Well, another weekend, another close-but-not-quite loss. The good part about this one was really the benching of Brian Hoyer. CJ BeatHard came in and generally didn’t suck, and actually played well as he led the Niners to 3 touchdown drives after Brian Hoyer pitched a shutout.
Again, there were too many penalties, too many drops, and too many pre-snap mistakes, and there was yet again a bullshit offensive pass interference call to kill a potential game-winning FG drive. And again, the pass rush was lacking, and the hits Cousins did take, the 49ers were quick to help Cousins up and offer words of encouragement (please come here!).
The defense was again on the field a lot early, and had their usual propensity to give up and early score (or 3), which prompted the QB change in the first place. The secondary actually played fairly well, and they caused a fumble and got a pick and were flying around and attacking well. But again, the pass rush is not there. Salomon Thomas had some decent plays, and Arik Armstead had a good game going till he got hurt, but for the 2,500th time, we let short passes to backs/TEs/WRs underneath the coverage go for way too many yards. I hate to put this all on Ray Ray, but he bears a lot of blame. Thomas was embarrassed on the read-option TD for Cousins, and there were a few mental mistakes along the way, but again, young team, mental errors come with the territory.
Still and all, they need to generate a pass rush from the base defense, and it isn;t there. DeForest Buckner is a beast, but Armstead on the other side isn’t generating anything, and Thomas simply looks lost and slow. So, without Bowman (who would have helped), we looked bad on a ton of the short passes over the middle. If I was any opposing coach, I would exploit that on every 3rd down. And Washington did just that.
So, all in all, another great effort for a severely undermanned and young team in a hostile environment. A game that was yet again decided in large part by the refs on a ticky tack call late.
I’ll say one thing. For a team that is very thin talent-wise, the fact that they have been in these games makes me think that they are close. And yes this is about parity. To see the effects of this, simply look across the Bay. The darlings of the NFL this year, a team picked by a lot of pundits to win it all, the Raiders, are in the shitter at 2-4, and stand to fall completely out of the playoff race with a loss to the Chiefs this Thursday night. As of now, the Raiders are 15th in the conference. One spot ahead of the lowly Cleveland Browns.