It was an ugly night for the San Francisco 49ers, as they dropped an ugly 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. It was all Peyton Manning all the time on Sunday Night Football, as the Broncos QB set the career touchdown record. He needed three touchdowns to set the record, and he got it all in the first half, finishing the game with 4 touchdowns and 318 passing yards.
I figured the 49ers were playing with house money coming into Sunday Night Football, but somehow this turned out much worse than I expected. I suppose you can never underestimate the possibility of injury, and the 49ers took it on the chin in this one. Center Daniel Kilgore suffered a nasty leg/ankle injury that required an air cast, and will cost him a to be determined amount of game time.
We'll have two weeks to marinate on this loss, but there was plenty to take from it. The 49ers secondary was thoroughly shredded by Peyton Manning. The group was beaten up with Chris Culliver and Jimmie Ward sidelined, and Tramaine Brock seemingly rushed back. Brock might have been fine to play, but there clearly was some extensive rust after a five week layoff. If Culliver and/or Ward are healthy, I think Brock works more in the nickel and dime.
But even beyond the injuries, it just was an ugly game for the entire secondary. I think it was a combination of injuries and facing a pretty good quarterback, but either way, it was not pretty.
The 49ers offense seemed like it might be able to keep the team at least competitive. Colin Kaepernick got off to a strong start in the first half, completing some incredibly impressive throws. He connected with Stevie Johnson to cut the Broncos lead to 21-10 at the half. The 49ers forced a three and out to start the third quarter, and it looked like they might make things interesting. Unfortunately, Kap threw an interception on 3rd and 3 when he overthrew his receiver. On the next play, Manning fired a 40-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. The 49ers went three and out on the next series, and from there the rout was on.
The 49ers now head into their bye week just looking to get healthy and straighten things out. They face the St. Louis Rams at home coming out of the bye, and then head on the road to face the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. Losing Kilgore is really the only thing that concerns me about this loss. Sure the secondary was shredded by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but with some health and the impending return of Aldon Smith, that group will get a boost from improved pass rush.
It was not a pretty performance, but it's not the end of the world.