San Francisco traveled across the country on a short week to face a strong Steelers team and got beat down slowly by a sore of 43 to 18. Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the Pittsburgh offense looked unstoppable, especially in the 2nd quarter of the game.
The 49ers offense was able to sustain some drives, but had trouble scoring points. A 17 play drive at a crucial time in the 3rd quarter came up empty, with Bruce Miller dropping a 4th down pass from Colin Kaepernick. Miller had the ball, but then didn’t complete the catch after falling down out of bounds.
Last week against Minnesota, the 49ers had time to get their act together. This week against a quality opponent on the road, that luxury was unavailable. Their game versus the Vikings was a slow building victory, but this week was a slow building blowout loss.
In fact the whole second half of the game involved San Francisco slowly trying to score points, with the Steelers very happy to see so much time and effort taken by the 49ers for virtually no results. Mistake after mistake, by the offensive line, (especially the right side but also the more experienced left side) and pass catchers kept setting San Francisco back in any comeback they attempted.
The 49ers defense, for their part, was no better than the offence. Roethlisberger had all the time in the pocket he needed and then some, and he looked deep to Brown and also speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey for deep bomb after deep bomb. Pittsburgh had 4 completions of at least 40 yards in this contest. DeAngelo Williams continued to look good in the Pittsburgh backfield.
San Francisco has some work to do, but they are close to being able to compete in any game. This was a difficult match-up for them, and they made tons of mistakes. The Steelers’ offense is among the leagues best with speed and skill at WR and experience at QB. The 49ers need to play cleaner football from the beginning and learn to capitalize on their scoring opportunities to have a chance next week and for the rest of the season.
Spark Sports NFL Analyst