Click back to a year ago, and the 49ers were one of the top-ranked teams in the league. No.2 in fact. The Harbaugh-to-Cleveland rumors hadn’t surfaced, and the whole behind-the-scenes nightmare of innuendo hadn’t surfaced either. What happened? Well, we all remember. Injuries, blown leads, more innuendo, whatever. We ended up 8-8 and not the #2 team.
As it was across the league, in 2014, PFT had it right picking the AFC playoff teams, going 6 for 6. The order wasn’t spot-on, but that’s a pretty good job. The NFC had surprises in Dallas (Ranked 14th in the NFC) and Detroit (ranked 12th) taking the Niners (ranked 2nd) and the Saints (ranked 4th) who fell out.
What does it mean for this year? Who knows? Most likely, diddly. No one certainly stuck their necks out and said the Niners would go 13-3 in 2011. I thought they’d be a WC team. Then again, I had said that for a while because the team had talent. It was the coaching that was suspect. And that’s the rub. No one in any position of doing prognostication goes out on a limb for a team that hit the skids. Or a team that’s on the rise.
The latest power rankings look like this:
NFC – – – – – – – – – – – –
2. Green Bay
In other words, they picked the playoff teams from last year. The only exception being that someone has to represent the NFC South. the AFC is the same.The Niners are down with the also-rans at 19th. Again, what does this mean? Squadoosh? Are the 49ers the 19th best team in the league? Not unless you believe that the players they have won’t be any good. This is the 5th ranked defense that didn’t have Bowman or Willis through most of the season. The defense should be fine.
As I’ve said, the big question is the offense. 30th in passing is not very good no matter how you parse it. 4th in rushing is fine, but it sure didn’t seem like we were very effective at it. For al the talk of limiting Kappy’s rushing, he ended up with 639 yards. He had 524 yards when he was supposedly running too much. My take on this is the coaching staff went way too hard in the wrong direction. There is telling your QB to try and hang in the pocket, but then there is leaving him hung out to dry to take a sack. In his ‘running’ year of 2013, Kappy had 39 sacks. In his misbegotten year in the pocket, he had 52.
The passing yards were similar, the TD numbers were similar, even the fumble and INT numbers were all close. Why the disparity in the seasons? Well, injuries played their part, especially on the offensive line. But the play calling (surprise) seemed lacking to say the least. 15th in 3rd downs (40%) is smack in the middle of the league. 50% on 3rd and under 4 yards is shitty. All these numbers are down from the previous years. Why? More than one team came out of our games saying they knew what was coming a lot of the time, based on formation and tendencies. Sure, you can say that all teams know most of the time what’s coming, but that’s bullshit. This isn’t 1975. Which is where our offense has been these last few years.
Also, this team lost leads in 6 games.
Bears? 17-7 at the half.
AZ? 14-6 lead
Rams? 10-10 tie
Oaktown? 10-10 tie (13-10 Niners in the 3rd)
Seattle? 7-3 lead
SD? 28-7 lead
Harbaugh would go conservative and sit on leads. 11th in scoring in the 1st halfs of games. 30th in 2nd halfs.
Bring on the Geepster.