Frying Pan, Meet Fire

Here we go. One step from the Super Bowl. Again. Last year’ loss was crushing. This one would be equally so, despite in improbability of Mr. Irrelevant catapulting himself into the drivers’ seat of this high-performance offensive machine. The thinking is, Purdy has plenty of time to gain his footing, but as we all know, these windows can slam shut and lock tight at a moment’s notice.

Just ask the 5-12 Rams.

Yes, we have a solid team in all phases, but so does Philly. Games like these have a tendency to turn on fluke plays or the inadvertent turnover. Last week, Dak Prescott did us a solid by throwing 2 poorly timed picks. We only got 6 off them, but returned the favor with a fumbled punt by Ray Ray McCloud that gave Dallas 3 despite the great field position.

It very well could turn on a kickoff return. Something that nearly bit us last week, and a few other times this year. Gould either needs to get more touchbacks, or our coverage needs to lock in. There have been too many lapses. Despite Ray Ray’s fumble, the return teams have been solid.

Despite Philly’s top 3 defense, teams have scored on them. Washington used their run game to keep their high scoring offense off the field, and Dallas put 40 (and 420 yards) on them not too long ago. Amazingly, it was Gardner Minshew that put up 34 on that Dallas’ defense. I want the quick passing game used early and often to get the LBs on their heels and worrying about covering guys to open up running plays. We need to run misdirection plays as they play so well straight up.

I am glad that Purdy has the Seattle win under his bet as at least he’s shown he can win in a very hostile environment, and they don’t get much worse than Seattle. And he single-handedly took Iowa State to relevance in his time as a 4-year starter there. With Brock gone, and before he got there, they’ve sucked.

Niners 27 – Iggles 17

Cincy 31 – KC 27

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State of the Team – State of the Mind

Looks like the team is in as good of shape as they have been in a while. Legal issues notwithstanding for Charles Omenihu, who was arrested for suspicion of domestic battery against his girlfriend. He allegedly shoved her to the ground.

The team of course is “in the process of gathering further information” and the league said “The matter will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy,” the NFL’s statement read. “There is no change to his status.”

So, by hook or by crook, he’s likely gonna play until otherwise told he can’t, whether by the team or by the league. Chances are any court appearances will be held after the season ends, so the point is moot. Though this shot usually doesn’t turn out well for the guy.

Derp. Bad timing, skippy.

Other than that, both CMC and Elijah Mitchell were banged up in the Dallas game. McCaffrey with a calf strain, and Mitchell with a groin injury. Both are expected to play however. Omenihu also had an oblique strain during the game but came back.

Philly’s main concern is CB Avonte Maddox. He’s been out since week 16 with a toe injury. Still and all, it didn’t seem to slow down their coverage against the Giants. Although Rick (Holiday Inn) James had a decent day with 7 catches for 51 yards, and Matt (Cheetah) Brieda had NY’s only TD.

So, how do we win? Well, the Washington Generals showed the way. Limit Hurts’s scrambles, stop their run game, and do some running of our own. Washington ran for 160 on them, the Bears (!) dropped 160 yards on the ground against them but they lost, the Cowboys dropped 120 on them (+ 350 in the air and 40 points), and the Saints put 140 on them in Philly’s last few losses.

So, the team we just beat put 40 on their defense. And that was Gardner Minshew that carved them up. Can we do that? It’s possible. I don’t think it’ll be that high-scoring, but I think we can attack their defense with quick passes and misdirection runs. What’s interesting to me is the Niners last week went away from passing on 1st down, and I think it slowed down the offense in the 1st half.

I would LOVE to see us be able to establish the run early, but I’m still of a mind that we do that by passing on 1st down. Shanahan has spent so much of the season running on 1st that teams play us to do it still. I think with CMC as a checkdown, we can effectively get into 2nd and short situations and run for a lot of 1st downs.

And I also have the Bengals beating the injured Chiefs. Cincy came through pretty strong beating Buffalo in Buffalo.

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NFC Championship Game! Down Goes Dallas!

Well, that was certainly a knock-down drag-out game for the defenses. Much can be said about this game and the plays the defense made, but the game pretty much came down to a one-handed juggling stumbling 30 yard reception by George Kittle late in the 3rd quarter to finally get the Niner offense going. After that play, the run game finally got some traction, and the team was able to finally get into the end zone to get on top 16-9.

Say what you will about the ineffective offenses, both these defenses came to play. And the DBs came up with a couple huge interceptions at opportune times. Sure, those picks only garnered 6 points, we needed every one of those points. Demo Lenoir has been targeted a lot in recent weeks, but he’s the one with 2 INTs in this postseason. Jimmie Ward also broke up a pass that was caught by one of the defensive standouts, Fred Warner.

Brock had a gutty game facing pressure nearly every drop-back, and with stifling coverages, did just enough to get the team into FG range on a couple of early drives. Dallas did get their TD early in the 2nd quarter mixing runs, passes and an 11 yard scramble for an early 6-3 lead. Funny, I think Maher misses the XP even if Ebukam doesn’t block it. But Purdy, in his usual style, did not turn the ball over. Albeit a dropped pick by Diggs was a huge help. Dallas did a good job of stopping the run game for about 2-1/2 quarters, and our early drives were stopped. Lenoir’s pick set us up in prime territory, but couldn’t get it in despite being on their 21. Next drive stalled at our 29 for another FG and a 6-6 tie.

Dallas gave the Niners another shot when Dak threw a ball right to Jimmie Ward that he deflected to Warner, and we kept Dallas from scoring and turned into a 3 point lead.

Still and all, Shanahan can’t seem to get out of his own way. On that drive before halftime, he wasted 26 seconds on a 3rd and 1 because in his words, he didn’t want to give Dallas time to mount a drive of their own. The problem there is WE were driving the ball. Fail on the 3rd and 1 and the Niners punt and Dallas gets the ball on their 15 with 35 seconds and 1 timeout. While WE had the ball, 56 seconds left, TWO timeouts, and the ball on our 38 yard line. Much more favorable conditions.

Instead, Shanny ran the clock down, we barely got into FG range, and nearly blew it anyway by running one more unnecessary play with 7 seconds left. Gould made the 50 yarder, and we took the lead, but coaching in the playoffs you NEED to go for the throat when you are driving the ball. Shanahan has been doing a good job calling plays and getting the most out of our opportunities, but that one really pissed me off. It shows a lack of faith in the offense.

But, we got through the game fairly unscathed, and now will be flying to Philly. Our third NFC Championship game in 4 years. This is gonna be another tough one.

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Here We GO!!! NFCCG or Bust!

This is looking a little tougher than I originally thought, but I still think we have the horse to get this done. Philly in their house will not be easy, but first things first. The Cowboys have a short week and a day of travel to deal with. We are rested and ready.

That being said, this team needs to start faster than they have recently. The last few games have been slow starts followed by better play. The Niners need to get on top of these guys early to force the action and make them play catch-up.

As usual, it is about the pass rush. Dallas did a lot of quick passes against the Bucs and that looks like the best way to thwart our pass rush. The DBs are in for a challenge as they have been getting a little burnt around the edges lately. But those longer plays need to be stopped by getting in Dak’s face and hurrying his passes.

The offense took a little bit, but if we can come out clicking, we should be able to draw blood first. The team is hopefully not gonna come out slow and caught unawares like Seattle and the Raiders. Purdy has a solid grtasp of how to move the ball. The run game would really help the cause.

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A New Wrinkle – A Divisional Weekend

Glancing at the sportsbooks regarding spreads and such for this weekend, I came across this gem:

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“One less game is the easier road, that’s pretty much the reason why the Chiefs are Super Bowl favorites,” says Caesars Sportsbooks’ assistant director of trading Adam Pullen. “Even though the Bills are prohibitive favorites against the Dolphins, that’s still one more game that they have to play. But if they were to meet in the AFC Championship, the Bills would be favored and be Super Bowl favorites then.”

  • Bettors agree: At Caesars, Buffalo (+400) leads all playoff teams in both bets (16.7%) and handle (21.0%).
  • The public’s next-favorite team is the 49ers at +450. They have garnered 12.4% of the tickets and 15.4% of the money — creating tremendous liability for Caesars.

“The 49ers are the one team we do not want to win the Super Bowl,” Pullen says.

So, Caesar’s stands to lose a lot of money should the 49ers win it all? Hmmm, nothing to see here, eh?

I’m sure there are games every week that are bad for the bookies, but when you get to the playoffs, I sure don’t like reading shit like this.

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Saturday, Jan. 21

AFC: 1:30 pm (4) Jacksonville Jaguars at (1) Kansas City Chiefs (-9) NBC
Jax may give KC a run for a while, but KC wins going away.

NFC: 5:15 pm (6) New York Giants at (1) Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) FOX
Backing the Giants on this one. Philly is erratic. Same with Dallas.

Sunday, Jan. 22

AFC: 12:00 noon (3) Cincinnati Bengals at (2) Buffalo Bills (-5.5) CBS
Buffalo circles the wagons and takes care of biz. This and the 49ers game look to tbe the exciting ones.

NFC: 3:30 pm (5) Dallas Cowboys at (2) San Francisco 49ers (-4) FOX
If the 49ers can play clean and take care of the ball, they should be able to outlast the Cowboys and their erratic play. Watch for bad ref calls, and we’ll know the fix is in.

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The Fallas Cucking Dowboys

How sweet will it be to fuck these guys up again. I can already see Jerry Jerk-off crying in his cosmo.

They will once again come up short. Just hope we can finish the deal this time.

And I think we are gonna host the Giants for the NFC Championship game.

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The Dallas Fucking Cowboys. Again

The more things change, the more they stay the same. From 1970 to now, the 49ers and Cowboys have met 8 times in the playoffs. Six of them NFC Championship games.

  • 1970 NFC Championship Game – Cowboys 17-10
  • 1971 NFC Championship Game – Cowboys 14-3
  • 1972 NFC Divisional playoffs – Cowboys 30-28 (fuuuuck)
  • 1981 NFC Championship Game – 49ers 28 -27 (huzzzzzzah!!)
  • 1992 NFC Championship Game – Cowboys 30-20
  • 1993 NFC Championship Game – Cowboys 26-17
  • 1994 NFC Championship Game – 49ers 38-28
  • 2021 NFC Wild Card playoffs – 49ers 23-17
  • 2022 NFC Divisional playoffs – ?????

Dallas holds a 5-3 advantage, but the 49ers have won the last 2 meetings. Sure, the gap is 17 seasons, but 2-0 is 2-0. Dallas even holds a one game lead overall at 19-18-1. So, time to even this shit up.

I think Dallas is pretty much a paper tiger, but they do have, at times, a pretty solid pass rush. They don’t get a lot of sacks, but they do get sustained pressure most of the time. But this is the same team we played on the road last year, and took to the woodshed. With Jimmy G at the helm.

So, if the Niners can pay a clean game I think we take this one as well. As usual, Dallas has a ton of play-makers. Pollard and Elliott had 1,800 yards between them, CeeDee Lamb has ~1,400 yard receiving, Micah Parsons has 13.5 sacks, and DeRon Bland has 5 picks.

Which leaves Dak Prescott. He’s had a season of injuries and inconsistency. He missed 5 games with a thumb injury and still threw a league-high 15 picks to go with 23 TDs. Still and all, Prescott looked pretty sharp last night. And if not for the FOUR missed extra points, the game would have been further out of reach.

Keep the pressure up, and Dak makes mistakes. You can say that about most, but it is especially true with Prescott. The weather should be fine by Sunday. Bring it on.

Here’s the playoff schedule. From the first game to the last . . .

Saturday, Jan. 21 

  • (4) Jaguars at (1) Chiefs (-8.5), 1:30 pm (NBC) – Chiefs kick off their playoffs with what could be a closer game than I originally thought. Lawrence is playing pretty well, even though he came out throwing picks up the wazoo. They’ll prolly cover but not win. KC on to the AFCCG. Especially if Lawrence goes off on another interception-fest.
  • (6) Giants at (1) Eagles (-7.5), 5:15 pm (Fox) – Like the Niners and Seattle, Philly looks to beat the Giants 3x. I don’t know.  The Giants, and Daniel Jones, especially, looked pretty good last weekend. Philly is in for a tough game. I think the Giants pull off the upset.

Sunday, Jan. 22

  • (3) Bengals at (2) Bills (-5), 12:00 noon (CBS) – The rematch of the game that never was. The Damar Hamlin recovery has been fantastic, and the Bills have been through the wringer with it, but this is now gonna be the shootout that everyone thinks it will be. I think the Bills prevail, but I’m not nearly as confident as I was before the Bills struggled mightily against a depleted Dolphins team that made a boatload of mistakes early and should have been buried by the half.
  • (5) Cowboys at (2) 49ers (-4), 3:30 pm (Fox) – Here we are again. The Niners played these guys a year ago yesterday, and beat them as Dallas called a QB draw on with 14 seconds left without any timeouts, and couldn’t spike the ball in time to run another play from our 23. Oooops. Don;t think it will be as close this time. Niners win going away.
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Wild Wild Card Weekend . . .

And it isn’t quite over yet. This slate of games saw the Niners put away the always annoying Seattle Seahawks, and in the words of Pete Carroll, “we scared the shit out of them.” And he was correct, sir. The 49ers got punched in the mouth in the 2nd quarter, and Seattle turned an early 10 point deficit into a 1 point lead on some shakey coverage on DK Metcalf, and a really dumb late hit on Geno, preceded by a dumb squib kick call.

Metcalf ended up with 10 catches, 136b yards and 2 scores, but he was basically neutralized in the 2nd half, with the rest of the Seattle team, and the Niners’ 25-0 run into the 4th quarter sealed the deal.

Truth be told, this was a gut-check game in its own right. The 49ers had taken the lead in the 3rd quarter 23-17, but Seattle was driving with less than 3 minutes in the 3rd quarter. Facing the possibility of falling behind again, With Seattle on our 13 yard line, Charles Omenihu hit Geo in the backfield and forced a fumble. The ball sat on the ground for what felt like 5 minutes as Nock Bosa pounced on it to end the threat and start the takedown of the Seahawks.

Say what you will about the Seahawks, but this was supposed to be a throwaway year for them, and they got this far and gave us a battle. They are primed for a ton of success as they have a boatload of picks coming from Denver as their never-ending search for a QB continues.

The other games were all wild and crazy. Buffalo nearly got beaten by the Dolphins with their 3rd strong QB Skylar Thompson as Miami dropped passes, make a boatload of false starts, and even had the lead late, but fell to the Bills.

The Chargers meanwhile took their seemingly unending playoff failures to epic proportions by being handed 4 Trevor Lawrence interceptions and a fumbled punt in the 1st half and squandered a 27-0 halftime lead. They were led by the enormous stupidity of Joey Bosa, who lined up offsides on a crucial 2nd down sack, which would have resulted in a 3rd and 20, but instead became 2nd and 5 and Jax marched down the field and took the lead. Bosa was also flagged for roughing the passer (iffy call) and unsportsmanlike conduct for slamming his helmet. On the field. Which led to Jax being able to run out the clock. Derp. I guess we got the smarter brother.

The Bengals got their own scare, as Baltimore and yet another backup QB Tyler Huntley chucked and ducked, and nearly led Balt to an improbable victory.

The Vikings? Saw this one coming a mile away. The New York football Giants smashed the Vikings early and often and Daniel Jones (who impressed me) had his way with the porous Minnesota defense.

Still one more game. I’m still of a mind that Dallas is closer to the Vikings than the Giants in terms of ability. I think if Tampa punches them in the mouth early, it’ll set the tone and Dallas will wilt under the pressure.

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Sweepy on Seattle

Bit of a nail-biter for a while. This first half anyway, but the Big Cock Brock led 49ers cruised past the crazed gum-chewing of Pete Carroll and the resurgent-for-a-half Seahawks. Brock Purdy came out a little wobbly, but led a quick FG drive, and a subsequent TD drive on a 68 yard run by CMC after the defense forced two quick 3-and-outs.

Then things got dicey. Seattle started running pretty well, and hit a ton of quick passes to score two TDs around another 49er FG. The 49ers seemingly took the lead into the half 16-14, but a questionable squib kick led to great field position for Seattle, and a monumentally stupid roughing the passer put them into FG range and they capitalized for a 17-16 lead.

Seemed important at the time, but the 49ers stormed out of the locker room and scored 25 unanswered points to salt the game away. The play of the game came after the 49ers retook the lead on the score to open the 3rd quarter. Seattle was driving deep into 49er territory down to our 13, and Charles Omenihu got pressure and knocked the ball from Geno Smith’s grasp and it was recovered by Nick Bosa. The Niners took that mistake and drove the length of the field and scored again to make the score 30-17 instead what could have been a 1 point deficit.

The rest was gravy as Deebo took a shallow cross 74 yards for the 38-13 lead to put the game away. Huge assist from Brandon Aiyuk for blocking 20 yards downfield.

All in all, a solid game that was tighter than it needed to be, but in the end the 49ers made a ton more plays and won going away. Brock Purdy looked skittish at times, and missed some reads, and maybe threw 2 really bad balls, but in the end he accounted for 332 yards in the air on 18-30 and 3 TDs, with a rushing TD to boot.

The defense was ragged at times as well, as the usual world-beater DK Metcalf had 10 for 136 and 2 TDs, and Mooney Ward struggled a bit with 2 stumbles that led to 80 yards in catches and a TD. He also missed a tackle on a 3rd and short that netted a 1st down. Pressure was inconsistent, but Omenihu made the play of the game, Demo Lenoir hade a nice pick late as the defense tightened up in the 2nd half and gave up a late garbage TD.

The Niners had a whopping 505 yards to Seattle’s 332. The D got 3 sacks and a pick to the offensive giving up 1 sack with 0 turnovers. So, Purdy gets his first playoff win, and the Niners win their 11th in a row. So far, so good.

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Got a big laugh when they showed this!!!

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Zakk Wylde Card Weekend ! ! !

This is the 2nd season (3rd? I don’t know) of the new only-one-team-gets-a-bye-and-14-teams-get-into-the-playoffs format. The Niners definitely needed it last season as our 6th seed was sealed on the last day of the last game. We turned that into a near-Super Bowl (damn you, Jaquiski Tartt!) appearance.

This year after once again early struggles were followed by a 10 game winning streak. This garnered us the 2nd seed. Still and all, we play the first game of the SIX Wild Card Weekend slate of games. We even get a Monday Night game.

Here they are in all their glory. All times Pacific:

Saturday, Jan. 14

  • (7) Seahawks at (2) 49ers (-10), 1:30 p.m. (Fox) – We should walk all over Seattle.
  • (5) Chargers at (4) Jaguars (+1.5), 5:15 p.m. (NBC) – Chargers should easily take the Jags. Well, maybe not easily, but win.

Sunday, Jan. 15

  • (7) Dolphins at (2) Bills (-10), 10:00 am (CBS) – Bills over the Fins. Even with the spread.
  • (6) Giants at (3) Vikings (-3), 1:30 p.m. (Fox) – Giants get past the Vikings late.
  • (6) Ravens at (3) Bengals (-6.5), 5:15 p.m. (NBC) – Bengals take the Ravens

Monday, Jan. 16

  • (5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers (+3), 5:15 p.m. (ABC/ESPN) Bucs beat the Boys

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