Here are the numbers. Three fumbles. One interception. Two turnovers. 7 Penalties. 7 Punts. -5 minutes in time of possession. 5/12 on third offensive third downs, 7/14 on defense first downs. 22-14 score.
I’ll being my analysis at quarterback, where Tim Rattay continued to show ‘something’ at the position. I really wish we could evaluate him behind a real offensive line, because next off-season the quarterback competition will be intense, and if Rattay had a solid line in front of him, well perhaps he would have an upper hand in that competition. Here is what impressed me. Rattay through for more than 10 yards per attempt. 10 yards per completion is a great number, 10 yards per attempt is among the leagues best. He had an awesome first half 11/16 for 193 yards and an awesome touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd. Can you say 130 point QB rating? Of course, Rattay got very lucky having his first pass of the day, which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, nullified by a penalty. (Aside: I miss the days that our quarterback would come out and hit 7 of 7 passes or more) So what happened in the second half? Try 7 completions and 12 attempts and an interception. Rattay who had thrown 50 or more attempts in each of the 49ers past two games, was only given 28 opportunities to throw the ball.
The team wanted to Kevan Barlow to get the ball. And they fed it to him 21 disappointing times. When will this team learn that you cannot force one player the ball? It did not work with Owens and will not work with Barlow. Do we need to run the ball? Heck yah, but we also cannot just sit there feeding it to a guy picking up three yards a carry. Derrick Lovielle used to get us three yards a carry. I would rather see Hicks activated from the practice squad at this point than to sit there and continue to be bewildered as to how Barlow does not follow blocks, is not quick enough in the whole, and makes poor cutback choices. I also think he has dropped off big time in his receiving ability. How many more times will Terry Jackson fumble this season. The guy can run, but like Robertson does not hold on to the ball. Anyone missing Paul Smith at this point?
Offensive line, oh the offensive line. Do I really need to talk about this? Even when Rattay had time to throw he did so with the defensive line too close to him. This group is sub par. It does without a doubt perform better with Kosier at left tackle than Harris though.
The defensive in general did a fairly decent job. Twenty-two points is something our offense has to match, and when you factor in the turnovers it was not that awful a day. That being said week after week the defense gives up big yardage, and week after week we do not make redzone or third down stands. The problems there start with the defensive line. I have to a place where I realize that this defense is banged up. But I can’t ignore the lack of pressure, poor tackling (especially in the second half), and the position of our defensive backs. A defensive analysis has become “who’s that guy” and I can appreciate that given the current circumstances these guys are doing a decent job.
I refuse to use injuries as an excuse, and if the previous paragraph sounded like I might, please no that I won’t. Great teams have depth, they have players that can step up at every position, in some cases multiple players. We simply do not have that depth. Hat’s off to Jamie Winborn who had a nice day, at least relatively speaking. Perhaps it is easy to look good when you are one of very few starting caliber players on the field.
I have been hard on the coaches all season, but I still think I have been fair. They blew a big lead in this game, and much of that was mental mistakes. Many people don’t attribute mental error to coaching error, but I do believe there is a connection. Players like Battle and Lloyd have to make those game turning plays. Dropped passes, fumbles, as much as people say it was a players fault, ultimately I think it comes down to coaching and making sure that it is second nature to catch the ball and protect the ball. Defensive play calling was dismal in the second half in particular. Far too much prevent defense. Shoddy tackling particularly in the second half, and no answer to Curtis Martin. Offensively I think far too much emphasis was put on using Barlow. I think the wrong calls were given to Rattay about playing ‘protective’ football in the second half. I also have to point to 7 penalties (sure it’s an improvement from 11, but what does that say?), I have to point to 3 fumbles, almost 2 interceptions, poor quarterback decision making, awful third down efficiency on both sides of the ball and poor defensive redzone efficiency as being problems with the coaching staff. For a while I thought I might be able to give the coaching staff a pass this week, but as the game kept going I realized that was not going to happen. The second half was just bad football, and it started at the top. The Jets adjusted, and the 49ers simply could not counter.
The 49ers have a bye-week next. A much needed bye-week. They will get healthier, get some rest, but ultimately, it will be the same struggling team that takes to the field two weeks from now.