First off, I want to apologize for layoff in posting here over the last 2 weeks, we've been so concentrated on the Giants and their playoff run, and I've been down in San Francisco for the home playoff games and have been spending most of my computer time over on that site. But we're back now, and we should return to our normal, 2-3 post per week schedule now.
Of course, for all our Giants World Series coverage, check out our partner site, The Giants Baseball Blog. Even though they haven't been nearly as exciting to talk about as the Giants, the Niners looked to have taken a step in the right direction after their first victory of the season over the Raiders last week, but they lost all momentum gained from that win, and really can now kiss any shot at the playoffs goodbye after falling to the Carolina Panthers, 23-20. The Niners lost starting quarterback Alex Smith halfway through the game, and the offense really sputtered once he left the game. For all those Niner fans who have been wanting to see David Carr behind center, they got their chance on Sunday, and Carr did not impress at all. Carr went just 5-13 for 64 yards and a pick. He literally did all he could to help the Niners lose the game, looking like Alex Smith at his absolute worst, and failing to get any sort of momentum going on offense. The only points the Niners put up with Carr behind center, was on defense, as Ray McDonald picked off Matt Moore and took it to the house. That gave the Niners the 20-13 lead late into the 4th, but the Panthers managed to put up 2 scores in the final 2 minutes to walk away with the game. That 2-minute showing by the Niners was basically their season in a nutshell. Mistakes, mismanagement, and the allowance of big plays (David Gettis 23-yard TD catch with 1:48 remaining in game) with the game on the line.
On a more positive note, Frank Gore looked very good on the ground to collect his 2nd consecutive 100-yard game. He also helped out in the passing game with, with his typical 4 catch, 57 yard game. He's quietly gone over 300 YFS over the last 2 games, and is showing exactly why the Niners need to be giving him at least 25 touches per week... Vernon Davis also had a nice game, as he caught the only Niners' offensive touchdown of the game, a 1 yard strike from Smith in the 1st quarter. Davis finished with 4 catches for 74 yards and that 1 touchdown. But outside of Gore and Davis, the Niners had nothing going on offense. Michael Crabtree had 4 catches, but those only went for 31 yards. I didn't think I'd find myself saying this at all this season, but the Niners really struggled without Alex Smith, and if he stays healthy all game, the 49ers win this football game.