Tuesday, September 28, 2010
NFC West Week 3 decisive moment
By Mike Sando
» NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
Week 3 was filled with decisive moments for NFC West teams.
Leon Washington's heroics for Seattle, Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski's 32-yard miss against Arizona and any number of plays St. Louis made in beating Washington could qualify for special mention.
But the San Francisco 49ers' decision to fire offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after only three games trumps them all. The decisive moment might have come with the 49ers trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 24-3 late in the third quarter. Plenty of time remained, but the 49ers would have to use that time wisely. They would need to get creative.
After a dump pass to Frank Gore on first down, the 49ers called three consecutive Gore handoffs. The plays netted 2, 5 and 3 yards. The 49ers targeted Gore three more times during the drive, all on pass plays, before surrendering the ball on downs when Alex Smith's pass for Dominique Zeigler fell incomplete.
The 49ers drafted Michael Crabtree and extended Vernon Davis' contract so they could hand off three times and throw incomplete to Zeigler while trailing by three touchdowns? Factors beyond the coordinator were at work here, of course, but the 49ers needed more.