Cruel Summer – Sweet Fall

So much for ending the teens on a high note. In what can only be seen as a huge success for the 49ers this season ended on a sour note. And, except for the NFC curse of missing the playoffs after losing the Super Bowl, the future looks bright for this team.

Jimmy Garoppolo MADE it to the Super Bowl his first full year as a starter. He started out shakey, fumble-prone, and INT-prone. And while he did throw a couple in the Super Bowl, they were not of the “I didn’t see the linebacker right in front of me” kind. Think Minnesota game. He WAS trying to get the ball out of bounds on the first pick, and the 2nd was a desperation heave.

4,000 yards, 27 TDs, 13 picks, and a 102 rating are solid numbers. 8th in QBR, 8th in yards, and 5th in TDs as a first-time full-time guy is great. He has room to improve his pocket presence, and minimize the interceptions, but from the start of the season to the finish, he improved those aspects as the season wore on.

The run game was spectacular. Mostert (772 – 5.6), Breida (623 – 5.1), and Coleman 544 – 4.0) all had breakout games, and all of them gained over 500 yards (why Coleman started over Mostert is an argument for another day. And why Wilson started over Breida was another head scratcher). All did well catching passes out of the backfield as well, and set the tone all year with tough runs and few fumbles.

The maligned receiving corps found its footing as rookie Deebo Samuels blossomed with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders in a trade with Denver. Kittle was his old self, going over 1,000 yards for the 2nd season in a row, and Kendrick Bourne established himself as a bona fide red zone threat with 5 TDs down the stretch.

The O line had a bit of a rough ride with injuries and inconsistent pass blocking, but in the end, backups like Daniel Brunskill, Ben Garland, and Justin Skule subbed in for starters Mike McGlinchey, Joe Staley and Weston Richberg. Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme opened up holes all season, and the line play got better and better as the year went on.

The defense improved dramatically. Robert Saleh’s anemic 2018 defense was replaced by a faster, harder hitting, and sack-happy bunch, led by rookie of the year Nick Bosa. The additions of Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford complemented last year’s rookie phenom Fred Warner. Dre Greenlaw was another high-speed tackling machine.

The DBs? Well, a mixed bag. Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong early season, as did Richard Sherman. But Witherspoon got hurt, and never seemed to return to form. Tartt and Ward were injured for parts of the season, and struggled at times, but Emmanuel Moseley earned his way into the starting role in place of Ahkello.

That leaves Kyle Shanahan. He and John Lynch have done very well dragging this team out of the depths of suckitude in 3 short years. The season hat looked onerous and barely like we could hit 8-8 instead went 13-3 and blitzed the NFC teams in the playoffs.

Questions WILL dog Shanny though as he makes his next quest for glory in the 2020 season. His teams have been outscored 52-0 down the stretch in his two Super Bowl losses. Both games saw Shanny go pass happy as he appeared to try to do too much too fast, instead of just sticking with a run game that had been working in both games.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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40 Responses to Cruel Summer – Sweet Fall

  1. Grumpy Guy says:

    Off topic: I knew the injury was bad, but did not realize it was *this* bad. As much as Alex frustrated the shit out of me, hate to see his career probably end on this note.

    • Winder says:

      He was a good character guy who didn’t stand a chance being a Niner and the #1 pick. They threw him to the wolves and then the backseat. He did turn into and very good QB in the end. I hope he comes out of this ok. At least he has the money to pay for the best medical care.

  2. 12th man says:

    Well heck of a game, heck of a season, not much to complain about really.

    Obviously was hoping for the long awaited 6th Lombardi, hoped Jimmy would be able to pull it out there at the end but it wasn’t to be.

    4-12 to the SB in one season is beyond any reasonable expectations and got within a sniff of winning it.
    Had a great time at the game, very exciting back and forth in the first half, 3rd qtr was all Niners and 4th was all Chiefs as we all saw.

    They had a lot more fans at the game than the Niners but didn’t see an ounce of trouble the whole time we were in Miami, and they did a great job handling the SB itself.

    Looking forward to seeing what player moves the team make and if we lose any coaching staff now, looking at you Cleveland.

    Definitely short in draft capital so I see a trade back there if they can pull it off.

    Been a long time fan of Armstead and he had a great season, probably priced himself out of San Francisco, but he deserves a big contract somewhere. Ward and Sanders are the other 2 notable FA. Ward is perennially injured but played very well this year and Sanders was just what the WR room needed this year. I probably wouldn’t bring back either of them as the young WR have learned what they needed from Sanders and Wards injury history dictates he is probably not around either.

    Goodwin and Jet are gone, probably Brieda too as he’s pretty deep inside the dog house, but those moves free up some cap money they are going to need. Solly stays, at least this season, since to cut him costs over $1m in cap and he is a decent rotational player but i don’t see him developing beyond that.

    I’d say the future so bright, I gotta wear shades!

    • Winder says:

      Yeah, i don’t think we lose a step next year. But, we won’t be sneaking up on anyone either. The 49ers have always brought a little magic to the game of football and that started from the very beginning. Mistakes and some shitty teams don’t change the fact that once a 49er fan always a 49er fan.

  3. Winder says:

    i can’t believe the stinking, fucking Dodgers got that trade. The Giants have nothing to lose by going young and finding a few players that have the talent and give it their all. No other team in the west is gonna see the division title for a few years.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    The Dodgers keep going all-in and it keeps not working. Verdugo looks like a pretty damn good young hitter, and Price is entering the injury-prone years. Betts doesn’t give them anything they glaringly need, but they got older. Boston is in salary-dump mode. I just hope the dodger bullpen keeps up its shitty ways. That is what they need to fix. And they ignored it last year.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    WTF happened with Breida? He didn’t even get on the field. Instead, Wilson did.

    And yeah, I think Sanders is gone, McKinnon is gone, and likely Breida now that he and Pettis share the dog house.

    My hope is Taylor con come back. He looked great when he was on the field. But that is the key. Being on the field. Hurd as well has a lot of potential.

    Beef up the O line, try to keep AA, and get some secondary help in the draft.

    • Winder says:

      Unless Hurd’s back to too bad he should be a hell of a offensive weapon. i think Breida is hurt worse than they let on. When healthy he is a true weapon. I would give Mckinnon a shot to make it in spring but he is gonna have to take a good pay cut. i would trade pettis for a pick, and Sander’s might stick with a pay cut also but he will probably go with the money.

    • Winder says:

      We gotta figure a way to keep AA

  6. alleykat69 says:

    Their 2 biggest needs in the draft to me are CB and RB.. Here’s 2 they can choose between cause they won’t be able to get both especially without a 2nd rd pick..Tevron Diggs CB Alabama, younger brother of Stephon Diggs Vikings.. Are JK Dobbins RB Ohio St one of the scariest runners in college football.
    With Brieda&McKinnon likely not coming back, this position along with cornerback are top priority..

  7. unca_chuck says:

    CB, yes, but I think we need more O line depth. Like his dad before him, RBs seem to be plug and play for Kyle. I’d like more safety depth as well. Moore and Harris are dogshit and likely gone.

    • Chuck’s Dad says:

      I’ve been plugging and playing with myself for lo these many years. My hands are covered with so much hair that I have to wash them 20 times a day!

  8. unca_chuck says:

    When MTV was MTV . . .

  9. Winder says:

    An old and forgotten song

  10. Winder says:

    I’ll stop now

  11. Winder says:

    last one for sure

  12. unca_chuck says:

    Thunderclap Newman? Wow. Haven’t thought of him for a while now.

    Speedy Keen!

  13. Irish Kevin says:

    Playing not to lose!!

    Shanahan was asked if we would have handled not calling a timeout at the end of the first half any differently

    in Absolutely not. I think that is one of the reasons we were up ten points going into the fourth quarter. I was as confident in that situation as anything we’ve done all year. I mean that strongly. That’s something you work on for two weeks when studying that team in that situation. You’re not going to give the ball back to them no matter what in that situation. The way he did that 3rd & 15 at the end of the game is how he does the two-minute drive. I felt extremely good with how we went. Not using a timeout, there was a no-brainer. If we would have got an explosive run on that first one, then it would have been a whole different deal. But we got a 2.5-yard run.
    The whole goal was to not let them [Chiefs] call a timeout there. So you hurry to the line, act like you’re going, but you don’t. So you can ensure that Mahomes won’t have an opportunity. Then we run the ball and make them use one of their timeouts. Now it’s third down, and at least we’ve made them use one of their timeouts, and we’ve taken enough time off the clock that now if we don’t get this, it’ll be harder [for the Chiefs to score.] We end up having an opportunity to score if we don’t have an offensive PI.

  14. unca_chuck says:

    I just don’t think that is the way to play it. It cost Mariucci his job. That being said, I wish Shanny had done that in the 2nd half. If he had not gone pass-happy those last 2 drives, we could have burned 2-3 minutes of clock and changed the game down the stretch. 5 yard run on 1st down and they throw for the rest of the game. Ball at midfield with the 3 timeouts and 1:49. We were running well. I don’t get it.

    I like Shanahan as a coach, but I think he has a lot of reflecting to do about the end of that game. This is what bit him in the ass in Atl.

  15. alleykat69 says:

    Yeah but how many lessons does Shanny need before he gets it right? He’s now 0-2 in the big one and getting crushed in the 2nd half 52-0!!
    He’s way to conservative, mostly in the last quarter and its so frustrating, cause in the 1st halves he is aggressive,but then comes the 2nd half adjustments comes and he can’t seem to make the adjustments to counter with..

  16. 12th man says:

    I’m a big fan of Shanahan and Lynch, and what they achieved this year with the team was almost miraculous.

    Having said that, I watched them both meet the press today in the post mortem interview and came away with this:
    “I wouldn’t change a thing, the decisions were correct”.

    I don’t understand. What happened to learning from failure and making changes to improve?
    If every play call was ideal, then you learned nothing from this loss.

    How he handled the final 2 mins of the first half is what he had done all year. Play keep away from the opponent and make a half hearted attempt to score by being very conservative, and if you get lucky, that’s a bonus.

    I just don’t agree with that methodology. What happened to keep your foot on the gas and build as much cushion as possible, then try to run out the clock?

    He did the opposite of that with the Atlanta SB, built a huge lead but kept throwing.

    Did something along those lines in this game, stopped running and kept throwing, even though Jimmy had gone off the boil.

    I guess I would feel better if I heard him say he saw areas that he can be improve, but he didn’t, he doubled down instead, specifically with regard to the end of both halves.


  17. unca_chuck says:

    I think he’ll have a lot of time to reflect. Now isn’t the time to get answers.

  18. unca_chuck says:

    And I’m with you, 12th.I wish Shanny was aggressive in the 1st half and conservative in the 2nd half. Not the opposite.

    Glad you had a good time at the game. Got any pics to share?

  19. alleykat69 says:

    Theirs no being conservative in a SB game.If that was the case Walsh and Seifert would of never hoisted 5 championship trophy! Peddle to the metal and stomp your opponent to submission…

  20. Irish Kevin says:

    I love my Niners, but I will say it again this is a passing game now. This is two SB with a run first attitude, Frank Gore and now the trio of backs. The Niners are 0-2 with that run, run, run attitude in SB. Jimmy G was not tested in the 2 playoff games. So naturally he did not look good. But IMO you put the ball in your QB’s hands to win. You didn’t see Montana or Young handing the ball off to win the game

  21. OldSealsFan says:

    How many of you caught Lynch in the booth about 2 min. in the 1st half signaling time out? That’s what he thought about the way things SHOULD have gone. This time Lynch was correct. Shanny should make sure this isn’t a trend.


    • alleykat69 says:

      Yeah I caught that OSF,
      You could see the disgust in Lynch’s face and his repeated hand signals to call timeout. Hell any knowledgeable fan knew to do that, except Shanahan?
      I also brought this up before, I don’t know if it’s illegal to have your GM on the sidelines the whole game, but maybe if Lynch was their at that time he would of shouted to Kyle to call a timeout..

    • unca_chuck says:

      Everyone I was watching with was screaming TIME OUT!!!!!!! I get Mahomes, I get that we were getting the ball in the 3rd quarter and all that, but still, you have the ball, you try to score. And we got screwed regardless.

      Mariucci got fired for doing that against the Bucs in the playoffs.

  22. Takkenbomm says:

    FYI, I have just posted another vitally important link on the Outsider while your sloppy old soak of a blog moderator is sipping on gin and tonics at dive bars in El Cerrito.

  23. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah and it’s better than reading your stupid shit, fuck nut. I bet you can’t wait to be able to legally drink in 7 years, skippy.

  24. Winder says:

    Hopefully our FO is at work trying to bring some potential FA into the mix. Since we don’t have much draft capitol that is probably where most of the improvements come this year. By next year we should be back to a fairly normal draft. I am surprised that more teams haven’t tried to go after Peters or Mayhew and hopefully they won’t. I truly believe the Niners will be better next year. KS is still a young HC and he will learn. He is the one that took all the blame being an OC with Atl. for their SB but no ones says anything about the HC or the DC. They also had a lot of input into that game. After watching how our season went last year i still think KS is the best thing to happen to us in a long-long time. I also think Jimmy got his bell rung pretty good in that game and didn’t say anything about it. In my mind it’s possible that putting Mullens in the game might have been the right thing to do. It would’ve messed up their defensive plans if nothing else and Mullens moves pretty well in the pocket. But what do I know, all speculation .

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