Here are five halftime adjustments the 49ers must make if they want to win this game.
5. The 49ers defense must get the Bengals offense off the field.
The first drive of the game went 70 yards, with very little opposition, until Cincinnati got inside the 49ers red zone. The Bengals run a version of the West Coast offense, which includes quick passes and a great mix of passing and running plays. The 49ers can't let rookie quarterback Andy Dalton control the second half.
4. On offense, San Francisco has to avoid sacks and penalties.
The more young Andy Dalton has the ball, the more confidence he will get. The 49ers can't keep going three-and-out if they are going to win this game. The 49ers' first two drives stalled because of pressure and penalties.
3. Get the ball to your playmakers—in other words, Frank Gore.
So far in his career, Alex Smith has proven that he will not win games by himself. So, until things change, Frank Gore continues to be the 49ers' best option.
2. San Francisco has to flip the field.
The Niners have had awful field position; the Bengals have kept them pinned on their side of the field for most of the game. They need to string together a few early first downs and get into Bengals territory.
1. Veteran players must step up.
Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis: At some point, these highly-regarded players have to start making plays. It is that simple. The Bengals are a young team and can be beaten.