San Francisco 49ers: Previewing the Ravens


The San Francisco 49ers are an impressive team. Impressive in the sense that it’s truly impressive how they are able to find new ways to lose games week after week. There’s been a blowout loss with no offense, a blowout loss where Colin Kaepernick thought he was on the other team, and a close loss with no offense.

Heading into Sunday night, the Niners were looking for a win, no matter how it came.

Sadly enough, Kaepernick truly did step up and play well.

The offense looked dynamic, with both short screen passes and deep vertical gains stretching out the New York Giants‘ defense. This in turn set up the running game, and Carlos Hyde was able to find holes often enough to be effective.

The defense looked better than it did in the blowout losses, but was just helpless against Eli Manning and his potent passing attack. The Giants never got all that creative in their play calling, but the 49ers’ zone defense was prone to the quick-slant routes that all the Giants’ receivers were able to run all night long.

The Niners went on a fantastic drive in the closing minutes, and Hyde punched in a touchdown for the lead with just over two minutes to go.  The Giants saw this, and took it as a challenge to go down the field and win the game.

Manning and the Giants, down several starting receivers, marched down the field quickly against the Niners’ defense. This is largely thanks to former Cal Golden Bears’ running back Shane Vereen catching several check-down passes and making some big runs.

The Niners’ defense just couldn’t shut down Manning when it mattered, and he eventually found his tight end Larry Donnell in the back of the end zone with less than 30 seconds left in the game.

The Giants came up clutch when it mattered, and the Niners just couldn’t make a stop late into the game. But for a prime time, national-televised game, the 49ers were still able to silence the critics and play well once more.

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  • This week, the 49ers will look to keep up the momentum while changing the outcome. They will be home hosting the Baltimore Ravens, who are somewhat surprisingly only 1-4 this year. They really should be 0-5, if not for the Pittsburgh Steelers having a less than ideal kicking situation during their matchup.

    The Ravens of 2015 are a much different team than the 2012 Ravens who beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Only three of the eleven offensive starters from the championship team are still playing in Baltimore. The 49ers aren’t much different, with only four out of eleven starters on offense still around-and that could soon be three if the Vernon Davis rumors are true.

    The idea that both of these teams are different than they were in 2012 isn’t hard to visualize considering the total record of both teams in 2015 is 2-8 so far. Both teams have had such struggles that there was recently a front page Reddit discussion about both teams woes. 

    Joe Flacco, Super Bowl XLVII MVP, has been almost as varied in performance this season as Kaepernick. He has struggled to find his 2012 postseason successes once more, not unlike Kaepernick. 

    It doesn’t help that he has almost no standout receivers anymore, thanks to San Francisco grabbing both Super Bowl starting receivers, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith.

    The Ravens, once known for their fearsome defense, have been knocked off the mountain top by the likes of Seattle, St. Louis, and Denver. Now they are comparatively average to the rest of the league, but far from the Ray LewisEd Reed era that put them on the map.

    The Ravens are a lot like the Niners: both teams that used to dominate their divisions, and are now quickly dropping and getting left behind by other teams in their division.

    In order to have any hope of turning the season around, and with an impending battle with Seattle on the horizon, this game has the makings of a must-win for the San Francisco 49ers.

    42. Final. 20. 26. 24

    Next: San Francisco 49ers Can't Get Things Right