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49ers secondary gets the cold shoulder

Both cornerbacks struggled to maintain consistent coverage in Sunday’s debacle.

Hello Niners Nation!

I want to first thank the powers that be for allowing to express and share my fandom with my fellow faithful. As you can tell my screen name, I'm a huge 49er fan from Miami, FL. Long story short, when my family moved to Miami from Germany, local blackout laws prevented me from ever seeing Dolphin games consistently, and back then they were pretty bad. However, what I did get to see every Sunday, was Joe Cool and Jerry "The Goat" Rice dominate. I was hooked. Then, being a young left handed QB myself, the insertion of Steve Young into the line up sealed my fate; I was struck with "faithful-itis." I've since rode with my Niners through all the ups and downs. I even got lucky enough to attended our Super Bowl 29 Super Bowl Victory here in South Florida and the rest as they say is history. I've dealt in creative media (music, photography, and video) since high school and look forward to breaking down our successes and shortcomings in the coming weeks and years to come. Go Niners!

Sunday was touted as the San Francisco 49ers chance to finally get off the schneid (Chris Berman Voice). Our fearless leader Colin Kaepernick had strung together a series of fairly consistent performances and began to show glimpses of his old self. The defense, although still at the bottom of the barrel, showed some signs of life in a nail-biter down in Miami. Victory was ours!

Then came the head scratcher of preparing for a snow game in sunny South Florida? Wait, what? We overlooked it because Matt Barkley was starting. Surely Matt couldn't out-duel his old coach in a two-foot blizzard right? Wrong. Thanks to some poor schemes by the DC and staff, our DBs were often left out to dry, freeze, you get my drift. Tramaine Brock, a consistently inconsistent performer continued to be the best worst defensive back on the field. I’ll drop some videos in this weeks film breakdown.

The Bears 2-minute drive before the half sealed our fate. At the 1:43 mark, in the play below D. Thompson (CHI) manhandles Brock at the line. Brock (top of the screen) gets pushed off so bad he falls into some sort of a weird speed turn and gives up 8 yards on 3rd and 6. Why we are playing bump and run in a blizzard? Who knows.

The very next play Barkley goes to the well again. Brock (Top of the screen) this time playing off coverage, gives up 11 yards on 1st and 10. While the off coverage seemed to put him in better position, Chicago's big bodied receivers gave our smaller DBs trouble all game.

The nail in coffin for the 2 minute drive comes on the very next play. Jimmie Ward (bottom slot coverage) playing off, bites for the double move so hard he almost runs right to the Chicago bench. Bethea comes in to make the tackle. I would think a more athletic safety could’ve played closer to the coverage, but in single high I can understand why he’s so deep.

The next play Brock gets called for PI (WEAK) in the end zone and the Bears score going into the half.

In the 3rd, Brock (top of the formation) still in form from the first half continues to lose at the line and then basically just watches the receiver track the ball as he jogs nearby. The play-action drives everyone forward and leaves a huge area open. Even Gabbert could’ve completed this pass. Although this play ended being a drop, Brock was still flagged for defensive holding.

I’m sure we have a lot of questions. We can barely play man coverage in perfect Santa Clara sunlight, what led Jim O’Neil to NOT change the game plan to more of a man over, or cover 2 zone deal. Could Eric Reid’s injury be a main culprit? I know Tartt is a vicious hitter on the backend, but we have yet to see him string together a consistent coverage performance. In watching most of the All 22 film, receivers were open all game, and no one in the secondary had a real breakout day. Such can be expected in the deluge of snow. There was also no deluge of defensive linemen attacking Matt Barkley. The Bears did an excellent job of mixing up play action and max protect to keep our line at bay which only aided Barkley in picking us a part. It’s my fault we lost, I was talking with a co-worker at a water cooler, and he said the Bears would beat us (I live in Miami, so you know Dol-fans are in heavy gloat mode), and I said “Yeah right, when hell freezes over.” The irony.