The San Francisco 49ers lost their second game of the season on Sunday, falling 20-17 to the Baltimore Ravens. Justin Tucker was money from 49 yards out, his kick driving through the uprights as time expired, It was a hard-fought, rain-soaked game on the East Coast for the 49ers, who remain on the road as they prepare for next week’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Here are our takeaways from San Francisco’s loss to the Ravens:
Questionable at best
The 49ers fought all game to establish the run only for Shanahan to abandon it when running ball made the most sense. At the time of the already infamous fourth-down pass, the 49ers were averaging six yards per carry on the ground. Running back Raheem Mostert had a career game. The 49ers, on Baltimore’s 35-yard line, needed less than a yard. They instead elected to throw, and Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass was batted at the line of scrimmage and nearly intercepted. The 49ers never got the ball back.
Up to the task
The 49ers’ two losses on the season are by a combined six points, both to last-second field goals. The only two teams to top San Francisco are the 9-2 Seattle Seahawks and the now 10-2 Baltimore Ravens. Shanahan, the rest of the coaching staff, general manager John Lynch, and the rest of the front office have crafted a 49ers team capable of beating anyone in the NFL. The 49ers’ loss to the Ravens isn’t a moral victory. They had a chance to win, just like they did in Week 10 against the Seahawks, and couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. That doesn’t detract from the fact that the 49ers are among the best teams in the NFL and can still make a deep run into the postseason.
Mobility struggles continue
The 49ers, along with most of the NFL, have taken their lumps against mobile quarterbacks this season. After struggling against Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray twice, the 49ers had been given a crash course on dealing with Lamar Jackson. That didn’t stop the Ravens quarterback from rushing 16 times for 101 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He also completed 14 of 23 passes for 105 yards and another score. Stopping Jackson was the 49ers’ primary focus leading up to Sunday, and they still looked lost on many occasions, failing to account for him on several option plays.
Another back emerges
More on Mostert’s career day. The 49ers running back finished with 19 carries for 146 yards and a score, averaging 7.7 yards per tote. He accounted for nearly half of the 49ers’ 331 total yards of offense. The rest of the rushing attack managed just 28 yards on ten attempts. Fellow running back Tevin Coleman carried the ball five times for six yards, while Matt Breida missed his third consecutive game with an ankle sprain. Mostert made a strong case for a much bigger role in the 49ers offense, even when Breida returns.
Entering Sunday’s matchup with the Ravens, the 49ers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC, in line for a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The loss to Baltimore puts them in a precarious spot. If the Seahawks beat the Vikings on Monday night, it’ll drop the 49ers all the way to the No. 5 seed as they lose their lead over the division. If Seattle loses, next week’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints becomes a must-win for San Francisco to maintain their lead over the NFC.