Wonder of wonders the 49ers have gone from laughing stock last place team to being the 6th seed in the NFC playoff chase. The 2-4 bottom-feeders have gone on a 4-1 run to push their way past NINE teams to get into the playoff hunt. No mean feat seeing as the Rams and Vikings were 2 of the 4 wins.
Yesterday’s game was a grab-bag of great and terrible play. Well, except for Elijah Mitchell and his 133 yards rushing, and 35 through the air. Jimmy G threw an ugly early pick. Which thankfully brought about a dressing-down by head coach Kyle Shanahan to pull his head out of his ass and look around before throwing. He hit some nice throws, mainly to Brandon Aiyuk, seeing that Deebo is now:
a) a running back, and
Jauan Jennings also had a solid game, getting his 1st TD and a couple tough catches in traffic. Kittle was quiet, as he is now the blocking back for the run game. Which dominated Minnesota with 204 yards. Since Kittle is now a full-time blocker, this leaves Juice as the defacto TE. He had a huge catch late to seal the game. Well, it would have sealed the game if Robbie (tarnished) Gould had not missed a 42 yard FG late. But, again, the offense controlled the clock, holding the ball for 37 of the 60 minutes.
The defense was a hot mess as consistent pressure is not happening amid Ryans’ refusal to blitz at any time. But the defense as a whole played very well in limiting the Vikes to 323 yards. Dalvin Cook had only 39 on the ground, and Cousins was picked and only threw for 238 with 2 TDs.
Azeez Al-Shaair had his 1st pick in the flat and rumbled near the goal line to give the 49ers a 28-14 lead in the 3rd quarter. Kevin Givens forced a fumble late in the 3rd that ended in a bank-shot off the right upright for what should have given the 49ers a nice cushion at 34-20 going into the 4th quarter had the not-so-special teams not promptly given up a 105 yard kickoff return, but all in all, the defense played solid against a high-powered offense.
Again, though, the special teams had a very forgettable game as Gould missed a field goal, and the kickoff coverage (with Wishnowski kicking) could very well have cost the team the game. I noticed that after the KO return, Gould was once again handling kickoff duties.
So, with the Rams and their shiny new toys stumbling to their 3rd straight loss against the Hydroxychloroquine Packers, we are one game behind LA and the 5th spot in the playoff standings.