Crunch Time

Well, so far in the young season, the Niners have gotten their first win under Jim Harbaugh, their first road win in Cincinnati, and a near-miss against a quality team vs Dallas. Say what you will about Dallas, but they could very well be 0-3, while SF could be 3-0. As it is, they are both 2-1. AZ and Seattle are 1-2, and the Lambs are 0-3. As good as it all seems, the Niners are about to face a tough few weeks coming up. Games against Philly (road), Tampa, and Detroit (road) lead to the bye week in week 7. The only patsy in the immediate future is Cleveland after the bye week. And you know how much the Yorks want to win the battle of Ohio (having recently won the first leg). 

Philly and Deeetroit look to be the hardest games in the near future. Tampa? Haven’t seen them this year, but they’ve scraped past Atlanta and Minnesota, and lost to Deeetroit. Philly matches up offensively very well against what the Niners struggle with. And that’s the short passing game/WCO type passes to the flat, TEs underneath, and delayed screens. Dallas shredded the Niners in the 4th quarter by going underneath, and featuring Witten to no end. Celek was kept quiet by the Giants, but Philly’s WRs had good numbers across the board. 13 catches for 160 yards. Although Maclin is questionable for the Niner game. Philly aslo runs pretty well, and this will be a test for Sopoaga to clog the middle, and the LBs to stay at home. Overpursuing on screen plays is death, and Bowman especially needs to not get caught out of position on screens and delays. 

Tampa is more of a ball control offense. They don’t do anything particularly great, but they move the chains and grind out drives.  Freeman is fair to good, but 2 TDs and 4 picks  isn’t all that. And their run game is fair to middling as well. This should be a winnable game.

Deeetroit on the other hand, is pass, pass, pass. Stafford is close to 1,000 yards passing already, and they are 4th in the league in passing yards. They have a very good young secondary as well. However, teams run on them pretty well, so our O line will hopefully start to gel and be able to open up holes for Gore and Hunter.  

So, these next three games are a challenge to this young team trying to find its way. 0-3 wouldn’t be the end of the season, but depending on how these games go, it’ll tell how much they have learned. The Niners need to take care of their home game vs Tampa. That is the best chance of winning their next few. A win in either Deeetroit or Philly would be pretty large, and would garner this team some cred and some confidence.

3-3 is the likely outcome at the break. We’ll see what the deal is after that. Then the schedule gets pretty dicey with the likes of Baltimore, the Giants, Washington, and Pittsburgh around the usual suspects of the NFC West. One would think 8-8 is in reach. They’d have to beat some good teams to improve on that.


About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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42 Responses to Crunch Time

  1. phil fan says:

    Sounds like it’s going well for the team in Youngstown this week according to Harbaugh. They need all the practice and time together they can get after the weird off-season.

  2. unca_chuck says:

    That’s the hope. The end of the Dallas game, and the start of the Cincy game were very similar. The defense did a better job after that 1st drive of getting pressure. Against a much better WCO, the Niners are going to have to jump these short routes early and often. The worry there of course, is DeSean Jackson.

    Jump the short routes too much, and it’s likely to be an aerial show to DSJ deep. It’ll be hard for the Niners to keep up with Philly in a track meet, so they really need to slow them down.

  3. Del Mar Dennis says:

    A bunch of the players went and saw the “Lion King” in 3-D today. How the hell that helps them prepare and beat the Eagles, I haven’t a clue. I guess they’re counting on Hakuna Matata.

    • phil fan says:

      It’s the Kumbaya Offensive Strategy. These guys are still early in getting to know each other and that goes with having confidence as a team on the field.

  4. Del Mar Dennis says:

    Clayton over at ESPN reports that the PK might miss a practice, but barring something unforeseen, he’s a go for Sunday.


  5. unca_chuck says:

    It isn’t a calcified mass, is it?

    How optimistic of you, Dennis.

  6. NJ49er says:

    Del this game is all about confidence. We aren’t expected to win. Perhaps Philly will think that way too.

    Keep Vick contained, spy him with Bowman or Willis and force him to stand in the pocket.

    After that, we hope for some good luck.

  7. phil fan says:

    Perhaps the D gets a few Ints., strips and fumbles to go with stopping them a few times while we get a couple TDs from our developing passing game. It could happen, never know. Likely you’re right but can’t count us out just yet.

  8. NJ49er says:

    phil the Eagles are still trying to figure things out just like us, If Vick is less than 100% and Maclin is slowed or out, we stand as good a chance as anyone.

    I’m thinking this layover in Ohio levels the playing field quite a bit. Just hope we can step it up on the OL and show some improvement in the passing game too.

    What do we have to lose? Our D is probably as good as theirs right now.

  9. phil fan says:

    NJ glad to hear the Eagles are still a work in progress. We seem to play close games against them and I remember Montana bringing us back against them with several TDs in the 4th Q long ago. Not expecting that from Smith but he’s been pretty steady closing out games of late.

    Our D is doing a pretty good job and seem to be getting better as we go along. It helped getting Goldson and Spenser back last week to shore up the DBs. Suspect that if Rachal starts he’ll be on a damn short leash! Worry about Alex’s health! Good the 9ers complained to League about some of the head shots he’s been getting, man. Whether intentional or not I see Clements got equalized after his helmet shot to AS head and hobbled off. Fine. Tired of being the team that takes all the abuse.

    Agree fix the OL so we can pass (first) and get some running room.

    You live in the area? Going to the game? Cheers

  10. NJ49er says:

    I’m close enough to drive phil, but I’ve done a couple Philly games, their crowd is obnoxious. More comfortable in my 9er Man Cave with my own friends and family.
    I get the best seat in the Cave, cold beer and, there aren’t any lines to wait in for the toilet.

    I do have a few Eagles friends that will be there on Sunday.
    I’m hoping it’s a very quiet afternoon for them.
    They deserve to be paid back for the last couple of meetings we’ve had with them.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Yeah, I can’t imagine that being very much fun. You went to the NY Giants game a few years ago, right? How was that?

      • NJ49er says:

        NYG is never a problem Chuck. Good Buddy of mine is a Season ticket holder and does a fantastic tailgate there.
        So, since I travel with NYG Fans I guess they tend to go easy on my ‘Colors’.

        I did have a lot of interest at that game because I went postal on Nolan and York with my parking lot protest.

        Haven’t been inside the new Stadium there yet however, it was still under construction last time I was in attendance.

    • phil fan says:

      Understood. My Charger fan brother stopped going to home games when the Raiders are in town to just avoid the bullshit from them. And that’s in San Diego. Guess Candlestick got a taste in the pre-season. Assholes. Hear Philly is pretty bad on the Eagles even for Crysake!

      Sounds like a good scene at your place. Me I’ll wake up at 1 AM, brew some coffee, put on the headset, tune in the Niners radio broadcast w/ Ted & Eric on and find a video live stream of the game. Then join the bloggers here during the game. Not as good as watching it with buddies and family but still far superior to what we had here in recent past.

      • NJ49er says:

        Once a Fan…..You know the rest phil.

        My Kids and Grandkids all came home from the hospital in 9ers Gear after they were born.
        I raised my kids right in that regard.
        Now if they could just start playing better and winning more……

  11. Flavor says:

    If Vick plays, can you imagine the number of people in the world that are hoping the 49er D hurts him and knocks him out of the game? I’m not advocating injuring him but if you’re gonna take the field with an injury it’s the defense’s job to attack him in that area. We didn’t do it against Romo for some unknown reason. We better do it against Vick……..

  12. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah. I didn’t like the way the Niners backed off of Romo in the 4th quarter. They went softer late and it gave Dallas the opportunity to get their short passing game going again.

    Pressure is the name of the game. They need to keep Vick contained all the time. Maclin out would be a lot of help . . .

  13. Del Mar Dennis says:

    The Eagles glaring weakness thus far has been their run defense. Their D-line is fast and built to rush the passer, and their LBs are undersized and have 3 yrs of exp. COMBINED.

    But guess what, we can’t run the ball worth a goddamn. I’m sure the Eagles will be expecting the Niners to come out and try to exploit their shortcoming. If it were me, I’d come out throwing like there was no tomorrow. Just as soon as I went out and found myself a new quarterback today.

    • phil fan says:

      I can give you banged up Bradford from my fantasy team. Prolly have better luck with him than the 9ers have of finding a better QB any time soon. : )

  14. unca_chuck says:

    The Giants burned their vaunted secondary pretty easily last week. The hope is the Niners try to exploit both and see which works. If there’s anything I’d like to see, it’s quick adjustments by the coaches to find weaknesses and go after them.

  15. Del Mar Dennis says:

    Getting some conflicting reports as to Gore’s health/participation at practice today. Suffice to say, I’d wager we see more of Hunter regardless if Frank is 100% or not.

  16. Del Mar Dennis says:

    The Eagles opened up as 9 pt favs. They’ll have that covered by the end of the 1st Q.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Apparently you want the puppy killer to play lights-out and beat us. Good for you, hypocrite.

    • Del Mar Dennis says:

      Chuck, if it was up to me. That motherless son of a fuck wouldn’t see the light of day.

    • phil fan says:

      Del did call the Cows win but that was the realistic bet. We almost upset them but for some reason lost interest in pulverizing Romo when he came back in. Hello killer instinct? I’m for containing Vick and not giving him the option of running around ad libbing. Yeah force him to pass in the pocket, pick him off. Be nice to get up by 21 early, haha.

      Again I’m sick of Smith getting head shots with no consequences from our offense on the offending player(s). And if they won’t protect and lay on the pain the defense should. Or put in an OL who will force some respect.

      • phil fan says:

        Boone I think could be a pretty good enforcer as would Snyder, Iupati

      • NJ49er says:

        I have the feeling Rachal will watch this one from the sidelines after last weeks’ performance.

      • Del Mar Dennis says:

        Phil, the explanation I heard on the reason why there wasn’t a flag on that Clements hit to Alex was because Alex was considered a “runner” on that play, not a passer.

      • phil fan says:

        So helmet to helmet is okay on the ball carrier in the open field?

        Guess I’m just sick of our guys letting defenses lay it on any of our guys without any reaction or message to them that “You pull that shit again we’re going to get you”. When was the last time a lineman got in someones face? Or any 49er? Hoping we get a little of the Harbaugh fire going and start looking out for each other as a team. No reason (I guess) Clements had to hit AS so high, helmet to helmet. Later he got hurt? Well isn”t that too bad Nate. Think about it.

        Our tough winning teams wouldn’t put up with a bunch of crap from anybody including the Eagles. We lost that along with a whole bunch more. Have a feeling scrapping and playing as a team is coming back under JH. Hope so.

  18. winder says:

    As always this game will come down to our OL. If we can make plays we can beat these guys. Creative play calling and an attacking D is the formula for success in this one. Take no prisoners.

  19. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, Chilo’s not getting better, he’s getting worse.

  20. unca_chuck says:

    Gore to see ‘limited’ action this weekend. Still nursing the injury, but he’s get some playing time.

    Here’s to getting Hunter a lot of reps.

  21. Del Mar Dennis says:

    Joe Staley on offensive line: “Contrary to everyone’s belief, we don’t suck. We’re good players and we play well.”

    I hope Joe was wearing boots when he made that comment. Knee deep.

  22. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, they play well below expectations . . .

  23. grumpyguy says:

    Joe Staley… LMAO. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read online since the last time I bothered reading political bullshit.

    Newsflash, Joe: You DO suck. You as in the unit, and you, personally. Underachievers, all.

    • phil fan says:

      If there is any group worse than our offensive line it has got to be the politician in this country. What a sad sack bunch of opportunists. That’s my non-partisan opinion, jeez

  24. Del Mar Dennis says:

    If your read between Gore’s comments today, he might not see ANY action on Sunday. Because of injuries, the Niners might have their best backfield of Hunter and Miller.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    Rest Gore. All day.

    I’m totally down with that. Mainly to see what Hunter/Miller bring to the table rather than Gore/Norriss.

  26. unca_chuck says:




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