The 49ers find themselves at the halfway point in the 2009 season on a four game losing streak, losing five of the last six games and are two games behind the Cardinals in the NFC West with a 3-5 record. With the Titans getting their first win of the season last week and with quarterback Vince Young making only his second start of the season the 49ers were in position to snap a tough three game losing streak all while at home at the Stick. Yesterday the 49ers not only continued their losing streak but also continued their inability to be able to close out games in the fourth quarter. This is the difference between your 3-1 49ers through the first four games and your 0-4 49ers of the last four games. In week 1 the Red and Gold finished the game against the Cardinals by scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter and prevailed 20-16. Being up 13-10 at half-time in week 2 the 49ers held the Seahawks to zero points in the second-half and went on to win 23-10. The Vikings game is well documented and that loss was half lucky, half not finishing the game. The Rams were finished before the game started in week 4 and then you have the current four game losing streak in which the 49ers should have won three of the four games but did not because, why? Again they could not finish the game and pull out the win.
This usually happens to young teams who are on the rise, have the talent to win but just are not quite there yet. I believe this is our 2009 San Francisco 49ers. The team has lots of talent on both sides of the football but are still a relatively young team among the starters. For all of the hype, talk and potential that head coach Mike Singletary has said, the 49ers have the talent yes, but have the talent for only three quarters of games and go into hiding in the fourth quarter especially when they are down.
The 49ers led at halftime 17-10 and with the way they were playing in the first half they looked be on their way to ending the losing streak. Instead of waiting until the fourth quarter to go into hibernation the 49ers decided to start it in the third quarter. Alex Smith had a sack and a fumble on the same play and the Titans scored a touchdown after the turnover and on three drives only accumulated 64 offensive yards in the third quarter. Even though Smith is in his fifth year in the NFL and has over 30 career starts at quarterback he is still a young player who needs to gain experience. Yesterday offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye had Smith in shotgun formation for much of the game and had him throw 45 passes compared to 20 rushes he called. This suited Smith well for the first half of the game but in the second half he had one fumble and two interceptions which the Titans converted into 17 points. The last interception thrown by Smith was the dagger in the heart as Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan ran it back for a touchdown making it 34-20 with 2:51 left in the fourth quarter. Although the last two interceptions were tipped balls and not solely Smith’s fault in the end he was the one that threw them and is responsible. Overall Smith had a poor performance with 286 passing yards and two touchdowns to go with his four turnovers. I believe Smith is not close to losing the starting job and should keep it the rest of the season but his performance this year will factor into what the 49ers do in the off-season QB wise. If Smith continues his current play GM Scot McCloughan and company will look at other options at quarterback.
Even though he had no touchdowns tight end Vernon Davis was his old self catching 10 passes for 102 yards. With Davis’ play this season the 49ers have a top five tight end. Running back Frank Gore contributed with 83 rushing yards and one touchdown to go along with seven receptions for 75 yards. One play that stood out yesterday and gives me hope in Alex Smith being a reliable starter was his first touchdown pass to wide receiver Jason Hill. With 20 seconds left in the first half Smith scrabbled to his right looking for an open receiver. It looked as though he would either run out of bounce or throw the football away but kept his eyes down field and found Hill alone in the back of the end zone giving the Niner a 17-10 lead going into halftime. The potential is there for Smith but he unfortunately started being the starting quarterback in the middle of a bad losing streak that has I believe doomed the 49ers hopes of the playoffs.
The 49ers have the players and the coaches to be a good football team but the problem is it is potential for next year. The 49ers started the season by overachieving and now with a four game losing streak the 49ers Faithful believe we are now underachieving. This will happen to a fan who have seen years of futility from the players and front office and leap at any chance of believing the 49ers are a playoff caliber team. But the 49ers are not underachieving now but are right were the rest of the NFL thought the 49ers would be this year. The 49ers roster and coaches have the potential on paper but have been shown by more experienced teams like the Vikings, Texans and Colts that the 49ers are not quite there yet to being considered part of the top 16 of NFL teams but find themselves on the bottom 16 teams in the NFL. The 49ers have shown they can keep up with the top NFL teams but have also shown that they cannot finish games. There is some hope as the 49ers second half schedule is a easier with four games at home and four on the road. However as the 49ers showed yesterday against the Titans it does not matter what record the other team has, the 49ers will find a way to not win the game in the fourth quarter. Keep the faith Niner Faithful.
Topics: 49ers, 49ers 2009 Season, 49ers Fail Again, 49ers Offensive Coordinator, 49ers QB, 49ers Quarterback, Alex Smith, Extend Losing Streak To Four, Frank Gore, Jimmy Raye, MCT, Michael Crab Holdout, Michael Crabtree, Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers, Shaun Hill, Titans, Titans Vs. 49ers, Vernon Davis, Week 9 NFL 2009