Victory!

Game balls all around. Jason Verrett, Raheem Mostert, Jimmy G, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, the offensive line, and especially Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh. In order to develop a rhythm with his quarterback and the offense, the 49ers came out throwing quick passes (where have I screamed that lately? Oh yeah, 3 days ago) and moving the chains, The opening drive was a thing of west coast beauty with swing passes, misdirection runs, and little to nothing downfield. the 1st half in general was a thing of beauty as the 49ers scored 3 TDs, one on a 4th and 2 from the Ram 44 yard line. The 3rd TD came as Shanahan was trying to run the 2nd quarter out while still scoring a TD. It worked but it was a bit annoying as I felt we were too conservative on the drive and we could have pushed harder. Still and all stopped the Rams next possession, and we had another chance to score. We took a couple deep shots, but being up 21-6 wa about as good as anyone could have hoped.

Defensively was definitely a mixed bag, as the Rams both ran and threw very effectively at times, but were also shut down at other times. But Jason Verrett made the play of the night on a 4th and goal play at the 1 when he intercepted a Jared Goff pass in the back of the end zone. The beauty of the play was that it got us out of what would have been 1st and 10 from the 1. Whether the Rams shot themselves in the feet with penalties, or suffered dropped passes, the 49er defense held the Rams out of the end zone for 2 of the 4 quarters. No mean feat.

Special teams even got into the act with Dion Jordan blocking an extra point, Robbie Gould providing a 49 yard field goal, and Tavarius Moore downed a punt on the 2″ line to pin the Rams deep. This led to our only 2nd half points.

A much as Shanny deserves a game ball for protecting Jimmy G, and neutralizing NFL sack leader Aaron Donald, I didn’t like the ultra-conservative nature of his play calling in the 2nd half. He relied too much on the defense to stop the Rams, and the 40 yard strike to Josh Reynolds was inevitable. The one shot Shanny took was the 3rd and 7 with 1:55 that sealed the game. However, it took a monster effort from Deebo, who broke 4 tackles on the ‘pass’ play to get that game-sealing 1st down. Other than that it was a bunch of 3 and outs for the most part as we passed ONCE on 1st down. My biggest pet peeve.

Still and all, a huge response by the players and coaches to the steaming turd that was the Miami game. This game was ginormous as the team needed a win at home against a division foe.

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Game Day 6 – Make or Break Time

This early in the season and we are already at the crossroads. Win this game, and we allay some fears that the team is on the road to nowhere. Lose the game, and the season is pretty much a wash. Seattle is paying the Cards, so they look to keep their roll going. We would be down 4 games 6 weeks into the season. Seattle could very easily be 1-4 seeing as every game has come down to the wire. Even the Falcon game was in doubt till the end. Their defense isn’t scaring anybody, but Russell Wilson sure is.

But i digest. The Rams on the other hand have played nothing but stiffs. Their lone loss came at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. They’ve beaten the No-Skins, Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants. Yeah, we couldn’t handle the Iggles, but they barely beat the Giants. Different Sunday, different outcome. Yadda yadda yadda.

At this point I really don’t know. What I do know is that Bruce Allen is back on the practice squad, and Moseley and ‘Spoon will play. Sherm had a setback, Greenlaw was fairly ineffective, Kwon Alexander is doubtful, and the defense is still a hot mess.

I don’t know. We win a shootout? WTF. Sure. Why not?

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R.I.P. Fred Dean

It’s a sad day in Niner Land as Fred Dean, Hall of Fame pass rusher for the Chargers, and 49ers, passed away at the age of 68 from complications due to COVID. In a stellar career that coincided with the dynasty that became the 49ers dominance for 20+ years, the 49ers traded for him during the 1981 season. Dean, who was going through a contract dispute with the Chargers brass, said he was making the same amount as his brother in law, a truck driver.

Walsh, always looking to improve the team, offered the Chargers a 2nd round pick early in the season, and seeing that the 49ers were 2-2 and coming off a 6-10 season, it looked like it could be a decent deal for San Diego. As it turned out, it was likely the greatest in-season trade in NFL history. At least for the 49ers.

His first game gave notice to the NFL that Fred was an elite pass rusher as he sacked Danny White of the Cowboys 6 times in our annihilation of them 45-14. Funny thing is, in his nearly 5 year career with the Niners, he had 5 starts. His main task was to pressure the QB, and smoke lung darts on the sidelines. He didn’t get in for very many 1st down plays, but wreaked his havoc on 2nd and long and 3rd down plays.

His next game, against the Rams saw Dean get 5 sacks of Pat Haden in the 49ers 20-17 victory. The Chargers of course became a much weaker defense and were summarily drummed out of the playoffs after winning the epic battle between SD and Miami in the 41-38 overtime game, and then getting stomped by the eventual AFC Champ Bengals. Dean ended up with 12 sacks for the 49ers in his 11 games.

Hard to imagine what would have happened to the course of the two teams had the trade not gone down. Dean was a generational talent who ended up as the UPI Defensive player of the year in 1981, and ended his career with 93 sacks. In his 4+ years with the 49ers, he had 41 sacks, and he was instrumental in the 1984 playoff run with his former SD teammates Gary Big Hands Johnson and Louie Kelcher.

Saw many a game where Fred Dean was a dominant force, and a relentless pass rusher.

Never met the man, but he always seemed to be smiling and happy.

“I WANT TO LIVE WITH MYSELF AND SOUL
I WANT TO BE ABLE FOR MYSELF TO KNOW
I WANT TO STAND AND SEE THE SUN
AND NOT HATE MYSELF FOR THE THINGS I’VE DONE
I WANT TO BE ABLE AS DAYS GO BY
TO ALWAYS LOOK MYSELF STRAIGHT IN THE EYE
AND FEEL THAT I NEVER HAVE TO LIE
TO MYSELF.”

R.I.P. Fred Dean

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Back to the Drawing Board

Funny thing happened on the way to the Super Bowl. We suddenly suck old-sweaty dog balls. In yet another embarrassing home loss to a shitty team, the 49ers let the 1-3 Miami Dolphins throw all over our depleted secondary, and harass out quarterbacks to abject ineffectiveness and handed us a 43-17 loss that wasn’t even that close. Miami stopped us from the get-go.

After a quick 3 and out, they hit on a 50 yard pass against Brian Allen. A truly awful corner who played so well that we left him on his island for most of the 1st half and he was 0-10 defending passes and committed 2 PIs. A perfect outing that gave Miami 21 points and 258 yards passing. In the 1st half.

The fact that Selah THEN decided to put in Witherspoon is baffling. If Ahkello was able to play in the 2nd quarter, why couldn’t have they pulled the plug earlier? Or even start ‘Spoon? It just baffles me that on EVERY big 3rd down, they went to Allen and hit the play. No help from Ward. Over and over Fitzpatrick hit whoever Allen was on. No pass rush to speak of, and of course we gave up a 12 yard run on 3rd and 8. To 37 year old Ryan Fitzpatrick. Our future backup QB. The play of the game ended up being a 3rd and 16 dump-off over the middle that got 15 yards. The Niners had cut the score to 30-14 early in the 3rd quarter and were looking for a quick 3 and out to get the ball back. They would have punted had we been able to stop the play for less than 15 yards. But no.

Our offense on the other hand continues to sputter and stall on our plethora of slow developing plays that get our quarterbacks sacked, hurried, and hit with regularity. No quick passes, no slants off 3 step drops. The run game, except for the occasional big run by Mostert, and a jet sweep here and there, has been stalled because as far as I can tell, teams have stopped biting on all our pre-snap motion and simply play things straight up. Our interior blocking is just not any good.

Tell ya one thing, this is how the Rams felt lat year when it seemed that McVay went from the penthouse to the outhouse. Shanahan can’t convert a 4th down to save his life. Mainly because he does the same run up the middle. 0-4 this year. A bunch of guys running around but no play action, no misdirection.

Shany is wearing on my nerves this season. He refuses to adjust to game situations that are readily apparent to everyone but him.

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Game Day 5 – Jacques Cousteau’s Revenge

Here we go again. Another bad east coast team comes to Santa Clara after travelling west. Another chance to pad the record against the Miami Blowfish before the good teams roll in. The good news is the offense is getting healthy. Jimmy G, Raheem Mostert, and Deebo Samuel are back so we should be able to score.

The defense is in a state of disarray, but I think Dre Greenlaw is returning, so team speed just went up a lot. He has been missed terrible.

And this is also a big game for Kyle Shanahan. For me, his play calling and decision-making has been sub-par so far this season. His time management isn’t as bad as Snappie Khaki, but he seems to be unsure come 2-minute warning time. I’m also disappointed when we go away from plays that work.

The misdirection runs that work so well seem to vaporize as the games roll along. The run game seems to dry up when we aren’t trying to be less obvious. Which leads to 3rd and unmanageable. And sacks. ince our QBs are challenged with avoiding sacks, it leads to fumbles and bad decisions.

Raiders about to beat the Chiefs.

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Getting the Band Back Together

Both Jimmy G and Raheem Mostert have both made it through a couple practices this week so it looks like they are cleared to play. Just in time for a tune-up before the meaty part of our schedule hits. Rams, Pats, Hawks, Saints, Rams again, Bills. Small reprieve with the N-Skins, then the NFC West closers with the Cards and Hawks.

Which is why I thought we really needed that win last week. Oh well. Shit can’t be helped now. Big Dick Nick got flaccid in a hurry and couldn’t firm up for the win last week, so we have a tougher row to hoe now. And we seem to be a bit shitty on th eO line. Brunskill being the big culprit last week.

What irks me about our state of play is the fact that many many QBs, even slow white guys like Carson Wentz, can spring for 10-12 yards when in 3rd and long. Us? We usually trip and fall; trip, fall, and fumble; take an unnecessary sack; or throw a pick 6. Outr turnover ratio is +1. Not great, but a little better when you realize that Shrivel-Nick is responsible for ALL of them. THREE fumbles, THREE picks.

But let’s move ahead. This one SHOULD be an easy game. East coast team travelling west, another unvictorious team, yadda yadda yadda, but I said this same shit last week, and that sure didn’t work out.

In other injury news, thank God Dontae Johnson is injured and not likely to play with a pulled groin, Dre Greenlaw was limited in practice. An improvement from not being there, but Moseley and K’Won didn’t participate, and Ahkello was limited with his hammy.

Deebo Samuel is dealing with some kind of sickness and didn’t practice, but that’s all I know about that. We’ll see tomorrow.

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Winless in Santa Clara

Well, that sucked. Nick Mullens appeared to be overcome by the bright lights of Sunday Night Football as he played a horrible game. He threw a pick in the red zone as the 49ers were driving to take the lead in the 2nd quarter. A throw that was directed at no one in particular. He also fumbled on a hit, and later threw a pick 6 that was directly to the linebacker. He wa under pressure a lot, and missed wide open guys on many passes. The wheel route pass that he missed by mile would have gotten us about 50 yards on our opening drive, but no.

The offensive line also sucked. Trent Williams got beaten like a drum, and had an illegal motion to boot. Mike McGlinchey was repeatedly beaten on the edge, and our interior line didn’t fare much better. Penalties and missed blocks were the order of the day.

The defense struggled with Carson Wentz as he scrambled out of trouble, and when about to be sacked, actually got rid of the ball to avoid sacks. Something that appears to escape any of our three quarterbacks. Still and all, they played well enough to win this game fairly easily, and the one bad play was because when we are down to Dontae Johnson as our RCB, expect a big play by the opposition. K’Won Williams was having a nice game, but he got hurt in the 3rd quarter, and I sure wish we would roll Ward to help him.

And that leaves head coach Kyle Shanahan. I’m really confused by his decisions at times. The biggest play of the game turned out to the the stupid drop-kick by Robbie Gould. The 49ers had the 2 minute warning, and 2 timeouts. The play is to kick the ball out of the end zone and pin the Eagles deep as they try to run the clock out. Instead, we do a stupid onsides punt and give the ball to the Eagles at the 50. We stop them, and instead of Philly punting from their 25, they are punting from midfield. Natch we get the ball on the 10 and The Beater did his best to get us downfield, but we came up short. He also has a propensity to go away from plays that WORK. We ran a jet sweep to Deebo that got 10 yards, a misdirection sweep with Kittle that got 8, and the 38 yard TD with Aiyuk. So, natch we never tried those plays ever again. Too many 1st down runs up the middle.

So, Mullens got pulled, and the Beater actually came in and gave us a spark as the Eagles let us throw underneath at will, and we scored fairly quickly. Still though, the Beater made a bonehead mistake by not running in the 2 point conversion as he had a clear lane, and instead forced a pass to Kittle that fell incomplete. We would have been down by 3 instead of 5.

So, yeah, a lot of goats. A lot of bad penalties. A horrendous performance by our backup QB, and a pass rush that was a bit anemic, and very inconsistent play calling.

There were some highlights though. Brandon Aiyuk had the play of the day on a 38 yard run on a lateral pass that ended with Aiyuk hurtling an Eagle defender at the 5 for the score. George Kittle had a nice night with 15 catches for a whopping 183 yards and a TD. But the run game was nonexistent except for those misdirection plays that WORKED. And the pass pro was awful.

We may win more games than the Jets at their house. But we still need to find a way to win at home.

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Game Day IV – The Eagles Have Crash Landed in SF

The good news for the 49rs is we are getting some offensive talent back. George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and jet McKinnon are back, and Brandon Aiyuk is coming off a great game last week, so our offense looks to be ready to roll with Nick Mullens getting the start this week over still-hirt Jimmy G. Defensively we are still hurting with Sherm, ‘Spoon, Moseley, Ford, Greenlaw, Bosa, and Thomas all out, and K’Won Williams questionable with a bad hammy.

Still and all, we are going against Carson Wentz. He is putting together a flat awful season so far with 3 TDs against 3 picks, 59% completion percentage, and a paltry 5.6 yards per attempt. All these are last or 31st in the league. They are nearly as banged up as we are, as DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Avonte Maddox, and Trevor Williams are all out, so their deep threats aren’t. And they just put their left tackle Jason Peters on the IR with a toe injury.

The Eagles are of course the 3rd winless team we are facing in this early piece of the season, and we really need to get these wins while we can as we healthy up, but as it is, the Eagles have lost to the 1-2 No-Skins, got trounced by the 2-1 Rams, and played the hapless Cincinnati Bengals in an early Stupor Bowl beauty with the perfect outcome, a 23-23 tie.

As usual, pressure Wentz and he flails. He took an astounding 8 sacks, 2 picks, and 2 fumbles against the No-Skins, 2 picks against the Rams, and took 3 more sacks, 2 more picks, and 1 more fumble against the Bengals. So all we have to do is get pressure. Kerry Hyder Jr. has proven to be a very solid acquisition as he has made a ton of plays in the pass rush rotation. He has 2 sacks, 6 pressures, 7 solo, and 14 assisted tackles.

Since I’m dogging Wentz so much, he’ll prolly rush for 80 yards, and it turns into a dog fight. Seriously though, I think this one will be fairly easy as games go as we outscore them by a lot.

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Friday Football Forecast

The good news is George Kittle and Jet McKinnon were full participants in practice yesterday. And other good news (if you are so inclined) is that Jimmy G missed thursday’s practice making it more likely Nick Mullens starts. I do want to see Mullens play one more game, and for Jimmy to get fully healthy.

Deebo Samuel is a game-time decision, but he did practice yesterday, so the thought of Deebo out there with Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk presents an amazing array of weapons for BDN to choose from. The likes of which haven’t been seen around these parts since the heady days of Rice, Taylor and Jones.

Defensively we are thin at CB. Sherm is still out, Emmanuel Moseley didn’t participate with a concussion, and Ahkello Witherspoon was limited with a bad hammy. Jason Verrett played very well stepping in. And he made it through the game unscathed. The weakest link is was and will forever be Dontae Johnson. We usually don’t roll up a safety to help the CBs on shorter routes, but it may be in the cards if the Iggles go after Johnson.

The Eagles may not be the pushovers they appear to be, but them travelling to the west coast, and with our offense healthying up, we should be able to take this one.

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Injury Report + COVID Forces Postponement of the Titans Steelers Game

The NFL is saying they may bump the game to Monday or Tuesday, but 9 Titans tested positive for COVID. 4 players, and 5 staff members. No word as to if they actually have COVID ore were merely exposed to it, but since they are gonna pay the game anyway, they Titans are gonna be shorthanded without DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley, and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson. Don’t know who the other guy is, but their opponent last weekend, the Minnesota Vikings, have all come back clean, so this hasn’t gotten too out of control.

As far as the Niners go,  Jimmy Garoppolo did not practice on Wednesday, the 49ers won’t have Dee Ford, who is headed to the IR. Dre Greenlaw, Raheem Mostert, Jordan Reed, Jerick McKinnon, and K’Waun Williams weren’t at practice, either.

But George Kittle is ready to go. Deebo Samuel has been cleared to practice, but he remains a game-time decision if he can get into game shape by Sunday night. Not likely, but possible. Count me in as someone who wants to see Deebo and Aiyuk on the field at the same time.

As far as I’m concerned, this should be a lot like the last 2 games. Fairly easy and we win going away. Sure, there are always slip-ups and bad games, but as this team has shown, they are deep and talented. Very unlike 2 years ago. I just wonder if there are murmurings if Mick Mullens has another big day.

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