San Francisco 49ers Report Card: Team Lays Goose Egg, Receives Detention
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Let me first just say that I thought the team executed a brilliant game plan to protect their temporary kicker, Shane Andrus.
(Insert rim shot.)
The brilliant performance of Troy Smith in the last two games had to come to and end, but who thought it would come to a screeching halt?
This game doesn't deserve a report card, so let's just call the whole thing an F and give the entire team and coaching staff detention.
An unimaginative offensive plan, combined with a lack of inspiration or urgency, doomed the 49ers to their first home shutout (21-0) since 1977.
The offensive line, who I defended last week, was particularly bad as Troy Smith was sacked six times and the team failed to get a run game going against the second-worst run defense in the league.
Frank Gore was only able to gain 23 yards on 12 carries as the coaching staff gave up on the run game early.
Troy Smith actually out-gained Gore with 45 rush yards of his own; of course, he was running for his life most of the time.
Just as it was too early to anoint Troy Smith the long-term solution at quarterback, it is also too early to say today's game proved he is not the answer.
Who is to blame for the Tampa Bay loss?
In his postgame interview, Smith was critical of the game plan, saying the team was relying too much on him to generate offense, another indication that the team should have stuck with the run.
Smith was just 16 of 31 passing for 148 yards and had one costly interception that lead to a Tampa Bay touchdown.
Josh Morgan did prove his mettle as he took a vicious shot early in the game where he coughed up the ball, but came back to be the team's leading receiver with four grabs for 51 yards. Gore added five grabs for 37 yards, and Delanie Walker had three receptions for 27 yards.
Failing to spread the ball around as the team did last week, no other receiver had more than one grab.
The defense didn't break, but they bent enough to lose.
Patrick Willis was the lone highlight: He lead the team with nine tackles and had both of the team's two sacks. Although Takeo Spikes did have a nice goal-line stuff, the Bucs scored on the next play.
I am not sure what was more pathetic to watch, the touchdown to Mike Williams where Shawntae Spencer couldn't ever prevent the reception with obvious pass interference, or the touchdown were Josh Freeman lobbed the ball to his 310-pound tackle Donald Penn, who left Manny Lawson swatting air.
Almost overlooked in the embarrassing shutout was the fact the team actually managed to clean up the penalties, committing only three of them for 18 yards.
However, another performance like this and detention just won't do. There will have to be some expulsions.
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