Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers' receivers could get no separation from the Seattle secondary.
The Seahawks exploited what could be the biggest weakness of this 49ers team: no receiving depth.
Enough about Anquan Boldin’s 200-yard game, or about Vernon Davis redeeming his fantasy value after impressive showings against the Packers. That was nothing more than an extravagant mirage.
The Packers had a game plan and the 49ers exploited it in Week 1. They concerted their efforts to stop the running game and dared Kaepernick to beat them through the air. That all happened, we loved it as it was happening and in the process were duped into thinking that maybe what we had known all along during the preseason was wrong.
Well, we were right. The injuries to Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham crippled the San Francisco receiving corps. And when a team has a weak receiving unit, the rest of the offense falters.
If opposing defenses do not fear your receivers, they can concentrate on the line of scrimmage. This lack of respect by the Seattle defense is what led to the 49ers’ offensive line getting beat off the ball by a stampede of Seahawks defenders and the Gore stumbling to ineptitude.
Boldin is, has been and will continue to be a fantastic football player. He gets those tough yards, moves the chains and carries himself like an enforcer. Unfortunately for him, the 49ers, like the Baltimore Ravens before them, have not figured out what the Arizona Cardinals knew: Anquan Boldin is Anquan Boldin, not Larry Fitzgerald.
He’s a fantastic No. 2 option on a good team, a solid No. 1 option on a team with a variety of weapons and a bad No. 1 option on a team with no other receivers.
This is why the Crabtree injury will continue to hurt. As the robin to Crabtree’s batman, they could have been special. Forced to be batman, however, against a joker-like villain in Richard Sherman no less, Boldin will falter. And since he makes up basically the entire 49ers receiving corps (apologies to Kyle Williams), that means the entire passing game falters, just like it did against the Seahawks.