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Carlos Rogers breaks up this pass against the Cowboys
The pass coverage by the defensive backfield was atrocious against the Cowboys. Ultimately, this was a key factor that cost the 49ers the game. Only Carlos Rogers played well, the rest of the defensive backs had major problems.
The main culprit—for the second week in a row—was Tarell Brown. He repeatedly allowed pass completions in front of him for key first downs and healthy gains. The 49ers were getting pressure on Tony Romo and Jon Kitna, but the Dallas QBs were able to repeatedly throw in front of Brown to bail themselves out.
When the pass rush is strong, a defensive back needs to play tighter so the opposing quarterback doesn't have an easy outlet. There is a good chance that Shawntae Spencer, who has been battling a hamstring injury, will take the starting job from Brown Week 3 against Cincinnati.
Safety Madieu Williams was a step or two late on several plays; he was late and took a bad angle on the fourth quarter touchdown pass from Romo to Miles Austin.
Had Williams at least knocked Austin out of bounds, Dallas may have needed to run two or three more plays to score for less time on the clock—and that could have made the difference in the game.
If Dashon Goldson's bad knee is sufficiently improved, expect him to assume his starting safety position in place of Williams.
Meanwhile, Donte Whitner had trouble covering tight end Jason Whitten all day. Then in overtime, he bit up on a run fake, allowing Romo to connect with wideout Jesse Holley for a huge and long pass completion. Whitner ran Holley down and tackled him at the 1-yard line, but the Cowboys made a field goal to end the game.
The 49ers allowed 432 yards of passing offense to Dallas—they must absolutely improve on that against the Bengals, or they will lose. Bengal receivers Jerome Simpson and AJ Green have combined for 345 yards and two touchdowns in their first two games. They are dangerous and it will be up to the 49ers to contain them.