New Wrinkle, or Bad Idea?

In a game that will go down as one of the craziest in Niner history, I’m not at all clear as to why Vic Fangio chose this game to go with 3 man rush packages. Atlanta was obviously going to pass, yet Matt Ryan had little pressure, and he picked the Niner D apart all night to the tune of 348 yards and 2 touchdowns. Of course we stuffed their run game and Steven Jackson, but 1 sack on 48 pass attempts is a recipe for disaster in the playoffs. We did get the one pick and that came on an all-out blitz down near the goal line (the 2nd pick was the hail-Mary that mattered little).

I saw a couple corner blitzes, but even those were off a 3 man rush and they were easily picked up by Atlanta. So, is this something we are trying out as an option going forward? Because even when the Niners go prevent, they usually rush 4. Any team the Niners face (well, maybe not Dallas or Chicago, though I don’t see Chi-town winning) will have someone who can throw. Letting anyone do that without pressure isn’t a good plan. I’d like to think we were just showing something different to be cagey down the line. But to face Rodgers or even Foles and have him stand in the pocket unmolested isn’t a good plan. I’d like to be much more aggressive this last game, just to show we can. Besides, Carsom Palmer is a statue back there. Get on him early and fast. Too many times this defense plays it safe early only to watch the other teams move down and score on us. TB did it for God’s sake when we went prevent to close the 1st half.

For al the talk of Roman and his woeful play calling, I’m getting annoyed with Fangio and his lack of taking risks early. Bend but don’t break is fine, but it can be broken. Dial up the pressure. Most teams will be throwing on us anyway so bring the stunts and the 5 man rushes. Bring Lemonier and Smith in on the edges to crash the pocket. Pressure is a must-have as we hit the playoffs. No matter where we play.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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46 Responses to New Wrinkle, or Bad Idea?

  1. 12th man says:

    Bumped from last thread:
    Unfair rep on Whitner. His flags from prior years were not for illegal hits either. He has no record of cheap shots period, the guy just hits hard and in today’s NFL it draws a flag. I agree with Bellicheat, allow any penalty to be reviewed up to a maximum of 3 per half.

    These are game changing penalties being called. 15 yds and the difference between getting off the field on 3rd down or putting the opposition in field goal range with a fresh set of downs is huge.

    It is the vague rules with subjective calling and being told to err on the side of caution that is at fault. How can they err on the side of caution? It is the right call or the wrong call, not we think it may have been clean but just in case we are throwing the flag.

    Bad calls have always existed. The difference is the quantity and type of bad calls based on inadequate rule changes. As you said before Chuck, these calls used to be a handful each year and were discussed around the cooler even into the following season as they stood out, now they are frequent every week.

    Review is the only remedy given the way Goodie wants the game played. I strongly think they should leave the amount of challenges the same though, I don’t want all these extra delays to an already slow game now that advertising has become the priority over the live experience.

  2. 12th man says:

    Statistically the Niner back 4 is solid. However, I think a lot of that is predicated on the rush not giving the QB the time to throw. I don’t know if Fangio wanted to see how they fared when little pass rush is there or not but it showed the back 4 needs the front 7 to pressure in order to hold up as most D does, Squawks are a rare exception.

    Rogers has had another solid season. He does get burned on big plays sometimes and gave Roddy White a 10/15 yd cushion consistently. None of the other CB strike me as exceptional. They are good but no more than that.

    Reid got schooled a couple of times but played another solid game and Whitner has surprised me all year with his play.

    The conclusion I draw is that the Niners, even when facing a good passing QB, are better off banking on the rush getting there rather than more bodies in the backfield. Certainly that was true of the Atlanta game.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Well, that’s part of the problem. I have never seen SF go to a 3 man rush unless they were in a prevent D. We were in a 3 man rush in the 1st quarter. Like I said, one sack on 48 pass attempts is a recipe for disaster.

      Atlanta’s line has been a work in progress at best all year, yet we did little against them. Like we were laying back almost. This ain’t the time to get wimpy.

      • 12th man says:

        It’s a numbers game. 3 man front means more bodies to prevent catches or possibly pick off the QB unless it’s being used in the prevent where you are playing the clock and trying not to give up the easy big play.

        My guess is Fangio thought with Atlanta’s O line he could still get some kind of push and he would take his chances on limiting the QB options. Clearly it didn’t play out that way and Fangio returned to a more conventional front.

        Strange that the D line was unable to get much pressure throughout the game regardless of numbers. Only blitzing, something Fangio prefers not to do much of, had any real success.

      • unca_chuck says:

        Yeah, we blitzed CBs a couple times with a 3 man front, and it didn’t work at all.

        Just strange that they are fiddling around this late in the game. You’d think we’d be able to get pressure on Palmer with our base D, or even Rodgers should that come up, but it was not at all good enough.

      • 12th man says:

        I would expect Fangio to go with his base front 7 against Zona. I’m not confident in this game really, Zona are playing very good football and have everything to play for. If the Niners do win I think it will be a tight win.

      • Nipper says:

        Zona…….is that a new team?

      • 12th man says:

        Try to keep up Nipper.

  3. NoFear49er says:

    That’s not an accurate criticism. The only three man rush I saw in the first quarter was one where Aldon Smith was still yakking with the LBs when the ball was snapped. It was a run play anyway.

    On first and ten we brought all five LOS guys from a 3-4 front at least twice. Mostly we were in our base nickel front and brought four. Ryan knows how to find an open guy under pressure and did. Aldon Smith was moving and lining up on both ends, maybe that was part of the confusion in the front.

    Besides, if you’re defending Atlanta their game is in the air. Roddy White is always putting up numbers against us. He carries the kryptonite in his pocket. Jackson, too, for that matter. I expected he might hurt us more.

    • 12th man says:

      Unfortunately I forgot to tape the game so I can’t go back and look but from memory I feel the Niners brought 3 a number of times. They also had little effective pressure and despite giving up a ton of yards chose not to blitz. It’s a percentages D the Niners play but if despite the percentage play you are giving up big plays I think Fangio should be willing to loose the dogs a bit more and try to create some disruption.

      White has burned Rogers it’s true, not least of which was the chase down and punch out of the ball and recovering it for Atlanta. However, if the plan is to give away 8-10 yd completions for fear of giving away bigger gains then I am not a fan of the plan. Uncontested pitch and catch with Ryan and White? No thanks.

      Niners were fortunate to get the win or there would be a lot more attention on the D issues in that game.

      • NoFear49er says:

        It was Clements who had the ball punched out by White, also thanks to no one else on the defense making the slightest effort to stop him. And White had Goldson’s number, too.

        The Niners were fortunate to get the win. There were also a couple of easy interceptions that ATL defenders dropped, one I think would have been an easy six. But it wasn’t because we played a three man front or only rushed three in the first quarter. I’ll try to rewatch it and see about later in the game.

      • unca_chuck says:

        I remember seeing it as well. Like I said, some of the time they blitzed a corner. I remember seeing Spillman in a couple of those. Still and all, ineffective all night.

        Granted, I get that Atl has our number. Even with Julio Jones on IR.

        If we end up in Green Bay, they will follow this blueprint. Lacy’s dinged up anyway, so he may not be ready next weekend.

      • 12th man says:

        Your right it was Clements, getting old sux. White has plagued the Niners.

      • 12th man says:

        Chuck I expect any team that has the capability to go to the air and play hurry up would do so. The Niners D has shown they are susceptible to it over a couple of seasons now. Nobody runs on the Niners, not a single 100 yd rusher so far this year.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Rogers dropped a sure INT as well.

    Clemens was an absolute moron on that play. He’s trying to get the glory instead of falling down to preserve the win. All in all it got Singletary out of here, so I have to tip my cap to him for his small part in getting him gone.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    And, in more stupid NFL news, the NFL rescinded Ahmad Brooks’ fine for his hit on Drew Brees.

    In other words, it was a clean hit apparently.

    Not that it affected the playoff race at all. Uh, ooops.

    If AZ misses the playoffs, they can point to that play as knocking them out.

    • 12th man says:

      Never mind Zona, that’s the game we are behind Seattle! Pissed off with the shitty flags and fines that get overturned. The league still says the Brooks hit was illegal, B.S. IMO.

  6. 12th man says:

    Looking back on the Season I really don’t feel as though the Squawks have been a better squad than the Niners. The Squawks got a couple of lucky wins and the Niners lost a couple they should have won. The Niners lost 2 games without a quibble. Tossup.

    The division standings could easily be reversed. For my money the Niners are as of now playing slightly better football than the Squawks over the last 3 weeks. I am not confident that they will beat AZ although they are certainly good enough to and I would expect the Squawks to beat the Lambs but again the Lambs are capable of winning in the Parrots cage.

    The Panthers are a good solid team but are beatable and I don’t see any other NFC team as good as the Squawks, Niners or Panthers as of right now. I think the run to the SB is there for the taking and the Niners have at least as good as shot as any.

    This Sunday will be interesting to watch again. I had a good time last Sunday despite the Niners not playing until Monday, gave me time to look more closely at the rivals.

    3 years in a row in the playoffs, god I love football in January again.

  7. I’m hoping the anemic pass rush last week was Fangio giving guys a rest and as Chuck said to set up the Cards for heavy pressure against Carson Palmer. Sure he’s good for a couple turn overs if that’s the case (pressure) and that should be enough with a couple TDs from the O. Yeah we were lucky to win against ATL but luck can quickly run out. Curious, WTF was Fangio thinking?

  8. snarkk says:

    Manningham put on IR, so he’s done for the season, probably done with the Niners. Maybe Patton can get activated and use this one game to catch a ball or two, but I doubt it. I’m still absolutely PO’d Baalke skipped on Keenan Allen. If the Niners had Keenan Allen, they’d be headed for the NFC champ game for sure, he’s been a an absolute stud for the Chargers. Picking Reid and Allen would have made Baalke look like a genius…

  9. 12th man says:

    Pro bowlers announced. Niners and Chiefs have 8 each, third is the Squawks with 6.

    • NoFear49er says:

      Who the hell is Justin Staley? Joe’s evil twin?

      What? Alex Smith passed over again?

      All jokes aside, good for those Forty-Niners named. (or the eight Niners!) Any first-timers? Brooks? Hard to keep so many pro-bowlers on a team. Impossible, in fact.

  10. 12th man says:

    Bowman, Brooks and Willis, if Aldon didn’t have his hiccup I think all four line backers would have gone.
    Iupati, Justin Smith and Staley makes 6 for the D and Gore with VD rounds out the Pro Bowlers for the 49ers.

    I thought Boone had a pro bowl year but no name recognition?

  11. rtfirefly says:

    The NFC has only 2 TEs and 1 FB. Roman wouldn’t know what to do!

  12. NoFear49er says:

    There were some nickel fronts that lost Aldon Smith to first-man-out-of-the-backfield coverage. That left three to rush. There were also some dime coverages. And Willis was pretty much on Gonzalez. With Roddy White and Douglas and Gonzalez racking up catches and yards and a couple of RBs that can catch and score out of the backfield it’s pretty risky to gamble on blitzes getting home especially on a guy like Ryan. IIRC we gave up a field goal and a big chunk reception leading to SJax’s TD on blitzes in the first half. Can be tricky balancing pressures and coverages.

    My problem is how to watch all the afternoon games at once on Sunday.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Well, they still gave up the 40 yd bomb to White and 350 in the air. I guess it could have been worse, but I hope that’s the last I see of the 3 man stuff.

    • Nipper says:

      Don’t forget the yardwork. And clean out the gutters!

    • 12th man says:

      Thx for taking time to check it out NF. You are right about the possibility that blitzing can burn you. I read somewhere the Niners blitz the least of any team, which speaks to the strength of D line and scheme but it also means that the O can be fairly certain of the number of rushers each play. The D is a fine balancing act, I think Fangio got it a bit wrong against Atlanta, hence the passing yds stat and it was likely going to cost the Niners the game until the pick at the stick saved them.

      Just my opinion of the game. Obviously there is not much to complain about with the Niner D.

  13. unca_chuck says:


    Speaking of omens, Dennis, I guess its good news the Warriors beat the Phoenix Suns, and the Sharks beat the Phoenix Coyotes last night. Need the AZ trifecta tomorrow.

  14. 12th man says:

    Turns out Boone was selected as a pro bowl alternate after all:
    Whitner was selected as an alternate, as were wide receiver Anquan Boldin, guard Alex Boone, free safety Eric Reid, punter Andy Lee and special-teams ace C.J. Spillman

  15. NJ49er says:

    I see this one going to AZ, only because we need too much to happen, for it to make a major difference in our Seeding.
    But…..since I can’t bet against our Boys.

    21-17 9ers
    Game is decided on a ST score.
    LMJ comes through to steal a W.

  16. unca_chuck says:

    I don’t know. AZ’s pretty full of themselves now. They’ve been under the gun for a while. I see them coming unraveled tomorrow.

    • NJ49er says:

      I’ll take a W anyway we can get it Chuck.
      I do think they’re a solid team though.

      Their bldg, a reason to play hard, Division rivalry game.
      Should be a good one.

      I’d just prefer to work on some things and come away healthy for the Playoff push.

      • NJ49er says:

        You know LFitz and their D can give anyone trouble.
        Now they have a running back or 2 that will keep our D honest too.

        Carolina plays early. So it’s all on the Saints to play themselves in and keep AZ out.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Floyd is the guy who’s really done well this year. We usually match up with Fitz just fine. Michael Floyd is a worry though, but I’m not too worried about their run game. We’ll get a couple picks. We have to capitalize.

    New thread is up.

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