Motown Massacre

Wow. Unbelievably tough, gritty, smashmouth performance by the resurgent and real San Francisco 49ers. The 2 biggest weapons out of Deeetroit were rendered null and void. Or at least contained. Ndamukong Suh had 2 tackles, and was not a factor all day. His talk of planting our QB into the ground was prescient in the fact that HIS QB was the one sacked 5 times (Smith twice).  Mergatroid had a good game (7 for 113), but was kept out of the end zone, and was not the giant factor he was supposedly going to be. The thing about it, is both were played straight up a lot of the time. Anthony Davis had a spectacular game blocking Suh, and Chris Culliver had CJ one-on-one much of the time.

Offensively, we are in uncharted territory. Alex Smith has led his 3rd 4th quarter comeback on the road this season. Something that hasn’t been seen since (wait for it) the Joe Montana days of 1987. Smith’s numbers weren’t gaudy or spectacular, but he led the team on a 4th quarter drive to seal the deal, hitting Delanie Walker on a 4th and 6 slant for the go-ahead score with 1:51 remaining. Crabs had 9 catches for 77 yards to pick up for Joshua Morgan. Gore slashed and sliced his way for 141 yards, including 2 big chunks of 60 and 44 yards to set up 2 scores. Kudos go to Bruce Miller for keying both runs with key inside blocks. VERY Rathman-esque. That being said, the offense was far from perfect. M0st of the 15 penalties were called on them, with a bunch of false starts, holding calls, and a few illegal formations scattered in there. Crabs made a bone head play when he tried to score after a catch in the 1 yard line was ruled incomplete because he didn’t get his right foot down (2 lefts do NOT equal a left and right). The next play, Delanie Walker dropped a TD pass all alone on the sideline. The Niners also lost the turnover battle. Staley whiffed on the first offensive play, leaving Smith dead to rights on a hit by Kyle Vanden Bosch. The play resulted in a sack/strip (and a FG). Alex also sailed a pass early in the 4th quarter to kill a promising drive.

Enough cannot be said about the defense. Deeetroit’s run game never go going. Stafford was hassled all day. There were 10 hits on him to go along with the 5 sacks. Stafford was forced to check down most of the day as the big weapons of CJ and Pettigrew had their catches, but Deetroit had a hard time sustaining drives due to the D line stopping the run and getting constant pressure. Brooks came clean on a blitz to kill a drive, Aldon Smith had a tackle in the end zone for a safety plus another sack, and  Justin Smith was relentless as well. The secondary gave up yards but no home runs as Deetroit did have some success underneath. The D line has to be considered among the top 2 or 3 in the league.

Heady days, indeed. Harbaugh has seemingly made all the right calls in keeping Tomsula, Rathman, and Solari, while replacing the rest of the coaching staff. Their faith in Old McDonald (and jettisoning AF and Clements among others) has paid huge dividends. The biggest call is putting his eggs in the battered, maligned, and seemingly irreparably damaged basket that is Alex Smith. No one (OK, Twin, you get yours) foresaw the change in his game that has resulted in a huge drop in picks, and a much greater understanding of his offense. Lots of people have bemoaned the fact that he’s had too many OC’s, not real offensive-minded head coach, and all that, but I saw this as a placeholder season for Smith. As it is now, Smith likely gets another contract this year from the 49ers. And rightly so.

Shit, take a look at Baalke’s draft. His first without Singletary. 4 guys in the draft played significant roles in the win yesterday in A Smith, Culliver, Hunter, and Miller. I figured they’d be better this year, just not this good this fast.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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36 Responses to Motown Massacre

  1. unca_chuck says:

    All that shit up there, and I neglected to mention the special teams. Another stellar performance from them. The Philly game being their only real crap game. Akers hit 3 FGs, including a 55 yarder to close the 1st half and give the Niners a 12-10 lead. Ginn had a HUGE punt return to set up the final scoring drive and added in a 40 yard KO return, and MVP Andy Lee was his steady booming self.

    So, if we’re keeping score, I’ve been wrong about:

    a) Ginn (wanted him gone)
    b) AF’s impact (thought it would hurt the run D)
    c) Goldson (wanted him gone)
    d) Culliver (thought he was a tweener who wasn’t fast enough)
    d.5) Alex Smith (I thought he’d be decent, not this good)

    I’ve been right about a lot more however. Hyuk . . .

  2. unca_chuck says:

    The post-game speech by Harbaugh:

    Who’s got it better than us? NOOOOOOOOOBODY!!!

  3. unca_chuck says:

    Another look at the infamous handshake and aftermath.

    It’s after the LeShaun McCoy gut punch to Andy Reid.

  4. barleyfreak says:

    What a great game. I don’t mean to take anything away from the players when I say this, but man, it is fucking great to see our team out-coach the opposition. Game planning. It seems so long ago that we did this. Or were any good at it. And I’ll second the shout out to Baalke for his picks. Aldon looks like the real deal…right now.

    I don’t think we’ll continue to run up 200+ yards a game and so I think our passing game will need to improve. But considering how we’re still learning the new playbook, and how each week Harbaugh and his staff show more, I have every reason to believe that we WILL improve in the passing game. Good stuff.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Losing Morgan showed up yesterday. For Crabs 9 grabs, he had a coupe drops, and a big mistake in not getting his feet down on the 1 yard line. I wonder if we trade for B Lloyd. Prima donna that he is, he’s a pretty damn good WR.

  6. winder says:

    Chuck, you hit the nail on the head about this years draft picks playing well and making a difference. Good teams build through the draft and continue to build through the draft. What I see is a very fast defense that never stops attacking. I am totally thrilled with this group of guys and barring injuries they should get better the more they play together(our division should be scared). Anyway, as a team we showed what we are made of and it was very good. A. Smith showed a boatload of character and was clutch when it was needed, he showed exactly what a leader is supposed too.

  7. grumpyguy says:

    It’s notable that Crabs was targeted a whole lot yesterday – but NOT when it came down to the ‘do or die’ play.

    He is in the process of playing his way off the team, by one route or another. He just has not demonstrated the same level of commitment and character as some of the other players. Too bad, another case of ‘million dollar talent, ten cent head’.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, Grump. I noticed that even bofore Morgan went down. ALL of the slants went to Morgan. Not that they ran many of them, but both VD and Crabs have been earholed by Smith last year when they weren’t looking for the ball. This year, they’ve run more slants and they were all to morgan. Walked got the game winner. The TDs to VD were crossing routes. Not that it’s a huge deal, just that its interesting who they look for with those routes.

  9. Flavor says:

    Well, I was on record before the season started, many times, saying I thought Smith would have a good year—a better than average season, I think I said something about top 3rd in the lg in passer rating. Of course, I was attributing his proposed growth to the tutelage of Master Harbaugh. It seemed to me to be pretty sound reasoning at the time….
    with the bye and then Cleveland we will likely be 6-1 in 2 weeks. That will all but sew up the NFC west. Harbaugh can spend the rest of the season completing the playbook implementation. I wouldn’t want to be a team playing the Niners this coming January. A super bowl appearance is absolutely possible this year.

  10. Flavor says:

    3 4th Q comebacks on the road already? Think about that, he did it in 6 games. He’ll break montana’s record (whatever it is) if given a full season. It’s impossible not to dig your qb if he’s consistently leading you to a comeback road win. Well, it’s impossible for almost anyone. Does the NFL have a comeback player of the year award? He’s the obvious front runner right now if they do.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Shit, it could very well be what Mike said recently. GB vs SF in the NFC Championship game.

    Surreal to say the least. We’ve beaten Tampa and Detroiot, 2 of the division leaders in the NFC. We get to see the Giants and Washington soon. A friend of mine was at the Wash game and said Grossman was absolutely horrible. Don’t see a problem there. The Giants? Dunno. Haven’t seen them at all. They lost to AZ? Ouch. Dallas could sneak back. Atl should get in to the playoffs somehow.

  12. Flavor says:

    I’ve thought about this a lot since yesterday. Harbaugh needs to stop embarrassing himself at the end of a game. How many losing coaches enjoy the jog to shake hands? I’d wager none do. And now that losing coach has to try to shake hands with a raving lunatic? Have any of yon ever had a guy cone up to you and do one of those bro-man handshakes and you fuck it up and say something like “we need to practice this.” harbaugh is making this way more difficult than he needs to and he needs to start acting his “humble heart” shit on the football field…

  13. unca_chuck says:

    Christ, it’s a non-issue. Is Schwartz calling Dez Bryant a motherfucker after he dropped a pass OK? Or him screaming at Harbaugh across the field (calling him a dumbass) when Harbaugh misused the red flag? I wish I could find the video of Schwartz after Det’s win over Dallas. It was supposedly worse than what Harbaugh did.

  14. phil fan says:

    I’ll pass on discussing Schwaartzie wetting his pants on national TV. So what? Fuck that, who cares? He lost the game, his cool and the psy-war with Jimbo. This will be telling in da future, mark my woids.

    So our guys, wow! The theory that the talent’s been there for quite awhile has been vindicated so far this season. As is usually the case we can look to the lack of leadership in our organization for the miserable decline and killing/death of our revered Walsh dynasty. Yes that resulted in shitty players also. But when old Eddie succeeded in finally getting Bill to quit that decline due to leadership fail began. When old Eddie decided bribing governors, gambling and hookers were more interesting than his football team the decline accelerated. No need to recount the rest of the sorry story we are all too familiar with. A succession of piss poor coaches, GMs and players was the familiar result. A long time passed with much suffering and the humiliation of the mighty now fallen:

    Enter The Dragon. Harbaugh and his coaches, with his experience, football IQ, charisma and lest we forget, Leadership, the missing secret sauce ingredient. In a few short months despite labor disputes, player and ownership discord, Captain Comeback has duplicated the winning atmosphere found in his lengthy NFL QB career and perfected in the college ranks at USD and Div 1 Stanford. In less than a year the San Francisco Forty Niners are 5-1, winners on the road and making waves nationally. Who are the comeback kids now? We are, the Red and Gold.

    Our guys on the field are suddenly playing their hearts out for this man and for each other. They are giving him, and us, a taste of what we have all longed for: top quality winning professional football. He has resurrected the career of one beaten down first round draft pick and filled him with confidence. Suddenly the Forty Niners appear confident with a bit of swagger. Our offense and defense are beginning to play as one, winning and looking to improve every day, every game. Eventually we will lose a game, eventually we will stumble and fall yet this year after much struggle the sky’s the limit.

    Ley me hear you shout: The Dynasty is dead! Long live the Dynasty!

    Hey this is fun again lol!

  15. winder says:

    ph – Good stuff. Swagger with an attitude, gotta love it. We have got a pretty darn good team.

  16. robd says:

    we’re 5-1 and still don’t have all of our WR’s in yet ! we beat detroit with ginn starting and without 2 of our three best WR’s !

    aldon smith has 5.5 sacks in his first 6 games … as a rookie !!!

    hmm i say 10-6 or better and a division title !

  17. twinfan1 says:

    Even though I’ve been in Smith’s corner since he was drafted ( did anyone see the Utah/Pitt Fiesta Bowl, where he destroyed the Panthers ? ), I may now be one of the very few disappointed ( just a little) in his performance this year- or should I say disappointed in his role. It could be the wide outs, but Smith can be a big play QB, not just a game manager, I’m not one to argue with success, but at some point they’re going to need a deep threat and some plays to take advantage. I guess that will have to be Edwards.
    With that said, they’re 5 and 1 in large part because of a buttoned down offense, I’m not advocating a sea change- And they may not have personnel to throw deep much- but I think Edwards and even Hunter can stretch the defenses- making both the running game and the short passing game more effective.

  18. unca_chuck says:

    The funny thing is, you know next year the Niners and Detroit are going to be scheduled for a Monday Night Football game.

    Aldon Smith has 5.5 sacks in his last 3 games . . .

    This D line is top 3.

  19. unca_chuck says:

    Mike, I’m of a mind it’s the fact that they don’t have e deep threat. Ginn? No. He’s got the speed but not the hands. Crabs? Well, he didn’t go get the ball on the deep route he ran, and it clanged off his hands. Jump for it, skippy. I think they should use Kyle Williams in the 9-route role, but he’s gotten very few looks. Morgan? Even healthy, he ‘s more of a possession type guy.

    Edwards is the guy that has to take on that role. he’s not really a deep threat, but at least he has the size/strength to go get the ball on the way down. His one-handed catch down the sideline in the preseason is an indicator of what he can do. He’s got to get healthy.

    With the trade deadline coming up in 3 hours, and Lloyd gone, the only guy out there they MIGHT go after is Eddie Royal from Denver. Although with Lloyd gone, will they move another WR off their roster? I doubt it, but Denver’s going nowhere fast, and may look to load up on more draft picks.

  20. TedSpe says:

    As far as the Harbaugh Handshake Controversy, I think this is one time he should take a little something out of the Singletary method of press relationships.
    Harbaugh: “I got caught up in the excitement of a win. All wins are exciting. So I’m not going to apologize but I will work on the decorum in the future”
    Press: “How so?”
    Harbaugh: “I’m going to look at the film”

  21. twinfan1 says:

    ESPN has had everyone of their “expert” commentators weigh in on this handshake- over and over and over- all the while bitching that we should be talking about the game, not the handshake. As always, the press has blown it up- BFD, two coaches don’t like each other. No punches, just a little harmless milling around, like a baseball “fight”. And now the one playing it up is Schwartz, acting like a choir boy to Harbaugh’s assault on all that is good and right in America. Harbaugh has to be careful this doesn’t turn into a pants down moment, as now the cameras will look for every misstep. This can galvanize the team or it could prove a ridiculous distraction. It’s up to Coach to determine which way it goes. It’s a shame, but that’s how much the media has come to shape events as much as report them.

    • grumpyguy says:

      Just be happy they’re not asking for his birth certificate, Twinnie. The Sports media has nothing on the political pundits on both sides. Vultures, all.

  22. grumpyguy says:

    Harbaugh will throw it deep more when he needs to. Right now, he is winning playing the percentages, leaning on his defense, and making sure Alex does not turn it over.

    The receivers are a big part of this as you both say. The offense will probably be somewhat different with Braylon back in after the bye. But Harbaugh is not going to go away from the percentages as long as he keeps winning.

    • twinfan1 says:

      Alex hasn’t been turning the ball over going back to the last 7 games last year- he had 11 TD to 3 INTs those last 7 games. People are way overboard on how much Jim has done for Alex- he’s installed a better offense, he’s a kindred spirit, the OL has improved.. but Alex should be getting credit for improved play- he’s not an imcompetent who Jim molded into a good NFL QB. Jim gets credit for what he’s brought to the whole team- that’s enabled Smith to play better,,as it would any QB.

      • twinfan1 says:

        That’s not meant in the least to minimize Harbaugh’s impact- what he’s done to enable Alex and ALL of the team to succeeed is huge and goes well beyond x’es and o’s. Smith thrives on positive reinforcement and providing that has been as important as the WCO in helping Smith succeed. Look at that locker room video after the Detroit game- what did he call Alex, “Mr. Clutch”? And Smith and his teammates were totally digging it. With Singletary, there might have been a sideline confrontation after the INT…and ultimately a loss..

      • unca_chuck says:

        And a QB replacement.

      • grumpyguy says:

        Its the play calling as much as anything. From “We’re not here to fool anyone” to “anyone can stop a play if they know it’s coming” is a 180 degree change.

        That’s why JH is 5-1 (and one play made or mot made from 6-0) with the SAME TEAM (mostly) that Singleneuron drove to 0-6.

        Harbaugh has Alex making enough plays to win. He is not going to ask him to put it all on his back. He doesn’t need to, with Gore and our defense. Yes, Alex is playing better – he was already somewhat better after Raye left – but the play calling is finally allowing that, keeping him out of the third and forever situations that drove a lot of our miscues in previous years.

        You ARE correct that ANY QB would have problems in Singletary’s offense. The only difference might be,a Tom Brady would tell Singletary to sit and spin after about four games , the fans would back him, and Singletary would have been gone. Alex did not have that kind of leverage last year and had to play the hand he was dealt.

  23. grumpyguy says:

    Opinions on Brandon Lloyd?

    Mine is, don’t do it. I know we need better wideouts (looking at you, Crabs) but serously, Lloyd is a problem in the locker room and has been run out of every town he has played in. A big part of our success right now is chemistry. The soup is good: Don’t fuck with the soup.

  24. unca_chuck says:

    Grump, Lloyd went to th Rams this morning for a conditional 6th round pick, I think.

    Carson Palmer is also headed to the Raiders for next year’s 1st and some other considerations.

    Risky, as Palmer is fragile, and will get hit behind that line.

  25. grumpyguy says:

    I had not heard about Lloyd. I’m kind of relieved we did not go that route.

    I’m hoping Edwards can make a big contribution in the second half and in the playoffs.

  26. unca_chuck says:


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