Reporting Dennis O’Donnell
CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm and offers his unique sports analysis here.
BALTIMORE (CBS 5) – The San Francisco 49ers looked slow and tired. How else can you explain nine sacks allowed? The Baltimore Ravens’ pass rush isn’t that good. In fact, in the previous three games the Ravens had just 4 sacks combined.
The key to 49er defeats is getting to Alex Smith. Six sacks in the Dallas loss, nine in the Ravens loss. You do the math. Fifth-Quarter post game analyst Jeremy Newberry thought the 49ers did not have enough time to prepare for the Baltimore defense. Jeremy was a Pro Bowl center for San Francisco and spoke of the day-to-day preparation and why each day is so critical to what a team does on Sunday. If the game is Thursday and across the country? Well, you get the point. So while the offensive line’s lousy performance will be meticulously analyzed over the coming days, keep in mind that the short week, while not the sole excuse, was a factor in what went down (literally) in Baltimore. Remember, the Ravens got an extra day by virtue of playing at home.
By the way, Joe Flacco wasn’t sacked once and was brilliant on third down in the second half. Conversely, the 49ers were 2-12 on third down and you can’t blame that on the short week. It’s been a season-long problem and they are at the bottom of the league in that category. While the offense line was a line-wide issue, the right guard position seemed especially vulnerable with Adam Snyder’s hamstring limiting his effectiveness and Chilo Rachal’s poor play.
Frank Gore’s numbers have hit the tank in the past few weeks and you have to wonder how problematic his knee is. I wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to rest him with the NFC west all but locked up.
While 49er fans like to say the 49ers should have beat Dallas, that was not the case tonight. Baltimore took a close game and dominated the second half. But I expect that improvement will come from defeat. Even in the 49ers heyday, an occasional loss forced the team to reflect on the things it needed to do to get better. In that respect, Jim Harbaugh and Bill Walsh share a lot in common.
Finally, and unrelated to today’s game, I wonder if what was said between Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh in the infamous handshake will ever come out. Because it was “definitely worthy of a fine.” I’ll let you guess who said it.
See you on TV.