San Franciso 49ers: Grading the Week 12 Loss
Well, at least Patrick looks happy in this picture. Because I sure as heck wouldn't after that performance on Thanksgiving against the Baltimore Ravens.
Considering the circumstances, the 49ers really didn't play that poorly. The offensive line did, though, and that just emphasizes how important protecting the QB is to winning a football game.
All things considered, Alex Smith played well when he had more than a split-second to throw, the secondary effectively shut down Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, and a 10-point loss to the best AFC team on a short week and on the road—it wasn't that bad.
Here is my Thanksgiving version of a 49ers report card—hopefully your dinner tasted better than the result of this game.
Passing Game: B
Alex Smith was the mashed potatoes of this Thanksgiving meal.
I mean that in two ways:
First, he was good. Considering all the other things going on around him, he did a great job satisfying us.
Just like always (this season), he was good enough. When he actually had time to throw, he completed 63 percent of his passes.
Secondly, the poor guy might have left more of himself out on the field than usual. Literally. Like limbs and at least a pint of blood.
He was completely mashed all game. The O-line needs to buy him a steak dinner.
If he has any teeth left.
Offensive Line: F
I've added a new category for this game. It had to be done.
It wouldn't be fair to the rest of the units being dragged down by such an awful performance.
Without a doubt, the O-line was the turkey of this meal.
Let me explain. My late uncle would always call me a turkey when I would do something stupid as a child, like make a bad joke or stumble while walking.
So, besides the obvious meaning of being a delicious bird, the word turkey has always had a connotation that means "bad" for me.
All I have to say is nine sacks. Nine.
The game began and ended with the Baltimore defensive line completely overwhelming our offensive line.
Give Smith a chance to throw, we might have won the game. If Chilo Rachal (he was that fat, gnarly piece of turkey you always get), the worst lineman in the history of the NFL, was just a tad more aware, the 75-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. stands.
It was tough facing such a vicious front seven, but the O-line's performance was just unbearable. They more than deserved to get the first F of any of my report cards.
Running Game: C+
Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter were hardly a factor against the Ravens defense, unsurprisingly.
Gore and Hunter were the biscuits. That's because they just sit there, almost unnoticed, until you need something to soak up the slop with.
That's when they are used, and you still devour them in a matter of seconds.
Basically, that's a really bad way to say that Gore's 2.8 yards per carry was ugly.
But again, what could you expect with a non-existant offensive line and an insane defense in the way?
Front 7: A
The stuffing. Duh.
It's a play on words, and it's always the best part of the Thanksgiving feast.
The turkey smells the best, the potatoes look the best and the drinks may feel the best, but we all know the stuffing is why we really sit down for that meal.
Okay, maybe it's just me.
But still, the front seven extended their streak to 33 straight games without a 100-yard rusher, and they even had a bad-ass goal-line stand.
Ray Rice gave them props in the media after the game, saying it was the best defense the Ravens have faced all year.
If that isn't proof that these guys are the best in the NFL, I don't know what is. My only complaint is that they didn't record any sacks in the game.
They didn't lack in pressure—the Ravens were just able to beat it with scrambling by Flacco and some short screen passes.
The secondary played a fantastic game against the Ravens.
They were fooled on some slant passes to Anquan Boldin early on, but once they adjusted the soft zone they were playing, they started to shut the passing game down.
This unit was the cranberry sauce, because they covered everything.
Torrey Smith was hardly a factor, and they only really allowed one big gainer, which resulted in the game's only touchdown.
Donte Whitner was at fault on that one, but for the most part, the entire secondary played fabulously.
Because of the bad coverage on the touchdown and the fact that they 49ers didn't get any interceptions—which I've come to expect as a spoiled fan—I've demoted them to an A-.
Special Teams: A
Props to the special teams for racking up all six points the 49ers could muster in Baltimore.
David Akers continued his dominance of field goals that are about as big a number as his age, nailing a 52-yarder.
The special teams were the pumpkin and/or apple pies, because they were the only sweet thing about this meal.
Yeah, that's all I got. Sorry, I'm still a little upset with the 49ers.
Well, Jim lost the Harbowl, but it wasn't a terrible effort.
They definitely have some things to work on, especially regarding the offensive line.
But the game plan was decent—there just weren't enough athletes on our O-line to contend with the freaks of nature on the Baltimore D-line.
The coaching was the gravy. I don't know why—it's the most glaring omission so far from my feast.
But, if Smith was the mashed potatoes, then Harbaugh is the gravy. Please don't make me explain it more.
The coaches definitely were at a disadvantage playing on such a short week and having to travel cross-country, but they probably could have put together a little better blocking scheme on offense.
This meal was pretty good, but overall I was left unsatisfied.
The 49ers definitely need to get those linemen rested up and find a way to ship Rachal out anywhere.
Let's pay someone to take him.
It will be a good measuring stick for the rest of the season. If the 49ers can bounce back and win next Sunday, we know that they aren't a team who lets a loss get them down.
We'll see what Harbaugh can do with them in practice over the next 10 days.
Still, the 49ers are 9-2 and lost to the best team in the AFC by 10 in their house—not too much to worry about, 49ers fans.
With five games left, the 49ers have the capability to run the table. We'll see if they have what it takes to beat Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football and beat up on the NFC West.
Until next time, I hope everyone enjoyed their non-football related Thanksgiving events and, as always, go Niners!