Blog Entry

Week 9 vs. Tennessee Breakdown

Posted on: November 9, 2009 10:06 am
A loss to a 1-6 team hurts and it hurts badly, especially considering the way that we lost.  We had chances to win this game so many times and played very well in all facets of the game but big plays by the Titans , our inability to make big plays, and awful coaching lost it. 


Alex Smith really did not play all that bad.  On all three of his interceptions he did stare down his receiver but the first two were just fantastic plays by Titans defenders while the third was an awful play by Josh Morgan combined with a good play by the Titans defender.  He dropped back to pass 51 times and only made 3 mistakes, which I think is not terrible considering that the offensive line could not block anyone.  Even when the Titans only brought 3 men, Smith was pressured.  He made a lot of good plays that none of the other QBs on our roster would have made; including the first touchdown to Jason Hill and the 40-yarder to Vernon Davis .  Overall, he had a solid game that I would grade at a 'C+'

This was easily Frank Gore 's best game of the season as it was the first time all season that he actually was consistently gaining 4-8 yards instead of 0-3 and then adding a big run to bring up his yards per carry.  He looked faster and stronger than he has all season and that is impressive because in earlier games he still looked great but there were just too many people in the backfield for him to do anything.  Gore also added 7 catches for 75 yards.  Considering how effective he was running the ball it is surprising that he only got 15 carries.  Indeed, Chris Johnson was much more ineffective throughout most of the game but the Titans kept feeding him the ball hoping he would break off a big run and he eventually did.

Hard to believe that, as good as he has been playing this year, yesterday was Vernon Davis' first career 100-yard game.  Congrats to him on that and while he did have a very good game both catching and blocking for most of the day, he also made a big mistake when he was beat easily in pass protection and allowed a sack/fumble resulting in a 21 yard loss.  That loss made it 3rd and 23 from our own 35 instead of 2nd and 2 from the Titans 47.  Other than that, he was good in pass protection and made a couple of key blocks in the running game.

All of our receivers had relatively subpar games.  Josh Morgan and Isaac Bruce were especially bad; Morgan had two dropped passes (one was tipped up for an interception) and Bruce slipped on a pass that would have resulted in a pretty big gain.  Michael Crabtree had lots of trouble getting separation for the first time all year and was double covered a lot.  Jason Hill came in after Bruce's mistake and played very well, catching 4 balls for 50 yards and two touchdowns.  I hope to see Crabtree, Hill, and Morgan as our starting receivers for the rest of the year but knowing our coaches we probably won't.

In terms of pass protection, this was the worst game the offensive line has had this year.  Adam Snyder had one of the worst games that I have ever seen from an NFL player and was getting beat almost every time we dropped back to pass.  Chilo Rachal , Eric Heitmann , David Baas , and Barry Sims were all beat at least a couple of times as well.  The run blocking was fairly good in comparison, especially from Rachal and Baas.  I would argue that this was Rachal's best game this year as he only gave up 1.5 pressures and did not allow anyone to run right past him to make a TFL like he has been all season.

Didn't contribute positively or negatively:
Glen Coffee , Moran Norris , Delanie Walker

Offensive coaching/playcalling:
Even though Jimmy Raye has been Jim Hostler bad all year, this was his worst called game yet.  In the first half of the game things seemed to be working but after halftime things just fell apart.  Raye decided that, even though we were winning the game and even though Gore was playing well, we should pass the ball for the rest of game.  Gore only receiver 7 carries in the second half and his last carry came with 13 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  Of those 7 carries, 5 were right up the middle and those 5 gained us 17 total yards while the 2 outside runs in the second half netted 18 yards.  This is the summary of Raye's ineptitude.


This was one of the worst games Justin Smith has had since he came to San Francisco.  He got absolutely zero pressure on Young despite being handled one-on-one for much of the game.  Aubrayo Franklin , on the other hand, had a great game.  He pushed the pocket back on passing plays and was in the backfield making tackles on running plays.  It was his best game of the season.  Isaac Sopoaga once again played solid, nothing bad and nothing spectacular.  I saw Kentwan Balmer in on a few plays and he seemed to be getting good penetration.  All told, the defensive line was stout in the middle but Johnson broke big runs of 26 and 41 when he bounced outside.

Patrick Willis saved like 3 Chris Johnson touchdowns, no joke.  Johnson was getting ready to turn the corner and accelerate all three times and Willis chased him down for a relatively minimal gain.  For someone so big to be able to move so fast is ridiculous.  The stats might not show it but he definitely had a great day.  Takeo Spikes had a solid day of mostly freeing things up for Willis, Manny Lawson was solid against the run but did not put pressure on Young.  Parys Haralson 's play was a mixed bag.  On one hand, he made two great tackles for a loss when he shot down the line but on the other hand Johnson's 41 yarder and the subsequent touchdown were both directly his fault.  On the touchdown he had Johnson 6 yards in the backfield but failed miserably and Johnson got around him.  Haralson didn't pressure Young at all either.

Both Shawntae Spencer and Tarell Brown had solid enough games but we sorely missed Nate Clements in run support because both missed a tackle close to the LoS that Clements would have made.  Spencer was beat for a 49 yard gain early on but played well for the rest of the game while Brown did not allow any catches for substantial yardage.  Dashon Goldson failed to get over the top on the aforementioned 49 yard reception but other than that did not give anything big up like he has been, though he did not make any plays either.  Michael Lewis and Dre Bly had Justin Gage covered pretty well on his 33 yard reception late in the game but Gage made a fantastic catch.  Other than that play, both were good all game.  Mark Roman made a terrible decision when he decided to go after Young on a 3rd down roll-out, despite having a teammate right next to him, and Young just lobbed it over their heads for an easy 1st down.

Defense coaching/playcalling:
Manusky was really almost as bad as Raye yesterday.  He rarely blitzed, even though the few times that we did something good happened, and Young had all day to throw.  Any QB with as much time as Young had yesterday is going to find the open receiver eventually.  One of his worst calls came when the Titans had a 3rd and 9 from our 19 right before they scored.  I knew, and I am sure most of you did as well, that they were going to throw a screen to Johnson and yet the defense looked completely unprepared when it happened.  To me that shows that the defensive coordinator thought the Titans were going to try something else and I don't know what Manusky was thinking they might do because it was pretty obvious that they were going to run a screen to me.

Special Teams

Andy Lee had 3 amazing punts.  On his first one the ball boomed 57 yards in the air and just stuck when it landed inside the Titans 5 yard line and the other two pinned them inside their 15.  Joe Nedney and the kickoff coverage team were good, allowing only 23 yards per return and an average starting field position of around the 24, and Michael Robinson is a decent enough kick returner.  We still need a decent punt returner because -1 yards on 3 returns is not gonna cut it, Brandon Jones .


Like I already said, we had this game won so this losss hurts.  Outside of two big runs, Johnson only gained 68 yards on 23 carries and Frank Gore had a good day with 160 total yards.  The 4 turnovers by Alex Smith and coaching are what killed us.  Now we have a short week and have to travel to Chicago having lost 4 straight.  I don't like our chances.  This season hinges on this week.

(P.S. Sorry that I did not write one of these up for the Colts game last week but I did not get to watch 3/4 of the game so I hardly though that I should talk out of by behind.)

Category: NFL

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2009 1:50 am

Week 9 vs. Tennessee Breakdown

I still think that all three of the INTs were Smith's fault.  On an out route, the ball should be on its way BEFORE the reciever makes his break, but the pass was thrown AFTER, and you could see as the Niner reciever had to slow down to avoid running out of bounds because the ball was thrown late.  Smith's decision-making has improved a lot, but he still needs to get the passes out quicker and trust the recievers.  Every time Smith was decisive, something good happened.  When he hesitated, it usually became an INT or a throwaway.

Anyway's just a few thoughts on Smith. 

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2009 11:11 am

Week 9 vs. Tennessee Breakdown

The rants will go on now whether to stay with Smith, switch to Hill or let Davis play.  I don't see the quarterback position as the one in question for change.  You mentioned that 3 out of 51 passes were bad and only 1 of the interceptions could be directly faulted to Smith.  I assertain that for any person to do well in that backfield there needs to be a better offensive line to block for them.  Calling a number of passes was unsettling in the 2nd half but a number of them were short screen like plays which could be construed as a long hand off to backs.  Last year at this time we were facing a similar situation with JTO.  He was throwing interceptions and being sacked at a constant rate.  Not much change this year?
My real dissapointment was in the play of the defense.  Ranked number 2 against the run we let Johnson have some big gains and Young had all day to pass on us.  No pressure to the quarterback made his day so much easier as compared to Alex Smiths.  Whether that was the defensive scheme or inability of our players to pressure more I would think that rushing a player that has spent the last year and a half on the bench would be a given.  Evidently not. 

Parcell's said it best when he said "You are what your record says you are".  We are 3-5 and spiralling downward.  A 3-1 start has been forgotten and I feel like most Niner fans do that each game brings another blow to my love of this team.  I'm very dissapointed that nothing was done this off season to bolster the offensive line.  Bringing in Marvel Smith was a huge reach and I dont' count that as a positive for us.  Injuries happen to all teams but our line appears to be more susceptible to damage then others.  Maybe our opponents are more energized to play us against that line that they try harder.  One way or another I don't see us making the playoffs until our line play is better regulated.  After Thursday I think we'll be able to see our future one way or another. 

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