On the Blitz with Banta-Cain: Gut Check

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This season, LB Tully Banta-Cain is splitting time with QB Alex Smith when it comes to 49ers.com. The pair trade off in reviewing the previous game each week, although Banta-Cain is holding it down during Smith's recovery from his shoulder injury. Check out his latest column below!

In the end we didn't win, but there were some positives. We played physical all the way through until the end. We made a couple of key short yardage stops, and Derek Smith's interception was a big boost for us because they were driving on us and so he put an end to that by getting that steal.

They had success against us in the run game. Brandon Jacobs is a big running back and a lot of the runs he got were from guys on our side being misaligned or our guys not being in the right gap. We didn't play as sound as we should have with our assignments. Also with a guy that big, you've got to get everyone to the ball to bring him down. It looked like a lot of times guys were going for the legs, so he really was doing a good job alluding tackles that were coming at him low. That's something we've got to do a better job of in the future.

A couple of times we let Jacobs get the edge. I know I made a mistake on a play of not setting the edge because I thought it was a different call so the ball was able to get outside. I don't think it's a big concern going forward because everything that happened in that game was correctable. With the players we've got and the scheme we've got, we are more than capable of stopping those type of runs. We've showed that already this year because when we do it right, we general stop the play at the line or for a loss. Our breakdowns when you see guys getting to the edge and making big chunks are things we can definitely correct.

We were put in the red zone quite a few times, and those are the times you see offenses going to their main guys to get a play. We kept their go-to guys in check for the most part but Jeremy Shockey got a score on us, and Amani Toomer got a score on us when we had a breakdown in the secondary. The red zone is the area we have to play our best football in both the run and pass and we didn't do that well. You can play as hard as you want the rest of the field, but if you can't stop them in the red zone from scoring, you are in trouble. We've got to play better when we get in those situations on the field, and we will.

The offense did some good things out there for us and went with an aggressive approach, but the turnovers hurt us. Special teams has continued to play well. Moran Norris had a big block and we won the field position battle in the game, outside of the turnovers obviously.

We had some injuries we had to deal with last week on defense. Hannibal Navies was out but guys like Brandon Moore and Parys Haralson both stepped in and did well. Brandon had short notice on moving out there, but he really is a jack of all trades and is a smart enough player and athletic enough to move around and still play well. That's just something that every year, every team has to face. Guys get injured, and someone has to step in and I thought those guys did a good job.

I'm not 100% back from the ankle, but I'm getting better every day and I just have to stick with getting treatment, do what the trainers tell me to do, and I'm sure I'll be ready to go this weekend against the Saints.

In the games we've lost, you can look at the film and see the good football we've left out on the field. We've been our worst enemy so we've got to eliminate those self-inflicted mistakes. I think everyone understands that and I think everyone feels the pressure of the four losses and now is a time to see what we are made of.

It's loud and clear that we are our own worst enemy. It's not like teams are just coming in and physically dominating and beating us, it's really us giving these games away. We just have to have all three units playing at a high level.

Coach Nolan did say in training camp at some point this year we were going to face adversity and that that would be the time where we'd measure the true character of our team. We're at that point where everyone has to look at themselves and decide where they want to go from here. It's still early, and that's fine, but at some point, you start saying it's too late. So in my mind, this is the time we have to start playing our best football because we've given away too many games. We've really got to buckle down, decide the time is now, and go out there and get it done.

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