When a player’s injured, you get hurt by the difference in quality between said player and his backup.

Boy, that was a big drop off from Ted Ginn Jr. to Kyle Williams.

I’m sure we’ll see a few knee-jerk reactions throw some blame on Alex Smith, but this isn’t his fault.  This is what not having effective wide receivers does to a team.  For instance, there was only one catch by a wide receiver for the 49ers.  And I honestly can’t remember that three-yard catch by Michael Crabtree.  I can’t blame Crabtree too much.  He was barely thrown at, and a few of those passes were at his feet.  But everyone knew who Smith’s target was going to be.  So the Giants double-covered Vernon Davis, and the single coverage on the wide receivers was enough.

If the 49ers had a true big-play wide receiver, everything changes.  Crabtree wouldn’t be covered by the top defensive back on the other team.  The other team won’t be able to give so much safety help on covering Davis.  The offense opens up.

Instead, there was second-year man Williams, taking the spot of Ginn.  Ginn was already a slot receiver playing the role of #2 on a short team.  A lot of people are coming out to defend Williams, including his teammates, but I won’t be one of them.

But not for what you think.  That overtime fumble is hard to throw blame at.  He was covering it up right, and trying to make a play the 49ers needed.  Strips happen, that’s the game.  It was well-played by the Giants.  It’s harder than we think to carry a ball through a crowd in the NFL.  Just like it’s harder than we think to catch a wet football (That first quarter drop by Williams was more the fault of a bad lateral by Hunter, anyway). Or throw the ball.  Or kick the ball.  (That’s for you, Billy Cundiff)

But you know what’s not hard to do?  To get out of the damn way of a football.

That’s what truly cost the 49ers, Williams’ stupid special teams play.  And the botched punt return was not his only offense.  In the third quarter, Williams tried to make a diving catch on a punt.  Dude, if you can’t catch it on the fly, let it go!  I haven’t come close to a football game since high school, but that’s a basic rule, a black & white one.

I can’t blame a player for hard play that doesn’t work out.  I absolutely can blame him for stupid play.  No one would fault him for letting more punts hit the ground than normal in a windy, rainy game.  But make the decision and then get the hell out of Dodge.

Of course, some people are taking it too far.  Don’t threaten violence on a player, much less on his family.  Come on, 49er fans, are we really taking classlessness down to a Philadelphian level?

But this game is a loss that does hang on Kyle Williams.  And it’s a loss that I hope the 49ers take to mean that they need to get a top-rated receiver (Or two, with one to replace Williams) to support the quarterback they now believe in so much.