Is the 49ers’ season lost?
Coach Mike Nolan tried to ease the concerns of his team afterward. His postgame talk to his team focused on how the season is long and there’s still a lot of time for the 49ers to turn this thing around.
But you really have to wonder. This was a game the 49ers should have won. But they completely folded in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers ran 16 offensive plays in the fourth quarter and they lost 2 yards in total offense. Frank Gore touched the ball just twice in the fourth quarter. That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
J.T. O’Sullivan threw two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown in the final minute) and lost a fumble.
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Obviously, many plays went awry. One play that deserves special attention was a third-and-6 from the Eagles’ 11 late in the third quarter. The 49ers were leading 23-17.
The Eagles brought six people on a blitz. Tight end Vernon Davis lined on the left side. O’Sullivan rolled right. They had the tight end screen set up perfectly, but when O’Sullivan turned to throw back to the other side, safety Quintin Mikell was in his face. O’Sullivan hurried his throw and tossed it over
It would’ve been an easy touchdown. The 49ers had three blockers out in front of
“There was no one there at all,”
The 49ers settled for a field goal to increase their lead to 26-17 – instead of 30-17.
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Obviously, another key sequence was after the Eagles pulled to within two points early in the fourth quarter. What the 49ers needed was a time-consuming drive. They needed to use Gore to chew up the clock and perhaps move down the field to increase their lead.
Instead, the 49ers went three-and-out with two incomplete passes and a pass to
It seemed like pretty odd play-calling by offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
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The one big head-scratcher was Mike Nolan’s decision to challenge David Akers’ made field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
This was not a good day for Nolan challenges – or non-challenges. But it’s my understanding that Nolan should not have been allowed to challenge that call because the kick sailed over the upright and could not have been reversed anyway because there’s no frame of reference on video.
D: With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, J.T. O’Sullivan threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. O’Sullivan completed 17 of 30 passes for 199 yards. His passer rating was 49.2.
A-minus: Frank Gore ran hard. He gained 101 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries, while also catching three passes for 16 yards. Backup DeShaun Foster failed to convert a third-and-1 run in the second half when the 49ers were moving the ball.
B-minus: Overall, it was a strong performance against one of the more difficult teams in the league to play against. The protection held up very well for most of the game against the Eagles’ blitzes. This unit gave O’Sullivan time to throw. Also, there were holes for Gore. On the down side, the line was responsible for four penalties for 23 yards.
D: The defensive line did not get much pressure on Donovan McNabb with their four-man rush. They also had a difficult time containing Correll Buckhalter, who rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries.
B-minus: Takeo Spikes made an interception deep in 49ers territory late in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, Patrick Willis failed to hold onto a ball that would’ve been a pivotal turnover. Willis and Spikes were the team’s leading tacklers.
D: The 49ers secondary had a very difficult time keeping up with rookie DeSean Jackson, who caught six passes for 98 yards. McNabb threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns while compiling a passer rating of 94.7.
B-plus: Ray McDonald’s blocked field goal, which resulted in Donald Strickland’s 41-yard TD return looked to be the momentum-changer the 49ers needed. The 49ers’ coverage units did not have a good day. The Eagles’ average starting point was their own 46.
D: Coach Mike Nolan ordered a couple questionable challenges, including his decision to appear a made field goal in the fourth quarter. The play had no chance to get overturned, and the 49ers needed that timeout. The stars seemed to align for a 49ers victory, but they could not close the deal.