Playoffs, Respect, and Aluminum Mike

Barring a complete and utter meltdown, the 49ers are going to the playoffs. Even though they’re in the dreadful NFC West, and are still not taken very seriously, they’ve beaten Cincy (5-2), Tampa (4-3), Detroit (6-2), Philly (3-4), and Cleveland (now 3-4). Their wins are against teams that are collectively 21-15. Well that, and Seattle (2-5). It’s not like we’re beating cream puffs. If they coast home and go 5-4, they’ll be 11-5. I don’t think they’ll coast, so 6-3 (or better) is doable with all the division games they have left. I’d think that would get them the 2nd seed, seeing as all the other teams have tougher intradivision games left to play. 

At this point in the season, the ‘no respect’ card carries a lot of weight. Most of the talking heads out there don’t think this team is much more than a fluke at this point. Mainly because of the QB currently under center. The national media laughs at (and mangles the names of) guys like Ice Sopoaga, completely ignores guys like Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, and the improvememnt of our defense, and yells things out like, “Can Alex Smith win the Super Bowl? NO!!! As usual, the media will catch on next year.

The funny thing is, this team is fairly similar to the Steelers of the 70s, or baltimore for one shining season. Throw for 180, run for 200, and let the defense shut down the other team. It really is the team that Singletary envisioned but couldn’t bring to bear. If Sing had shut the fuck up about “Not gonna fool anyone” and just played, he might have gotten better results. Instead, his mantra was Gore is the focal point of our offense. We are gonna run Gore all the time. Kinda like what we are doing NOW. 31 carries is the most of Gore’s career. It’s like playing Texas Hold ’em with only your cards face-up. Sing was not shy about telling people how to stop our offense. Harbaugh isn’t playing his cards face-up. He’s mixing in enough passes to keep defenses from packing the line. He doesn’t say shit like we are running the ball up the middle 20 times a game. Say wha you will about the QB,  but Alex Smith played another solid, error-free game, got 174 yards passing, and a TD pass, and the 49ers won going away. Yes, they aren’t perfect by any means, but there’s a lot of season left to work out the kinks, and send Soap on some deep seam routes (!). Winning ugly at this point is more than fine, and a hell of a lot better than what’s gone on in recent memory.


About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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47 Responses to Playoffs, Respect, and Aluminum Mike

  1. unca_chuck says:

    I guess if the team was sucking, I’d be getting more action around here.

    As it isssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss…………………..

  2. twinfan1 says:

    ESPN Power Rankings are
    1. Green Bay
    2. 49ers
    3. Steelers

    I’d call that respect.

  3. grumpyguy says:

    We need Green Bay to bobble a few games down the stretch.

    If we play them at Lambeau, well, that’s a damned tough place for anyone to play a playoff game, let alone a team without recent playoff experience. If we can get them at the Stick, though… who knows?

    Can you believe we’re talking about the 49ers in the NFC Title game in Harbaugh’s First Year? Hollywood would blush at this script.

    Also, we can keep winning on the ground until the playoffs, against most of the teams on our schedule. But if you want to win in the playoffs, you’d best be multi-dimensional. That means opening up the playoff the last month or so and getting the passing game to the point where it can carry the load if it has to.

    • twinfan1 says:

      NY Daily News has them second, Fox has them third, CBS second, RedZoneTalk 3rd, etc.True, not everyone is sold on Alex- 7 years of being labeled a bust is hard to overcome. But they’ve moved from the 20’s to 2nd or 3rd on nearly every ranking I’ve seen. As far the passing game- Smith HAS carried them when needed. 3 4th quarter comebacks, one drive to seal the game last week, and a 104+ 4th quarter rating. As I said- old prejudices die hard, GG…

      • twinfan1 says:

        There are several significant numbers with Smith: his QBR is sigfnificantly higher when trailing or tied than it is when ahead. Once again, his rating in the Red Zone is over 100. He has ZERO Ints when behind. There are several more but he’s been, as Harbaugh called him: “Mr. Clutch”…

  4. phil fan says:

    Interesting stat: NaVorro Bowman is ranked second in the NFL in tackles with 68. A LB for the Colts is first with 90 (Pat Angerer). A commenter on Matt B’s blog made the point that LBs on poor teams tend to lead the league in tackles since their D is on the field a lot more. (See Willis, Pat a few years ago) This makes Bowman’s work all that more impressive.

    Really our last two drafts under Baalke have been pretty good. No reason this shouldn’t continue. In fact with Harbaugh’s input rather than Stone Age Mike’s I won’t be surprised if we continually get players who can make and help the team.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Well, like I said, the teams isn’t getting any respect because of their QB. No one expects the 49ers to do shit when it comes to playoff time. No one expected Smith to do shit this season. I don’t believe it, but that’s the national perception. Not that it really matters. In fact it helps. It helps Harbaugh and it helps Alex to hear that the football world thinks his success is a fluke/joke/anomaly. The Giants game suddenly becomes the game of the week, though.

    If the 49ers go to, and beat down, Balt on Thanksgiving, people will take notice. If they play them tight, it’ll do the same. As long as they play a clean game. As it is now, Harbaugh is the hard-handshaking guy. Smith is the bust #1 pick from 2005. Detroit and Cincinnati are the upstart darlings of the NFL. Why? Young QBs, and they’ve both been shit for a while. 3 decades in Detroit’s case. Regardless of the fact that the Niners beat them both in their houses.

    Those power ranking things? Do people really put stock in those?

    • phil fan says:

      Power rankings? Only as indicators of the nation media’s perceptions of teams. Right now 9ers are so unknown nationally from what I can see. Locally we have a better view up close and for a long time. Hell even Kawakami (?) and prolly Ratto are having second thoughts on the prospects for the team. And even some die hard fans, OMG.

      The only opinions that really matter are those that the Niners org/players/coaches have of themselves. Looks to be pretty damn good.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    Well, Twin, that’s the other thing. There are still a ton of Niner fans that don’t believe what they are seeing with Smith. It’s hard to shake the psychotic career arc of young sir Alex, but he is thriving now that he is out from under the tutelage of Hostler and Jimmy Hat. He missed all the fun of the Martz era, so now that Harbaugh and Roman are here, he’s finally progressing from the Turner season of 2006. Like you’ve pointed out, Mike, his resumption of progress really started with Mike Johnson last year. Hard to believe.

  7. grumpyguy says:

    Even if Smith is the real deal, he still needs to do more throwing to prepare for the playoffs. We need to also figure out if Crabs is even worth starting at this point, his production has been very spotty. The passing game has done all it has needed to do, so far – but it will need to do more later in the year. We’re not really firing on all cylinders yet, largely because we’ve been able to win without that. To beat NO and GB, I expect we may need to – so we’d better be ready.

  8. phil fan says:

    Slow around here? Yes for the moment but as TedSpe says above: “Give it a minute”. There’s been a lot to adjust to in Ninerland and on this blog too for us fans. The old ‘it all sucks’ mindset of the last 7-8 years since the ridiculous Mooch firing has to give way. To what? That’s being determined right now I guess. We’ll see. Kinda depends on how the team continues to perform prolly. While the old pissing contests, angst, turmoil and trouble drove the numbers higher around here due to the team being shit and people needing to vent (or go even crazier!) winning as we are is a little confusin’. People can’t bitch about the Yorks, about Alex, about McClueless, Erickson, Nolan, Singletary or each other as much. That’s a lot of venting (for damn good reasons) and posting that’s not happening. Because winning has changed the Niner landscape radically seems to me.

  9. phil fan says:

    The resurrection of the Niner offense, especially the passing game has been a work in progress as Alex gains confidence and the O learns too how to operate in Jimbo’s schemes. Baring more injuries to the WRs (Morgan, Crabtree, Edwards) as Grumpy says above we’re going to need to become more functional as the season goes on. No off season, injuries, haven’t helped the passing game. But they can and do perform when they have too. That’s encouraging. This ain’t Bombs Away Martz calling the plays, not by a long shot.

  10. twinfan1 says:

    Well, he’s still under wraps to an extent but a lot of that is running plays that get the ball out quickly. The OL has improved but it’s still a unit won’t protect if they run much deep. And why fling the ball around when the running game is going well? Anyway, Alex has made dramatic progress- from “worse than Leaf” to “won’t win the Super Bowl”… next is “no chance he wins another”

    • phil fan says:

      Yep kind of like skeeber blog the Harbaugh/Roman offense is the conservative option. Why fling the ball around when we can run 150+ per game? Exactly

      Rodney Dangerfield got no respect either but he died a rich and famous man.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Speaking of respect, the New York Times weighs in, no less;

    • phil fan says:

      That’s the first thing I’ve read in the NY Times I agree with since forever, Good article.

      I liked this quote: ““It’s no secret, I have a lot of respect for Alex’s play, really like being around him,” Harbaugh told reporters recently. “I think he’s a very good, smart football player that is young and getting better. It’s pretty well-documented. Alex is our guy and he’s rising to the occasion.” -Harbaugh

      Quality leadership, forced or otherwise, cannot help but foster confidence, and although those around Smith say that his self-assurance has been consistent through the years, it is difficult to miss its manifestation this season. (from the NYT writer)

  12. twinfan1 says:

    Whatever one thinks about the offense in general and Alex in particular, few doubt the defense is the “real deal”. Which puts them pretty much in the category the Giants were in 2010. Make no mistake that the baseball playoffs were radically different this year because the Giants weren’t in them…
    As much as some claim that the Niners can’t pass well enough- the Pack can’t defend the pass and on offense, they can’t run. They are beatable. In fact, I expect San Diego to give them their first loss this week..

  13. unca_chuck says:

    They did try a few dep balls with Crabs. I think Edwards will be the go-to guy once they feel comfortable with him and his recent return from injury. Crabs and Smith don’t seem to have any feel for each other.

  14. unca_chuck says:

    Twin, that is exactly why they have to do more in the passing game. GB is like 31st against the pass. They aren’t that good vs the run either. Mainly because everyone passes on them. They simply out gun most of their opponents.

    The line for SF is coming around, and the quick passes are working. I’m glad they have the rest of the season to get themselves in playoff shape. But with the run game solid, and the defense in great shape, they can go very far in the playoffs.

    Parity, baby.

    • twinfan1 says:

      Crabtree is an enigma. The one deep pass they connected on, no way did he have to go OB. He remiinds me a bit of Lloyd- makjing the acrobatic catches but no stomach for the hits. I saw his postgame interview and his continuing habit of virtually denying his QB’s existence borders on pyscho. He’s easily their best receiver when the screws are on tight, which isn’t often enough.

      • grumpyguy says:

        Crabs reminds me of that Giants’ pitcher some years back, whatshisface, the one they called ‘Million Dollar Arm, Ten Cent Head’.

        All the talent in the world but maybe not the character and work ethic and G-D-d common sense to make it happen.

      • unca_chuck says:

        Was that Mark Grant? Part of the God Squad?

  15. robd says:

    nice link CHUCK !
    this is the best part (about smith)

    ” and he did it all as a free agent, without being under contract. ”

    DELMARDENNIS be damned ! i’m rooting for the kid !

  16. unca_chuck says:

    As far as SD beating GB goes, well, Rivers played a game yesterday that will likely haunt him forever. So he looks to bounce back from that debacle.

    There was a moment when they focussed on Rivers on the sidelines, after the late fumble, and you could read his lips saying “Worst game ever . . .”

  17. robd says:

    my picks

    NFC championship
    green bay vs. SF

    AFC championship
    pittsburgh vs. new england

    super bowl
    new england vs, green bay

    green bay wins it !

  18. unca_chuck says:

    Twin, per Grumpy’s post who was the Giant who was in Roger Craig’s words, a million dollar arm, and a 10 cent head? Was that Mark Grant? The guy was part of the God Squad, and he refused to participate in the first AIDS awareness day?

  19. phil fan says:

    I think grumpyguy is on the same page with Steve Young on KNBR (quoted by Grant’s blog):

    Q: Do they need to try at any point to open it up offensively?

    YOUNG: If you truly want to get deep into January, you have to. You can’t turn the switch on in December. It’s now November 1st essentially. So it’s time, and the unfortunate thing is, if you don’t do that you start to hold your team back. I think they’ve done what they had to do to get here to this place, but to your point it’s now time to take the chances, put people in a tough spot and hopefully they can respond. If you don’t, and you just want to say, “Hey, this year, the 49ers, we are the team that plays great defense, doesn’t lose the game, and we win 17-10.” Well then you’ll not only lose a couple games along the way that you shouldn’t, but you’ll be gone very, very quickly in January.

  20. unca_chuck says:

    Frankly, they need Edwards to be the deep threat. And he just came back, so he needs time to get back into form. The Crabs downfield shots have not worked very well. They have no other deep threats with Morgan out. Kyle Williams can’t seen to get on the field. VD is the only other guy, and that hasn’t happened much recently. The guys available? Houshmenzada signed with Oaktown. TO? No no.

    Young doesn’t really know jack about the team. He’s already thrown Smith under the bus multiple times.

  21. unca_chuck says:

    Like I said, Phil, Crabs hasn’t done much going deep in his time here. Smith and Crabs have little to no chemistry. Edwards is the guy they will likely use in that role. He’s coming off injury, and is still a little bit tentative. I’m sure we’ll see him go downfield more since he came through the Cleve game fine. He caught a couple deep balls in the preseason, but promptly got hurt.

    VD is really the only other deep threat, but he’s going to stay in and block on the deep routes. So, they need to have Walker (or Peelle) really pick up the blocking so VD can get a couple downfield shots, and work some deep stuff to Edwards.

    It all comes back to Crabs and his ineffectiveness downfield. He dropped one on his hands in the Philly game, and couldn’t get his feet down in the Detroit game because he was trying to score before making sure his feet were in.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Plus Morgan is hurt, and Ginn is Ginn. VERY inconsistent. With all the injuries, I really thought K Williams would get a shot at showing his speed, but he hasn’t taken advantage of his chance, I guess.

      • Del Mar Dennis says:

        Hard to take adv of his chance when he isn’t given one. K. Williams has been targeted a total of four times this year. That’s less than B. Miller (9) and K. Hunter (7).

        And he has the same amount of catches (2) as Staley and Soap combined.
        I blame the QB for not getting him the ball more.

      • phil fan says:

        Yeah wonder why K Williams isn’t being used? Good question. Our receivers have been slow to come around due to injuries, drops, whatever.. But Williams?

    • phil fan says:

      No argument about Crabs needing to be more effective catching and staying in bounds. Deep passing game would improve greatly if he and Smythe were on same page no question there. And yes VD is staying in to do a lot of blocking which eliminates another fast receiver. I guess I’m holding out hope that the light bulb will go on for Crab like it did for V Davis. Remember when he was less than consistent, apparently out of sync with Alex and not what we would call a team player’? I think it will happen but the MO of Harbaugh is not going to be reaming Crabtree on national TV. He’s an introvert and JH is sophisticated enough to know how to bring out the best. Something about gaining confidence or getting over it already? Dunno how but it will help us greatly when it does

  22. unca_chuck says:

    You’d blame Alex Smith for the Kennedy assassination . . .

  23. phil fan says:

    Hey Del Mar! How was your Halloween party my man? They really don’t have that holiday over here especially in the sticks where I live. In the cities, the malls yes they do. But the following days of All Saints and All Souls are big here, everyone goes to the cemeteries Cheers..

    • Del Mar Dennis says:

      Had a good time thanks. There was merriment, movies and even some Ouija board. But I couldn’t help thinking about our FF matchup. None of our guys had a good outing. My Ryan Matthews got injured — again. Your V. Jackson had an off night, and WTF is up with Phillip Rivers? TDs are down, and INTs are up.

      I was fortunate to hang on and squeak out the W. Alex’s Schlong almost got bitten off by a crocodile. Now that I think about it, losing wouldn’t of been so bad.

      Good luck this week.

      • phil fan says:

        LOL, funny man! Yeah it was a squeeker but prolly better than a blow out by either one of us. I was sure I’d be getting wiped by your guys but well it was fun. Glad you invited me into the league.

        I’ll have a good weekend as tomorrow is my birthday and they make a big fuss over those here. Wife and boy, we’ll go down to the big city for a little shopping and a good meal.

        Cheers and go Niners!

  24. unca_chuck says:

    Just where the hell are you, Phil?

    And, happy birthday.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    NEW POST new post NEW POST

    new post NEW POST new post

    NEW POST new post NEW POST

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