The team has lacked disciplined picking up 16 penalties against the Chicago Bears which fueled their comeback victory and today versus the Arizona Cardinals picked up another nine penalties none more glaring than that of wide receiver Anquan Boldin, which would have given the 49ers a first and goal from the five and instead pushed the ball back to the 21-yard-line. After losing more yardage on a clipping penalty on Jonathan Martin, Phil Dawson settled for a 46-yard field goal that ultimately got blocked.
Still the penalties will get cleaned up as a number of the personal foul penalties called were of the questionable variety including two on Patrick Willis and one on Dan Skuta, though Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians referred to Skuta’s hit as a “cheap shot.“Mike Perreira believed that “Skuta needed to lay off” as quarterback Drew Stanton began his slide late and there wasn’t much the 49ers linebacker could do to avoid the hit.
What makes San Francisco at a cross-road? Its second half offense.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has abandoned running the football with Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde. This means that defenses can now prepare to stop quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he begins to take off with the football and limit the number of yards or in certain situations throw the ball away to avoid a sack.
Gore carried the ball six times today, Hyde got three carries and Kaepernick led the way with 13. San Francisco ran the ball 24 times and three 37 times.
Yet, it seems that the 49ers have lost their identity. Under Jim Harbaugh the offensive philosophy gets predicated on playing smash mouth football, which means primarily running the football and so far that hasn’t happened.
It’s easy to see how San Francisco has struggled defensively in the second half as the defense is spending more time on the field then off. With the offense continuing to struggle it has led to speculation by many fans that Roman will get fired soon unless he goes back to what the 49ers do best and that is run the football.
If the 49ers are to beat the Philadelphia Eagles win week four, the offense must stay out on the field and sustain long drives to keep the explosive Eagles offense off the field, which gets done by getting the football to Gore and Hyde.