On paper, the 49ers dominated the Buccaneers this past Sunday. They covered the spread and won by 13 points. What more could you ask for?
But when you watched the game, you saw something different.
The 49ers are way, way more talented than the Buccaneers -- it's not even close. And the 49ers know it. So they essentially sleep walked through the first half -- they led 13-7 at halftime. Then they turned it on for 15 minutes in the third quarter, stretched their lead to 27-7, and finally played up to their excellent standard.
Right then, the 49ers had the Buccaneers on the ropes. In this situation, a championship team would deliver the knockout blow and end the fight early, but the 49ers didn't. They let the Buccaneers hang around, and they were driving down the field with a few minutes left and they were still alive.
Here's what happened after the 49ers took a 27-7 lead.
1. The defense immediately gave up a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Let the Buccaneers go right through them.
2. The offense went 3 and out.
3. The defense gave up a 17-play, 68-yard drive. And with 6:45 left in the game, the Buccaneers had the ball at the 49ers 12-yard line down by 13. Fortunately for the 49ers, rookie safety Ji'Ayir Brown bailed them out with a clutch pass breakup in the end zone on 4th and 4.
4. The offense went 3 and out again.
5. The special teams gave up a 51-yard punt return.
6. With 3:42 left in the game, the Buccaneers had the ball at the 49ers' 9-yard line. Fortunately for the 49ers, Brown bailed them out again, this time with an incredible interception in the end zone. And they survived a scare that never should have happened against a team that has lost five of its past six games.
Not so impressive.