Monday Jim Harbaugh poignantly spoke to the media discussing the offensive downfalls that led to his team's first loss following a bye since he took the reigns in 2011.
"Our staff, everybody involved that touches the offense up and down the line. We've all got plays in there and when it's all said and done you can look back and say 'That was the winning edge,'" Harbaugh said.
"We could have made plays offensively. We could have eliminated the errors, the negative plays and it would have been a better outcome for us. It would have been a winning-edge outcome for our team. We didn't get that done.
"We're not going to wallow in it, but we have to get ready for New Orleans."
Not having that edge against the up-and-coming Panthers included just 45 net yards in the second half and six sacks allowed over the entirety of the game.
The offense authored a dreary performance on third down, converting on just 2 of 13 attempts (15 percent), their worst clip of the of the season.
"We were in some 3rd-down and long-yardage situations due to some negative plays in the early downs and we didn't convert. Also on some short-yardage third downs. And we didn't convert on second downs, 2nd-down and-1s, that resulted in negative plays and longer third-down plays. There's quite a bit of circumstance and situation to each and every one of those," Harbaugh said.
Under fire by many after such a performance was Kaepernick, who hasn't taken the steps in the passing game many expected after his breakout campaign in 2012. He completed just 11 of 22 passes for 91 yards, no scores and was sacked six times for 45 yards.
He hasn't needed to light up the stat sheet while the 49ers ran over inferior opponents over their last five weeks with a dominant running game. But the passing attack has been stuck in neutral for most of the season. The lone exception was Week 1's outlier performance against the Packers in which he threw for 412 yards.
Through nine games, Kaepernick finds himself 30th in the league in completion percentage while throwing for fewer yards than any other team on average.
For the second time this season, Vernon Davis' absence became a glaring weakness as the team was unable to make explosive, field-position-changing plays.
Davis left Sunday's game in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and did not return.
It was fitting, then, that Vance McDonald would drop a long pass down the middle of the field at the start of the third quarter which would have put the 49ers deep into Carolina's territory with a chance to extend their 9-7 lead.
It was a deep seam route in which McDonald beat linebacker Luke Kuechly initially, but Kuechly was able to pull McDonald's arm away after the ball was in his grasp.
Without a doubt, the offense has a considerably different look with Davis out of action.
"I think that definitely contributed to the, one of the things that contributed to the rhythm of the offense. No, not going to use any excuses, nor is anybody going to alibi, but we did lose two tight ends in the game. (Garrett) Celek before Vernon and that contributed," said Harbaugh.
A staple of Harbaugh's offense with San Francisco, and even dating back to his time at Stanford, was the reliance on two-tight end formations. The 49ers simply could not adjust accordingly after losing two of their three tight ends to injury.
"Everybody involved in it is working harder than you could imagine to get it to be kind of winning edge that we need it to be, championship football. We didn't get that done this week. We didn't play championship football offensively and that's what our aim is. That's what we strive for," he said.
Eric Reid and Davis both suffered concussions in the loss and were scheduled to undergo further examinations Monday.
Reid's concussion was his second of the season after suffering his first in Week 2 against Seattle. Harbaugh said he was unaware if there were any extra precautions to be taken according to the league policy after Reid suffered two.
"He seemed to be doing really good after the game," he said.
Both Reid and Davis' status for Sunday's showdown against the Saints remain in question. There was no update on Ray McDonald's ankle injury or Celek's hamstring.
Rookie linebacker Nick Moody has been practicing with the team since the trip to London and is expected to return to the roster from the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list this week, Harbaugh said. Moody broke his right hand in Week 1's win over Green Bay.
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