Miami-San Francisco: Dolphins Get Lucky As 49ers Can't Find Gold in Endzone

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IDecember 14, 2008

Go on and celebrate Dolphin fans, your team just beat the Gore-less 49ers, good for you. But take it to heart that you barely beat a Gore-less San Francisco team. 

I know the win greatly improved Miami's playoff chances, but Chad Pennington was celebrating like he had just won a playoff game. 

However, I would just like to say, that the measly 49ers would have destroyed the Dolphins if Frank Gore had been healthy.

The Dolphins did come away with their ninth victory of the season, beating the 49ers 14-9 in Miami on Sunday. But the Dolphins were held without a point after they scored their second and final touchdown in the middle of the second quarter.

The 49ers were moving the ball well all game, and after the final Miami TD, the defense forced punt after punt, as well as surviving a Miami field goal attempt that clanked off the crossbar.

Out-gaining Miami in total yards 318 to 252, and having 79 offensive pays to the Dolphins' 42, therefore having the ball for over 16 more minutes, one would think the 49ers won this game. 

Only one thing prevented that from happening. The Dolphins red-zone defense prevented the 49ers from scoring a single touchdown and San Francisco was forced to settle for three Joe Nedney field goals. 

The loss ended up as one of, if not the most disappointing loss of the season. If it weren't for the finish against the Cardinals back on Monday night, it would have been the most disappointing loss. The 49ers had three drives of 10 plays or more but only came away with six points.

Although the 49ers went over 100 yards rushing, the offense just lacked that creativity without having their most dynamic weapon on the field. They did try a reverse pass on one of their drives, but their running game, despite going over 100 yards did not have a single run of more than 13. 

And that was from quarterback Shaun Hill, and believe it or not there second longest run of 11 yards was from tight end Vernon Davis. Backup running back Deshaun Foster's longest carry of the day was for 10 yards.

After failing to score a go-ahead touchdown when the 49ers got the ball back with 7:54 to go, the 49ers weren't able to get possession back until Miami kicker Dan Carpenter clanked a 49-yard field goal off the crossbar giving the 49ers the ball back with 2:36 left.

The missed field goal gave the 49ers great field position, starting out at their own 39-yard line, and once again San Francisco drove down inside the Dolphins' 25-yard line. But on 4th-and-10, Shaun Hill had no time to find a receiver as Miami linebacker Joey Porter came in unblocked and sacked Shaun Hill to effectively end the game.

One can only imagine how well the 49ers may have played if Frank Gore had been healthy enough to play against Miami. Being in his home town, I can only imagine he would have had a big day.

That being said, as a 49er fan, despite the 5-9 record, I have my head held high. This team is finally showing signs of what we thought they were capable of back when they went 7-9 in 2006. But now the team has even more play makers and a quarterback who is not only a flat-out gamer, but one who is in-sync with his head coach.

Just to get into some hypotheticals, the 49ers should have been able to come away with a win against the Eagles, nearly beat the Patriots, had a gaff of a game against Seattle, and nearly beat the Cardinals on the game's final play. 

Winning all four of those games would have San Francisco at 9-5 and in position to win the division. And even if they won just two of those that they should have won, San Francisco would be 7-7 and still in the division race as Arizona got blown out by the Vikings this week dropping them to 8-6. Plus, if San Francisco would have beaten Arizona in that Monday night game, they would now have identical records.

If the 49ers can keep the team they have intact, give interim head coach Mike Singeltary the full-time job, upgrade at the right tackle position, and beef up the D-line, look for the 49ers in the playoffs next year.