The 49ers’ 33-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Levi’s Stadium was a Christmas collapse.
But reality might be what San Francisco needed to shake off its wrinkles heading into the NFC playoffs.
On the latest edition of “Hitner’s Hot Take,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Donte Whitner discussed how the 49ers’ embarrassing loss to the Ravens will pay off for San Francisco in the long run.
“The 49ers’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night was a blessing in disguise,” Whitner said. “(The loss) gave the 49ers defense a chance to see Lamar Jackson up close. And given the type of speed that (Jackson) plays with, (the loss) also gives Steve Wilks the opportunity to go back, analyze the film and come up with a game plan to keep (Jackson) in the game. pocket and individual players to face it. the open field.
The 49ers and Ravens last met during the 2019 NFL season, when San Francisco lost 20-17 at M&T Bank Stadium.
The 49ers’ poor showing in Week 16 was also only the second time the team faced Jackson, certainly reminding San Francisco of what the two-time NFL MVP is capable of.
Whitner also believes the 49ers’ loss to the Ravens will play a role in the teams’ potential Super Bowl matchup.
“This first look at the Baltimore Ravens also gave Kyle Shanahan a chance to check out Baltimore’s defense and determine – if they meet later – who they’re going to attack,” Whitner pointed out. “Will it be Kyle Hamilton, the big nickel, 6-foot-4, 200-pound safety with versatility?
“For the 49ers secondary, (the loss) gave them a chance to see – if they see the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl – how much time they have to cover and hang on to the receivers in the backfield. We call it “plaster”. »
Whitner added that a certain 49ers star also got a much-needed first look at what the 12-3 Ravens have in store, hoping to learn from the poor performance.
“The game also gave Brock Purdy an opportunity to eliminate turnovers from his system,” Whitner explained. “It was the first time all season we saw Brock Purdy troubled in the pocket. And that turned into four interceptions that day. Two were his fault and two were spilled balls.
Purdy finished 18 for 32 with 255 yards, four interceptions and an 8.0 quarterback rating before leaving the game with a stinger.
Overall, Whitner remains optimistic about San Francisco, believing its loss to Baltimore will pay off for the 49ers in a win-or-go-home playoff run.
“The most important thing the loss brought, in my opinion, was for the individual 49ers players on offense and defense the opportunity to see the physicality that the Baltimore Ravens play on every play,” Whitner explained. “If you want to win a championship, you have to intimidate the bully, and the 49ers will be prepared the next time they face the Baltimore Ravens.”
In the standings, the 49ers and Ravens remain the two best teams. And no one would be surprised if the two teams met at Allegiant Stadium for the Super Bowl in February.
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