49ers vs. Panthers: What happened to Nate Chandler?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A switch was made, and it was the wrong one.

There was a vanishing act on Sunday you may have missed. Right guard Nate Chandler disappeared under our noses and was replaced with someone much worse.

In re-watching the game it's unclear why Chandler only had 19 snaps on the game, but he did. A switch was made after the two stalled goal line drives when the converted defensive tackle didn't get any push and allowed Ahmad Brooks to penetrate the line.

His replacement was Chris Scott, who struggled throughout 2013. This continued in the playoff game when he finished with negative grades in pass and run blocking while allowing three hurries. Neither player was good on Sunday, but the change was largely unwarranted.

The move reeks of overcompensation, a quick shift to try and shake things up -- but it sold out Cam Newton in order to try and add help to a failing run game. Chandler is far from a perfect offensive lineman, but he's a better pass blocker than Scott.

It's tempting to dwell in the loss and try and work out why, but it was a culmination of strange events. The switch from Chandler to Scott wasn't the biggest issue in itself, but it was one of many dominoes to fall on Sunday.

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