A funny thing happened on the way to Colin Kaepernick’s ascendancy to the upper echelon of the young guns of the NFL. he pitched a ball 15 yards toward his own end zone, thus giving the Rams 8 points and new life. This of course came after retreating 24 yards only to throw an intentionally grounded pass from his own end zone for a safety. Kappy scored 8 for ther Rams, and 13 for the Niners. The Rams earned 5 on their own for the win.
Belaboring the conervative play calling may not be anyone’s idea of fun, but it has to play a part in this team trying to reach the promised land. yes, you change your look to what the defense is showing, but the Rams had the line packed most of the game, and the Niners still tried to run into in, to no avail. this game was so much a Noloan/Singletary game. With the exception that those guys may have WON this one.
Harbaugh called an option pitch from his own 17 yard line with 3:31 remaining in a game where the StL offense had scored zero points. The snap was low, and Kappy hurried the pitch, and it skipped to the 2 yard line, where Ted (Allen Rossum) Ginn pretended to try and get the ball. At best he should have knocked it OB, kicked it OB, fallen on it, or something other than the lame-ass attempt to get it that he did. Janorious Jenkins recovered the fumble on the 2 yard line. Inexplicably, and with Ginn sitting on Jenkins’ helmet after the recovery, Jenkins wasn’t ruled down by contact and was allowed to roll into the end zone for a score. Hometown call but whatever. StL converted the 2 pt conversion for the tie. The rest we all saw. Bradford scampers for a couple 1st downs with the obligatory stupid fuckup by Dashon Goldson on the hit to Bradford. For as good as he is, he continues to make some boenheaded plays at the worst possible times.
Anyhow, back to the play calling. As much as Kappy wants to pin this game on himself, and there is a large amount of resposibility that falls on his shoulders, you have to really question what Harbaugh/Roman are thinking. All game the Niners ARE playing it fairly conservative. Gore had one big run surrounded by a bunch of one yard runs. The passing game consisted of the kind of short shit that everyone blamed on Alex Smith’s limitations, not the desire of a head coach to play it safe. Kappy was supposed to assume the starting role because he brings more downfield striking ability to the table. Well, it was rarely shown all game despite the Rams packing the line and daring the Niners to go deep. They didn’t until the 3rd quarter. Again, VD was eerily silent. Walker dropped a sure TD, but there were very few downfield shots taken. Moss? He gets his 1 or 2 12 yard outs. He’s gotten I think ONE deep pass all year. It’s insane.
All that being said, the approach WAS working. The Niners had an 8 point lead with 4 minutes remaining. The D was stopping everything the Rams had. Then the fateful pitch play. If ever there WAS a time to play it conservative, it was then. Instead, Harbaugh wanted to go fucking college gimmick look-at-me-I’m-so-cool play, and boom, a gift 8 points for the Rams. Kappy did make another mistake, but it came after his 50 yard run to set up the late lead. He should not have gone OB on his 10 yard run to set up Akers’ 33 yard FG. A quibble? Maybe, but it would have forced StL to use their last time out before their last drive.
After trading punts in OT, Hekker boomed one 14 yards to give the Niners the ball at the 50. Now HERE’S where you DON’T go conservative. After converting a 3rd down to StL’s 37, the Niners ran right 2 tims for 4 yards. They tried to get the ball to the left hash mark, but the pass to Crabs was incomplete. Still and all, you don’t really want to leave your struggling kicker with a 51 yarder. Even indoors. Take at least one shot downfield. a nice mid-range pass or something. I know they were worried about a sack, but being conservative pretty much sealed their fate. I think about 95% of the Niner fans out there knew what was coming.