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49ers can’t overcome costly mistakes in a tough 20-17 loss

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What a game.

San Francisco 49ers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers received the ball to start the game and took it down the field and scored a touchdown. Kyle Shanahan went for it on 4th & 2, and Deebo Samuel rewarded him. The 49ers followed that up by forcing a punt. It was a great start, but it didn’t last long.

We knew Baltimore was going to blitz early and often. Jimmy Garoppolo fumbled on the next drive. Daniel Brunskill tried to pick the ball up instead of falling on it, and the Ravens took over. You can’t fumble the ball in that spot, and you have to fall on it. Baltimore scored in no time after Lamar Jackson hit Mark Andrews on a nice play-action pass. That made it 7-7.

The weather was impacting Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense early on, but the same couldn’t be said for Baltimore. Jimmy’s throws were off, but Jackson didn’t have issues early on. The fumble seemed to kill the early momentum. The 49ers giving Baltimore extra plays hurt as well. The defense had forced a third-down incompletion, but Azeez Al-Shaair roughed the passer, which gave the Ravens a fresh set of downs. A couple of Jackson runs made it 14-7.

The offense needed to answer, and they did. Garoppolo found Emmanuel Sanders on a third-down after the offensive line gave him time. Raheem Mostert took off 44 yards after stiff-arming one defender, then shaking Earl Thomas. It was a heck of a run. Credit Mike McGlinchey for a nice peel-back block on the run.

The 49ers struggled to stop the tight end in the first half. That hasn’t been the case all year. A personal foul on Sheldon Day gave Baltimore a first down, but San Francisco held the Ravens to a field goal to make it 17-14. Field goals were wins, considering how well Jackson was moving the ball. The 49ers had a chance to score before the half, but some questionable clock management by Shanahan prevented the offense from getting in a good position to score. Robbie Gould missed a 51-yard field goal, and the score remained 17-14 at halftime.

Jaquiski Tartt left the game, and Marcell Harris subbed in for Tartt. On the first play, Harris crashed on a zone read, and Baltimore gained 13 yards. On the next play, Harris forced a fumble reminiscent of Tartt’s forced fumble against Seattle. It was a fantastic play that kept the 49ers in the game. On the following possession, the 49ers marched down the field aided by some good blocking up front and ran by Mostert. The offense was faced with a 4th & 1. A penalty by Marlon Humphrey gave San Francisco a first down. The offense settled for a field goal to make it 17-17.

Baltimore pinned the 49ers on the 1-yard line, but the 49ers converted a couple of first downs before a penalty ended the drive. The Ravens had 4th & 5, but Fred Warner did what Fred Warner has done all season, make plays. The 49ers had a fourth down to convert on the following drive but passed the ball, and it was tipped. The offense had been running the ball down Baltimore’s throat all game. I hated the decision. I would’ve hated it even if the offense converted. Fast forward to the next possession, and the Ravens converted their 4th & 1 on a QB sneak. What a novel concept.

Baltimore milked the clock and had a chance at a game-winning field goal from 49-yards out. It was good, and the Ravens won 20-17. It was a great game and if you think less of the 49ers after this one, then you never really gave them a chance to begin with.