At about 4:09 pm last Sunday, I was pretty steamed. In addition to having just watched the 49ers get throttled by the Seattle Seahawks, I realized that in my football fueled rage, I had consumed the last of my Glenlivet 12 year. Ugh. What a rotten afternoon.

Since I was without quality booze and the little lady was doing her best to avoid her marginally inebriated, supremely frustrated boyfriend, I did what any hardcore masochist (read: loyal 49er fan) would do: I re-watched the game. How's that for self abuse?After about three runs through the game, I've come up what I think went wrong, why it went wrong, and what can be done to fix it.

When did the wheels come off?
After dominating the first 1 ½ quarters of football, the 49ers seemed to fall to pieces late in the second quarter. The beginning of the end came on a play that should have been the 49ers second interception of the game. As Nate Clements attempted to pull in the pass, his arm was grabbed by Deion Branch. Clements erupted, and when the late flag fell, it seemed that the 49ers would be the beneficiaries of an offensive pass interference call. Instead, the call went against Clements, and the entire defense seemed to lose their composure. Later in the drive, Clements tried to jump a hitch route to Mike Williams, and instead gave up the first big play of the day for the Seahawks, setting them up at the 1-yard line. Less than a minute later, Tarell Brown made the same mistake, this time resulting in a touchdown catch by Deon Butler. Offensively, as the game progressed, it became apparent that Alex Smith was growing more and more frustrated with the lack of communication with the sideline. Late in the 2nd quarter, while under pressure, he rifled a pass to Michael Crabtree that bounced off of his shoulder and into the arms of Jordan Babineaux. Less than a minute later, the Seahawks scored their second touchdown. From there, it was all downhill.

When we get down to brass tacks, who dropped the ball? Well, kids, there is plenty of blame to go around in this one. You could start with Michael Crabtree, move on to Alex Smith, and finish up by pointing fingers at the offensive line and the secondary. Truth be told, however, if you're among those that has spent the past few days pointing fingers at individuals, you've completely whiffed on why the 49ers failed in such dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon. The team failed because they lost their composure when the heat was on. Adversity reared its ugly head, and when it did, the 49ers folded. That stated, let's look a little deeper into the individual failures made up the whole god-awful, unholy debacle that comprised Sunday afternoon at Qwest Field.

Michael Crabtree, come on down!
For a guy that many thought was going to set the league on fire this season, Crabtree is off to an awfully inauspicious start. From his lack of playing time in the preseason to his seeming nonchalance in post game interviews, Michael is not doing much to quell the "diva" label that was thrust upon him in the 2009 draft. On Sunday he ran sloppy routes, short armed what should have been catchable passes, and seemed to be playing a step slower than everyone else. It is obvious that his chemistry with Alex Smith leaves something to be desired, and that could lead to fewer targets for him as the season progresses. However the season shakes out, based on what we saw Sunday, Michael has some work to do.

Mr. Smith goes to Washington (and Fails)
Alex Smith started out this game exactly the way many of the resident hopeful of 49erland thought he would: on fire. He was completed 8 of his first 10 passes, but seemed to fall apart late in the 2nd. While he was far from accurate on a poorly thrown (but catchable) ball to Moran Norris in the end zone, he was hitting his second and third reads frequently, looking like a capable leader early on. All of that changed when Michael Crabtree short armed a third down pass which resulted in the first 49er turnover of the game. Coupled with his evident frustration over how slowly plays were coming in from Jimmy Raye, the interception seemed to push Smith into panic mode. Once that happened, any hope the Niners had of effectively moving the ball went right out the window. Smith began to press, the Seahawks began to blitz, and the offense began running in place. Smith's confidence in Crabtree seemed shaken, and as the Seahawks dialed up more and more pressure and took away his other options, Smith became less concerned with stretching the field and more concerned with staying upright. All told, this game raised some very large, very alarming questions as it pertains to embattled QB.

Offensive Line or just plain offensive?
The offensive line was decent in the 1st quarter, and positively abysmal the rest of the game. While Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati performed as well as rookies in their first NFL starts could be expected to perform, both were hamstrung by the one thing that the Seahawks had going their way before kickoff: crowd noise. Davis and Iupati are bruisers, and both were a step slow Sunday afternoon. Why? Because it was so loud at Qwest Field that the Niners were forced to go with a silent count, placing the entire offensive line at an extreme disadvantage, especially the rookies. Any hope of building on what was a very slow start for the running game when right out the window when the Niners fell behind by two scores. Once the defense had its ears pinned back, it was all the line could do to keep up.

That Which Does Not Kill Us...
As I stated previously, what killed the 49ers last Sunday was not a lack of talent. The Niners were hamstrung by loss of composure in the face of adversity. Unlike the 49er rosters of previous seasons, this team has all of the talent necessary to succeed. It would not be a stretch to say that this is the most talented roster the 49ers have had since 2002. That stated, until the talent on the roster learns to respond to adversity as it arises in game situations, little things will continue to go wrong. Fortunately, there are solutions to what ails the Niners.

First things first, our secondary needs to stop forcing the issue in coverage. Nate Clements, Tarell Brown and Shawntae Spencer are very good corners, and they excel in man to man coverage. Clements and Brown have a tendency to gamble, though. In order to fix what ails the secondary, it will be up to DB coach Johnny Lynn and Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky to lay down the law with their corners in order to make sure that they aren't freelancing out there instead of playing their assignments.

Next, Alex Smith needs to be given a failsafe in the event that plays aren't reaching him quickly enough. It was readily apparent that Smith was frustrated by the communication problems he was having with the sideline. The more frustrated he got, the more ineffective he became. Since the 49ers have decided that he'll be their starter come hell or high water, they need to do everything in their power to ensure that Alex is as comfortable as can be. He's a guy that does well when he feels things are in order, and the Niners need to do everything in their power to give him that sense of order. Perhaps that means installing a set of "mayday" options that Smith can fall back on when sideline communications break down. Perhaps that means giving him a wristband to help expedite the calls. Perhaps that means giving him more control over what plays are called. Whichever path the Niners decide to take, they'd better take it quickly. If they are to have any chance whatsoever when the Saints come to town on Monday night, they'll need Smith to be at his best.

Finally, the offensive line needs to generate traction. The heart and soul of this football team is none other than Frank Gore. If he can't get going, the Niners are in trouble. It is imperative that Chilo Rachal and Mike Iupati get off the ball quicker than they did on Sunday. It is imperative that Anthony Davis do a better job of holding his own on the edge. Mike Solari and Ray Brown have a ton of tape to work with, and exactly four days to get this group ready for the defending world champions. The good news is that the team's next game will be within the friendly confines of Candlestick Park, so at the very least, they'll be able to hear the snap count and protection calls, which should serve to get them off the line a half-step quicker.

All told, Sunday's game was a nice, big steaming pile of awful. There is no getting around the fact that the Niners were outplayed by a less talented team. As much as that hurts, there is a silver lining to all of this: the mistakes made in Sunday's game are correctable. Correctable or not, this team has issues, and until they are dealt with, they will keep this team from playing the kind of football necessary to win a game, much less their division. How well the Niners do this Monday will go a long way toward telling us how close they are to fixing them.