Cruel Summer – Sweet Fall

So much for ending the teens on a high note. In what can only be seen as a huge success for the 49ers this season ended on a sour note. And, except for the NFC curse of missing the playoffs after losing the Super Bowl, the future looks bright for this team.

Jimmy Garoppolo MADE it to the Super Bowl his first full year as a starter. He started out shakey, fumble-prone, and INT-prone. And while he did throw a couple in the Super Bowl, they were not of the “I didn’t see the linebacker right in front of me” kind. Think Minnesota game. He WAS trying to get the ball out of bounds on the first pick, and the 2nd was a desperation heave.

4,000 yards, 27 TDs, 13 picks, and a 102 rating are solid numbers. 8th in QBR, 8th in yards, and 5th in TDs as a first-time full-time guy is great. He has room to improve his pocket presence, and minimize the interceptions, but from the start of the season to the finish, he improved those aspects as the season wore on.

The run game was spectacular. Mostert (772 – 5.6), Breida (623 – 5.1), and Coleman 544 – 4.0) all had breakout games, and all of them gained over 500 yards (why Coleman started over Mostert is an argument for another day. And why Wilson started over Breida was another head scratcher). All did well catching passes out of the backfield as well, and set the tone all year with tough runs and few fumbles.

The maligned receiving corps found its footing as rookie Deebo Samuels blossomed with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders in a trade with Denver. Kittle was his old self, going over 1,000 yards for the 2nd season in a row, and Kendrick Bourne established himself as a bona fide red zone threat with 5 TDs down the stretch.

The O line had a bit of a rough ride with injuries and inconsistent pass blocking, but in the end, backups like Daniel Brunskill, Ben Garland, and Justin Skule subbed in for starters Mike McGlinchey, Joe Staley and Weston Richberg. Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme opened up holes all season, and the line play got better and better as the year went on.

The defense improved dramatically. Robert Saleh’s anemic 2018 defense was replaced by a faster, harder hitting, and sack-happy bunch, led by rookie of the year Nick Bosa. The additions of Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford complemented last year’s rookie phenom Fred Warner. Dre Greenlaw was another high-speed tackling machine.

The DBs? Well, a mixed bag. Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong early season, as did Richard Sherman. But Witherspoon got hurt, and never seemed to return to form. Tartt and Ward were injured for parts of the season, and struggled at times, but Emmanuel Moseley earned his way into the starting role in place of Ahkello.

That leaves Kyle Shanahan. He and John Lynch have done very well dragging this team out of the depths of suckitude in 3 short years. The season hat looked onerous and barely like we could hit 8-8 instead went 13-3 and blitzed the NFC teams in the playoffs.

Questions WILL dog Shanny though as he makes his next quest for glory in the 2020 season. His teams have been outscored 52-0 down the stretch in his two Super Bowl losses. Both games saw Shanny go pass happy as he appeared to try to do too much too fast, instead of just sticking with a run game that had been working in both games.

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Five and Two

Fuck. Plenty of blame to go around in the 4th quarter melt down. Maybe Skip Bayless is right and we go after Tom Brady. I kid, I kid. Shanny fucked up the time management at the end of the 1st half. Burning 1:45 to ensure the tie rather than go for points to close out the half. Even still, if not for the OPI on Kittle, the Niners get a field goal.

Game calling was bad down the stretch as well. Shanny went away from the run with the lead intact at 20-17. 5 yard run on 1st down, followed by 2 inc’s. Punt. To that point Jimmy G was 9-12 and 195, but the wheels fell off and we

The defense, which was holding down Mahomes, and had forced 2 picks, suddenly looked old and slow. Sherm got flat toasted on a 38 yard pass. Tyreek Hill got wide open on a 3rd and 15 flail that Jimmy Ward simply blew. Tavarius Moore’s terrible PI play on Kelce on 3rd down that would have held KC to a FG. He turns around, he possibly picks it off. At the worst, defends the play.

Jimmy G flat missed a wide open Emmanuel Sanders on a deep middle route when it was 24-20 KC. He also missed the play completely on a pass designed for Kittle late in the 1st half (and he was open) that Jimmy threw underneath to Coleman short of the 1st down and we settled for a FG.

What is so maddening is the game was in our hands. 20-10 lead and we get a pick with 11:05 left. KC’s defense ended up making the plays in the 4th quarter as we crapped out. Fat Bastard gets his elusive ring, and we go wanting yet again.

Fuck.

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Super Bowl LIV ! ! !

Game day is finally here!!! We’ve all heard the talk, seen the replays, listened to the pundits, and understand that Shakira and J Lo are the halftime show. Time to play the game!

We’ve gone over the matchups and position battles, and even the history of the Niners in their quest to get their 6th trophy. The pundits have all weighed in, even the bettors have raised the point spread to -2 for the Chiefs in certain books. Among all the talk, one thing I didn’t mention was the coaching.

In the end, I think Kyle Shanahan calls a better game than the Walrus. Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo, once a bridesmaid, always a bridesmaid. KC is relying too heavily on their offense, and I think we can slow them enough to win. They will score, but we will slow them down enough to take this.

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Time Creeps On

We have almost hit the weekend anyway, as the clock slows down to a crawl as we (I think) get closer and closer to KICKOFF!!!!!! at 3:30 pm.

Fortunately, I don’t really watch too too much regular TV so I’ve missed out on:

a) The Kobe Bryant sainthood proceedings (according to Bob Costas, it’s “OK” to be a rapist if you can play basketball well), and

b) The Super Bowl hype machine.

It was weird to watch the teams come out together on Monday and hang around each other, but that’s today’s NFL. No one is saying too much to be bulletin board fodder, but Frank Clark did say that KC’s main goal is to put the game into Jimmy G’s hands by stopping our run game. Frank Clark was also spotted this morning wearing a hoodie with Trump and Kanye on it for some reason. But I digress.

Other than that, the pundits are all behind KC for the most part as their offense cannot be stopped and we are merely pretenders. This game, like most of them, will be won in the trenches. I like our lines over KCs.

Mahomes is the X factor in all this of course, as he can make hay out of shit, but the defense just needs to stay in their assigned spots and not let Mahomes run around and buy time. Tennessee did it with Lamar Jackson by pressing in from all sides, and not letting Jackson break contain.

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Breakdown

I tired to remember the categories from the old Brent Musberger / Jimmy the Greek days, so here goes.

SFSUPER BOWLKC
 QuarterbackX
XOffensive line 
XRunning back 
 Tight endX
 Wide receiverX
XDefensive line 
XLinebackers 
XDefensive backfield 
XSpecial teams 
XCoaching 
XIntangibles 
8TOTAL3

Funny how this looks when you break it down. And you could easily say that we have the advantage at TE as well. Which I think we do. This looks like a wipe out.

It won’t be, but while Kansas City has some great players in Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Frank fucking Clark, the 49ers have great groups of players. No, our QB won’t snap off a 30 yard run, but he has won games with his arm.

KC is already talking about how the MUST stop the run. They may SAY that, but I can’t wait to see what their defense looks like when they step on the field. Will they bring up the safety(s). Pack the tackle box? If so, we should be able to KOTM (Kittle Over The Middle) them to death and then go after their DBs. They had a measly 5 picks all year. The old Bill Walsh philosophy of setting up the run game with the passing game. A la 1981.

Running back? Please. We have 3 guys better than anyone they have. D line? LB? DBs? Coaching? Intangibles. Can’t quite get a grasp on that one. WR and QB are the biggest pluses in their favor. Thing is, a dominant QB and WR group CAN change a game. But with all the teams we have faced, we have given up the least amount of big plays.

I think Kwon Williams plays 98% of the snaps, and Dre Greenlaw is out for most of it due to this. Should be a good one., but I think we bask in the end.

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Kumbaya, Motherfuckers

Day One of the Super Bowl grab-ass corporate feeding frenzy got off to what can only be described as a love fest. In a format I[ve never seen before, but in my defense, I rarely watch this shit without the Niners in it, they brought out both teams at the same time, and they all seemed genuinely thrilled to see each other. Deion Sanders had Mahomes and Jimmy G on one side; and Richard Sherman and Honey Badger on the other. Deion talked of Mahomes’ killing it in the passing game and going against the Niner D. Platitudes and smiles all around.

Same with Travis Kelce and George Kittle being interviewed by Michael Irvin. Mutual respect, blah blah blah. Shanny related a story about losing a backpack with his playbook tablet and 40 super bowl tickets in it, and Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo said something, and my eyes started glazing over at that point. But the thing is, we have come a long way from the Steelers/Cowboys or Vikings/Raiders days where there was palpable bad blood between the teams. I guess it is understandable given the player movement, and the much higher danger factor of being crippled for life at any given moment.

Yeah, there are still some grudges, say Pittsburgh and Cleveland, or Aliq Talib/Michael Crabtree, but for the most part it is Kumbaya, folks. Hey, as long as we win, all is good.

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Black Mamba Gone

Not a big Kobe fan, and definitely not a Laker fan, but Kobe’s death yesterday sent shock waves through the sporting world. It was tough to see so many athletes breaking down over the news. Say what you will about him, but he put his heart and soul into the game he played, and gave no quarter. It was a little sad to see him play out the string after his achilles rupture, but he’s top 5 ever to play the game.

Kobe was known for his charity work during and after his career, and was heading to Mamba, his basketball academy in Thousand Oaks with his daughter Gigi and 7 others. All the families who lost loved ones must be devastated. Condolences to all involved.

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