The 49ers had put together a nine-play drive at the end of the first half and had begun to do what they've done throughout the year in tough road games: wrest the momentum away from the home team.
But after driving 55 yards to the Baltimore 35 yard-line, the 49ers took a big chance on first down. Alex Smith hoisted a pass to receiver Braylon Edwards, who was being covered by 5-10 cornerback Lardarius Webb. Smith said he saw Edwards and thought the receiver would break inside. Instead, it was Webb who got inside of Edwards and came up with the interception.
The Ravens went into the locker room with both a 6-3 lead and the momentum.
"We liked the matchup that we had," Smith said. "Braylon was one-on-one with the defensive back. We just had some missed communication. I left the ball inside and he went outside."
Said Jim Harbaugh: "We were taking a shot. We were more hoping for the back shoulder. Alex saw Braylon inside the corner and he threw it and it was an unfortunate play. I don't know exactly who was right, but Webb made a good play. That happens. You try to take a shot, and we didn't get it."
Smith and Edwards were not in sync during Sunday's win over the Cardinals, either. Smith targeted Edwards five times against Arizona but could not connect with the receiver, who dropped at least three of those passes. On Thursday, Smith targeted Edwards three times and connected once. It was for five yards on a fourth-and-four situation at the end of the game.
Edwards suffered a torn knee meniscus on Sept. 18, had surgery and returned to action Oct. 30. He also had his right shoulder bandaged Thursday.
I asked Smith if the end-zone play was a product of a new receiver joining a team and then missing several games with injury. Smith said it was more a factor of the 49ers still learning a new offense. "Some of these mistakes are the first time we're going through this together," Smith said.
Edwards, meanwhile, declined to speak to reporters. "No, I'm cool," he said when approached. "I'm talking Monday."
-- Matt Barrows