The 49ers got absolutely punked on the front line this Thanksgiving in the “Harbowl”. Probably the only team that can stand up to the 49ers physically upfront kicked their butts. I’m not going to spend a lot of time going into the obvious, the short week, the flight across the country, you know the complete and utter unfairness that was this game?
Back to the point here, Fullback Moran Norris was active for the game, I saw him warmup in fact, I verified it online and TV from many sources, it’s a fact. Did you see him out there? Nope, that’s because the 49ers only real competent FB on the roster is emerging rookie Bruce Miller. Aside from his TD catch in Washington and his near TD in Arizona he hasn’t been somebody talked about too much (except for the growing fan base including myself that just wants to see the end of Moran Norris).
The fact is Miller has been brilliant, everyone wants to key on the fact that he is an obvious upgrade to Norris as a receiver, rusher, and overall athlete that much is a given. But what Miller has brought to the running game has been understated to say the least. Miller gets to the second level as fast as any FB in football (yeah I said it!) he’s a physical player and his transition from college defensive line to pro FB has been almost seamless. Did you see Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter hit the second level vs the Ravens? Did the backs really help out that much in pass protection? Think the 49ers miss Miller now?
I’ll take a look at the right side of the OL after the jump
Let’s get something out of the way before I get into the right side of the OL. First and foremost I want to acknowledge that the OL as a whole stunk. The right side was way worse than the left side and I contend it caused collapses along the entire unit that contributed to many of the breakdowns at the line of scrimmage.
Right Tackle Anthony Davis played despite an injured ankle that limited him in practice during the short week after the Arizona game. Say what you want about Davis but the kid has played extremely well the last 6-8 weeks after a rocky start and he is definitely progressing in all phases of the game and maturing in his role as a starting tackle. He looked flat out awful against the Ravens, not the makes 12 stupid mental errors awful, the slow to the edge, getting manhandled by the defense routinely awful. He was obviously slowed by the injury.
Adam Snyder was also injured during the game and although he returned had to be replaced by my most hatted 49er Chilo (you should have picked D.Jackson over me) Rachal. Do I have to tell you how bad Rachal was?
When an offensive line has a breakdown at 1 position it can cause a ripple effect among the entire line. When it’s a talented line they can make up for it, but with 2 injuries and the relative inexperience of this line playing together as a unit the formula spelled disaster. The 49ers would have gotten away with this type of thing in a NFC West division game, but not against the Ravens.
With a semi-bye week, the one “advantage” to playing on Thanksgiving Day the 49ers have time to heal. The injuries to Miller, Davis and Snyder have all been reported as minor. Time to rest the soul, hit the hot tub, take it easy for a few days before the team hits the practice field again.
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