The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY from the 49ers week 4 loss to the Cardinals

The 49ers and their fans came into week four with hope of the team achieving their first win of the season on the road versus the Cardinals.  Another crushing pass interference call, followed quickly by a touchdown pass from Palmer to Fitzgerald late in overtime, resulted in another heartbreaking loss for the 49ers.

They say there are no moral victories in sports, and for the most part I agree, but when you are rebuilding, it’s tough not to look at the positives even though the final score didn’t fall in your favor.

Here are The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY from yesterdays game.

THE GOOD

Down goes Palmer.

The pass rush was relentless and very affective for most of the game.  Coach Saleh said earlier in the week that the teams defensive line is close to being dominant, and yesterday they showed it.  The team brought Palmer to the ground six times and had 16 total hits on the QB, helping the defence keep the Cardinals out of the end zone during regulation.  Elvis Dumervil notched his 100th and 101st sacks of his HOF career, while Solomon Thomas recorded his first ever during his best performance as a 49er.  Eli Harold, Ray Ray Armstrong and DeForest Buckner also recorded their first sacks of the season.  The 49ers have lacked a solid pass rush since the 2012 season so this was certainly something the fans loved to see.

Good as GOULD.

Robbie Gould continued to show why he was a valuable free agent pick up, as he accounted for all 15 49ers points.  Gould went 5/5 including the go ahead 23 yard field goal in overtime.  Next weeks goal?  5/5 in extra point attempts.

Mr. Swiss Army.

Trent Taylor has shown over the past few weeks why players like Jeremy Kerley were cut last month.  Taylor has stepped it up more and more each week as a receiver and a punt returner as he adjusts to the NFL game.  He finished the game with 5 catches for 47 yards but more importantly, most of his catches moved the chains and help lead to valuable points.  Taylor also had a nice 15 yard punt return late in regulation giving the 49ers great field position and a chance to win it with a last second field goal.  Unfortunately the team went three and out and had to punt it away.  It looks like the team found a gem in Taylor.

THE BAD

Picked on.

Rashard Robinson was thrown at early and often during the game and unfortunately for him and the 49ers, the result was a bad one far too many times.

He found himself a step behind on some tough routes (drags across the field for example), was a step or two behind on others, and was totally out of position on the pass interference penalty that was called against him. I didn’t include Rashard’s performance in the UGLY category, because it wasn’t all bad for #33.  He blanketed his receiver many times during the game and made two beautiful deep pass break ups down each sideline, one late in overtime to break up a game winning touchdown. Fans want to blame Robinson for the Fitzgerald touchdown. Not so fast. The team was in quarters zone coverage, at least that’s the coverage it appeared they were in amid the confusion (see below), and Robnison came off his guy late to help try to make a play. Wasn’t his zone, wasn’t his man.  So although the young corner did give up some plays to a very talented receiving corps, it wasn’t as bad as fans make it out to be.

Call a timeout!

Late game coaching has haunted this franchise the last 4 years and it reared it’s ugly head again late in overtime on Sunday.  After Palmer completed an 8 yard pass to Andre Ellington on first down to the 49ers 19 yard line with about 47 seconds to go, the Cardinals offence promptly lined up to run their next play as the clock continued to run.  With two timeouts at their disposal, the 49ers elected to not call a timeout, which proved to be a crucial mistake that hasn’t been addressed. Just before the ball was snapped, K’wuan Williams can be seen looking at Bowman and appeared to be asking him what the play call was…..too late.  The ball was snapped, Williams looked like a confused kid looking for his mother in a busy playground, and Fitzgerald ran right by him on a seam route for the game winning touchdown.  Why didn’t Shanahan call a time out?  What was he saving them for?  This game was going to end in a tie, or the Cardinals were going to win it with a touchdown. Call a time out. Give the pass rushers a chance to rest and the defensive backs the coverage you want them to run. That’s a mistake that hopefully this coaching staff will learn from.

THE UGLY

Hoyerific.

I’m a fan of Brian Hoyer and think he can be a productive quarterback in Shanahan’s offence, but Hoyer was anything but productive in this one. The 49ers quarterback missed his receivers early and often leading to too many missed third down opportunities leading to numerous stalled drives, and missed red zone opportunities. Football is a team game.  Quarterbacks certainly don’t win games on their own, but when they play poorly, the teams chances of success are minuscule at best. Hoyer has to be better, he said it, Shanahan said it, now it has to happen. Hopefully a weak Indianapolis defence is what this offense needs to get back on track.

The third down monster.

5/19. That’s just not winning football.  Penalties, dropped balls, sacks and missed throws all led to punts by Pinion.  To win these close games, the team has to execute when it matters most. Too many times 49ers players are seen patting their chest telling their teammates “my bad”.  Make the throw, catch the ball, stop with the penalties. It’s really that simple, there is no magic recipe.

Flag on the play

Penalties Penalties Penalties.  After shooting themselves in the foot so many times over the first 4 games of the season, I’m surprised this team is still upright.  Coach Shanahan has stated week after week in his post game pressers that the team has to do better in that department, but the results continue to be horrendous.  A coach can sometimes excuse a player when he just gets physically dominated on a play, it happens. It’s hard to swallow, however when the team continues to get pre snap penalties (mental) and pass interference penalties ( poor fundamentals ), which lead to points by the opposition and punts by the offense.  You can’t win too many games when you commit 13 penalties for over 100 yards.  Time to clean that up boys.

Another close contest, another devastating loss. It’s tough watching these guys battle every week and not get the results we are all hoping for, but hey, look on the bright side, we have the Colts next week!

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