Carolina choked on success, finally, after what felt like a number of
successful midseason attempts at passing through.
The 49ers had their way with Carolina all over the field, doing nothing
impressive but simply playing better. They converted when Carolina
couldn't. They could get away with their jawing when Carolina couldn't.
They made a few things happen Carolina couldn't.
It didn't help that Carolina left at least 11 points on the board in
the red zone. It absolutely didn't help that the refs seemed to call
Carolina a lot more than San Francisco on one silly penalty after
another. One of the more egregious penalties came with the TD for San
Francisco, which wasn't initially ruled a TD - and then Jim Harbaugh was
flagged for being on the field. Photographic evidence showed he was on
the field DURING the play, which would negate the TD, as it should've.
A dead ball foul is no deterrent whatsoever.
Earlier that play, the 49ers had 12 men in the huddle, and that wasn't
called either - so you'd have had 1st and goal at the 6. All of that
was setup by a Drayton Florence pass interference on a 3rd down play
that, I guess I'd have a harder time arguing about (only argument
would've been uncatchable, I guess, and it would've been a solid
argument there). All of that encompassed a last-second touchdown that
put San Francisco up for good.
That, and a Captain Munnerlyn busted coverage in the third quarter that
put the ball at the Carolina 2, threw the game out of control.
It was a disastrous home-crowd playoff loss, their second consecutive.
The 2008 Cardinals game was a bigger implosion, but this one doesn't
hurt much less. Not a lot to say otherwise - it felt like Cam was a
little spacy, a little like he had a concussion, with five minutes to go
being slow about how he ran his two minute type drill down by 13 before
throwing the pick. That doesn't excuse anything - and I don't know if
he had a concussion, but he acted very bizarre. Not that a comeback
was likely anyway.
Most of the community has taken to worrying about the upcoming
offseason - tempting, I know. I'll let the body of this season cool a
bit before I worry about assigning too much blame to players in the form
of letting them go, but I see the catharsis in doing it. Maybe later.