Top 5 takeaways from 49ers' Week 6 win over Ravens
Passing game breaks through
The 49ers (2-4) avoided their first five-game losing streak since the first five games of 2010, the final year of Mike Singletary’s brief run as head coach. Colin Kaepernick and the passing game came through to lead the way to a 25-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a game that looked nothing like their February 2013 meeting in Super Bowl XLVII. The 49ers’ got solid games from ex-Ravens wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, and they exploited ex-49ers cornerback Shareece Wright, whom they released a week earlier. Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s game.
5) Tiller provides power
The 49ers’ right-guard rotation has seemed to bring out the best in starter Jordan Devey and Andrew Tiller (61), who played his second game since being promoted from the practice squad. On Sunday, Tiller saw an increase in playing time. And the 49ers’ offense was productive with him on the field. The 49ers gained 268 yards on 30 plays with Tiller. On those six drives, the 49ers scored both touchdowns and two field goals. With Devey at right guard, the 49ers utilize their zone scheme to that side. When Tiller is on the field, the 49ers feature more power plays to the right side.
4) Playing to personnel
There have not been many times this season when a 49ers defensive back was torched in man coverage. Almost all of the 49ers’ problems in pass defense – and there have been many – have come with the team’s soft zone coverage. “We had a lot of room out there to make plays and I felt we should have had 600 yards,” Ravens QB Joe Flacco said. The 49ers’ pass defense allowed Baltimore to get back in the game and nearly pull out a victory in much the same fashion as the 49ers let one get away a week earlier against the N.Y. Giants. Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini has to do a better job of putting his players in spots to make plays. And the organization needs tightening up, too, as the 49ers had a couple of instances in which they had to call timeouts to avoid 12 men on the field.
3) Seeking more behind Hyde
Carlos Hyde was clearly not the same as he played on a banged-up foot. Reggie Bush continues to be sidelined with a calf strain. The 49ers lacked a dependable backup on Sunday. Jarryd Hayne played nine snaps, but did not touch the ball on offense after fumbling a punt return. He missed a blitz pickup assignment that led to a sack. Rookie Mike Davis got an earful from Colin Kaepernick after a broken play late in the game. He was stopped for no gain on his one rushing attempt. The 49ers looked good at running back when camp opened, but with Kendall Hunter ineligible to play for the team this season, along with injuries to Hyde and Bush, that position is now ultra-thin.
2) ‘Winning is a good thing’
A couple weeks ago, the 49ers were teetering on the edge. The 49ers were playing horribly and there were rumblings of infighting, as the team’s season appeared to be spiraling downward. But the psyche of the team appeared lifted with a competitive loss to the New York Giants. Then, the 49ers played well enough to defeat the Ravens on Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak. “Every time you win it’s a really good thing. That’s my answer there,” 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said. “Winning is a good thing.” The 49ers (2-4) now have a quick turnaround to face the reeling Seattle Seahawks (2-4), a team that has let big second-half leads slip away the past two weeks.
1) Timing is everything
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s success has been a direct result of being more decisive with his reads and allowing his receivers to make plays. The biggest change has been his increased time under center. In the first four games, Kaepernick spent most of his time in the pistol and shotgun formations. He was under center just 11.3 percent of the time. But the past two games, Kaepernick has been under center 69.7 percent of the 49ers’ offensive snaps. Joe Montana and Steve Young always preferred under center because their steps could be timed out with the receivers’ patterns. Also, they never had to divert their eyes from the defense to receive the snap. Kaepernick’s comfort level was evident on Sunday, as he completed 16 of 27 passes for 340 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.