Well, faithful, another close game, and another loss by a field goal to another great (winning) team. Go ahead and buckle up so we can get moving. I have a few things on my chest I want to get off, so we’re going to take this ride and talk about it.
The 49ers two losses have been to the two frontrunners for the 2019 MVP: Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (9-2), lost 27-24, and Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens (10-2), lost 20-17. A single missed field goal lost both games.
It’s beyond me how some fans still find a way to cry, complain, and want to talk down on the team. They’re not getting blown out, embarrassed, or throttled like they were two years ago, they’ve been in each game and have only lost by six points total.
Need I remind you the last two seasons the 49ers have won 10 games total (6-10 and 4-12 respectively) and have already surpassed that total of wins in just one season. C’mon now faithful, please embrace the progress we’ve made, enjoy this ride, and humble yourselves.
Listen here, yes, you, the ones complaining. I could actually stop now in terms of why there is no need to cry or complain about having two losses, but me being me, I’ll go ahead and further push my point and discuss each loss.
The loss to Seattle
First of all, the 49ers should’ve beat Seattle, and yes, even without the services of George Kittle and a healthy Emmanuel Sanders. Even without their two best receiving targets, the 49ers gave the Seahawks all they could handle. The 49ers defense also gave Russell Wilson all he could handle and for the most part, kept Wilson and the offense in check. Below you can see the Seattle drives that weren’t a result of turnovers and a short field.
Seattle's 3 scoring drives in regulation racked up a grand total of 87 yards.— Kyle Madson (@KyleAMadson) November 13, 2019
The 49ers defense was holding its own as did the offense and jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Then, it happened. It, being the first turnover. Jadeveon Clowney had to have the game of his career that night to get them over the hump. He was just about unblockable. I mean, Clowney had his way with Joe Staley. It was almost like he told Staley what he was doing to do, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Clowney had no regard for Staley missing the last few weeks and gave him a humbling welcome back. Yeah, he made Staley look like a backup. He worked Staley like a double shift on a holiday, and his numbers were nuts.
Jadeveon Clowney created 10 QB disruptions (hurry, pressure or sack) in tonight's OT win, his most in a game as a member of the Seahawks (previous high: 5).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 12, 2019
Clowney has forced a turnover from pressure in 2 of his 3 last games (0 in his first 7 games).#SEAvsSF | #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/JEGBRfuLnY
Keep in mind, the Seahawks win was aided by seven dropped passes by 49ers pass catchers (one resulted in an interception) in this game. Yes, seven. You do the math as to how many missed first downs, yards, and/or points those seven drops could’ve accounted for.
It took Garoppolo to lose two fumbles, Wilson heroics, overtime, and a missed field goal by a rookie kicker to leave Levi’s Stadium with a win.
Look, Russell Wilson is a magician and does disappearing acts (avoiding the rush, escaping the pocket, and finding an open man) just about every game. Still, without the three turnovers, the 49ers win, and he looks human. They lost the first but will win the next. Breath easy.
The loss to Baltimore
This team went on the road to rainy Baltimore, to take on the NFL’s highest-flying offense: 33.8 pts per game (1st), 420.8 yards per game (1st), 207.8 rush yards per game (1st). This high powered offense also hadn’t punted in games Lamar Jackson started; they punted twice vs. the 49ers.
Baltimore’s defense also had only allowed 87.7 rushing yards per game (3rd), the 49ers gained 174 on the ground (146 by Raheem Mostert) in the loss. The 49ers defense also held the Ravens and their MVP frontrunner quarterback to 20 points (lowest all season), 283 total yards second lowest all season), and only 4.7 yards per rush. Besides, the Ravens hadn’t punted in their last three games, and the 49ers defense forced two punts in Sunday’s game. But you know what? Fans lie, analysts lie, and numbers don’t. That said, refer to the below tweets to just how well this team you’re complaining about losing two games played against the top offense in the NFL.
The 49ers held Baltimore to 283 yards (their second-fewest of the season), and 20 points (their fewest of the season). What a defense.— Kyle Madson (@KyleAMadson) December 1, 2019
The Ravens also punted twice, which is the same number of times they've punted the last 3 weeks combined.— Kyle Madson (@KyleAMadson) December 1, 2019
I will admit, in terms of defending Lamar Jackson (as a running threat), I was livid as both a fan and as a defensive coordinator myself (I’d coached youth football for seven years before I stepped away once my son started high school), Why? Because they allowed him to get to the edge time after time, and it was so frustrating to watch. I had written in a “keys to victory” article prior to the game for the defensive ends to play the quarterback every snap and run through Jackson each play.
The 49ers defenders tackled a running back without the ball repeatedly during the game. Okay, my blood pressure is rising, just talking about it, so excuse me as I, “wooosah.” Okay, I’m calm. They won this battle (the regular-season game), but I guarantee you they won’t win the war (Super Bowl if they make it) as this time, the defense will be ready. This time they’ll know to seek and destroy Jackson every snap whether he hands it off or not. If I Robert Saleh, I’d have my defense hitting Jackson so much, he’d be asking to go shotgun every snap and punt on 3rd down he was tired of getting hit. I say again, breath easy.
Look, I get we’re all excited and love our 49ers and expect great things, I’m the same way. But please, just be patient and understand this team has come a long way, won 10 of the 12 games this year, and the two loses have been to two great teams led by two MVP candidates, with pretty good defenses, and lost by only a field goal. I’m not one for moral victories or participation trophies, but there’s no way you can’t be more upset about losing those two games than you are happy about being 10-2 and where we are today. There will be a next time and next time they don’t miss. I hope you enjoyed this ride and hope to see you back soon for another. One more time, breathe easy faithful, all will be well.