So, I've finished reviewing the coaches film from the Cardinals game. A lot of things to discuss, so I'll try and keep it succinct.
First, an update on may dad: He's doing much better, improving daily; as a result I have returned home and to work, so, It'll take me a little longer to get all of my analysis and breakdowns uploaded than I was doing.
As far as the game goes:
I think I, like many, was happy we won, celebrated the last second victory, and felt frustrated through quarters 2-4. After reviewing the film, I have to give props to Arizona, they came to play - we did not, and we still won....
Let me preface everything with this: Arizona played like a hot team playing with a hunger for the playoffs. They were obviously going to come out and put everything they had into this game to do all that they could going into the playoffs. Remember, this is a team that had won 7 of its last 8 games and came in with the #1 rushing defense - it showed. I think our guys, didn't have nearly the fire or passion in this game - and we still won....
There was a lot of sloppy play from a lot of different guys throughout the game.
Our Offense played great in the 1st quarter, then played terrible through almost the entire next 3 quarters - which we all know, the question is why?
To answer, we don't have to look much further than the offensive line. AZ's defensive line played like monsters throughout the game. Our offensive line continued to struggle against their ferocious front all game and when we did handle them, they were so active and played with such intensity, some of their guys still made plays. On one play in particular, Calais Campbell was the backside DT and scraped all the way down the line after getting beat to tackle Frank Gore in the hole for a 1 yard gain on what should've been an 8 yard gain - it was a pure hustle play. AZ played like that all game.
Roman tried to spread out their defense to loosen up the middle of the field, but they were so stout in the middle it never happened. Kaepernick got hit early and often. Sometimes we didn't see it on the broadcast, but, CK was hit on a lot of his throws(or had a defender closing fast). I think this got him to hurry a couple progressions and throws in quarter 2 and the beginning of quarter 3. However, CK did continue to show good development in going through his progressions and, when he had time was effective. However, he rarely had decent time in the pocket. Every member of the offensive line got whooped at some point in pass pro.
Sometimes we had guys give up on routes. There was one play in particular where Boldin was the 2nd read on a play, he was supposed to run a slant got 2 steps into the slant and stopped running, CK moved from his 1st read to his 2nd - which should've been Boldin(he looked over the middle for Boldin but Boldin had stopped running) which then CK had to go to his 3rd read for the outlet.
Also, I think many of us were frustrated with the 3rd and shorts that we failed to convert. This, also, was on the O-line. Roman tried different runs throughout the game. He was searching for anything that might work against that defense. He came back to the few plays that had worked, but those ended up getting destroyed the 2nd time they tried them. He tried power plays, dives, traps, zone stretches - they all got blown up by a very active AZ front that came to play.
Each of the 3rd and shorts were different runs that were blown up by different players.
As far as CK's footwork - I know there was mention of that in the previous thread. He had a couple lapses and missteps but it was the exception not the rule. I could pull a couple examples of poor footwork, but, they were not the majority. I think the footwork lapses were more a result of CK getting hit early than a lack of knowing how to do it properly.
From the defensive side of the ball:
I think our goal was to come out of the game healthy(sucks about Rogers though - he's our most consistent corner and does a good job in the slot). We rotated the defensive line more than I have seen us all season. I know it seemed like a lack of pass rush, I think it had more to do with the constant rotation than anything. When we had our big 4(Brooks, McD, Smith, Smith) on the field, for the most part, we got good pressure. However, we only had our true starting front 7 on the field all together for maybe 35% of the plays. We rotated everyone in the front 7 out throughout the game. Most of AZ's big plays came when we had guys rotating out on the rush. Also, I think our guys on D didn't bring their A-game. Bowman had the pick and the forced fumble but he also gave up AZ's biggest run and a big 18 yard pass to a TE the he blew his coverage on. Everyone on defense had a lapse in the game at some point. Sometimes, it was multiple guys at the same time.
The pass rush was also a little discombobulated, the stunts were not sharp and tight.
Overall, it was a really sloppy game.
The positive is: AZ had to convert a couple huge 4th downs to score and stay in the game, we played against a passionate, hot team hungry for a playoff birth(probably one of the top 4 teams in the NFC actually, they had just held Seattle to 10 points at home), had a their playmakers make some amazing plays, and we still won.
I felt like we played well under our potential against a great team and we still managed to find a way to win. I think we'll come out really sharp against GB this week. If we can beat that good of a team, playing that far under our potential, we should do very well in the playoffs.
Like most of my posts I'll be following over the next day or so with some breakdowns. Probably not too many as I'll really be focusing on scouting out GB and working on that more. If there are some really pressing questions I'll try and get to those, but, most of my time will be spent in scouting for the playoffs.
Go Niners! Let's get the 6th this year!