Well, that’s what one ESPN wonk articulated after the game. Don’t know which, but the 49ers were suddenly lumped in with Detroit, Cincy, and KC as pretenders in the grand scheme of the NFL hierarchy. I (and many other wonks) called bullshit on that. To go 4-1 on the east coast is a pretty big accomplishment, keeping the game remotely close was pretty good in itself. As it was, Flacco played one of his better games of his career, and our O line, already shorthanded without Bruce Miller, lost Adam Snyder to a hammy injury early in the 1st quarter. Chilo Rachal filled in miserably, as he whiffed on his 1st play, and was the guilty party on the chop block (albiet, it wasn’t really a hit than a stumble) on the 75 yard TD pass to Ted Ginn. The rest was a defensive battle all the way. The Niners had a decent 2 minute drive to close the 1st half negated by a pick. Edwards didn’t do much to get to the ball, or even break up the pick, but it was underthrown besides.
The 49ers tied it on the 1st drive of the 2nd half with a nice drive that used up half the 3rd quarter. Balt responded with a drive that ate up the rest of the 3rd and resulted in a TD. Balt stayed underneath the whole time, and hit on too many 3rd down plays. Whitner missed a stop on 3rd down, and the Niners didn’t get ANY pressure on Flacco as he dinked and dunked, and ran for 6 yard chunks to score the game’s only TD. After that, it was jail-break time as Smith and the Niners couldn’t get any offense going. Until a small drive near the end was killed by a terrible drop by Ginn to end the game.
As the Niners stand now, they are a bit beaten up. Snyder needs to get healthy. That much is obvious. Same with Bruce Miller. The line play was shoddy at best, and it can be attributed to their absense. Our wideouts are hurting as well. Edwards just doesn’t have the speed he showed in the preseason or vs Seattle even. Crabs is doing decent, but Walker was a no-show in Balt. VD? He made a brain-dead mistake in the closing minute by not going OB after getting the 1st down on a swing pass. Stupid stupid stupid. Game awareness, skippy. He proves himself to be clueless by not knowing the situational aspect of where he is and what he should do. For all his talk of beinf great, he’ll never get there with plays like that, or the one last week when he didn’t try to get his feet down before he went out of bounds.
Anyhow, this game was going to be tough, even without the fact the Niners had a 6 hour plane ride, and a very short week to prepare for the game. The interesting thing to see is the next game vs the Rams. How the Niners bounce back from this game is going to tell a lot about the spine of this team. I think they are fine, and this’ll be a blip on the radar.