It's like a dance move...
Only we're talking football here and not Dancing with the Stars. What seemed like progress for the 49ers in weeks 1-3, was virtually wiped out in one game versus the Saints. The Saints did everything they planned for. That's credit to Sean Payton's game planning and the Saints execution. The 49ers, reminded us of last year's squad...memories that us Niner fans wish would just go away. Here are some notes to the 49er coaches.
MIke Martz - What's up with the protection? The Saints were 25th in terms of sack production (4 sacks) coming into this game. They dialed up the pressure and came away with 6 sacks. OK...J.T. O'Sullivan wasn't much help. He held onto the ball too long at times. But takeaway half those sacks and JTO was still under constant pressure. JTO had been hurried 20+ times entering the 4th quarter. The Saints did the same thing to us in the 1st half. 1) Why weren't we dialing up more short pass plays to counter the blitzes? 2) Where was the 2nd half adjustments? It's not all your fault coach Martz. JTO needs to realize that the big play isn't always going to be there and needs to check down quicker. The bottom line is that every team is going to try to exploit the 49ers pass protection. The Cardinals started this trend. The Seahawks capitalized with 8 sacks. Then we shut the Lions down by allowing only 1 sack and affording JTO time to throw downfield. Pass protection set us back on offense today. NO protection and JTO loses rythm and timing.
MIke Nolan/Greg Manusky - Who's game planning on defense? It's no secret that we need to pressure Drew Brees. We did well enough in the 1st quarter with the 6 man blitzes. Why did we stop? The Saints are deep at receiver without Marques Colston. Did we think we could cover all those Saints receivers with our depleted secondary (no Shawntae Spencer or Donald Strickland)? Why would we try to lay back in coverage with these guys missing? It doesn't play to our strength this week. We had a full cast of D-linemen and linbackers and didn't use them effectively (or enough). How many sacks did we get today? None. The Saints fed us the big donut for sacks. I thought the 3-4 was about dialing up those trick blitzes? Of course it didn't help that our D-linemen couldn't consistenly eat up blockers or push the pocket.
JTO - OK...your not the coach. But you are the leader on offense. There was the fumble in the 2nd quarter that gave the Saints great field position and ultimately the TD. You were doing the Texas 2 Step the whole game (and we don't even play Dallas until week 12). You were 0 for 5 on 3rd downs early in the 3rd quarter. AND WORST OF ALL...YOU THREW 2 PICKS IN THE ENDZONE!
To sum it up, 1) poor pass protection, 2) lack of pressure on Brees, 3) failure to convert on 3rd down, 4) lack of scoring in the red zone, and...5) TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS!!! These are all areas we showed improvement on the last 2 weeks. We actually took 5 steps back today. So maybe I can't count. I am a little distracted by my teams loss. Excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall.