49ers Missed Opportunities May Have Cost Them the Super Bowl
After watching the game tape, the 49ers have to be feeling a little ill. With only a few plays going their way, this easily could have been a comfortable victory for them instead of the Ravens. Colin Kaepernick was brilliant in the second half and made many terrific plays in the first half, but believe me, there are a few that will live in his mind forever. I know the feeling after losing two Super Bowls and fumbling once.
1) The goal line overthrow to Crabtree: Colin Kaepernick made a beautiful move out of the pocket and forced Ed Reed to attack from the secondary to keep him from running for a touchdown. On that side of the field their were two defenders, including Reed, and two Ravens receivers, Crabtree and Moss. Both receivers were open and somehow the ball found the ground between them. The 49ers could be in that exact situation another hundred times and they would probably score on every one of them. It was a four point failure.
2) Kaepernick's failure to throw for the first down to Crabtree on 3rd and 2 with :21 seconds to go in the half. The play was designed to go to Crabtree in the flat. Crabtree was wide open in the flat and Kaepernick didn't throw it. I'm sure the coaches in the press box were throwing papers in the air. There is absolutely no reason why that ball wouldn't have been thrown that I can think of. The 49ers would have had at least a first down and another shot at a touchdown. Instead they settled for 3. Another potential four point loss.
3) Missed Read on LeMichael James' Fumble: No one can blame Kaepernick for James' fumble, but if Kaepernick had that play to read over again, he would have kept it up the middle. There is no way he would have run for fewer than 10 yards on the play and may have scored. The Ravens did a good job hitting Kaepernick after all of those read options, and it may have impacted his decision on that play.
4) The interception appeared to be a poor read of the coverage caused by the corner falling under Moss's crossing route. I think Kaepernick saw the corner late and tried to change the throw to avoid the corner. It just got away from him and sailed into Ed Reed's arms.
5) Kaepernick did catch a break after the interception when he hesitated on a throw to the left to Moss. He wanted to see Moss open instead of anticipating the throw and it was throw late allowing Cary Williams to almost intercept it inside the 49ers' 20. Disaster averted.
Despite these few mistakes, Colin Kaepernick proved in the second half that he is an NFL star. His anticipation will continue to improve. I really believe this experience will propel him to a new level next year. What he accomplished in 10 games this year is pretty amazing, and I don't think the 49ers would trade him for more than one or two QBs in the league. Of course, the Ravens aren't interested in trading their guy either. You know, the guy with the new car.