It's same-ole, same-ole for the San Francisco 49ers. Once again, they managed to look good, then very bad, then good again with extremely deflating play. Once again they had the lead late in a game, blew it by allowing the tie, and then giving up the big play to set the Panthers up with a game winning field goal. If you've watched any 49ers games at all this season, I think you can infer that the field goal from John Kasay was good. You'd be inferring correctly.
The 49ers came out strong, scoring on their first offensive possession, cementing the thought that new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson has a strong propensity for scripting the first offensive drive of any given game. Running back Frank Gore broke a twenty yard run while tight end Vernon Davis caught two passes, one a 53-yard reception that took him to the one-yard line, and the other a one-yard touchdown reception.
The defense gave up a field goal after that, holding strong after giving up some yardage with a sequence of tackles for losses. The first quarter wrapped up with a series of punts and the second quarter began with a turnover, the 49ers forcing DeAngelo Williams to fumble with Parys Haralson getting on top of it. The Niners turned that into a field goal drive.
From then on, it was all penalties, all the time for the 49ers. Getting called for two questionable pass interference plays. Taylor Mays was called for an interference on a pass that was clearly uncatchable for any receiver in the league.
Starting quarterback Alex Smith went done after a bad sack given up by right tackle Anthony Davis. David Carr came in at the third quarter and threw a terribly underthrown pass on third down. From there, the team abandoned the pass completely, and the Panthers get another field goal. Eventually, the 49ers tied the game with a field goal of their own to put it at 13-13 all.
On the next possession, though, Carolina quarterback Matt Moore threw a dumpoff to running back Jonathan Stewart that was picked off by reserve defensive end Ray McDonald, who ran it back into the end zone after breaking a Matt Moore tackle. The 49ers had the 20-13 lead that we all know is blown at this point.
The Panthers were desperate, getting a big 39-yard reception from rookie David Gettis, but eventually having to go for it on fourth and nine, and the 49ers stopped them. But a quick three-and-out and the Panthers were on the attack again, and David Gettis eventually got the touchdown he needed to tie the game for Carolina.
With the 49ers trying to move down the field, David Carr threw an interception on a horrible pass. It was automatic from there for the Panthers, who slowly creeped closer to the field goal before nailing it and sealing the 49ers fate.
Smith was out after the injury with a shoulder sprain. It was the first win of the season for the Panthers. The 49ers move to 1-6, and play the Broncos as the "home" team in London next week.