Well, here we are coming up on our first divisional game, and it does carry a bit more importance to it. What should have been a matchup of 2-0 teams, isn’t. The Niners gagged away the Chicago game (for myriad reasons), and travel to beef jerky town. The land that sunscreen forgot. The land where people wear sweaters when it’s 90º out. Arizona. The Big Weirdie. Where assault weapons are a fashion accessory.
Anyhow, if there’s anything that Jin Harbaugh does well, it is come back pretty strong after losses. Maybe it’s a product of benign scheduling, but the 49ers usually bounce back after losses. Although they did have two 2-game losing streaks last year.
The problem is, though, the 49ers suddenly have some big concerns, as far as I’m concerned. The blocking has been middling to atrocious. The O line wore down last Sunday, and the Niners did little to help Kappy out despite a constant 5-man rush in the 2nd half. The Bears on the other hand were left to play pitch and catch as we geared to stop the run game that wasn’t materializing. Curious that the Niner brain trust seemed to go with their pregame plan, and not adjust to the game as it unfolded.
So, now we face Bruce Arians. Another of the more cerebral type coaches. Granted, he doesn’t have the QB he’d love to have, but so far both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton have delivered victories. They squeaked one out vs SanDawg, as the ‘Dawgs let yet another 10+ point lead evaporate in the 4th quarter. The Giants just flat stink, and it took a late fumble to seal that game. They have a nice shifty RB in Bruce Ellington’s older brother Andre, and of course Larry Fitzgerald.
Since we don’t seem to have much of a pass rush anymore, it galls me to see Fangio run his base defense and not dial up blitzes. It worked against Romo, but that pressure was from base. It didn’t work last week, yet we let Cutler off the hook by not pressuring him. Palmer is the same thing. Let him throw cleanly and he’ll find his mark. Pressure him and he gets rattled.
To me, this coaching staff is on notice. They failed miserably in adjusting to the Chicago game as it wore on. They did little to pressure Cutler, and they didn’t do anything to stop the pressure getting in on Kaepernick. The game is all about adjusting if things change, and they didn’t.
Here’s some early work from the Spitmen.