Eight yards stood between the San Francisco 49ers and a Super Bowl title.
They had four plays to find some way to get someone, anyone, into the end zone.
A short run and 3 incompletions later, and the 49ers Super Bowl hopes were dashed
Now, taking nothing away from the Ravens defense, but I don’t think I am the only person who was dumbfounded by the 49ers play calling.
First down: Read option up the middle. LaMichael James for 2 yards. Completely predictable, but perfectly understandable. Despite gaining only 2 yards, it was still a positive play, especially since the 49ers had 4 plays to go 8 yards and were trying to use some clock anyways.
Second down: QB bootleg right looking for Michael Crabtree. While the thought of getting Kaepernick outside the pocket sounds good, they had been picking the Ravens apart for the entire 2nd half with Kaepernick staying in the pocket and then improvising if he decided to run. This play really only gave Kaepernick one option and that option was covered. No Gore/Kaepernick option?
Third down: At this point, you would think that the 49ers would want Kaepernick to have some sort of chance to use his legs. Yet after calling a timeout right before what appeared to be a Kaepernick run, the 49ers tried to go back to Crabtree on some sort of short out route, that wouldn’t have gotten them into the end zone even if he had caught it. Still, no Gore/Kaepernick option?
Fourth down: One play left. Certainly they had to have something stored away that the Ravens hadn’t seen yet. If not, they would have to go to their bread and butter and give Kaepernick a chance to move and make a play with either his arm or his legs. Instead, they tried a desperation fade to Michael Crabtree…..wait, what? The 49ers left their season up to a 50/50 play?
The 49ers had 4 plays to go 8 yards.
We didn’t see Frank Gore get the ball.
We didn’t see Colin Kaepernick get to use his legs.
We didn’t see the 49ers try to let their offensive line to win in the trenches.
It all just seems pretty inexplicable.
Now, obviously Jim Harbaugh knows what he is doing. After all, Harbaugh is the one who saw what Colin Kaepernick would become before anyone else did.
However, he will have a very long offseason to sit and second-guess some very questionable play calls that virtually cost him a Super Bowl.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson