Divisional Diversion

Week 12 is upon us and your San Francisco 49ers are in the drivers seat for that last coveted playoff spot. Expectations have changed dramatically during this tumultuous season. The 49ers defense has pretty much stayed true to course. The offense on the other hand has regressed badly among questionable play calling, fair to poor quarterback play, and injuries to Kappy’s wide receiving corps. Which at times have resembled corpses out there. Win all their games with teams not named Seattle, and they are in. Lose this next one, and with an AZ win, the Niners would be back out in the cold. As of now, the Niners own the 6th spot over AZ because of their better divisional record. Which makes this Ram game all the more important.

The good news for the Niners is they are currently 2-1 in division games while AZ is 0-3. Beat the Rams and they could lose to AZ in that last game, tie with AZ, and still get the 6th spot, providing Seattle does us the favor of beating AZ. Which brings us to the Rams. A team that has had a schizophrenic run this year. They’ve had 2 two=game winning streaks, and 3 two-game losing streaks. Along the way, they’ve played awful (after Sam Bradford went down to injury), and some great performances as Kellen Clemens has settled in as the QB. Most recently, speedster Tavon Austin had a coming out party in the beat-down of Indy in their house and, last week, a trouncing of the Chicago Bears and their once-highly-touted defense.

For sure this is a different team than the one the Niners trounced in their house way back in September, but defensively, they haven’t changed too much. Gore ran wild, over 150 yards rushing, and I’d think we would start out trying this strategy. Michael Crabtree should make his return to the field in this game, so we will finally have out complete set of WRs. Something that should also loosen up the running lanes. The Niners were missing Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith in the previous game with these guys and handled them easily, even with their starting QB in there. The biggest difference between this game and last is the emergence of 1st round WR Tavon Austin. He of the slow start and instant sensation these past couple games.

I’m hoping we handle these guys fairly easily, but I haven’t been very right this year. Except for game 1. Besides, we have out secret weapon, safety Chad Hall.

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About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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240 Responses to Divisional Diversion

  1. rtfirefly says:

    Three straight losses for those vaunted Chiefs. Hmmm.
    Lions have tiebreak over Pukes, Pukes have it easily over Iggles, Iggles have it easily over Niners, but 1 game back.
    Iggles are a real threat for the WC game @Dallas.

    • 12th man says:

      Strength of schedule RT, Chiefs played nobody really, at least at the time they played them.
      I think Eagles should be favored for the division right now.

  2. philippinefan says:

    Romp. Called for 14 point differential but lookie here its 17. Blind hog Phil nails one

  3. snarkk says:

    Niner D seems really ready for prime time against the Seahawks. Offense has to turn it up. Hopefully Iupati comes back and Staley isn’t down…

  4. snarkk says:

    Last 4.
    Home vs. SHawks.
    At Bucs
    Home vs. Falcons
    At Cards
    Ya gotta say they’ll take Bucs and Falcons. So they need to take one vs. SHawks or Cards. If they can take SHawks next Sunday, I’d say the 3 outta 4 is a given, and they’re good to go at 11-5…

    • philippinefan says:

      Sounds good. Looking forward to the Shehawks next. Man the passing game is improved but we need better play calling

    • 12th man says:

      I figured 11-5 pre-season but they have a great chance to go 12-4 now. Niners can beat the Squawks at home, Cards in Arizona too, not easy but they are getting hot at the right time.
      Worried about Staley though.

  5. snarkk says:

    Well, Chuck you called it with the Niners winning fairly easily. Though in the first half it didn’t seem that easy. Niner D is just dominant now against anything less than a good QB. Offense is doing enough to win, as long as it doesn’t cough the ball up much. And, Crabby does seem to have helped to open things up a bit for Kap to run, and attract attention away from VD and Boldin…

  6. NoFear49er says:

    Nobody getting very open for the Rams today. Impressive coverage, even if they seem to drop most of the balls they get a play on, good coverage plays a part in that, too.

  7. snarkk says:

    If I had to choose a Div winner to play, I’d pick the Cowboys. They aren’t good. And, Romo will throw some picks under pressure. Plus, winter weather in Philly could be dicey. I’d prefer to play Cowboys over Lions, too. Lions look a little dangerous this year…

  8. philippinefan says:

    Are we the West Coast Ravens then? Win the SB id say yessss

  9. JT says:

    Just keep relying on the D. The O needs a circle jerk or something to get going. Roman deserves a large black cock in his ass, dry, then a nut in his eye

  10. rtfirefly says:

    Chiefs get huge break with fumble uncalled and sideline cam partially blocked… Chefs alive.

    • NoFear49er says:

      That was a terrible call. The ball was knocked loose by the defender and it was obvious.

      Alex having a helluva drive though. He never stood in the pocket to make those throws when he was here. Good for him for bettering his game but Harbaugh made the right choice.

    • Matters not. Alex vs Peyton. That’s all you need to know. What’s funny, is that Alex and the Niners are still joined at the hip. Both his Chiefs and our Niners will be the 5 seed this yr in the playoffs.

      Who’s chances do you guys like better?

      Did we sign Peyton Manning yet?

  11. rtfirefly says:

    Bummer, Alex. Played a great game. No scheist.

  12. unca_chuck says:

    Didn’t see it, but KC didn’t convert their 4th and 4 at the 13.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    Niners will be 6th seed, Dennis. What’s scary is your inability to move on.

  14. unca_chuck says:

    There’s nothing to be wrong about, Dennis. You are under the delusion that the Niners stood a chance at signing Manning. They weren’t going to fire their newly hired coach and OC to accommodate Manning. Manning never came to SF to talk to the front office. If you count jerking off in the bushes as courting Manning then have at it.

    Shit, I’ve been reading too much JT.

    • Stood a chance? Manning was ours if Jimbo wasn’t such a stubborn goddamn mule. Funny. A 2-time SB winner and HOFer, John Elway knew well enough if he signed Peyton he would have to relinquish the reigns and let Manning run the show. Harbaugh? “Capt. Comeback” was not going to budge.” “My way or the highway.”

      We have Bo Schembechler Jr. to thank for Peyton Manning not coming to SF.

      Did we fire Jim Harbaugh yet?

    • Nipper says:

      BLEEP!

  15. Now if you’ll please excuse me, I have to go feed my mallards. They depend on me throwing bread in a timely and accurate manner. I can hear the ducks say…

    Did we sign Dennis yet? πŸ˜€

  16. JT says:

    Manning would have never let Harbaugh lead him around by his dick.

  17. snarkk says:

    Barrows reports MCL sprain for Staley. Out for the SHawks game at least. But, sounds like it could have been a lot worse, dodged a bullet…

  18. 12th man says:

    And in the vein of stranger things have happened:
    Squawks lose Monday night against the Saints and against the Niners on their short week next Sunday and it’s a one game race with Squawks going to NY and hosting Cards and Rams
    while the Niners are at Tampa, host Atlanta and at Cards after the Squawks have beat them up the week before.

    I don’t hear the fat lady singing just yet faithful.

  19. 12th man says:

    In other news Frank had another sub 3 YPA game. That’s 2 in a row and 5 this season. Hunter did nothing either but Frank is the headliner.

    Makeshift O line, 8 in the box, yadda, yadda.

    If Lattimore lights it up in practice I think they put him on the 53 this year.

  20. unca_chuck says:

    Adios, JT. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but I’d be lying.

    Stranger things have certainly happened, 12th. But I think we stay as the 6th seed. And I think this’ll be a time where no one wants to face either wildcard team.

    • 12th man says:

      Yeah Chuck the smart money would be on Niners as the 6th seed no doubt, just musing on the possibilities.

      The sports bar I go to has suddenly had an explosion of uninformed Squawks football fans in their brand new jerseys. They sit on a mezzanine level of the bar I have dubbed the parrots cage because of all the shit they are dropping.

      I would love to see that shit eating grin wiped off their ugly mugs and to commiserate with them on their loss to the Saints next week as they did to me last week.

      Just venting…

      Great win today against the Rams who were on a roll against quality teams.

      • rtfirefly says:

        Almost certainly now Niners@Philly, Dallas, or Detroit.
        Round 2 remains @Seattle, no matter how you slice it.

      • 12th man says:

        If Saints beat Seattle tomorrow RT?

      • rtfirefly says:

        Point well taken. I wrote waaaay too soon. Actually, with the Saints playing Carolina twice, and Seattle with the Niners and Cards, Round 1 is still open.
        Dare I say it, but with their creampuff schedules, even the Lions and choke choke gag gasp aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Cowpatties still have a shot at the #1 seed. NOOOO…

      • 12th man says:

        I was with you up until you added the Cowboys RT.

    • snarkk says:

      Thanx for deep sixing the JT man. Somehow, probably not JT Snow…

  21. unca_chuck says:

    If Frank can’t get the yards, who’s to say anyone else can? It’s not like he’s slow getting through the nonexistent holes. I loved the delay, which we tried once. It pisses me off that they try shit and it works the they don’t bother doing it again ever.

    • 12th man says:

      Chuck I think Frank is a half step slow and has less power on contact over the last month, making him now an average RB not the powerhouse he has been. Maybe I’m wrong and it’s all O line issues but that’s what I’m seeing.

      It will be interesting to see what happens if Lattimore shows something special in practice. I think the coaches take the risk and activate him as insurance because they sure as shit aren’t going anywhere in the playoff’s with the current production level.

      To me Hunter is quick but lacks pushing power on contact. Looks like his injury is affecting him either mentally, physically or both.

      Boobie still thinks he is on dancing with the stars.

      Coaches need to use LMJ differently to get production from him.

  22. unca_chuck says:

    I’m with you on Dixon. I don’t think Gore’s appreciably different from a month ago to now.

    Unbelievably brutal call to end the Wash, Giants game. The refs give Wash a 1st down, then change the call after the next play has run. This results In what should have been 2nd down now becoming 4th down. They got the 1st but then the WR fumbled the play away, but all the play calling would have been different if the plays were called correctly and not switched after the fact.

    • 12th man says:

      Come back replacement refs, all is forgiven. Terrible way to end a tight game.

      Chuck I guess my Q would be to what do you attribute Franks second half of season production drop off 2 years in a row?

      He did regain form in the playoffs last year but I attribute that more to Kap’s style of play than the running game itself.

  23. rtfirefly says:

    Dozens of players from Giants and Redskins in a postgame midfield joint prayer circle.
    “Oh, please oh please God, trade me to a real team.”

  24. unca_chuck says:

    So I guess I’m saying if Lattimore comes in for anyone, it’ll be for Hunter/LMJ.

  25. Phil Dawson just split the uprights from 49 yds. out to knot things up at 24 apiece with 1:49 left in the 4th quarter in this NFC WC matchup.

    Do we kick off to Lions? The Eagles? How bout dem Cowboys!
    I told you guys before Halloween that’s who’d we be playing.
    “So shall it be written. So shall it be done.”
    Fucking Yul Brenner. What the hell does he know. Love me some Anne Baxter, though.

  26. NJ49er says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me to see Lattimore inserted for short yardage duties in place of Dixon either.
    Yeh Boobie is a STeamer and all but?

    Our issues right now are more about keeping an OLine in front of Kaep and anything they try do on the ground with anyone toting the rock.

    Snyder is adequate but isn’t much of a threat when he pulls.
    Looney looks solid enough on a short sample.
    Both Anthony and Alex were LTs in their College days which might leave a door open for a RT in the Draft next May?

    Way off of course, but I’m always thinking about the Better Beast.
    Pencil this guy in for an early entry.

    JaWuan James – Peyton Manning University – 6’6″ 318
    Probably get him in the 2nd Rd with an Alex Pick?

    • NJ49er says:

      Upon further review – Ja’Wuan may be around later than that.
      But, I digress.
      The Draft is an afterthought right now.

      Gotta circle the wagons and get ourselves into the Post Season.

  27. NoFear49er says:

    Hard to blame Frank for the stuffed runs. A few of those today. He doesn’t run with the speed or power he once did but he still finds and hits a crease like no other. And he’s more than solid in picking up blitzers. And he prefers and almost needs a fullback for the downhill style running he brings. Lacking that complete package has kept more than one capable runner from spelling Frank. Our offense doesn’t make much room for the scat back types.

    • NJ49er says:

      No they don’t NoFear49er.
      Unless we change the formations, we invite all this congestion in hopes of springing Frank from the scrum.
      Even when he pops out the other side, he’s never getting away from anyone, he’s never had long speed to begin with.

      We showed some signs of working in the short passing game today.
      That’s an area LMJ and Kendall should excel at once we clean it up.

      Quinton Patton will also be a threat there.

    • NJ49er says:

      There’s always the school of thought that says you never show your hand too early either.
      Save the Ace for the proper place.

      It’s all about connecting plays and making each week a learning step for the young guys too.
      Bruce has been quiet, Kendall and today, Mario.

      Good to see the number of plays Crabtree endured today however.
      I’m really wondering if he actually had an achilles surgery in the first place?
      He looked amazingly loose and uninhibited.

      All the weapons are getting lined up on the battle front.
      Now we need the General to provide The Plan.

    • 12th man says:

      I agree with your points in general NF. In order to make a tackle against the Niner running game you just need to follow the FB and it is on just about every play. Not a lot of deception in that and with 8/9 man boxes it is unlikely to be productive. The reason is Frank needs the FB to get him through the line now and every D knows it. He no longer has the wheels to do much else. Limiting the run game IMO. The one thing that can give Frank more breathing room is more success in the passing game. Not many RB in this league can have success against 8 man fronts but Frank has made a career out of it, I just think he no longer can.

      Chance of Lattimore being activated is slim unless he lights it up in practice, but if he does show something I feel the coaches will put him on the 53 as insurance.

      To Chuck’s point about sharing the carries I think the team has overused an aging back the last 2 years which I believe is a big factor in the low production rates 2 years in a row in the second half of the season. Hard to argue that his first half v second half season production drop off is due to 8 man fronts or suddenly poor O line blocking 2 years in a row yet ignore quantity of carries on an aging back.

      If on the slim chance Lattimore does make the 53, I think he will sub for Boobie/Hunter at first. If he is successful then he has a chance to take some of Frank’s carries in situational football.

      I may be off base, wouldn’t be the first time, but that’s how it looks to me at the moment.

  28. 12th man says:

    What’s up with Dawson’s short kick off’s? One went to Austin at the 20 today. He kicks short every game.

  29. snarkk says:

    I don’t see how Lattimore can play this season in critical games late in the season after having played nada all year, and not even training camp. Ain’t goin’ to happen. Theyl’ll go with Gore unless he’s injured and can’t go at all. Next year, Frank is going to be phased out. Patton has a little better chance to play in the last 4 games. Still, no way he would play in critical situations with almost no playing experience yet…

    • 12th man says:

      Chances are you are right Snarkk.

      My theory says the coaches have little confidence in Hunter/Dixon/LMJ based on the number of carries they each get.

      If I’m right and the coaches feel Frank is wearing down and Lattimore does light it up in practice which would they go with? Bearing in mind that RB is one of the few positions true rookies can have immediate success with in the right scheme?

      I think it’s highly unlikely we see Lattimore this season, but he is apparently going full speed in practice and if that translates to anything close to his college talent (1st round talent) it may just happen.

      Something to chew on anyway.

      I think they bring Frank back next year and agree they will transition from him over a period of time next year if Lattimore or ? can prove their worth.

  30. snarkk says:

    For Gore’s sake, I think he should retire after this season. He should be fine financially unless he’s squandered his dough. He’s old for a back, and has taken a ton of punishment over the years. I’d hate to see him at 45 walking like an 85 year old (like Earl Campbell), and arthritis all over the place at 50 with an artificial hip or two.. He should call it a career after this season, and accept the well-deserved accolades…

    • 12th man says:

      I agree but don’t think it will happen. He will have had another 1,000 yd season this year, tough to call it a day for any player capable of 1,000 yd seasons.

      He has been an amazing player for the Niners. I don’t think hall of fame though, too many years on shitty teams to make it. Shame because he probably deserves it.

      • NJ49er says:

        No doubt they’re hoping he can ride off into the sunset with some hardware for his finger too 12th.
        He’s on the doorstep and hoping to break down the front door at this point.
        Agree completely, he’s been the heart and soul of this Offense.

        He deserves his roster spot for as long as he’s contributing through the remainder of his Contract.
        He needs to be supported better by his stable mates too.
        I suspect something is lacking from Kendall?
        Lingering effects of his injury or, Rathman isn’t completely comfortable with his total resume?

        Either way, let’s hope they’ve been playing possum for the stretch run.

    • Well said. I don’t wish to see Frank get old, either. But in RB age, Frank’s Methuselah. Artificial hips? Come this January marks 5 yrs for me. I already walk like an 85 year old Earl Campbell.

      I never played a down in the NFL all my life. But I have the hardware to show for it.

      • NJ49er says:

        Yeh Del, some hardware isn’t worth it.
        But, if it improves your ability to function, technology can be a positive thing.
        My Mom has 2 new knees and is back on the tennis courts in her late 70s.

        Whatever makes you whole.

  31. NJ49er says:

    No need to rush Lattimore I’d figure.
    Kendall has had little to no real exposure to date, which makes me wonder if he’s been held back for the stretch run or, isn’t wowing anyone in practice?

    Our concerns right now are OLine and passing efficiency IMO.
    Frank is just being used enough to keep Defenses honest the past several weeks.
    He’s critical in Blitz Pick Up and, I thnk that’s an area Kendall could be lacking.
    Our Post Season expectations are being tested on Kaeps’ ability to make smart decisons when it matters.
    Any Christian Ponder-type can hand off to AP, to smash 8-10 Man Boxes for just so long, before you get choked off.
    Kaep has to take the next step. Beating a Defense with his eyes as well as his arm or his legs.

  32. NJ, modern medicine is a beautiful thing. That’s great news your Mom is up and about back on the court. I marvel at what medicine has done to the human psyche. Whether it works or not. The pharmaceutical aspect gives those in need options. I’m already talking way too much.

    Have yourself a very Merry Christmas and go Niners!

  33. NJ49er says:

    BTW, did anyone notice the day Eric Decker had vs our young CB Cooper in KC?
    Geez what a beatdown.

    Perhaps Marcus will see a release by KC?
    Kid needs some time to develop.

  34. NJ49er says:

    Let’s also keep in mind that we have a guy very similar in size to Frank hanging out on the PSquad too.
    Jewel Hampton – 5’9″ 210.

    He could be a future answer, much in the same way TBrock emerged from the shadows to spell TBrown.
    Hampton was a pretty sturdy RB in his own right at Iowa & So Illinois.
    He’ll get between the Tackles and give good North and South effort too.

    See how it develops over time but, he’s been hanging around with Frank for the time being.

    • 12th man says:

      I thought Hampton would likely replace Dixon but it didn’t happen. Boobie is good on ST. I was a year too soon in that prediction.

  35. Nipper says:

    Retirement of Frank Gore is not going to happen. They will have to cart him off the field at forty. He’ll be on a stretcher yelling “one more play coach!” Players just don’t worry about being 50 with bad knees and hips. To them it was all worth it.

  36. unca_chuck says:

    The aspect of Frank’s game that is indispensable, and what keeps a lot of these other guys on the sidelines, is his blocking. He picks off blitzing LBs better than anyone. He should go to the HOF for that alone. He has saved Smith, Kappy, T Smith, and countless other scrubs numerous hits on them.

    Frank needs 340 yards rto reach 10,000. Certainly doable this year. Throw a ring on his finger after this season, and he’s in.

    I also see them phasonmg him out next year. He still hits the crease as well as anyone.

  37. Irish Kevin says:

    Well I have only one complaint about yesterdays game. the Niners scored at the 14:41 time mark in the 4th quarter, and did not score again. That is not good. they should have at leasted scored a FG sometime during that time period. Inexcusable IMO. That means your Defense was on the field more than your offense in the 4th quarter. Good way to get a defensive player hurt. Other than that it was a good game.

    • 12th man says:

      Agreed. They play O very conservatively with even a small lead, very frustrating to watch but statistically it generally works for them relying on the D and ST to play out the clock.
      I would prefer to keep the foot on the gas longer before going into their prevent offense philosophy. .

    • unca_chuck says:

      I guess my point is, they DID make plays down field on those 2 drives in the 3rd quarter when the could have very easily not been as aggressive as they were. They aren’t going to get all Drew Brees out there, but the play calling to me was a lot better than they showed than in the Carolina game.

      And it had everything to do with Crabs being back.

  38. unca_chuck says:

    The only thing I’ll say about that is they had all their backup defenders out there in the 4th. Yeah you want to run the ball down their throats and burn the clock, but really, I was more impressed with them getting aggressive to get the scores in the 3rd and 4th quarters. I was a little dismayed that they didn’t take a shot into the end zone on the drive that ended in a FG, but they DID burn nearly 6 minutes of clock, and were about to score on the next drive when Gore fumbled. It wasn’t especially pretty, but it was effective.

    Still have to wonder how things might have changed had Fisher not gone into vapor lock with the fake punt. Also, the announcers were both saying that the Niners were completely fooled, but Dixon blew the play up. I saw 3 other guys right there who would have made the tackle. Even if the pitch was made. Fisher also should have gone for the FG later in the 4th quarter.

    Curious at best. Sure, their season’s lost, but those were 2 nutty decisions that made our lives much easier.

  39. Irish Kevin says:

    Well Chuck, IF they make the playoffs Harbs and Roman had better go into KILLER mode on offense. Cause granted they were up by 2+ scores, in the playoffs that might not hold. I have yet to see Harbs go into KILLER mode on offense to make sure the game is out of touch.

  40. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, I said it above. They didn’t turtle with the 10 point lead to start the 2nd half. If Gore hadn’t fumbled, it would have been an even bigger lead. Like I said, the play calling was much better. I don;t have a problem with how the 4th quarter went. Given the fact the Niners had shut them down all game, there wasn’t a threat of them coming back.

    The hope is they take into account the opponent when strategizing how to deal with a late lead.

    • snarkk says:

      This Niner D can dominate lesser opponents, that’s the main reason Harbs goes into turtle modes early with a moderate lead. I think he doesn’t trust Kap yet, doesn’t want to give the ball away with turnovers, would rather let his D stall out the game. That doesn’t work against top opponents where he can’t get a decent lead, and can’t expect the D to totally shut down the other offense…

  41. unca_chuck says:

    Well, he didn;’t go into turtle mode with the 10 point lead coming out of the half. Which was my fear. Harbaugh is conservative at heart. Like many NFL coaches. But we hit big plays in the 3rd quarter and didn’t coast until it was a 3 score game with 6 minutes left.

    New thread is up.

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