Here We Go Again

This is like a trip down memory lane what with us playing Dallas and now Green Bay in the playoffs. Both these teams were our nemeses at different times in our distant past, and our recent. Aaron Rodgers sure knows who we are as we are 3-0 against him in our last 3 playoff tilts. Colin Kaepernick got the first two wins in 2012 and 2013 running all over the GB defense, and Jimmy G spent most of the 2019 win handing the ball off to Raheem Mostert.

A strategy that may not be a bad idea after seeing that 4th quarter yesterday. Unlike the Rams game, where Jimmy actually did well, he: a) missed a wide open Brandon Aiyuk for what would have been a 40 yard gain, b) threw an absolute choke job of a pick later in the 4th quarter, and c) didn’t let Trent Williams get set on the 4th and 1 sneak that would have, again, sealed the win.

Instead we got to see Mike McCarthy pull a stupid running play with 14 seconds left. This was nearly outdone by Ryans ludicrously stupid defense in not protecting the sidelines when Dallas got the ball with 32 seconds left. Ryans played this defense like he should have way back in the Green Bay game he blew. In not protecting the sidelines, Dallas was able to stop the clock on every throw. Once we moved the safeties and corners to the sides, Dak ran up the middle.

This could have worked for one more Dallas play if: a) Dak had slid earlier, b) the Cowboys let the ref spot the ball, and c) didn’t get in the ref’s way as he DID try to spot the ball.

All in all a bizarre ending to what was a great game by the Niners. Our propensity to let teams back into games is pretty fucking annoying, and this one would have been an epic disaster to lose.

More annoying to me is as the game was nearing the end, Shanahan was playing the game like he was behind 6, not ahead by 6. Throwing on 1st down is great early in the game when team expect us to run. Throwing late in the 4th quarter when protecting a lead is not so good when Jimmy is unraveling before your eyes. The shit pass to Kittle was luckily so shitty that the subsequent fumble didn’t count.

Fuck! But I am not here to bury Jimmy but to praise him. Not really. Fuck, I don’t know. Just play a clean game next week. OK?

Real funny thing is, I thought with everyone getting healthy, Josh Norman wouldn’t be able to fuck anything up, but lo and behold, Norman was the gunner assigned to block the outside guy, CJ Goodwin on the fake punt. As Norman ran away from him, their punter completed a 16 yard pass to Goodwin. Derp! Even more luckily, that didn’t result in a TD. Christ. I’m too old for this shit. I sure miss the days when we just steamrolled through the playoffs.

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Win and Come Home

Fuck Jerry. Fuck Dallas.

That is all.

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Super Wacky Wild Card Wipeout Weekend

This is the first year of the 14-team, one-team sits, 6-game wild card, wacky, wooly, weird and wild football weekend. We even get a Monday night tilt.

Saturday:

  • Raiders (10-7) @ Cincinnati (10-7) 1:30 PM NBC – Cincy -5
  • Patriots (10-7) @ Bills (11-6) 5:15 PM CBS/NFL Network – Bills -4

Sunday:

  • Eagles (9-8) @ Bucs (13-4) 10:00 AM Fox – Bucs -8.5
  • Niners (10-7) @ Cowsluts (12-5) 1:30 CBS – Sluts -3
  • Steelers (9-7-1) @ Chiefs (12-5) 5:15 NBC – Chiefs -12.5

Monday:

  • Cards (11-6) @ Rams (12-5) 5:15 ESPN/NFL Network – Rams -4

Strange days indeed. For all the angst around letting shitty teams (Pittsburgh, Philly) into the playoffs, only 2 of the teams were under 10 wins. Pittsburgh and Philly.

Really a shame that Brandon Staley was stupid enough to call a timeout while the Raiders were happy to simply let the clock run out. Can’t believe they didn’t fire him as he went for in on his own 18 yard line on 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter with a 3 point lead that quickly vanished.

If Eddie D was the boss, Staley would have been frog-marched off the field 2 minutes later. Justin Herbert is fun to watch and the Chargers are an old fave of mine. Pittsburgh? Fuck them. I’ll gladly watch the Chiefs annihilate them. Not that I like the Chiefs, but they win big, 38-17.

Raiders / Bengals? This one is a great one to kick off the WC weekend. This one can go in 150 different directions. Both teams look unbeatable one minute, and unwatchable the next. Carr has been Studly at times, and wild at times. Cincy and Burrow are all over the place as well. We should be thanking the Bengals for running in OT and kicking that FG. We were NOT stopping the pass that day, and we lucked out wildly. A toast to Zac Taylor. Raiders cover and win 34-30.

Pats Bills? Jac Mones looks to be overwhelmed as a rook in the playoffs. Belichick notwithstanding. The Bills can control the clock and the game and win going away 27-20.

Eagles Bucs looks to be another wipeout. Eagles shouldn’t be here. Seattle is better than them.
Bucs 31 – Eagles 13.

Us? Sunday is the day the Niners play a complete game and smash the Cowboys 28-17.

Rams Cards looks to be a close one, but I think the McVay hold over the Cards continues, but they don’t cover. Rams win 28-27.

I guess the Niners and Raiders qualify as the only upsets that I think happen this wild wooly weekend.

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Time to Hogtie the Cowgirls

No need to go over the playoff history between these two franchises other than to say it has been all or nothing. win a bunch, lose a bunch. The 49ers are 2-5 in those playoff matchups, but one of course was the Catch, and the other was the culmination of the 2 previous losses in the 1992 and 1993 NFC Championship games.

I loved loved loved the 1994 game mainly because I went with my neighbor who had a friend at Fox Sports and got us 40 yard line seats in the pullouts about 30 rows up. Perfect. Plus I had a bota bag (remember those) full of Stoli, so we spent the game buying orange juice. 3 minutes in and we were up 21-0.

Got dicey near the end, and there was a blatant PI on ED that wasn’t called and Barry (hold my gun) Switzer got a 15 yard penalty for screaming at the refs, but the Niners prevailed 38-28. Good times.

Sunday? We need to keep up with the smashmouth football. Dallas has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, especially rookie DE Micah Parsons. Unreal speed and strength for a hybrid LB/DE. 13 sacks is nothing to sneeze at.

That being said, the Dallas defense is strictly middle of the road. They don’t stop the run very well, they don;t stop the pass very well, but they do create a lot of turnovers. 34 takeaways, and +14 in take/giveaway is also tops in the league. Because of this they give up yards but not a lot of points. 7th in the league there.

So natch, the imperative here is to play a clean game. This is the scary part of the deal. Jimmy has 12 picks and 8 fumbles in 14.5 games. Worrisome as hell to me. Jimmy needs to be good Jimmy for the entire game for this to turn in our favor. Dallas has 20 giveaways themselves, so they can be sloppy as well.

With our defense getting just about everyone back, I like our chances. This game will be won in the trenches, and if we can come out at smash these guys at the line and establish our run game, the Cowboys will wilt under the onslaught.

I think a clean game gives us the win. Going with the same score as last week – 30-21 Niners.

Got to love Gary Plummer. One of many San Diego Chargers defensive players we stole and kicked ass with.

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One Step Beyond Are You Ready for Some Playoffs?

Madness, I tell you. This has been by far the weirdest season. This fairly reminds me of the 1988 season where the Niners stumbled midway through the season after losing horribly to the Vikings in the playoffs the previous year. There was turmoil in the building as Eddie D was on the rampage thinly veiling hints of a coaching change as the Niners were 6-5 and had lost an epically fucked up game to the LA Raiders 9-6. I was at that game, and it ended on a 4th and 1 reverse to Jerry Rice that lost 9 yards. The end of a cold, miserable, rainy day. To make things worse, the girl I went with ditched me in the 3rd quarter, and I had to catch a ride with a rando fan.

Here we are at 10-7. In the playoffs. In a season that saw very high expectations, the Niners lost 4 of 5 games to bring our record to 3-5. Jimmy G had missed a game already with a calf injury, and the Niners suffered their worst loss in recent memory, laying down like dead dogs to the injury-ravaged AZ Cards. Colt McCoy looked like Brett Favre and the Niners were folded, spindled, mutilated, crushed, demoralized, and defeated bady.

It was at this point I thought, well, this season is over. 3-5 and the Rams are coming to town to lay a whupping on us. Turns out the Ram game, like that Monday night game vs Redskins back in 1988, provided the springboard to propel the team into the playoffs. I have no idea what Kyle did, or what Lynch did, if anything, to get this team righted. But Deebo Samuel became a running threat, Brandon Aiyuk was released from the doghouse, and the team played better on both sides of the ball to go 6-2 down the stretch. Special teams? Wellllll, that’s a different concern.

Funnily enough I saw the Cards game as well. So, I saw the games that were the low point in the tale of those two seasons. Back in ’88 though I went to the Redskins game that saw John Taylor return two punts for over 90 yards as the 49ers killed Washington 37-20 iirc. Didn’t get to see this Rams game that helped turn this season around.

So, kudos for Kyle Shanahan for devising some new schemes, and getting his play calling in better order. The Deebo TD pass was pretty special and it completely fooled the Rams. Shanahan’s use of Deebo as a runner has also paid huge dividends even though it still scares the shit out of me to see him running between the tackles. Aiyuk and now Jauan Jennings, have really come on these last 8 weeks, and provided a huge lift to the offense. Elijah Mitchell has been outstanding as our lead runner. This team relishes contact and no one goes down after only one hit.

Kudos to DeMeco Ryans for finally understanding the need to blitz and to dial up pressure in obvious passing situations. The defense is finally getting to the point of being healthy and it couldn’t coma at a better time. I have dogged Ambry Thomas over the season, but I have also said he has improved dramatically these last few weeks. Leading to the game-winning pick last Sunday. Trial by fire indeed. The defense as a whole, and especially the defensive line, has really come

And lastly kudos to Jimmy G for pretty much staying his goofy-ass self. He hasn’t balked, a la Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers, about training his replacement. He has been even-keeled even through the horrible games, the injuries, the errant picks, and the stunning victories. Like it or not he has turned into a gunslinger who throws some baffling interceptions, but then turns around and leads a 90 yard drive with 1:25 left and no time outs to win the game.

Fitting that we face the Cowboys in this playoff game. Bring it on!

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The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good

What a zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a game (thanks, Bill). Jimmy G did his best Brett Favre impersonation by chucking ducks, darts, wobblers, and some really good ones as the Niners fought back from a seemingly insurmountable 17-0 lead late in the 1st half. Shanny even got into the act by breaking out a Deebo Samuel reverse pass to the resurgent Jauan Jennings for a 45 yard TD pass.

Got to say, for all the vitriol being hurled by me and millions of other Niner fans, Jimmy led a fairly insignificant FG drive at the end of the 1st half. The turning point to the whole game appeared to be the Rams, facing 3rd and 1 late in the 2nd quarter, went empty backfield, and Stafford took a sack. THe Niners then smartly drive down the field for a FG that at the least gave the team some confidence that they could move the ball.

At that point, ugly Jimmy couldn’t hit the side of a barn, threw a duck of a pick to no one within 15 yards, and the run game was going nowhere. But, Jimmy went 4-4 for 53 yards after the defense forced a punt after the pick, giving Robbie Gould a shot for points with a 42 yard field goal.

The 2nd half was just flat amazing. The Niners roared out of the half with a 7 play, 65 yards drive with Jimmy going 3-3 for 50 yards, capped off by a 19 yard run by MVP Swiss Army knife Deebo Samuel. After a quick 3-and-out, the Niners struck again with an 11 play 64 yard drive, 10 runs, and a reverse-pass from Deebo to Jennings.

Bad Jimmy reared his head as he threw a pass behind Kittle for a juggling pick by Jalen Ramsey for what would have been a FG to take the lead, but instead resulted in a 9 play, 92 yard Ram drive capped off by interminable pest Kooper Cupp. After a 3-and-out, the straits looked dire.

Good Jimmy saved the best for last as the Niners forced a 3-and-out of their own and Jimmy led the team on a 88 yard drive, with 1:27 left, completing 3 of 4 for 84 yards and the tying score to Jauan Jennings. Great day for him.

OT saw Fred Warner finally win an OT coin toss! Good Jimmy drive the team to the Rams 6 with a solid mix of running and passing. Shanny got a little conservative down by the goal line, but I get it what with the earlier pick. Gould kicked the FG and as we all know, Ambry Thomas sealed the deal with the pick by Stafford under a lot of pressure.

Great great team win. Everyone filled unexpected roles. Mitch (I’m gone) Wishnowski was speared on a punt return in the 2nd quarter and never came back. After some really shitty punts. So Juice was forced to be the holder. He did a bang-up job as Gould didn’t have a problem with the extra points or the field goals. Points that were vastly important. Deebo of course had the TD throw. Jennings had some huge catches to go with his 6/94/2 TD day. Samuel had 4/95 yards, and it would have been awesome if he had scored a receiving TD to go along with the TD pass and run. Aiyuk had the biggest day catching 6 for 107.

But the best was saved for last as Ambry Thomas, the rook CB who really had his trial by fire this year, came up with the play of the game. Picking off Matthew Stafford on an underthrown deep ball to ODB for the win. Thomas by game 14 was finally getting his head around on passes, and has been improving dramatically. The pass was underthrown because the D line was killing the Rams offensive line and pressured Stafford into 2 picks and 5 sacks. AA had his best game in a while, getting 2.5 sacks. DJ had one, and Bosa, Warner, and Key all had half-sacks. Moseley’s return saw him get a pick late in the 3rd quarter.

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Game Day XVII – Welcome Back My Friends to the Season that Never Ends

The first game 17 in NFL history, with the added playoff spot adds lots on intrigue as wel would be out without it, but color me disappointed. All signs point to Jiminy Cricket starting. Not happy about that. I thought Lance’s game showed enough progress to allow him the chance to play a meaningful game. But no, Kyle rides with the dead horse, Jimmy G.

And make no mistake, this decision has NOTHING to do with Kyle’s perception of how well Lance grasps the offense. This is strictly Shammy’s bullheadedness getting in the way. Oh well. The hope is after the teams trade 1st quarter pick 6’s, Kyle makes the change.

On the good news side, our defensive backfield is finally back to full health and PI magnets josh Norman and Dontae Johnson will not be starting. Even Ambry Thomas, the guy who is playing well lately is off the COVID list. Al-Saair and Greenlaw are also possibles to play. I hope they can go full speed because they are desperately needed to stop the bubble screens and short shit teams kill us with.

This game will depend on how well Elijah Mitchell can run, and how much pressure we get on Matt Stafford. Do both well, and we can win.

Still think Shanny keeps his spell over McVay. 30-21 Niners.

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So Much for Avoiding COVID – And Whither Jimmy?

Well, ALL of our defensive backs, minus benched PI magnet Josh Norman, are on the COVID list. There’s hope that some or all, even including Emmanuel Moseley, could be ready. Not a great scenario where it comes to playing the Rams. Throw into the mix the fact that Jimmy G got through his first practice since the Tennessee game.

Oh joy.

So, the starting QB is up for debate, the secondary is quarantined, and we face elimination with a loss on Sunday. In other words, the Rams are ripe for the picking. For whatever reason, Kyle Shanahan has won the last 5 games against Sean McVay. I mean really, Nick Mullens beat the rams last year? I suppose that should give me hope, but I have no idea.

My thought is to keep Trey in as the starter. He provides more mobility, and progressed nicely last game. He an throw deeper passes, and gives us a better chance to win. Sure, it was only one game, but Lance needs to gain experience on the playing field, and playing a game with this kind of impact will go a long way toward Lance’s development. Jimmy?

We know what Jimmy brings. Wild inconsistency. Hurt Jimmy is rarely good Jimmy.

Teams we face next season

Home

Washington (6-10)
Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
Miami Dolphins (8-8)
New Orleans Saints (8-8)
Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)

Away

Carolina Panthers (5-11)
Chicago Bears (6-10)
Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Denver Broncos (7-9)
Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

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Episode IV – A New Hope

The Rebel alliance has been damaged but not destroyed, as a young Padawan, Lance Skywalker is learning the force and battling to control his emotions as the Empire tries to smash the resistance and keep the Separatist 49ers out of the playoffs.

Is Shanahan Yoda? Is Lynch Obi Wan Kenobi? OK, fuck that, but hey it was a nice start. Here we are, one game in, and Lance did have his rookie moments. So did Shanahan though. I hated the read-option handoffs early, and luckily Shanny got right away from that. So he can adjust on the fly. And, for once in a great while, the team played better in the 2nd half.

Sure, Lance was indecisive on when to scramble some times, and didn’t go hard for a 1st down on a scramble, but these are situations that he will learn by getting reps. Going through his read is a different matter, but even early, on a play designed to go to Kittle on the left side, he rolled right out of the designed play, in the end zone no less, and found Aiyuk for a short 12 yard gain, but it got us out of the shadow of the goal line, and was a play that Jimmy G usually starts tap-dancing to nowhere and takes a sack.

And the throw to Samuel for the 45 yard TD was straight on the money and is one that Jimmy G relentlessly struggle with. And the lob to Mitchell for the first TD was easy, but again, Jimmy misses that throw a lot. So, yeah, I’d love to see more consistent play from Lance, but I’ve been saying that about Jimmy G for 4 years now.

So, I’ll give Lance the benefit of the doubt on the mis-read pick as he IS a rookie. Jimmy G still makes these mistakes 7 years into his Jedi training. May the Schwartz be with you.

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Game Day XVI – New Year, New Season, New QB

Let’s hope we don’t play like Betty White..

A true original. RIP, Betty.

And Dan (Mr uptight) Reeves died as well. The guy who shackled John Elway and lost a couple Super Bowls.

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