The hangover from the San Francisco 49ers loss in Super Bowl XLVII will last awhile. But, the post-mortem exam will show the San Francisco 49ers did not deserve to win this game.
From the outset the 49ers looked jittery. They just seemed out of sorts. With the 49ers first play from scrimmage, a 20 yard pass play, which was called back because of an illegal formation, to the subpar play of their secondary the 49ers looked out of sync.
Colin Kaepernick had a solid game. When you consider he was only making his 10th career start you have to believe the butterflies were a buzzin. Numerous times in the first half he either lacked patience, double-pumped or held the ball too long. In the end his performance was more than adequate as he nearly led the 49ers on the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. During the comeback some of his throws were simply other-worldly. Absolute darts with the precision of laser guided missles. The 49ers have a treasure.
The secondary was just awful. The main antagonist was self-proclaimed homophobe Chris Culliver who insulted his hometown city on Wednesday and letdown his hometown city on Sunday. Anquan Boldin registered several big grabs as Culliver was either a step late or lost in his fight for the ball with vice-gripped Boldin. But, it wasn’t just Culliver, Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers were beaten to the punch as well. Joe Flacco made some nice throws, but the 49ers coverage has been better and it needed to be.
The special teams gaffe to start the second half was inexcusable. If you are going to win a Super Bowl that just can’t happen. Jacoby Jones 108 yard scamper should have been the dagger if not for the greatness of the 49ers. And, that is what is so frustrating. The 49ers SHOULD HAVE won this game.
When the 49ers got down to the Ravens 4-yard line with under two minutes to play, I wasn’t thinking IF the 49ers would score, I was hoping they wouldn’t score so soon and leave Flacco time to race down the field for a possible tying or winning field goal. It did not even enter into my mind that the 49ers wouldn’t score.
The four 49ers plays inside the five were not good. First, a run between the tackles into the teeth of the Ravens defense with LaMichael James. Now, I understand Frank Gore had just streaked down the sidelines and needed a breather, but if you are going to run between the tackles on THAT play, I want Gore. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman had to be thinking that the Ravnes were tired and their all-everything nose-tackle Hloti Ngata was injured and out of the game. But, still didn’t like that call. The second down play was an out to Crabtree near the goal line. The Ravens had blanket like coverage and even if the catch is made, the 49ers are still facing a third-and-goal from the one. The third down play…..Guh ! Crabtree was again blanketed and Kaepernick tries to find him near the sideline at about the two, the ball was jarred loose as the Ravens had tight coverage.
On fourth down, the Ravens tip their hand showing blitz. Genius move by John Harbaugh, make the kid make a quick decision to try to win the Super Bowl. Upon seeing this, I don’t know why Jim Harbaugh didn’t burn his final timeout ? The game is on the line right here. There is no need to hang on to that timeout. When seeing his second year quarterback face this blitz-look from the Ravens, you need to call that timeout, get with Kaepernick, go through his progressions, and make sure he knows what to do if in case the Ravens blitz or sit back in coverage. But, instead it was a hurried, lofted toss to the corner of the end zone and out of bounds leading to a 34-31 Baltimore win…..
So, lets add it up. 4 plays, no Gore, no Vernon Davis, no pistol. It was LaMichael James up the gut and three passes to Michael Crabtree who was facing blanket like coverage…..Hmmmmm
The 49ers will be great for years to come. The infrastructure is there. But, this missed opportunity will haunt the 49ers and their fans for years to come.