A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Super Bowl


Wow. One measly little loss and the bandwagon is in flames in a ditch with two broken axles. Granted, it was about as ugly as it gets, but this is the NFL, where a team like Miami can beat last year’s darlings, the Indy Colts. Or San Diego can finally hold a 4th quarter lead after 8 years of trying. Be that as it may, the niners travelled to the Great White Northwest to take on the rain and the Seahawks. Was it ugly? Was it the worst performance of Young Colin Kaepernick’s career? Were the 49ers outcoached? Out hustled? Outschemed? Overmatched? Scared of the lightning? Yes to all of the above. Much like the GB game, Seattle’s defense stuffed the run. They did it by loading the box with 8-9 guys and daring us to throw. Unfortunately, unlike Green Bay, the Seattle DBs neutralized the passing game. Anquan Boldin went from penthouse to outhouse. 217 yards to 7. The Niners defense did finally hold Marshawn Lynch to under 100 yards, but it hardly mattered. The effectiveness of the defense was obliterated by the colossal ineptitude of the offense. For all the hooraw around this game and the resulting bandwagon leapers, the defense held Seattle to 12 points through 3 quarters. Hardly an insurmountable deficit. The Niners even had a blocked punt.

I could go into the abject failure of the offense (lousy blocking, lousy scheme, bad passing, no run game, etc), and the ease at which Seattle put the game away late, but we all saw the fugliness unfold in gory detail last night. Is this the end of the Super Bowl run? Are we now second fiddle in our own division? This very well may be the case, but then again, minus a DeAngelo Williams fumble last week, Seattle loses. It’s week 2 folks. There’s a lot of football left to be played. Is there reason to worry? Oh yeah. The line play on both sides was shockingly poor. And the refs were absolutely on glue with some of the calls. Nnami Asomugha was called for shielding when he was BEHIND the WR going for the tip. Aldon Smith’s penalty for tapping someone’s helmet was equally ridiculous. But the results speak for themselves. The Niners again looked woefully unprepared for the game. But the deal was, much like the Green Bay game, this was Seattle’s Super Bowl. This was the biggest game in Seattle in years. They played fast and loose. The Niners were tight and reactionary.

So, is Seattle Kappy’s kryptonite? Jim Harbaugh is 3-2 vs his nemesis Pete Carroll, but all 3 of the wins came with Alex Smith at QB. Kappy is 0-2 now. Speaking of Kappy, he looked VERY tentative yesterday. Gone were the slashing runs and accurate passes he’s shown. He was off target all night, which induced 3 picks. The 1st especially galling as the Niners had blocked a punt, and had great field position. He tried to stuff a pass to VD in double coverage. It might have worked if it was on target, but it wasn’t. The deep ball to VD was also badly underthrown. The 3rd pick was flat awful. Don’t know where that was going. His running was tentative as well. He seemed to wait too long in the pocket as the WRs failed to get open, and ended up sacked. The line blocking didn’t do much, but even when Kappy had time, he missed open targets. And Bruce Miller had about as bad a day as possible. Getting called for holding in the end zone for a safety, and dropping a TD pass before the first pick.

So what to gather from this? Mainly the fact that the Niners don’t play well in the Seattle rain, and they need to pay some serious attention to the line play and work on getting the WRs involved in the game plan. The harbinger of the overmatched wideouts getting shut down came to be, and Harbaugh’s idea of going to Miller out of the backdfield, while a good idea, in the end didn’t work. Despite the blowout, the defense played well enough to win. The offense did nothing to keep them off the field. 37:00 to 23:00 in time-of-possession is atrocious.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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65 Responses to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Super Bowl

  1. NoFear49er says:

    Nice shot of my old Willys Jeep in the garage for some routine maintenance.

    Pete’s an expert at the defense they run. Knowing how difficult the line calls are there, he took advantage.

    It’s amazing to me that we just played the reactionary role of hapless victim. It’s not as if we don’t know these guys and still we were comletely surprised by them on offense and defense. Coaching sucked and CK7 was lost and inadequate. I blame the HC and his staff for the total lack of preparation more than young Colin but it’s his job, too. Maybe a little less kissing the biceps posing for the cameras and a little more film study would help.

  2. snarkk says:

    It’s one loss, BFD. Against one of the best teams in the NFL in a place where you can’t hear an airliner take off next to you. That home field does a lot for that team. Seattle should lose one or none up there. That means if they go 4-4 roadie, then their at 11 wins, minimum. That’s what the Niners need to shoot for. I went 10-6 on the Niners, and win the division. Seattle’s got to go under .500 roadie for that to happen, IMO. They better. Because if Seattle has home field in the playoffs, they’re going Super Bowling. BTW, the bust of AJ Jenkins shows up in a game like this with top notch oppo secondary. Instead of having a vet WR going into his second season and fighting to get open last night, we got Quinton Patton, who could be good, but still trying to find his shoelaces…

  3. Nipper says:

    So now the Niners will not be undefeated. They sucked last night. Now lets see what tomorrow brings. One thing is certain…… they don’t like playing in Seattle.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    NoFear, I don;t think there are too many people working harder at the game than Kaepernick, but hold on to your deluded beliefs if it makes you feel good. It’s not like you don’t see Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning doing endless commercials, right? Please.

    Yes, he’s young and he had a shitty game. Learn from it and move on. If anyone is guilty of believing the press, it’s Harbaugh. It’s his job to game-plan a workable scheme. He ailed miserably. And he had a fucking hour to rework shit in the 1st quarter. They should have shortened the routes and dragged guys underneath. Everything seemed to be very slow-developing.

  5. NoFear49er says:

    Who’s deluded? Sounds a lot like young Vernon but his commercial still makes you piss yourself. Can you say hypocrisy?

    And I doubt you have any idea how hard Kaepernick works on film or preparation. Team leaders don’t have to rely on the coach for motivation to prepare for an opponent. And especially where it concerns the toughest division game of the season.

    You setting yourself up as CK7’s defender is cute, but horse shit. He’s not immune to criticism like your political idols. Deluded my ass.

    Why didn’t they run Gore inside more? Our line can run block like no other. And it’s easier when communication is difficult. Too much cutesy shit if you ask me. Play action would have been effective with a running game. As it was, they didn’t see the stacked and bunched receivers as in the GB game so it was easy to key on CK7. And they never changed it up. They had no idea how to move the ball and that’s a cause for concern. Seattle is not that good, they were simply better prepared for us and that game, by an embarrassingly wide margin.

  6. Irish Kevin says:

    NoFear, unless you have something to critisize you don’t seem to be happy. Lets see, Kap, a whole 9 regular season games he has started, Wilson, 2 full seasons under his belt. But in your opinion Kap should be as good as a vet, oh say P Manning, or T Brady. Kap should have no growing pains by the way you talk. which is foolishnes.

  7. unca_chuck says:

    Seattle had 8-9 guys in the box. Hard to run against 2 free defenders every run, skippy. Guess you didn’t notice. If Seattle is ‘not that good,’ then no one is. What part of ‘woefully unprepared’ don’t you understand? Or outcoached? Or worst performance of Kappy’s young career? Shit, you don;t have tunnel vision, you have microscope vision. I’ve criticized Harbaugh over a lot of his decisions, but what’s your deal?

    Gee, pal, every coach on the team, and half the media folks, note that Colin is the first in the door and the last out. He studies film religiously, trains like a maniac, and does more than his due diligence every day. But that’s the liberal media, right? God, you are such a nattering nabob. I guess if he was thumping his bible on the way to the facilities, you’d be jizzing yourself. You waiting for the next great white hope?

  8. unca_chuck says:

    Gore was 9 for 16 yards in his carries up the middle. Not very effective, eh? Yeah, let’s go back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when we ran the Jimmy-hat offense.

  9. NoFear49er says:

    I didn’t miss anything. I’m not talking about running Gore with four backs in the backfield or out of the shotgun. That’s ridiculous. Our maxed out backfield formations force the defense to load the box. The defense will match your blocker numbers every time. Four and five yard runs work, if you can do the math, and keeps the defense honest. And don’t quote those numbers to me as if they’re indicative of a running game effort. Running Frank nine times in a game is what Martz used to do with his one dimensional offense and it didn’t work then and Frank was much younger.

    Too bad you can’t get Tebow out of your mind. What, do you start sizzling when you see a cross?

  10. Nipper says:

    Blaming the QB is the most trite way of looking at a game. Some fall prey to this temptation failing to look at deeper causes for a loss.

  11. Winder says:

    In the words of Singletary “they all better look at some tape.” We got a pro bowl OL but it sure didn’t look like it last night. Anyway, this just makes me hate Seattle even more, I know we can beat these guys.

  12. Alleykat says:

    One thing Kap needs to work on more,is when the pocket breaks down he almost always goes left which is strange for a right hand thrower.He’s going against the grain and really would have to square his shoulders up to be accurate on throws downfield.
    Kap is cutting off half the field that way and its not the side you want to cut off,if he’s scrambling right,he has a far better chance
    to make plays even back to the left with his howitzer arm IMO.
    I think teams are seeing that in film,that he has that tendency and Kap & coaching staff need to adjust that bad trait now.

    Oh, just for Dennis….Alex Smith has more rushing yards then the Pittsburgh Steelers.LMFAO

    • NJ49er says:

      Much of that had to do with Anthony Davis Alleykat.
      He was allowing guys to turn the corner all night.
      Not a good showing from the OLine in general.

      Gotta get that fixed. Quickly.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    A Davis had a horrible game. The rest of the line didn’t fare much better, but he was notably bad.

    Tebow? Hmmm. Miss him, do ya?.

  14. 12th man says:

    A few thoughts, ok a lot of them:

    I don’t think Gore is done but he is certainly past his prime and yes I saw the blocking is not up to much.

    I don’t think Baalke took the right tack in saving for tomorrow with the draft pick situation. This team is in “win now” mode and he left some chips on the table in this years draft to stock up again next year. The gamble being the team was strong enough without adding significantly more talent. So far it doesn’t look that way. He took a number of project guys for down the road, which is nice if you have that ability but the question is did he overestimate the teams DB’s for instance or gamble on this years running backs based on Gore’s age and Hunters injury?

    Lattimore may end up being a winner but that’s next year and maybe. There is a school of thought that says the Niners will be at or near the top for the next 5-6 years. Maybe so, but they are at or near the top now and needed a few more players to play at the start of the season. Half of Baalke’s higher draft picks won’t see the field till mid season and the RB till next year, could the team afford it?

    Justin is not playing like he did in 2011 or even 2012 for that matter. Good against the run mostly but little pass rush that was the highlight reel stuff before. I don’t see anyone on the 45 that looks ready to take his place and this years picks are injured so we don’t know anything about them in the pro’s same as the staff don’t know.

    Lemonier where for art thou? Pass rushers are critical when the DB area is average, other than Aldon there is little evidence of pass rush. Yes some hurries but as in the case with Wilson, a hurry does not much affect the play.

    IMO the team is a winner and will be in the mix in December but to get back to the SB they need some of those injured picks to pan out in a hurry.

    Scheme needs a rethink. Putting 4 guys behind the LOS regularly invites the D to stack the box so no run game and unless a receiver gets open no pass game. As a change up it could work, as a staple formation it limits players.

    This team, even in the “no huddle” is methodical getting a play off and it is every single down the same. No quick snap, no hurry up O, no chance of getting the D to jump since they know 100% the Niners won’t snap the ball until a second or two is left on the clock.

    The run game of this year is anemic. They do need to find a way to get it going, but they also need to put Kap in a position he can be successful. Against GB they imposed their scheme, against the Squawks Carrol knew what was coming and had an answer. Even with an hour stoppage the Niners did little to change the scheme, it has been predictable and unimaginative which is a cardinal sin with a QB as talented as Kap.

    Another issue is putting so many decisions on Kap. Yes he is talented, but he is also inexperienced. My 2 cents says give him the play, singular, and if it breaks down rely on his physical gifts to create something on the fly. There is simply too much going on pre-snap to play up tempo ball so they give the D all the time in the world to get set and fake Kap out, something the Squawks did regularly.

    Colts are not a push over either and then Rams in their shit hole on a short week. Schedule looked rough before the season and it is but truthfully a 1-1 start was realistically the best case scenario. The sky is still in its usual spot.

    Shit I turned in a Spitty like journal.

  15. unca_chuck says:

    Heh heh. At least yours makes sense . . . Yeah, this game exposed some weaknesses, but most of the line failure came about because of the noise. It’s not like we are the only team to struggle up there. Granted, you’d think we’d get our shit together regarding how to play up there, but still and all, Seattle provides unique challenges and we haven’t dialed in a workable game plan there.

    I said before the season that the Niners would be well off to abandon the read-option, and I still feel that way. Kaepernick was majorly tentative when they’ve run that this year, and seemed afraid of contact. A far cry from the slashing runner last year. And, yes, the game plan was terrible, and we never adjusted. At some point they needed to use their pass rush against them. Short passes over the middle and some slants would have been nice. But it was all slow developing pass plays that merely put the line in a bad spot, and left Kappy hung out to dry.

    I think we see a return to basics this weekend vs Indy. They are suddenly looking pretty vulnerable. They barely beat the Raiders, and lost to Miami. Neither team is being mistaken for a juggernaut. I think they have a tough time on the road.

    That being said, the most troubling thing to come out of this game is the loss of 2 defensive linemen. Williams is out for the season most likely, and McDonald has an ankle problem, but I don’t know the extent of his injury. I know Baalke was hoping that he could get through 6 weeks to bring Tank and Dial into the fold, but we are desperately thin on the D line now. Dobbs and Tukafu? We’ll more than likely bring him back.

    • 12th man says:

      Dobbs in on roster and ready to go. I don’t think they can resign Tukuafu as I think it was an injury settlement but I could be wrong. Dobbs and Lemonier bring different things to the table but they certainly bring youth.

      I can’t remember the last screen the Niners ran to deal with pass rush yet they have LMJ (soon) and Hunter who are ideal to run it. Ditto a traditional simple slant. There is nothing “fast” about the O. Everything seems to be “calculated” to the inth degree and slow to develop.

      I am a fan of the read option, when run from formations that take advantage of the D. Kap is a rare talent to run it so not using it makes no sense to me.

      Your point about Squawks being somewhat uniquely placed to take advantage of the Niners is valid. There are a few teams that can do similar and they are teams likely going to the playoffs so the Niners have to learn to diversify their O against those teams. I believe that is what Mangina was brought in for right? So far it looks like he is doing little and waiting for Fangio’s job.

      The worry for me is the lines. Even the GB game was not as dominant as most seem to say and GB had a chance to win it in the 4th. Run game did little too, both games so I don’t put too much into the “it was just the noise” theory although it sure didn’t help.

      Harbaugh said they didn’t put the players into a position to win. No shit Sherlock but the ? is what will they change particularly on O?

      My guess is they revert to a strong run game against the Colts and it should be successful but remember the results won’t mean much until they face another strong D that schemes against the Niner O, like say the Rams for instance.

  16. 12th man says:

    One of my concerns from an earlier thread came to pass. What happens when a D takes away Boldin and Davis. It was bound to happen and with the formations on O they also took themselves out of the run game too. I would like to see Patton play whenever the Niners have a comfy lead (they will right?) to see what he has.
    He did catch a pass against the Squawks but it was negated due to a penalty of course.
    The team needs to develop those weapons PDQ. There is no guarantee Crabs or Manningham come back this year or if they will be effective even if they do.

    Moore isn’t blowing my skirt up. I like Williams in the slot which leaves Patton and Baldwin. Haven’t seen enough of either guy to have an opinion but i do know that they need more than Boldin and Davis so roll the dice and put them out there.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Would love to see the game tape to see what was going on the the defensive backfield. We had more than a few multi WR formations. And like we’ve been saying, these plays were as slow as molasses to develop. LMJ and Hunter are ideal for screens or outlets. Something to counter the blitz and deep coverage.

    • 12th man says:

      Boldin is no burner, his game is to be more physical than the DB but Sherman is just as physical so Bye Bye Boldin unless they disguised him in bunch formations and Sherman wasn’t in position to ghost Boldin. Didn’t happen.
      Davis did get a step on Sherman down the sideline but Kap badly underthrew him.
      The only receiver that got open much that I saw was Williams although there were a few other times the WR looked open but Kap was too busy running away to set and throw.

      Kap did look jumpy in the pocket (no surprise) and sometimes ran into trouble when it wasn’t necessary but given the circumstances that is understandable.

      I just hope this was a wake up call to the coaches and players and that believing your own press won’t help. This is a SB caliber team only if they get there.

  18. I’m ashamed to report who the Niners just signed. I hate Jim Harbaugh with every fiber of my being.

  19. We lose our starting NT and possibly more on our DL, and we counter by signing another FB. I’m going to have a bowl of bran flakes to I can add even more fiber to my being so I can despise our worthless POS HC even more.

    • 12th man says:

      Relax Dennis, Harbaugh is the best coach the Niners have had in years. He makes mistakes too just like everybody else. Roman needs a kick in the ass though.

  20. Alleykat says:

    12th….Niners did reach a injury settlement today with Tukuafu,so they can resign him,just not sure when?Sooner the better if his knee is sound

  21. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, I wonder if Miller gets cut for Tukafu.

  22. Grumpy Guy says:

    The O-line had better block better the rest of the season, or it won’t matter if we trade Gore for the second coming of Jim Brown – no one is running through holes that aren’t there. AD and Iupati in particular were wretched Sunday night.

  23. ninerdog says:

    The O-line will be getting a lot of work this week. They got manhandled, I hate the Seaholds. I did like how Vance McDonald ran right over Sherman. Sherman just got stopped and walked on during that play. Fuck Sherman. More McDonald please.
    That game had a lot of noncalls….yeah I know that makes me sound like a cry baby, but receivers were getting mugged. Patton finally got a call. Whatever, that one is over. Seattle won’t go undefeated.
    The 49ers need a good replacement for Williams and Iupati and Anthony had better pick up their game. Time to eat horsemeat!

  24. unca_chuck says:

    Seattle certainly has the easier schedule early in the season. Which should work to our advantage.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    The rest needs to be fixed. The Colts give up 140 yards/game on the ground (380 total) so the hope is the NIners can rip off some good ones.

  26. Nipper says:

    This next game would be nice to get the running game going. Kap should be a lot better with a strong running attack to help out. I’m looking forward to this next game. Indy just might be the team to get that bad taste of Seattle out of our minds. The quicker the better.

    • NJ49er says:

      I’m setting the Over/Under for the number of sacks Aldon gets on Luck at 2.5 Nipper.
      I also think our running game will get some much needed improvement against them as well.

  27. NoFear49er says:

    Not too worried about the o-line based on Seattle game performance. Seattle’s front seven jumping all around and line calls impossible. May use an inside-out or outside-in system but too many times require communication to get right.

    Don’t know how we practice silent snap count but not a good system or practiced enough I’ll bet. It wouldn’t surprise me if they (Seahawks) had it figured out early on and we didn’t change it.

    We have no answer for the aggressive press coverage they run and that kinda pisses me off, coaches.

    • NJ49er says:

      Hey NoFear49er – Long Time
      That’s my assessment also. It does come to down to adding wrinkles if you have to play deaf.
      You could see our OTs just getting beat to the punch all night.

      Seattle has one helluva home field advantage.
      Not sure how you combat it but, we need someone to invent it.

      • NJ49er says:

        Just adds some new salt to the wound for the Indy game I hope.
        Hoping to see Luck getting buried early and often.

      • NJ49er says:

        If I’m not mistaken, they went undefeated at home last year.
        That’s extraordinary.
        Time to nuke that 12th Man garbage.

      • NJ49er says:

        Once again, we lose in their building.
        Let’s hope the game film provides the Staff some ambition to locate the answers for the next encounter.
        It could very well be a Playoff game on the line next time.

  28. NoFear49er says:

    Hey NJ49er,

    I’m sure you’re right. But press corners don’t work well against a power run out of say, a pistol or an I. What if we lined up once in a slot formation with the X and Z split out wide and Vernon with a tight split on Anthony and Gore behind CK7 in the I? Carroll is going to have to stop a power run with nine defenders, four of which are lined up on the wrong side.

    If they adjust to the strong side a weak side run or cutback lane is wide open and easy to run either from the I or pistol. If the corners are forced to zone to help out against runs you’ve taken them out of the game they want to play and maybe taken some speed off their pass rush and helped our receivers get the release they want.

    • NJ49er says:

      Right you are Sir.
      We’re not being very creative up there.
      Excellent analysis as always.

      Why is it so tough for the coaching staff to tinker a little more?
      You profess to be a powerful running team yet they don’t go at the edges very much.
      I’m scratching my head as to why we can’t adjust quickly either.

      Let’s hope they’ve learned something.

  29. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, factor in the monsoon they were playing in, and add deafening noise, you get a recipe for home field advantage x2.

    Well, the easiest way to combat a pass rush is screen passes and hooks over the middle. Not slow developing pass plays. You know, check downs. With the pass rush in at every turn, there were NO quick hits or slants. Why they stayed the course is baffling.

    • 12th man says:

      It’s almost like they make a game plan and are so confident it will work over 60 min they barely tweak anything during the course of the game. Even coach comments and player comments since are basically saying “if we had executed better all would be well”.
      I don’t agree with that sentiment.

  30. unca_chuck says:

    Bingo. Smacks too much of Nolan/Singletary in the unyielding need to impose his scheme on everyone regardless of consequence. Plus, Harbaugh can get too cute for his own good.

    Reminds me of the old Tampa Bay coach John McKay, when asked about his team’s execution in a particularly galling loss, said “I’m all for it!”

  31. snarkk says:

    Simplify the damn offense and play calls. End the endless shifting before the snap.
    Get out of the huddle, survey the D, call an audible or not, and get the play off. Stop this nonsense of taking so long. Did Bill Walsh’s team take forever to get a play off? NO. First 15 scripted, fire away. And, a first drive TD just about every game. Next draft, they need a big, fast premier RB. This is Gore’s last hurrah…

    • snarkk says:

      Yeah, I know they have Lattimore stockpiled, but until we see him play, I’m up for another drafted RB. Hunter is good, he’s not great. And, if he goes down, we got squat…

  32. Irish Kevin says:

    How many sweeps do the niners run with Gore in there?? not very many. Under Walsh that was a staple.

  33. unca_chuck says:

    In Walsh’s era, the LBs and DE weren’t nearly as fast. Lawrence Taylor was the guy who brought about change. And Gore is too slow for sweeps these days. I wouldn’t might seeing LMJ and Hunter getting pitches, but the Niners need to do that with at least 3 WRs on the field. Force teams to unload the box and pay attention to our paasing game.

    Unfortunately, the Niners rarely go deep. And when they have this year, Kappy has badly underthrown both of them. KW was wide open vs the Pack, and VD was open as well. One was broken up and the other picked off. KW certainly was doing his part to get free, so maybe they’ll look his way more often.

  34. Alleykat says:

    Yeah i agree about Gore as well,this is last hurrah.
    He looks like Chuck’s broken down wagon trying to run right now

  35. NJ49er says:

    The not so simple answer is, to devise a system to make adjustments, when you can’t verbally communicate.
    When a Defense can tee off before the OLine can, you see what happens.
    Nothing worked.

    We all know how weak we are at WR against the press too.

    Suddenly the Oregon/Chip Kelly placard system doesn’t seem so infantile.

  36. unca_chuck says:

    Probably. Dude is seriously off the rails.

  37. unca_chuck says:

    He may have been banned already. Don’t see his posts.

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