In a huge game with mainly psychological implications, the San Francisco 49ers put their stamp on one of the last games they will play at the venerable shit-hole, Candlestick Park. A place, in the famous words of Jerry Garcia talking about his band, “like bad architecture, or an old hooker, eventually you gain respect.”
Did the Niners gain respect? In the grand scheme of the NFL, sure. If only til the next game. Respect is fleeting and elusive in the NFL. The 49ers earned their respect when the game came down to a final drive with 6:20 left, and the Niners trailing 17-16. The high point for me was actually seeing the Niners convert on 3rd and 1 with a run by Bruce Miller. Important because this same play failed on the goal line early in the game. It kept the drive alive. It was then followed by Frank Gore’s 51 yard run off the left tackle. Gore very smartly went down in bounds to keep the clock running. This forced Seattle to burn a timeout, as the Niners kept running. The biggest play of the game turned out to be the 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 15. Kappy drifted left on a designed sweep that was blocked perfectly, and Kappy was able to gain 8 yards, get the 1st down, and allow the Niners to run down the clock to give Seattle little chance at the end.
Kappy threw one pass on the drive, a short out to Crabs for 6 yards. The other 68 came on the ground. Something this tame has been known to abandon at times. Is this an indictment of Kaepernick? No, not really. Seattle does much the same. They rely pretty heavilly on their run game as well. That the 49ers held them in check is a testament to how well the defense played overall. Seattle was able to get some traction underneath, but never hit anything deep. Seattle’s 2 best plays were crossing routes to Luke Willson that Patrick Willis looked very slow and late on. Other than that, and a couple Golden Tate catches where coverage was blown due to Wilson buying time, the Niners did a good job of limiting damage.
The Niners on the other hand spent a lot of the game stopping their own progress with some questionable penalties and early conservative play calls in the red zone, and an awful throw by Kappy that was picked off. The 2 FG lead was quickly wiped out by a Seattle TD, and the Niners were able to regain the lead with a 52 yard FG and the VD touchdown to close the 1st half.
The 2nd half saw a menagerie of ridiculous penalties called on both sides of the ball as the refs seemed to want to put their stamp on this game. There were 8 penalties called in the 2nd half, and only one was an inocuous false-start penalty. The rest were various tauntings, unsportsmanlikes, facemasks, and holding calls, which to me mostly looked ticky tacky. The refs often cite calling games close like this to create order out of the highly charged emotions, yet all this seemed to do was kill the flow of the game and piss off everyone involved. Richard Sherman says the refs won it for SF, but Seattle got a lot of favorable calls their way. I call it evenly terrible.
In the end, it was as tough a game as we’ve played all year. The difference being the Niners closed this one out. Something they failed to do against Carol, and Nawlins.
Revenge is a dish best served in the cold mud of Candlestick Park . . .