The first quarter, which ended 3-0, seemed to be a game between two evenly matched opponents. Not so, as we learned. In looking again, I noticed several huge opportunities that SF missed, and several glaring signs of ineptitute on behalf of our Bills, which should have been a sign of what was to come. Here are just of few of the things I noticed while watching the film.
1 - Huge pass to Vernon Davis called back because of an offensive holding penalty. This play, mostly a result of terrible coverage after a play action. SF gave the Bills a huge gift on this one.
2 - Huge pass to crabtree called back because of a chop block. Between these 2 plays, the 49ers gave back almost 100 MORE YARDS of offense. Can you imagine if the final stat line had shown the Bills giving up over 700 yards??
3 - Every time Alex Smith threw the ball he had success.. There were very few incompletions in the first quarter, mainly because the 49ers game calls for a lot of intermediate passing, and the Bills' LBs seemed to have no clue who they are supposed to cover on any given play. Vernon Davis is like one of the best TEs in the league - George Wilson, Arthur Moats, somebody, cover the man.
4 - Every time Fitzpatrick threw the ball was a failure. He missed Stevie twice, badly, in the first quarter. One was an overthrow on a short out - the ball sailed way over Stevie's head. Second was a pass in the endzone, which if placed correctly, would have been an easy TD. Stevie must be frustrated. There was only one pass on target in the 1st quarter - a crossing route to Brad smith which gained 7 yards on 3 and 15. Terrible.
The Coaches film tells a tale of a game in which the 49ers gave away 100 yards of offense in the first quarter, but the Bills' couldn't capitalize because Fitzpatrick couldn't deliver the ball anywhere near his receivers.
Fitz hits his targets, we could have been off to an early lead. But I am convinced it wouldn't have mattered, because there is no way our defense would have been able to stop SF.