Breaking down the 49ers' breakdowns


Breaking down the 49ers' breakdowns

Other than the brother vs. brother coaching matchup, the thing that distinguished the 49ers' 16-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens was the number of sacks allowed.The last time the 49ers were sacked nine times in a game was November of 1998 at the Green Bay Packers. Steve Young was the quarterback, and the offensive line consisted of Jamie Brown, Ray Brown, Chris Dalman, Kevin Gogan and Derrick Deese.Two months later when the clubs met again in the playoffs, Young was sacked twice at Candlestick Park and the 49ers defeated the Packers on Young's late touchdown pass to Terrell Owens.I still haven't had a chance to re-watch the entire game, but I wanted to take a look at each of the nine sacks allowed.Coach Jim Harbaugh said there was equal blame to go around for the sacks. He said three were a matter of the Ravens calling the right blitzes against the 49ers protection; three were results of a 49ers pass protector losing one-on-one; and a couple sacks could've been avoided if quarterback Alex Smith had gotten the ball out quicker.Again, these are only the nine sacks. I haven't watched the other quarterback pressures or the times Smith escaped sacks:1, First quarter (9:04), 3rd-and-3 from SF 36
Alex Smith in the shotgun. The Ravens come with a five-man rush with middle linebacker Jameel McClain blitzing up the middle. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs gets around left tackle Joe Staley just enough to force Smith to step up. McClain is one on one against right guard Adam Snyder. McClain gets past Snyder with a spin move to force Smith to flee the pocket toward the left sideline, where safety Tom Zbikowski runs him down and tackles him for a 1-yard loss. On a third-and-3, it should've been a quick-hitting play, but he did not determine there to be an open receiver. Smith first started to get out of the pocket 2.7 seconds after the snap. The penetration Snyder allowed to McClain blew up the play.2, First quarter (2:38), 3rd-and-4 from Balt 22
Smith in the shotgun. It's a four-man rush, but a fifth man is at the line of scrimmage eye-balling running back Frank Gore who remains in to block. The Ravens get immediate push up the middle. Haloti Ngata works center Jonathan Goodwin into a clump of bodies around left guard and then sheds him and moves into the pocket. Rookie defensive lineman Pernell McPhee helped blow up the play as he got past Adam Snyder and an off-balance Gore was blasted backward. About 2.5 seconds after the snap, Smith stepped up into Ngata's grasp for a 5-yard loss. The Ravens overpowered the 49ers' front on that one.3, Second quarter (12:47), 3rd-and-13 from SF 17
Smith in the shotgun. This time the Ravens thoroughly confused the 49ers with a seven-man front. The Ravens rushed four, but the 49ers had a difficult time identifying which four until it was too late. Backup right guard Chilo Rachal's attention was diverted by McPhee who lined up between center and right guard. Rachal is in the game after Snyder's hamstring injury. Cory Redding lined up over right tackle Anthony Davis. McPhee faked a rush and then backed into coverage. Davis was responsible for the outside rusher Paul Kruger, leaving Redding unblocked. Redding blew past Rachal, who was initially focused on blocking McPhee. And with Kruger and McClain coming off the right side, Gore's attention was on picking up the unblocked McClain. Gore did not realize until it was too late that Redding was unblocked, too. Chalk that one up to scheme, rather than one person getting physically beaten.4, Second quarter (8:42), 1st-and-10 from SF 24
Against a five-man rush, the pass protection was very good, giving Smith 3.8 seconds to get rid of the ball. Gore laid out blitzing linebacker Albert McClellan. Left tackle Joe Staley mirrored Redding 9 yards up the field, providing a good pocket for Smith. When Smith stepped up, Redding stepped up and dropped Smith for a 2-yard sack. Call that one a coverage sack.5, Third quarter (13:15), 2nd-and-11 from SF 32
Smith is in the shot gun. The Ravens have a four-man line with Redding lined up over right tackle Anthony Davis and Ngata over Rachal. Redding and Ngata work a stunt, and Rachal started off on Ngata and then picked up Redding. But Davis did not close the gap tight end between he and Rachal, allowing Ngata to push through Davis and get to Smith in about 2.5 seconds for a 6-yard sack. This play blew up with Davis not getting the switch.6, Third quarter (8:56), 2nd-and-8 from Balt 25
The Ravens come with another five-man rush, but pre-snap they again disguised which five men were rushing. Terrell Suggs just ran to the outside past the shove of Davis. And when Suggs got to Smith, three other Ravens were right there and could've gotten him, too. Put it this way, the only pass protectors who had their guys taken care of were Staley, who locked up Ngata, and running back Kendall Hunter, who stepped up to take on safety Bernard Pollard. That was a combination of scheme and getting beaten.7, Fourth quarter (13:35), 3rd-and-7 from SF 31
Smith in the shotgun. Ravens come with a five-man rush with cornerback Lardarius Webb coming off the 49ers' right side. It looked as if Davis didn't recognize Webb coming off that side and was helping inside. Other than Webb coming free off that side, the protection was acceptable. Smith felt Webb and slid to the right. Staley was blocking McPhee, who did not get off the line of scrimmage. Smith moved that way about 3.2 seconds after the snap. Webb and McPhee shared the 2-yard sack. Nobody got physically beaten, so we'll chalk that one up to scheme, too.8, Fourth quarter (8:12), 3rd-and-8 from SF 12
Smith in the shotgun. Davis blocking Suggs one-on-one, remained between his man and the quarterback but he kept giving ground to Suggs, who forced Smith to scramble to the left sideline. Smith pump-faked and began to throw, but he thought better of it with Suggs in pursuit. Suggs ran down Smith and sacked him 5 seconds after the snap. The ball popped free and out of bounds for a 3-yard loss. Davis did not hold firm enough against Suggs and Smith couldn't find anyone downfield once he escaped the pocket.9, Fourth quarter (3:05), 1st-and-10 from SF 31
Smith in the shotgun. Rachal pulls from right guard to try to pick up Kruger off the left side, where Gore is there, as well. That forces Smith to step up. Tight ends Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis remain in to block Suggs, who works Davis to the inside and grabs Smith about 3.1 seconds after the snap for a 7-yard loss. None of the pass-protectors got physically handled on this one. Bottom line is -- surprise! -- the 49ers did not execute. Smith completed three passes the entire game on third downs. He was sacked five times on third downs. Most of the Ravens' successful scheming was directed at the right side of the 49ers' line.

Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it


Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, so the speculation was that he would not allow his players to kneel during the national anthem.

The Cowboys and their owner did kneel, though not during the anthem.

Following a weekend of kneeling and protesting across the NFL, the Cowboys and their owner displayed their own version of unity Monday night, kneeling on the field before rising as a group prior to the playing of the national anthem.

"I hope that I'm clear and I hope that our team is clear: We want to respect the flag. Make no mistake about that," Jones said.

"Nothing that we've done, nothing that we did tonight says anything other than that. We also want to as a complete team, as players and an organization, be able to, whenever we can, demonstrate that unity is important and equality is important.

"That's what I'm so proud of these guys for, they did both and did it in a way when people really stop and think about it, makes a lot of sense."

The Cowboys sat and watched the protests across the NFL on Sunday and spent most of Monday discussing the best way to show unity without denigrating the flag.

After warmups Monday night, they went into the locker room and returned to the field for the anthem, lining up between the sideline and the yard markers on the field.

Arm-in-arm, they dropped to a knee as a giant flag was carried onto the field, with Jones and his family in the middle near the 50-yard line.

Numerous boos rang out across University of Phoenix Stadium as the Cowboys kneeled and continued as the players rose, still arm-in-arm, and stepped back to the sideline as the flag was unfurled across the field. They remained connected as Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

"The objectives, as much as anything else, was to somehow, some way demonstrate unity and demonstrate equality, and do so without any way involving the American flag and the national anthem," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

The Arizona Cardinals had their own symbol of unity after a weekend of protests in the NFL, gathering along the goal line arm-in-arm during the national anthem. They were joined by owner Michael Bidwell, his family and general manager Steve Keim.

More than 200 NFL players kneeled, sat or prayed during the national anthem on Sunday after President Trump said any player who does not stand for the national anthem should be fired.

Three teams did not take the field for the national anthem and numerous NFL owners came out against Trump's statements.

49ers place Tank Carradine on injured reserve


49ers place Tank Carradine on injured reserve

The 49ers signed LB Mark Nzeocha from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad to a one-year deal, the team announced.

In order to make room on the roster, the team has placed DL Tank Carradine on the Injured Reserve List.

Nzeocha (6-3, 240) was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round (236th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over the past two seasons (2015-16), he appeared in eight games and registered four tackles. He was waived by the Cowboys on September 3, 2017 and signed to the team’s practice squad on September 5.

A 27-year-old native of Ansbach, Bavaria in Germany, Nzeocha attended the University of Wyoming. He appeared in 39 games (26 starts) and finished his career with 207 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception.

Nzeocha will wear number 46.

Carradine (6-4, 270) appeared in each of the team’s first three games this season (two starts), where he registered seven tackles and one sack.

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