“Funnily enough, a defensive performance like this isn’t about the big bounces—the gaudy interception totals, the celebrations in the back of the end zone, the short offensive fields, the big scoreboard. It’s about those little Purdy hesitations—rushed throws short of the sticks. That’s what’s meaningful for Baltimore; that’s what will translate to a potential Super Bowl rematch in February. That’s what will stop this offense, which previously looked stoppable only by injuries (which again was an issue for left tackle Trent Williams, who left the game with a groin injury).
I’m not sure any other defense is equipped to do this. Nobody plays smarter, more cohesive defensive football in the league than the 11 Ravens on the field, who were coordinated by second-year defensive play caller Mike MacDonald (whom I consider the premier head-coaching candidate in this cycle). Heck, I’m not even sure the Ravens are equipped to do this again—they ran lucky, as all teams with five takeaways do.”
“On the whole, Purdy was poor, but some of his worst throws weren’t the ones that were intercepted. He threw balls behind, some near hospital balls, and looked as uncertain as he ever has this season.
But this may be more of a story about the caliber of the Ravens defense and caliber of defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. He varied coverages, disguised pressures, and left a 49ers offense that always has answers, stupefied.
Purdy was bad, but the Ravens’ defense was excellent. Is it a blueprint for other teams going forward? Possibly, but most defenses stick to what they do best.”
“Now, it’s clear there’s another potential pitfall: Facing a team like the Ravens that can absorb some early blows (such as the heavy Niners pass rush — and unfortunately positioned umpire — that forced Jackson into an intentional-grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 S.F. lead), hit back hard and force Shanahan’s team to play catchup.”
“They didn’t want to see any of this, but the 49ers’ leaders also didn’t want to see Purdy look demoralized by this or seem diminished. Didn’t want that at all. And I don’t know if every single one of the 49ers’ leaders checked in with Purdy during or after the onslaught, but the detail of their answers when I asked them about Purdy sort of indicated that they had.
That they’ve seen everything they need to see from their QB. And that this night was the exception that proves how much they still believe in him.”
“I think he kind of changed the way he played. That’s something we have to be better at containing, kind of similar to how we have this season with other mobile guys. Just keeping him in there.”
“On defense, they elevated practice squad cornerback Jason Verrett, who hadn’t appeared in a game in more than two years, and later inserted him into the contest at a key juncture in the third quarter.
On offense, they addressed their wide receiver shortage by adding veteran Willie Snead IV to the 53-man roster. To do that, however, they had to remove someone from the roster, and the player they decided to waive was tackle Matt Pryor.”
“Monday’s injuries forced the 49ers to move McKivitz from right tackle to left tackle and to insert Burford, who’s played only guard since entering the league last year, at right tackle. Both struggled. McKivitz gave up a season-high nine pressures, including two sacks, per Pro Football Focus. Burford allowed four pressures and one sack.”
“Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.”
“Said Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen: “I can honestly say they are probably the most aggressive team that we’ve played so far.”
The 49ers’ trademark toughness will be tested this week on the heels of their holiday humbling. They will now ready to travel across the country on a short week with their offensive line potentially in tatters, particularly concerning considering quarterback Brock Purdy has suffered a shoulder stinger in the past two games.”
“The 49ers have one of the better offensive lines in football, and few of their issues on Monday night were the result of poor play from that unit.
In fact, the offensive line did a credible job Monday night against a Ravens defensive front that is designed to create confusion pre-snap and take advantage of any hesitations with the pass protection.
The 49ers’ offense averaged 6.3 yards per offensive play and gained 429 total yards. In comparison, Baltimore averaged 5.4 yards per play.
Of the many things to be criticized about the 49ers on Monday, we’re not even sure the team’s offensive line is worthy of a mention.”