Ravens snap 49ers' eight-game win streak


Ravens snap 49ers' eight-game win streak


BALTIMORE -- Brothers Jim and John Harbaugh's teams staged an epic struggle on Thanksgiving.John's Baltimore Ravens outlasted Jim's 49ers for a grind-it-out 16-6 victory in the first game in NFL history that pitted brothers as head coaches.Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco found tight end Dennis Pitta in the end zone on an 8-yard scoring pass against 49ers safety Donte Whitner early in the fourth quarter to snap a 6-6 tie.The 49ers (9-2) will not be able to clinch the NFC West this week, but they remain in firm command of the division. The 49ers will enter next week's game with at least a one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints (7-3) for a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers (11-0) now have a two-game lead over the 49ers for home-field advantage.--The 49ers' pass protection was not good, and quarterback Alex Smith did not get rid of the ball on time. He was sacked a season-high nine times, a franchise record for Baltimore, and forced into an intentional grounding.--Smith and Ted Ginn hooked up on an apparent 75-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter, but the play came back due to a chop block called on running back Frank Gore. In reality, Gore did nothing wrong as he performed a cut block on blitzing safety Bernard Pollard. But guard Chilo Rachal got his hands on Pollard after Gore cut him.--That wasn't the only controversial call that nullified a big 49ers play. Cornerback Tarell Brown was called for a 50-yard pass interference penalty while covering a deep pass to Ravens receiver Torrey Smith. Instead of Brown's interception, the Ravens had a first down at the 49ers' 15-yard line.--Receiver Braylon Edwards was a non-factor; he hauled in his lone catch on a fourth-down pass on the 49ers' final drive, his first catch in the past two weeks. One of Smith's attempts to him late in the first half was intercepted, as Edwards failed to prevent Lardarius Webb's interception in the end zone.--The 49ers' run defense was on display after that sequence. The Ravens had a first-and-goal situation at the 4. Ray Rice gained 3 yards on first down. But as part of the 49ers' goal-line defense, defensive back C.J. Spillman dropped Rice for a 4-yard losss. On third down, Aldon Smith and Justin Smith stopped quarterback Joe Flacco for no gain. The Ravens settled for Billy Cundiff's 23-yard field goal.--Injury report: Rachal saw a lot of playing time at right guard as starter Adam Snyder had to leave the game with a hamstring injury. Rachal struggled against the Ravens' front. Veteran Moran Norris took over as the 49ers' fullback with Bruce Miller inactive with a concussion.--The Ravens' suffocating defensive effort came without linebacker Ray Lewis on the field. He was inactive for the second straight game with a toe injury.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.