As we all know now, the San Francisco 49ers had their eight game winning streak snapped by the Baltimore Ravens. It was a depressing night at the local sports bar for me and my fellow Niner fans. We could not stop screaming at the top of our lungs whenever QB Alex Smith did not throw the ball away on the way to getting sacked. There were many occasions where Alex could have thrown the ball away and conserve yardage for his team by not taking a sack. Once the game was over, a great deal of the blame for the Niners lost was directed towards Alex. The feel around the sports bar was that Alex could still potentially be the reason why the Niners might fall in the playoffs. But let’s hold on for a minute. Some fans are quick to forget that Alex has lead the Niners to three fourth quarter comeback victories. The victories came against the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Detroit Lions. Let me add all three victories were on the road. Let’s not be too harsh on Alex for the lost against the Ravens. I am confident that Alex will make the proper adjustments to continue his great year.
Now I do believe that Alex should have thrown the ball away on at least four out of the nine times he was sacked. He had plenty of time to do so. But give the Ravens defense credit. They came with many different types of blitzes that confused the Niners offensive line, which would eventually lead to the nine sacks for the Ravens defense. In addition, the effort and aggression was on full display for the Ravens defense. LB Terrell Suggs was all over Alex’s face throughout the game. RT Anthony Davis had a hard time dealing with the speed and strength of Suggs. On many occasions Suggs was able to get around the edge and beat Davis on his way to pressuring Alex. The Niners offensive line has been great this season, unfortunately they decided to have their worst game of the season against one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The defining moment of the game was the third quarter drive the Ravens put together which would give them the lead that they would not relinquish. On the drive, the Raven’s offense converted on four third down conversions with the fourth conversion resulting on a touchdown. It was a key drive for the Ravens because it ended in a touchdown and as importantly the drive also consumed lots of the time off the clock, keeping the Niners offense off the field. The Niners defense played fantastic as they always do, but on that drive they could not get QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense off the field. The Ravens offense did just enough to win the game and give the Niners their second lost of the season. The lost will be a good learning experience for the Niners. I am sure head coach Jim Harbaugh along with the rest of the coaching staff will assess the game and make the team greater. To all my Niner fans, keep your heads up and remember it is better to lose now than in the playoffs. Let’s hope the loss will make the Niners hungrier and stronger. GO NINERS!!!!!!!!!