Giant Heartbreak

REDNGOLD_2015_wk5b_Giant Heartbreak

All of the 49er fans that watched Sunday Night’s game had to feel encouraged and also very hopeful as they saw their team overcome early adversity and take a 27-23 lead with just over a minute left.

We Niner fans have been through an awful lot and for a short time, it seemed like there was a chance we could witness a game in which San Francisco could get back in the race and show that they can win games.

Unfortunately, the defense couldn’t stop Eli Manning when it mattered the most.

The Downside

The defense just did not play well. Despite the offensive line woes in New York, the 49ers were not able to muster a consistent pass rush, stop the run, nor were the able to stop the Giants on third down.

They showed flashes at times with pressure, third down stops and even a huge interception in the endzone at end of the first half to keep the score 13-6.

Those flashes were nice, but it definitely felt like the inconsistencies would turn around and bite them in the rear end, and unfortunately, that’s what happened. Ahmad Brooks’ absence was definitely felt.

David Neumann broke the final drive down complete with animated gifs of critical plays here. Take a look at how many times Shane Vareen burns the coverage. Something more needed to happen to ensure that Vareen, the only real threat on the field at the time, didn’t beat them.

Obviously, if Tramaine Brock comes down with the interception near the end, the Niners win. That’s the part that stings the most.

And then finally, the last play. Bowman had good coverage, but it was a great throw and an even better catch by Larry Donnell. Just one of those things I guess, where a team can’t get the break it needs to win.

The Upside

Early in the game, it was good to see Bruce Ellington get involved in the offense, catching two passes for 39 yards, especially the first one that went for 30 yards. He looks fast, disciplined and determined. Unfortunately, he didn’t get out there much after that, much to the dismay of The Faithful.

Another major positive is the addition of right guard Andrew Tiller. Check out Oscar Aparicio’s breakdown of how Jordan Devey and Tiller both did (since they did have equal snaps) on Sunday night, complete with Vine videos. At this point, Andrew Tiller has to be the guy, posting a +1.1 rating from Pro Football Focus.

Once center David Kilgore comes back and if Tiller plays well, all of a sudden, this offensive line problem doesn’t look real bad anymore. And let’s continue to keep our fingers crossed that Anthony Davis comes back next year like he says he will.

Aaron Lynch continues to play well, earning a +7.0 PFF grade on pass rush (+9.2 for the year ranking him 5th overall among 3-4 OLB’s).

The defensive line of Ian Williams, Quinton Dial, and Glenn Dorsey is a solid group, but they were not nearly as good this week as they were last week. There were too many good runs from Rashad Jennings where last week, they probably stop most of those.

And finally, Colin Kaepernick looked better, completing 23 of 35 passes for 262 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That’s a good performance that needs to not be overlooked but also can’t just be a one-time thing.

He looked more comfortable, especially in the second half, as the Niners were able to score on drives that went 80 and 88 yards. That’s what 49er fans have been waiting to see this year – trips to the redzone that end in touchdowns!

All in all, it was good performance by the Niners, but going forward, they need to have games where both the offense and the defense show up, not just one.