The San Francisco 49ers did both a good job and bad job in Week 13 against Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Amid the 20-17 Niners loss at M&T Bank Stadium, which sees head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad fall to 10-2 on the season, San Francisco's top-ranked defense both showed its skill against the passing game, while also displaying the year-long troubles against the run game.

Particularly versus mobile quarterbacks like Jackson.

True, the rainy and windy conditions on Sunday were likely a factor. But Jackson going 14-of-23 for just 105 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 86.3 has to be viewed as something of a moral victory for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's unit. This, considering Jackson's career-tying five-touchdown game in Baltimore's 45-6 beatdown of the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football the previous week. And the fact Jackson currently leads the NFL with 25 passing touchdowns on the season.

At the same time, though, Jackson rushed for 101 yards on the game, easily finding seams and openings through San Francisco's defense. Many of those runs were critical in Baltimore picking up the much-needed points in its 10th win of the season. Jackson, meanwhile, exposed some of the difficulties the Niners have faced with dual-threat quarterbacks, particularly the Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson earlier this season.

"We made some adjustments, obviously, throughout the game," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said afterwards. "Trying to contain [Jackson] more. Overall, I'm proud of the guys. We fought our tails off but came up short."

Still, plays like this became something of a regularity for San Francisco's defense:


But cornerback Richard Sherman was willing to take the Niners' defensive efforts against the Ravens, who managed an average of 43 points per game over their last three contests.

"We expect to hold people to less than whatever they had," Sherman said. "We're one of the best defenses in football. That's not us saying that, it's our numbers and our tape. That's our standard.

"It doesn't matter, all that, unless you win the ballgame."

Ultimately, Jackson ended up making more plays than San Francisco's defense could afford. And a key difference maker in the contest was the time-of-possession battle, which saw Jackson and the Ravens offense possess the ball 32:26 to the Niners' 27:34, including the game-winning drive, which spanned nearly six minutes and 30 seconds. There was a bigger difference earlier in the game before the 49ers executed a drive of 8:26 in the third quarter, which culminated in a game-tying field goal.

But Jackson was able to make enough plays late in the game, especially after San Francisco failed to convert on a crucial fourth-down try late, and the Ravens put a dent in the Niners' playoff-picture hopes.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.