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49ers Scrooged by Ravens: Rapid reactions

Marc Adams
Dec 26, 2023 at 8:50 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers may have taken the season of giving a little too far. On Monday night, they gave the Baltimore Ravens five extra possessions. Two of those cost the 49ers points. The other three gave the Ravens good field position, with two of the turnovers immediately putting the Ravens in scoring position.

In an ugly 33-19 loss to the Ravens, the 49ers offense was miserable, turning the ball over five times. And the defense wasn't great, either. They weren't horrible, but they weren't good, even though they did keep the 49ers in the game for a bit. The Special Teams, not to be left out, was bad in some spots, as well, like when Mitch Wishowski hit the punt returner out of bounds and was called for a personal foul.

If it could go wrong, it did—even with injuries. Trent Williams didn't finish the game. I don't think I have to say how massive of a loss that would be.

Here are my rapid reactions. These are the notes I jotted down as the game unfolded.

  • Great start for Brock Purdy. Oh, wait, maybe not. An interception and some missed throws early on would set the table for his worst game as an NFL QB.
  • A Jake Moody field goal and a safety from the defense gave the 49ers an early 5-0 lead. But that was as good as things would get.
  • Terrible start by Tashaun Gipson. A defensive holding and a pass interference penalty on the same drive.
  • Ambry Thomas continues to play at a high level. He had a pass breakup and an open-field tackle in the first quarter. Both were huge plays on third down.

  • George Kittle likes playing in prime time. He had a very good first quarter and finished the game with seven catches for 126 yards. Early on, it looked like his numbers would be twice that.
  • Another Purdy pick. And another. This could be a long night. That's three interceptions in the first half.
  • Ji'Ayir Brown misses too many tackles. I like a lot of what I see from him, but he needs to tackle better.
  • Every time I look up, Nick Bosa is being held.
  • The defense was pitiful on the first Ravens touchdown. Gus Edwards was barely touched.
  • Jason Verrett played some defensive snaps. Good for him. But he did give up a touchdown in the second half. That was a tough spot for him, having not played in two years, and then he was thrust into the game and had to cover a wide receiver whose QB was scrambling around.
  • Christian McCaffrey is good at football. He finished with 131 total yards and a touchdown.

  • And great downfield blocking by Deebo Samuel on the big second-quarter run by McCaffrey. No block, no rock.

  • I take back what I said about Thomas. He started well but got worse.
  • Randy Gregory had half a sack (he split one with Chase Young), even though he was sick and throwing up in trash cans.

  • This was a bad game for Gipson.
  • McCaffrey set a 49ers record for racking up 100-plus yards from scrimmage for the eighth consecutive game. That's more than Jerry Rice had. More than Roger Craig had.
  • Purdy, who surpassed 4,000 yards passing on the season, didn't look like himself. He wasn't calm, wasn't as accurate, and wasn't the decision-maker that's made him so good. He looked like he felt the pass rush coming at him more than he typically does.
  • Four interceptions by Purdy. I guess we can stop worrying about the MVP talk.
  • The defense wasn't much better. But to be fair, the offense put them in bad spots over and over.
  • Sam Darnold threw some dimes when he came into the game. By the way, Darnold came into the game because Purdy left with a shoulder stinger, his second in as many weeks.
  • The 49ers lost the turnover battle 5-0. That's bad. Darnold decided to throw an interception, as well. Incredibly, though, had Darnold not taken that sack on third down late in the game, and then forced the fourth down throw, the 49ers had a chance to get to within one score. If they could have scored a touchdown and recovered an onside kick, who knows? For a blowout loss, this was almost a close game at the end.
  • The 49ers had too many offensive linemen go down in this game. Williams (groin), Aaron Banks (toe), and Jaylon Moore (concussion).

  • That makeshift offensive line that was out there after Williams, Banks, and Moore went down was scary. Kyle Shanahan was wise to get Purdy out of the game.
  • Let's hope this isn't the beginning of another three-game skid.
  • 49ers highlight of the night: Samuel taking a big hit from a Ravens safety and still gaining 6 yards.

  • The 49ers' worst two losses of the season have come at home. Both of those losses were to the AFC North. And three of the 49ers' four losses came at the hands of the AFC North.
  • Shanahan said it best: "When you have five turnovers and over 100 yards in penalties, that's what happens."

I don't care that much about the MVP talk. The bigger regular season goal is to get the top seed in the NFC. The 49ers are still the front-runner, but they've made this a lot harder than they had to. And if they don't win their final two games, they won't get home-field advantage or the first-round bye.

Perhaps the biggest concern is that it seems like when things start to take a bad turn for this team, they spiral out of control. So it's not just one or two players making mistakes, but the whole team. Are the 2023 49ers mentally tough enough to win a close postseason game like they have in the past?

I believe they are. We'll soon find out.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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