49ers Blog and Q&A

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October 14, 2012
49ers suffer worst loss of the Harbaugh era

The 49ers suffered their worse loss in the Jim Harbaugh era, both in terms of the score differential and the way they played. Alex Smith, who entered the game with the NFL's highest passer rating and who was on a high never before achieved in his career, plummeted against the Giants.

He threw three interceptions, all on mis-reads of the defense, the most he had thrown since a lopsided loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 20, 2009. Smith now has four interceptions on the season. He had five in 18 games last season.

The 49ers had been burning for this game all offseason after the Giants beat them in overtime at Candlestick Park in the NFC Championship game. And while they came out of the gates quickly on both offense and defense, the game quickly deteriorated for the home team.

Smith, who has been dealing with a sprained middle finger, was the main culprit. But he had plenty of company among teammates. Cornerback Carlos Rogers dropped an easy interception in the third quarter and seemed to have a chance for another before receiver Victor Cruz stepped in front of him and almost made the catch.

The 49ers defensive line, which brutalized Eli Manning on Jan. 22, only touched him a handful of times Sunday. Meanwhile, Ahmad Bradshaw became the first running back to go over 100 yards against the 49ers this season.

The 49ers offensive line was outplayed by the Giants defensive line, which had been criticized entering the game and which likely was itching for a measure of redemption. Smith was sacked three times and Mike Iupati and Leonard Davis were flagged for penalties at bad times.

Meanwhile, left tackle Joe Staley left the game in the third quarter with a concussion, his second since last season. Alex Boone stepped in at left tackle and Davis played right guard. With the 49ers set to host Seattle on Thursday, it's unlikely that Staley will play against the Seahawks.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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