Doctor Doctor, Please !

Yeah, that last game hurt in so many ways. Namely, Joe Staley fractured his finger. I guess it was the one he couldn’t stop Jadeveon Clowney with. He’s likely out, but shit, Justin Skule did just fine in his spot, and couldn’t have done much worse than Staley did against the Hawks.

Matt Breida is hurt yet again, drawing comparisons to Crystal Todd Shell, the oft-injured linebacker back in the day. Paper Matt?  Ahkello Witherspoon was held out, I guess for no other reason than Emmanuel Moseley is playing so well in his stead that they don’t need to rush him back.

But as we saw, after Emmanuel Sanders left the game with a rib injury, the offensive continuity left with him. Being down George Kittle as well really put  a crimp in Jimmy’s game, and he misfired some shit, but the drops were all killers, and the pass pro (as well as run blocking) was atrocious.

These are all thing was can work on, and hopefully we can get somewhat healthy down the stretch here. Because we have a ton of tough games after this AZ skirmish.

If they had only listened to me and not played the starters that last AZ game, we’d be healthier.

Anyhow, here’s the latest injury report. The good news is DJ Jones’ injury was thought to be season-ending, but he should only miss a week or 2. Unfortunately Blair looks like he has a torn ACL.

Joe Staley
OT
Status Questionable

Staley fractured and dislocated his finger and could miss multiple games, Matt Maiocco reports.

D.J. Jones
DT
Status Out

Jones (groin) has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News reports.

George Kittle
TE
Status Questionable

Coach Kyle Shanahan expressed hope that Kittle (knee/ankle) will make enough progress this week to return Sunday against the Cardinals, Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News reports.

Emmanuel Sanders
WR
Status Questionable

Coach Kyle Shanahan considers Sanders “day-to-day” as a result of the rib injury that forced him from Monday’s 27-24 loss to the Seahawks, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports.

Weston Richburg
C
Status Questionable

Richburg suffered a left hand injury during Monday’s 27-24 loss to the Seahawks, but he shouldn’t have to miss time, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.

Ronald Blair III
DE
Status Questionable

Blair will have an MRI after suffering a potentially serious knee injury during Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Seahawks, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.

Marquise Goodwin
WR
Status Questionable

Goodwin (wrist) failed to catch any of his three targets, and suffered a wrist injury in Monday’s 27-24 loss to Seattle.

Matt Breida
RB
Status Questionable

Breida will go for a second opinion on his ankle, but initial reports are that the injury isn’t too serious, but he may still need to miss time to let it heal, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.

Ahkello Witherspoon
CB
Status Questionable

Robbie Gould
PK
Status Questionable

Oh, Robbie. How we missed you last weekend . . .

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That One Hurt

Different era, same story. In a game reminiscent of the Harbaugh era, the 49ers scratched clawed, fought, but in the end lost to the fucking Seattle Seahawks. Despite controlling 28:00 minutes on the first half, the Niners, namely Jimmy G and a leaky line, gave up a strip sack near the end of the 2nd quarter. Fortunately for us, Jaquiski Tartt had a strip-tackle on his own, on our 2 yard line, no less, to keep the 3 point lead intact. The rest was a dogfight the whole way.

For all the drops, fumbles, mistakes, the 49ers were in the game, mainly for a late strip-sack of Russell Wilson, and lineman Germain Ifedi. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen 2 fumbles on the same play forced by 2 different guys (AA, and Warner), and recovered by a 3rd guy (DeFo) as they ran backwards about 25 yards and then the rest for the score. Unreal play.

As we all saw, the defense kept us in the game. The offense? Well, our tackles looked rusty and slow as that overrated  Jadaveon Clowney kicked our asses up and down the field. He had like 10 hits, 5 sacks, and  TD to boot. We couldn’t run for shit as Seattle dared us to pass by putting 5-6 guys on the line at the point of attack.

What annoyed me was our plays seemed to take WAY too long to develop. The way to beat the pressure is to throw quick hitters. Slants. Granted, we lost Sanders, and we really sputtered after that. And of course Kittle was out as well. 2 very important offensive weapons. Deebo had a nice slant for 30, and Bourne had a nice TD, but the guy not named Jason Bourne let a ball go right through his hand for a pick, and he dropped a 1st down catch that would have kept a late drive going, and Deebo dropped a slant of his own. It baffles me no end that these guys can’t consistently catch the ball. Pettis is a non-entity, Goodwin disappeared again, Dwelley is no Kittle, and even still, Jimmy made some bad throws amid the relentless pressure.

Still and all, we had the game wrapped up but for no Robbie Gould. Well-travelled Chase McLaughlin made the game-tying kick with time running out, but shanked the fuck out of the game-winner.

The hope is we have a healthier offense the next time we play these guys. We played Wilson about as well as we could have. 5 sacks, some hurries, a fantastic pick by Dre Greenlaw to set up the shank, but his scrambles to gain yards and to buy time  on throws bit us yet again. The good news is Seattle is playing better on the road than at home, so . . .

In the long run, this loss prolly helps the team. All it proves is we need guys that don’t drop passes every goddamn game.

 

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Monday Night Mayhem

Crazy day in the NFL, settled with a lovely Dallas loss to go withthe Rams loss, and AZ to boot. Really though, who looks great in the NFC? N’Awlins scores 9 and gives up 26 against 2-7 Atlanta? Packers struggle at home vs the 5-4 Panthers? Rams score 0 offensive TDs vs Pittsburgh and loses?

I’m liking this season more and more. Especially if we can remove the hold that Seattle has on us. A win tomorrow would put us 2.5 games up on Seattle and 4 games over the Rams. A loss? Well, not the end of the world, but it would drag us closer to the fair-to-middling rest of the NFL. Dallas and Philly lead the NFC East at 5-4. The Packers, Vikes, and Saints all look fairly flawed, as they all struggled this week.

Seattle, for all their recent success, are looking as good as the rest of the NFL, but not quite as solid as us on both sides of the ball. Our defense has been lights-out with our newly discovered pass rush. But, the X factor by far is Russell Wilson. He’s putting together an MVP season as he wills this fairly middling Seahawk team to victories week after week. I guarantee just about any other QB has this team at 4-5, not 7-2. He’s uncanny accurate on the run, he eludes the pass rush better than most, and he makes big plays all day.

Coverage is hard to come by 10 seconds after the snap, and Russell extends plays like that all the time. Chris Carson is nothing to sneeze at either. At 5’11” and 225, he’s no wall flower. He averages 4.4 yards a run, and I suspect they will try like hell to run on us. If they can go play-action,they have a huge advantage. Lockett and Metcalf are a solid pair of wideouts as well. So, we NEED to stop their run game early.

Gonna be a hard-fought game, and as Monday night games go, this is a big one. One that may even live up to the hype. Biggest game at Levi’s? Sure.

I think we run on them pretty hard, and win the battle of the trenches. Some play action big plays as well. We’ve got both our tackles back, and we have our Juicebox back as well. I think we outlast and outscore Seattle 34 – 27.

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The Continuing Saga of Robbie Gould . . .

What a twit. After all the bullshit around the hold out and trade demand, Robbie Gould is hurt. Gould  has been kicking a long time, and has pretty much been one of the better kickers in the NFL lo these 14+ seasons. Thing is, he was revered in Chicago, until he wasn’t. They dumped him in 2016 and he signed a one-year deal with the Giants. He does fine for them but they let him walk. The 49ers sign him in 2017, 2 years for $5 mill. He does great, yes, but then after his 2 stellar seasons here, and his contract is up, he gets all whiny for sweet home Chicago.

Chicago FANS of course want him in the worst way, but the Bears front office already owes a shit-ton of money to their other kickers, and the price of Gould went way up, so without any draft choices they couldn’t trade for him. So, the Niners slap the franchise tag on him. Now Gould formally demands a trade.  Waaaah!

After bickering for a couple months, the finally 49ers offer him $19 mill, with $10 mill guaranteed, and Gould takes the deal. With Gould happy and paid, Gould naturally starts off the season kicking like his leg is made of gold-plated tin and he proceeds to go 13-20 for the season so far.

The low-light of the season being the Cleveland game where Gould was 1-4, and he missed a 53 yard attempt at the end of the first half that didn’t even reach the end zone. It would have been short from 40 yards.

OK, I will give him the Redskins game. The conditions were horrible, and he managed to make 3 of 4 (missed the rist one, though).

Funny thing is, during this winning streak, we haven’t really had to depend on Gould so far. Good thing, because he’s scuffling badly.

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Perched Atop the NFL

Wow. I had us starting fast, but I didn’t see us at 8-0. Somewhere along the way I thought we could very well be at 6-2 in a best-case scenario. But the football Gods, and the refs,  have been benign to pleasant so far. We are even close to getting our tackles back, Ahkello, and Juice as well. Funny thing though, losing our tackles and a corner has done little slow us down as Justin Skule, Daniel Brunskill, and Emmanuel Moseley have come up aces as their replacements.

The biggest injury is the one that just happened. Kwon Alexander is likely gone for the rest of the year after tearing a pec on Thursday night. With the meat of our schedule coming up, his presence was important. The next man us for his spot is Dre Greenlaw, the surprising rookie who has gotten a lot of playing time as the starting Sam LB. He will move to the weak side (Will) LB in the base D. Which of course creates a need for the Sam LB. Azeez Al-Shaair had a great camp, and the team is very high on him, but either he or Mark Nzeocha will fill that role.

Whatever they decide, the next 8 games are all (well, maybe not Atl) huge challenges. The next game is perhaps the biggest of all, at least from a reality check point on this season. 8-0 49ers and 6-2 Seahawks on Monday night? The mind boggles at the ramifications of this game. I almost with this was in their house, as the Seahawks have been uncustomarily struggling at home. Still and all, this is a playoff-atmosphere game at week 10. Should we lose, we’d still have a game lead, and we’ve beaten the Rams and the Cards, but we would be on shakier ground than a win would give us, that’s for sure.

The Hawks aren’t exactly on easy street themselves with games against the Eagle, Vikes, Rams, Panthers, Cards, and us. And the Rams are still hanging around, and they have the Bears cakewalk among their remaining sched of Pittsburgh, Balt, Cards 2x, Haws, Cowboys, and us.

Whoever comes out of this division come January, they should have a leg up on the entire NFL. Either than or beaten to a pulp and too battle-scarred to carry on.

Gonna be fun either way. Bring it on!

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Jimmy G, Come On Down!

Yes, this was a short week. Yes, this was a trap game. Yes, we always have problems (0-8 in recent history) in the Big Cactus. But in only his 18th start, Jimmy G had a game that he needed to shine in, and he did. The run game was sputtering, and the defense was getting torched by big plays, and gouged by strong runs, but Jimmy G put together his best game as a pro with 317 yards on 28-37 attempts and  4 TDs against no picks (and no iffy passes) with a 137 QB rating. And as happens every game, a couple huge drops that would have made his numbers better. Deebo dropped a perfect pass in the end zone, and Coleman dropped an important screen pass that would have garnered a 1st down late in the game. A likely 15-20 yard play.

Turns out we overcame both of those mistakes, as good teams do, and we very recently didn’t, but as Richard Sherman noted, this wasn’t a championship effort. Especially by the defense. After stuffing the AZ passing game in the 1st half to the tune of 15 yards gained, AZ blew the game open with an 88 yard TD to pull the Cards with in 3 (after the 2 pt conversion). Numerous defenders misplayed that one pass, and this is one thing our defense has been very good at, and that is not giving up these huge plays.

In fact the game started with a 39 yard run to 3-day old guy, Kenyan Drake. A guy hiding in plain sight in Miami. He torched the Niner defense with 110 yards on 15 carries. A whopping 7.33 yards a carry. And  Murray was able to buy time and get loose for an easy TD pass to KeeShaun (not Keyshon) Johnson. Murray ended up 17-24 for 241 and 2 TDs. Our first play saw George Kittle get his knee hyperextended, and he gutted through 2 more quarters, scoring on a 30 yard TC, and catching a couple key 3rd down passes for 1st downs. Dwelley did get the game-sealing catch with a 12 yard grab on 3rd and 9 very late in the game to allow us to run out the clock.

This our the first game without forcing a turnover, but we also didn’t give the ball away. The closest was a sure pick 6 dropped by Fred Warner. But for Kliff Kingsbury’s Kliff Klavin moment, allowing a TD with 0:02 seconds left in the 1st half after stuffing us on 4th and 1/2 a yard, this game could have ended differently.

As it is, we geet 11 days off go get healthy, and get Seattle here on Monday night. Trap game avoided, but the injuries could be significant with Kwon Alexander undergoing an MRI today to check his pec. Kittle should be OK, but no word on him.

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Game Night ! ! ! The Bird is the Word . . .

Sue me, I’m early with this.  Got a busy day at work (yes I have a real job), and I’m watching the World Series, and I’ll probably be on BART when the game starts, so here we go. Taking a look at the handy dandy results on the side of this place, and I see that we haven’t beat the Cards since 2014. The dregs of the the Harbaugh era. The garbage game at the end of that woebegone season.  IOW, a long fucking time.

But that was then, this is now.  Since no one was too keen on my idea of resting some of the starters, I guess we play and hope we come out of this game healthy.  As healthy as one can be after playing 2 games in 5 days. Richard Sherman was very outspoken about these Thursday night games, he blew out his Achilles on a Thursday night, and all the players certainly feel it, but here we are. Playing our 2nd division game. One of 3 in a row. AZ, Sea, AZ GOt to love the schedulers for this anomaly. At least we get Seattle at home.

Thing is, the Cards have the same schedule as the Niners. In other words, fodder.  Yet they are 3-4-1. They beat the Giants, the Falcons, and the Bengals. Seattle, the Ravens, the Saints, and the Panthers have beaten them. They are always tough at their house, and we seem to be cursed against them, but shit, we got this.

33-17 Niners.

 

 

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