for leading with the crown of the helmet. Unfortunately, it din't even look remotely like he led with his helmet, and a replay confirmed this. This is a bad trend in the NFL and referees ho continue to make this mistake should be punished, and those calls should be reviewable.
A lot needs to change if the 49ers are to be the team we hoped they could be before the start of the season.