I knew that Sunday's match-up with the Falcons would be a tough assignment for the 49ers, but after seeing there performances over the last few weeks, I don't think anyone could have seen the thorough beating that the Falcons handed them coming.
The game had a bad vibe to it from the start, as Shaun Hill was picked off on their first offensive possession of the ballgame, which gave the Falcons the ball deep in Niner territory which ultimately led to a Micheal Turner TD run. The Niners got down 14-o early in the first before they started to get on track a bit, and they came right back to make the score 14-10, but it was a downhill slide after that point. Matt Ryan had a field day, throwing for over 300 yards while him and Roddy White toyed with the Niners seconday all afternoon. Since Mike Singletary took over, I haven't seen a Niner team less prepared than they were Sunday, as they were making a variety of dumb mistakes throughout the game. One play that comes to mind that really puts the game in a nutshell for the Niners sake was the interception by Dre' Bly, in which he started taunting a little bit after he thought he head a clear path to the endzone, only to be caught by Roddy White from behind, who also forced the ball out of Bly's hands and back into the Falcons possession. The game was 35-10 at that point, and I'm not going to say that cost the Niners the game, but it definitely cost them a chance to get back in the game. Had Bly actually returned that pick for a TD and didn't slow down to taunt the Falcons on the way towards the endzone, it would have been a 35-17 game with plenty of time remaining. Again, still doesn't mean they would have won the game, but it would have made things a little more interesting.
Other than the dumb mistakes, the 49ers really didn't get anything going offensively. Shaun Hill looked really bad, maybe as bad as I've seen him since he's been in a Niner uniform. He completed just 15 of 39 pass attempts for 198 yards and a pick, good for a 45.7 passer rating. He repeatedly missed receivers, though some of them looked like missed routes, and he just didn't look very comfortable at all at any point in the game. It didn't help that the Niners weren't able to get much of a running game going either. Glen Coffee rushed for under 50 yards, although he did rush for a score. The Niners are desperately missing Frank Gore, who should be back after the bye week. San Francisco will also have their first round pick from 2009's draft available for the first time all year. Michael Crabtree should make his professional debut in week 7 vs. Texans, and the 49ers definitely need him. It was frustrating to watch the Niners' receivers struggle to separate vs. the Falcons DB's, and although I'm not expecting any miracles from the rookie wideout right away, I am expecting him to come in and do some positive things for this offense. Whether it's taking some of the defensive focus off of Vernon Davis and Issac Bruce by just being out on the field, or if it's actually getting involved in the playbook and making some plays, the Niners need this kid on the field and ready to play, cause he's going to help out just by being there.
Extra Points: The 49ers actually activated Crabtree to their 53-man roster, cutting kick returner Allen Rossum to make room. The 22 year-old will have 2 full weeks to get familiar with the Niners playbook and get on the same page as Shaun Hill before their October 25th match-up with Houston... Starting strong-safety, Michael Lewis, could be gone for the year after suffering a concussion in Sunday's game, his third concussion in the last 2 months. Second year DB Reggie Smith is behind Lewis on the depth-chart at FS, but Mark Roman could see the most time there in Lewis' absence. The Niners could also look outside the organization for help at the position during the bye week as well, so we'll keep an eye on that situation... For a proven sports betting system, as well as sports betting champ review, check out our friends at Docs.