Wow. What a difference a day makes. The Niners, coming off a 5 game winning streak, a bye week, and some fresh players activated for the game were expected to make a statement against the upstart Carolina Panthers. Well the statement is wait til next year? A team that was fighting for the NFC West crown is now the 6th seed in the playoff hunt, having been passed by these very Panthers. They now face the Saints and the ‘Skins on the road, followed by the somewhat surprising Rams and (gulp) Seahawks. Based on how this team looks now, 2-2 would be possible. Is that enough to hold on to that 6 spot? Probably, but of the teams lurking behind them (GB, Chicago, AZ, and Philly at 5-5), AZ is the strongest. Philly and Foles are coming on.
Regardless of playoff scenarios, how do the coaches fix this passing ‘attack?’ I’ve heard until I’m blue in the face how bad these WRs are. I’m beginning to doubt this. Ginn looks like fucking Jerry Rice compared to anyone not named Anquan Boldin. The team was hurt when VD went down yesterday, but these is NO downfield game. These problems were the same problems that plagues the Nolan/Hostler Niners and the Singletary/Jimmy-Hat Niners. If the Niners can run, they can work in some passes. Stop the run, and the passing game sputters. Or they go away from the run, as in yesterday after the Hunter fumble. Carolina teed off and the Niners couldn’t pass protect to save their lives.
Do we slow down the relentless pressure by going to quick counts? No huddle? Slants? Nope. We are going to run our slow-developing 5-step drop pass plays that we always run. This team continually has to use every second of the play clock to get plays off. Which means the defenses can adjust to what formations the Niners show. We did do some shifting later in the game, but the Panthers looked like they knew what was coming about 80% of the time.
Frankly, I’m sick and tired of this offense. There’s no imagination. There’s no adjustments. It’s a lot like the Singletary mentality of ‘here’s what we do. Stop it.’ When opposing defenses stop the run, this team struggles. So what does this mean going forward? I really don’t know, but I do know that Greg Roman has to go. Jim Harbaugh needs to get someone with a much more progressive offense. If we’ve proven anything so far this year, it’s that this team can beat the fair to middling teams, but struggles mightily with good ones. Winning the N’awlins game, which, after looking at last night’s game, appears to be a daunting task, puts the Niners at 6-4 and in dire playoff straits should they lose. Washington Seattle would be a loss, and the others wins. So it looks to me as if the best case scenario is 11-5, and the 6th seed. 10-6 and they are likely out.