We’ve placed the blame, and shared some takeaways from the 49ers loss to the Ravens. Now it’s time to discuss some winners and losers from Sunday’s matchup where many players felt had a playoff atmosphere.
Not sure how you start anywhere else. Mostert looked like a guy capable of carrying the load for the 49ers. “The Dream” showed why he deserves more touches, and something to keep an eye on will be how touches are split if Matt Breida returns next week against the Saints. Mostert forced six missed tackles while running for 146 yards on 18 carries. Ninety-three of those yards came after contact. If San Francisco is going to resort back to a heavy zone scheme, Mostert should compete for carries.
I’d love to see a stat on third-down stops. A stat that tells you disruptive a player has been on third downs. Warner, once again, came through in a big way on Sunday at the most critical times for San Francisco. Whether it was making a stop, Warner had five in the afternoon or breaking up a pass, which Warner had two of, Warner found ways to get the defense off the field. He’s really morphed into a leader and playmaker this season.
Harris kept the Niners in the game with his strip and recovery of Lamar Jackson. He didn’t stuff the stat sheet, but Harris was excellent against the run after the first play. The 49ers relied on their front seven to get stops in the second half, and they did just that. Harris was a big reason, whether it was aggressively filling against the run, or taking on blocks so the linebackers could make a play. Harris played very well off the bench. Kudos to him for being prepared.
It was a rough day for the undrafted free agent. Al-Shaair missed three tackles, but the big issue was how often Al-Shaair found himself out of place. There were times where it seemed like he had no clue who had the ball. The Ravens are a difficult assignment for any linebacker. Still, with this essentially being Al-Shaair’s first extensive action against this type of offense, it was always going to be an uphill battle. He had an off game, but I’m not ready to give up on the speedy youngster just yet.
Will Mostert’s big day relegate Coleman to third down duties? Coleman is still the best receiving back/pass blocker, but Mostert and Matt Breida are superior zone runners. Coleman finished the day with five carries for six yards. His long on the day was two. Somehow, four of his six yards came after contact. Shanahan pulled the plug on Coleman, and we’ll find out if that was just for the Baltimore matchup or for the playoff stretch. My guess is the former.
As someone who believes there isn’t a play-caller on Shanahan’s level, he dropped the ball on Sunday in a couple of key moments. I’ve seen at least 20 tweets along the lines of, “it’s been like this since the Super Bowl.” I promise we don’t have to take it to that level of stupid. Everyone is smart when we have access to hindsight. Had the 49ers scored on the second, fourth down, this would not be a thing. For me, it’s the process and not the results. The decision to go for it on both fourth downs was correct. The play-calls were terrible. 4th & short, and you throw a jump ball to Deebo Samuel. Because he bailed out the offense doesn’t mean the play was the right one.
Rich and I talked about the end of the half hiccups. It’s okay to be frustrated with Shanahan, but this game shouldn’t change your perception of him.
One against McGlinchey pitched a shutout. He wasn’t beaten in pass protection once against the Ravens. As a run blocker, he may have been better. McGlinchey sprung Mostert on his long touchdown run. Perhaps it was due to rust, but McGlinchey is fully healthy and looks like the player that San Francisco selected so high in the first round.
A quick skim over the box score, and you’re wondering why Kittle is here. Shanahan raved about Kittle’s run blocking(and McGlinchey’s) on a conference call Monday. Shanahan said that was as good of a run-blocking game from a tight end as you’ll see. He mentioned how Kittle dominated the edges and helped the 49ers spring long runs. Great players find ways to impact the game, even if they’re not getting the ball. That’s precisely what Kittle did Sunday.
You have to credit Saleh. The 49ers limited Lamar Jackson to 3-8 for 19 yards when throwing to their secondary. On the season, the Ravens averaged over 430 yards of offense and were scoring 35 points a game. San Francisco held Baltimore to just over 280 yards and 20 points. You could make a strong argument that San Francisco gifted 13 of those points. Playing this against this high-level offense with two green linebackers, and coming away with the results they did makes for an impressive performance from Saleh’s bunch.