Sunday, October 14, 2012

49ers Lose Balance Again

For the second time in the early 2012 season the 49ers lost their balance while their opposition maintained theirs, and for the second time they lost.  The New York Giants handed the 49ers their worse loss of the short Jim Harbaugh era, a 26-3 shellacking at Candlestick Park.

The Giants cashed three Alex Smith interceptions in for 13 points, and a David Wilson 66 yard kickoff return to open the second half led to a quick TD as well.  Smith finished the day 19-30 for 200 yards with no touchdowns and the aforementioned three interceptions.  The strength of the team, it's ground attack, which had rolled up over 500 yards the previous 2 weeks in wins over the Jets, and Bills was held to only 80 yards on 17 attempts.

On the other side of the ball the Giants were extremely balanced as Eli Manning ended the day 15-28 for 193 yards and 1 touchdown, and Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball 27 times for 116 yards.  The Giants defensive line, much maligned coming into the game was able to get to the 49ers quarterbacks on 6 occasions on the day.

  • In order for the 49er offense to perform at it's best, they need to establish the run early on.  In the first half on Sunday, Greg Roman called only 9 runs compared to 21 passes.  Of those 9 runs, 8 came in their first two possessions alone, and gained 0, 15, 13, 0, 10, 5, -1, and 6 yards respectively, an average of 6 yards per attempt.  Roman would end the day having called only 13 rushing plays, not good when your offensive identity is your teams ability to pound the opposition on the ground.

  • At the end of the first quarter the 49ers had run 24 offensive plays for 120 yards compared to 7 offensive plays and 33 yards for the Giants, and only had 3 points to show for it.  Even without the David Akers FG miss on the first possession, they would only have netted 6 points off their 2 best drives of the game.

  • The wheels started coming off on the 49ers first possession of the second quarter.  On the first play after a defensive stop Alex Smith made a poor decision to throw the ball up for grabs to Delanie Walker.  The play should look very familiar, as it was the same play that Vernon Davis beat the Giants on in the second half of the NFC Championship game.  The difference this week was the Giants had an additional man in coverage to stop the play.  And according to Antrel Rolle they were prepared for it, telling Prince Amukamara leading up to the game, "It's going to come, it's going to come."  And when it did they were ready for it.  
          On the ensuing Giants possession they would score a touchdown, and never look back.

  • The Special Teams again let the 49ers down at the start of the second half when they allowed a 66 yard kickoff return to David Wilson.  The Giants offense then went the remaining 32 yards for a touchdown to go up 17-3.

  • The 49ers next two possessions ended with Alex Smith interceptions that set the Giants up deep in 9er territory at the SF 12 and 5 yard line.  The defense did a good job of limiting the damage to  field goals, but the 23-3 3rd Quarter lead was insurmountable for a team that must rely on a ball control offense.

  • This loss was an overall team failure, with a spotlight on the interceptions by Smith, and the failure of the kick coverage unit which led to 20 of New Yorks 26 points on the day.

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