SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have moved on to the all-important season finale against the Arizona Cardinals, but let's just take a brief look back at the opening of their Seattle debacle.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman certainly can be second-guessed for opening that game with three consecutive pass plays. After the three-and-out, the 49ers' offense never again touched the ball with anything less than a seven-point deficit.
The 49ers went for it on their first offensive snap of the game. If -- and, yes, it's a big if -- quarterback Colin Kaepernick had been able to hit Mario Manningham, how might the game had turned out any differently?
Maybe the final score still would've been 42-13, but at least the 49ers would've had one positive play early in the game.
Manningham lined up wide to the left and rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane was matched against him. Kaepernick showed play-action and had time to throw deep to Manningham, who had a step or two on Lane and had gotten behind the safety. Kaepernick could've thrown the pass more to the inside, where Manningham had Lane beat. Instead, the pass sailed long, over Manningham's head.
On Thursday, I asked Roman about the play call and how early in the week he decided to open the game with a swing for the fence.
"Sometimes toward the middle or end of the week," Roman said. "It's different all the time."
And what did Roman, who is situated in the coaches' booth on game days, see as the play developed?
"There's an opportunity," Roman said. "We felt like there was an opportunity from watching film and it was developing as we kind of foresaw. But it wasn't the intended result, so you move on."
According to Pro Football Focus, Kaepernick had success Sunday night when throwing the ball down the field. That incomplete pass was one of only two incomplete throw of his eight attempts on throws of more than 20 yards in the air.
According to PFF, here were Kaepernick's stats on passes aimed (does not count throwaways):
Less than 10 yards in the air: 11 of 20, 57 yards -- 60.4 QB rating
Passes 10-19 yards in the air: 2 of 7, 24 yards, INT -- 1.8 QB rating
Passes 20+ yards in the air: 6 of 8, 163 yards, TD -- 156.3 QB rating