By: Joe Lami
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—After losing four straight games, the San Francisco 49ers faced a must-win situation on Sunday afternoon in hopes to keep their season alive against the Baltimore Ravens. The Niners did just that, as they outlasted the Ravens 25-20 at Levi’s Stadium upping their record to 2-4.
The 49ers game plan was to target the weak passing defense of the Ravens, as they were ranked 25th in the NFL entering Sunday. They achieved just that, as Colin Kaepernick had his best day of the short season. Kaepernick completed 16 of 27 throws for 340 yards and two touchdowns. Kaepernick did an excellent job spreading the ball out, as three of his receivers finished with over 85 yards.
Bruce Miller started things for the 49ers, as he had a career day, finishing with 89 yards on three catches. The confidence of the offense was built from there, as Anquan Boldin led the team with 102 yards of five catches. Former Raven, Torrey Smith finished the day with 96 yards on three catches and one touchdown. The big play for Smith came in the second half, as he connected with Kaepernick for a 76-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline. Former Niner, Shareece Wright was on the coverage.
Wright was targeted multiple times throughout the game, as the 49ers knew what to expect from him. “When you have a guy on your team for that long and get to see him in practice everyday you get to understand his weaknesses, as well as his strengths,” added Boldin. Kaepernick also pitched in, “I think being around any player, you pick up on their tendencies. You pick up on what you can take advantage of. There were a couple things we thought we could take advantage of, and we did”.
Wright was burned on the second 49ers’ touchdown, as Kaepernick found Quinton Patton open in the end zone on a scramble play. The score put the 49ers a head 25-13 in the fourth quarter. It was Patton’s first NFL touchdown. It had been a long time coming for the third year wide receiver, “I jut run these routes, the ball comes my way when the ball comes my way”.
The 49ers depended on place kicker, Phil Dawson, as the 40-year old went four of four on field goals. Dawson kicked from 53, 31, 26 and 42 yards with all of them being crucial for the win. “Phil Dawson is never overlooked in my eyes. The guy’s my age,” said head coach, Jim Tomsula.
The secondary was better at times but still gave up way too many yards. Joe Flacco finished the day 33 of 53 for 343 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Flacco’s primary target was Steve Smith Sr. who was targeted ten times, seven of which were completed for 137 yards. Smith Sr. also caught a touchdown. The two interceptions were picked off by Ken Acker, which was thrown right to him and Michael Wilhoite, who stepped in front of a tight end in double coverage for the pick.
The 49ers locked down when they needed to, as they shut down the Ravens’ comeback attempt with the last play of the game.
The 49ers have a short week this week, as they host the (2-4) Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. Everyone knows how big of a game it will be, as a win could revive the 49ers season.