I hate Brett Favre. He always seems to find a way to beat the Niners. The 49ers were so close on a number fronts in pulling off the win and a 3-0 start to the season. You can even say that it was a game of inches. In the final seconds of the game with the 49ers up 24-20 Favre was pursued by DE Justin Smith who was an inch away from sacking Favre before he threw his heartbreaking TD pass to WR Greg Lewis; sack, end of game, Niners are 3-0. With Safety Mark Roman covering Lewis if the throw was one more inch to the left Roman would have broken the pass up, end of game, Niners are 3-0. When Lewis came down with the catch if his foot was half an inch more towards the end of the end zone, no TD, end of game, Niners are 3-0.
Well, none of it went that way for the 49ers and they lost 27-24 and have a 2-1 record on the season. The fact that the 49ers did not give up after a dismal first-half on offense shows the 49ers have confidence in what they can accomplish. Nate Clements 59 yard touchdown after he picked up a blocked field by Ray McDonald helped the 49ers confidence going to into half-time. Losing Frank Gore for the game with an ankle sprain did not help but Shaun Hill held his composure and did what he needed to do when the game was on the line. Unfortunately his counterpart, Favre, did the same but in the final seconds of the game. What hurt the 49ers the most was the kickoff return ran back by rookie Percy Harvin in the third quarter after the 49ers went up 17-13 with a Joe Nedney field-goal. The 49ers were riding high as the D mostly contained Adrian Peterson even though he had 85 yards rushing with no touchdowns. In the end though Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye went too conservative on their final drive going three and out with three straight running plays. The 49ers had to punt and gave Favre and the Vikings a chance to come back with a minute and a half to play. Way too much time for Favre. I knew when the Vikings started at their own 20 yard line the game was going to come down to the wire. I was hoping for a different outcome.
- Vernon Davis had a career high game catching 7 passes for 96 yards with two touchdowns. Shaun Hill looked to Davis all day and his most impressive catch was not the two TD’s he scored but when Hill threw the ball to Davis and he went up to grabbed the pass between two Vikings players, got sandwiched by both and held onto the ball for a first-down. Davis is becoming a threat and Hill will look to him more often for the rest of the season
- Jimmy Raye stayed to true to the running game even after Gore went out with an injury. Glen Coffee rushed 25 times for 54 yards. The reason why this is a pro is because the 49ers set-up their passing game with the run game. If Raye would have panicked and started throwing more the 49ers would not have had the lead in the final seconds.
- Shaun Hill had his coming of age game. It was not anything spectacular but he had a modest game throwing 15 for 25, 195 yards, two touchdowns with one interception. Hill has the confidence to be starter and believes in himself that he can lead the 49ers to victories as long as he limits his mistakes.
- The defense was remarkable in stopping Adrian Peterson. They did not allow him to break off any big runs and held him to 85 yards with no touchdowns. The biggest concern on D this year was suppose to be the pass rush. The 49ers showed they have one and for the third consecutive game had a sack (Mark Roman; Aubrayo Franklin). Favre was pressured all day and threw one interception. The secondary could have had two more if Nate Clements and Dre’ Bly did not drop potential INT’s.
- The offensive line played well against a very tough Vikings defensive line. Jared Allen had one sack but that was in the first quarter and after that the O-line gave Hill the time he needed to make plays.
- As much as I was happy Raye stayed committed to the run to set up the passing game he and Singletary were too conservative on the Niners final drive rushing three straight times. Yes, the running did mean the Vikings had to call their three timeouts. But when you have Favre all you need is one play regardless of time left or how many timeouts you have. Give him a second to snap the ball and he will beat you. At least one dump pass to Coffee or even to Davis to try to get a first down to keep the drive alive could have saved the 49ers victory.
- The big blow was Pecy Harvin’s kickoff return for a touchdown. The 49ers are one of the best Special Teams unit in the NFL and they showed that with their blocked field goal ran back for a touchdown and with the leg of punter Andy Lee. But to have a TD ran back was not the worst. No one on the 49ers touched Harvin. Unacceptable.
- The 49ers on offense did not show up in the first half. It was basically non-existent. Even though Gore was out Hill needs to play the first half like he did in the second half if the 49ers want to be a playoff team. The 49ers were 0-11 on third down. That will not win you football games.
- As well as the 49ers D-line played they still allowed Favre to pass for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Offense: B- (The lack of offense in the first half hurt, so did losing Frank Gore who might miss the next two games)
Defense: B (Stopping the rushing attack of Peterson is why they get such a high grade. Favre passing for 301 yards and the final gaming winning TD lowers their grade)
Special Teams: C+ (Great punting, a great field goal blocked ran back for touchdown is nice, but to have a kickoff returned and not lay a hand on Harvin negates anything positive you did in the game before the return.)
Coaching: B- (Glad they stuck to the run but were too conservative on the final drive. One pass attempt could have saved the game. But the way Greg Manusky had his defensive unit stopping the Vikings I can see way they leaned on the 49ers D to win the game for them. Singletary needs to have more confidence in his offense. He did show a little of that in the game when he went for it on fourth down.
@ home vs. Rams. Good thing about this loss is the hapless Lams are coming into town. The game will not be a walkover for the Niners but they have a good chance to rebound from the heartbreaking loss with a win.
Keep updated automatically through email on 49ers news at Niner Noise. Subscribe here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/NinerNoise
Tags: 2009 49ers Season 49ers 49ers Offensive Coordinator 49ers Quarterback 49ers Vs. Vikings Week 3 2009 Aubrayo Franklin Dre’ Bly Frank Gore Glen Coffee Greg Lewis Joe Nedney Justin Smith Mark Roman Mike Singletary Minnesota Vikings Nate Clements Pat Williams Patrick Willis Patrick Willis Vs. Adrian Peterson Percy Harvin Ray McDonald San Francisco 49ers Shaun Hill The Beast Vs. The Freak Vernon Davis