49ers vs. Rams: Jim Harbaugh Takes the Blame and Stands by His Man in Defeat

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterDecember 2, 2012

In unsurprising news, the Alex Smith supporters have managed to work their way out from under the woodwork after the San Francisco 49ers' first loss in five weeks.

San Francisco's 16-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams was a bit of surprise to many, considering the way the 49ers had been playing on both sides of the ball in recent weeks. Defensively, Vic Fangio's unit showed up and played well all throughout the game.

Brian Schottenheimer's offense was held to 293 yards of total offense on 68 plays. Moreover, the Rams were 3-of-16 on third down and only made one appearance in the red zone. However, that proved to be enough as the 49ers pass rush was wildly inconsistent from drive to drive.

"The Sack Brothers," Aldon and Justin Smith, both registered a sack on quarterback Sam Bradford, but outside of the two lone sacks, San Francisco managed a minuscule five quarterback pressures. A far cry from its output last week against the Saints.

Yet, the lack of a pass rush seemed irrelevant in comparison to the lack of offensive execution at times. Running back Frank Gore didn't have the same rush lanes he is normally accustomed to, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn't display the same pocket presence he had against the Bears and Saints.

Every game won't be perfect. There will be growing pains for a player who is only making his third career start, and head coach Jim Harbaugh knows that. Harbaugh was most impressed by Kaepernick's demeanor, which is good news for the second-year quarterback out of Nevada.

Harbaugh said he feels 49ers QB situation will be unchanged, said he's proud of Kaepernick. "He handled himself well," Harbaugh said.

— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) December 2, 2012

I guess the whole "hot hand" argument is out the window now that Harbaugh's guy is the starter.

All kidding aside, I've stated my piece. Most of you know how high I am on Kaepernick, so I'm glad Harbaugh is not changing his mind heading into Week 14. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller said it best when he tweeted out these two sentiments after the game:

#49ers: You can't switch QBs every time someone has a bad game. Kaepernick is the answer. Period.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 2, 2012

Too few people blaming #49ers play calling and defense today…oh, and maybe give the #Rams some credit. Not all on Kap.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 2, 2012

It's as simple as this: The 49ers made a few mistakes, and there were even a few errant play calls as Harbaugh noted in his postgame presser. St. Louis was the better team, and it protected the ball all game long, winning the turnover battle.

Long term, San Francisco is in good hands at the quarterback position, but it will take time to work out all the kinks. It's better that the 49ers lose and struggle now rather than in their playoff opener, for example.

Even after Sunday's loss, they still have a hold on the No. 2 playoff spot and are looking to keep it that way with four games remaining to play.

After two road games in consecutive weeks, the Niners will head back to Candlestick to take on the 5-7 Miami Dolphins. On the year, San Francisco is 4-1-1 at home.


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