On second thought, bring back the offseason!
The 49ers suffered their ugliest loss since the first game of the Harbaugh Era, back in 2011 against the Saints. That game was 24-3 and this one was 23-3. Jim Harbaugh is now oh-for-three against his brother John Harbaugh, who’s beaten him in the regular season, the postseason, and now the preseason.
In fairness, the first string 49er defense did not play Thursday night and the first team offense played only the opening drive. So, the team we’re reviewing here does not really exist.
Only its players exist and some were good and most were not. On the good side, Quinton Dial, Carlos Hyde, Tank Carradine, Vance McDonald, Bruce Ellington, and Michael Wilhoite. On the bad enough to get special mention: QB Blaine Gabbert and NT Mike Purcell.
Baltimore had a two to one Time of Possession edge on the Niners and most of it was on the ground and over NT Purcell, who was blown off the line time and time again, to the tune of 237 yards. A vigil will be held tonight at 49er HQ for the speedy return of NT Ian Williams, who’s still rehabbing from last year’s injuries.
British fans can take heart from the play of Lawrence Okoye, who was not outstanding, but certainly looked like a real football player and not a shot putter. On one sequence, Okoye was shoved ten yards down field (embarrassing), but on the next play he plugged a hole and stuffed a runner for no gain. Baby steps for the limey!
Gabbert did not look at all like someone you’d want to see trotting onto the field at any time during the upcoming season. He stared down his receivers and was wildly inaccurate all night. Josh Johnson was not a whole lot better, but at least he was quick enough to scramble 15 yards for a first down.
RG Joe Looney and new center Daniel Kilgore did not particularly distinguish themselves. Looney’s so-so effort no doubt cheered up hold out starter Alex Boone. Restoration project Jonathan Martin didn’t overwhelm anybody, either, and his stumble-bumble-face plant whiff on a second and two sweep from the Ravens’ seven on the game opening drive cost the team a first down or even a TD. On the next play, a third and one, the team went to its bread and butter, tried and false, run up the middle for no gain, then wimpily settled for a field goal. End of story offensively for the evening.
All in all, not a particularly fun night of viewing for 49er fans. But it was a football game, at long last, and that was quite good.