One Step Beyond Are You Ready for Some Playoffs?

Madness, I tell you. This has been by far the weirdest season. This fairly reminds me of the 1988 season where the Niners stumbled midway through the season after losing horribly to the Vikings in the playoffs the previous year. There was turmoil in the building as Eddie D was on the rampage thinly veiling hints of a coaching change as the Niners were 6-5 and had lost an epically fucked up game to the LA Raiders 9-6. I was at that game, and it ended on a 4th and 1 reverse to Jerry Rice that lost 9 yards. The end of a cold, miserable, rainy day. To make things worse, the girl I went with ditched me in the 3rd quarter, and I had to catch a ride with a rando fan.

Here we are at 10-7. In the playoffs. In a season that saw very high expectations, the Niners lost 4 of 5 games to bring our record to 3-5. Jimmy G had missed a game already with a calf injury, and the Niners suffered their worst loss in recent memory, laying down like dead dogs to the injury-ravaged AZ Cards. Colt McCoy looked like Brett Favre and the Niners were folded, spindled, mutilated, crushed, demoralized, and defeated bady.

It was at this point I thought, well, this season is over. 3-5 and the Rams are coming to town to lay a whupping on us. Turns out the Ram game, like that Monday night game vs Redskins back in 1988, provided the springboard to propel the team into the playoffs. I have no idea what Kyle did, or what Lynch did, if anything, to get this team righted. But Deebo Samuel became a running threat, Brandon Aiyuk was released from the doghouse, and the team played better on both sides of the ball to go 6-2 down the stretch. Special teams? Wellllll, that’s a different concern.

Funnily enough I saw the Cards game as well. So, I saw the games that were the low point in the tale of those two seasons. Back in ’88 though I went to the Redskins game that saw John Taylor return two punts for over 90 yards as the 49ers killed Washington 37-20 iirc. Didn’t get to see this Rams game that helped turn this season around.

So, kudos for Kyle Shanahan for devising some new schemes, and getting his play calling in better order. The Deebo TD pass was pretty special and it completely fooled the Rams. Shanahan’s use of Deebo as a runner has also paid huge dividends even though it still scares the shit out of me to see him running between the tackles. Aiyuk and now Jauan Jennings, have really come on these last 8 weeks, and provided a huge lift to the offense. Elijah Mitchell has been outstanding as our lead runner. This team relishes contact and no one goes down after only one hit.

Kudos to DeMeco Ryans for finally understanding the need to blitz and to dial up pressure in obvious passing situations. The defense is finally getting to the point of being healthy and it couldn’t coma at a better time. I have dogged Ambry Thomas over the season, but I have also said he has improved dramatically these last few weeks. Leading to the game-winning pick last Sunday. Trial by fire indeed. The defense as a whole, and especially the defensive line, has really come

And lastly kudos to Jimmy G for pretty much staying his goofy-ass self. He hasn’t balked, a la Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers, about training his replacement. He has been even-keeled even through the horrible games, the injuries, the errant picks, and the stunning victories. Like it or not he has turned into a gunslinger who throws some baffling interceptions, but then turns around and leads a 90 yard drive with 1:25 left and no time outs to win the game.

Fitting that we face the Cowboys in this playoff game. Bring it on!

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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64 Responses to One Step Beyond Are You Ready for Some Playoffs?

  1. unca_chuck says:

    I’m sure you didn’t see this coming.

  2. Winder says:

    At least we finished the season on a high note. Who knows what we will do with it next week. Every time I get real jazzed with this team they fuck it up so I don’t have any real idea.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    If anything, it saved Shanahan his job. People think there would have been no way Jed fires Shanny, but the expectations around this team from September to now have changed drastically.

    Getting here is an accomplishment given how bad the team was in October, but had this team shat the bed against the Rams, say it ended up 34-10, I find it hard to think the thought didn’t cross Jed’s mind. Shanny has been all over the place in his time here. And the same goes for John Lynch.

    Both have done great things and both have done awful things directly related to the success (or failure) of the team in their 5 season here. I guess it’s a thought for another post, but these guys have been learning on the job, and have they figured it out yet? Will Trey Lance get 5 years to figure it out?

    Of course not. These guys are held to a much different standard than the players.

    • Winder says:

      Good questions. I honestly don’t know anything about what Jed would have done. To be contenders we have to draft better. We have drafted some fantastic players but also some real duds. i know no one gets it right all the time but we have to do better. We have to figure a way to stay healthy. I still think our biggest mistake was letting DeFo go and Bourne he was a true gamer.

    • Berger says:

      Injuries have been the main reason for our ups and downs. I think they need to draft players that are a little bigger to keep a little healthier. We’ve been drafting speed but fast players seem to get hurt faster.

  4. Berger says:

    The Cardinal game was atrocious. I was throwing in the towel too. We even got the calls to go our way that game and got hammered.

    We looked lost. There was a reason for that. We started two rookie safeties who were playing in their first games at safety. Of course, they looked lost because they were. We got one safety back next game and then another and started to look much better on defense.

    • unca_chuck says:

      It goes deeper than injuries. They were complacent as fuck. No one could tackle, guys were fumbling, every good move was followed by three bad ones, the entire game was a mess.

      • Berger says:

        The main reason we looked complacent was because we had two safeties doing too much thinking instead of reacting. Everybody was covering for them. Nobody ever looked right in that game. If you think that had a minimal effect, then we will have to agree to disagree.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Yep. Kinlaw can still be a stud, and he is promising, but De Fo left a big hole. Same with Bourne. Don’t know why we thought he was expendable. But the team is rounding out and getting healthyed up.

    I think we have just now gotten to the point of being in a good place from the coaching staff AND the players points of view.

    • Berger says:

      If Kinlaw can get healthy he will be great. We already saw flashes on a bad knee. Question is will he get healthy. We saw it took Street 2 years to get healthy and he looks good out there now. Kinlaw is a beast, much better than street. If healthy, he can be an All Pro.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    As with all of this, we live and die with Jimmy and his scattershot pases.

    • Winder says:

      Well just like it was a fitting end of the season to be playing the Rams so it is with playing fucking Dallas with our 1st playoff game. To me beating Dallas means a little more than beating any of the others except maybe GB. My ideal scenario would be to stuff Dallas and whoever else and meet up with GB in the championship.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Back to the future past. Dallas, the Rams, Green Bay and then Cincinnati!!

  7. Lurker John says:

    Very cool mic’d up clip featuring Juice. Even though I think he’s talking about the coin toss to start the game, it’s very prophetic for this game. Warner winning that OT toss was huge:

    Who doesn’t love Juice? Stepping in like he did as a holder was huge. What a great 49er he’s been! That easily could’ve been a disaster, as could Gould filling in as punter. Little details make the game and both those guys did their part under adverse conditions.

    • unca_chuck says:

      I was gonna post that but you beat me to it. Very cool. That’s about the only ‘mic’ed up’ I’ve heard that was worthwhile.

    • Winder says:

      That was fun.

    • alleykat69 says:

      Thanks for sharing that video LJ!!
      It gets me even more “Juiced Up” for The Cowpokes game! Getting Juice away from the Ravens years ago was a key piece, he’s the best FB in the league, a perennial Pro Bowler, and now can even handle being a place holder! Juice&Gould really stepped up big after the punter got his bell rung.Just shows u it’s a team effort,especially at a difficult spot to fill in game at with little to no practice at it..

  8. Lurker John says:

    Given Shanahan’s failures in the biggest games of his career, you have to wonder if he will, at some point, put all of that behind him and finally get the job done. If he wants to finally legitimize his legacy, he’s going to have to win a SB. All the talk of him being a genius, etc. is just that, talk, and he’s made enough gaffes in the biggest moments of his career to call even that into question.

    Even though they’re a longshot, maybe this is the year. If he can lead this team to a title, against all odds, everything changes for him. His dad went through similar travails, with a lot of failure before he finally put it together with an aging Elway.

    I think we’ve all felt let down by this team, especially when we get our hopes up (I have, anyway), but given all the adversity they’ve endured the past few years, maybe, just maybe, this is the year they put all of that behind them and go all the way. They’re longshots, sure, but that amazing, improbable win the other day might be what puts them over the hump.

    • Winder says:

      I always felt the same way about Steve Young. He was a great QB but just not good enough to win it all. Until he did. I hope the same kinda thing will work for Shanny.

      • Berger says:

        I used to say back in the Steve Young era that if we came across bad weather we would lose because Young wasn’t very good in bad weather. Young was great in decent weather. I feel the same about Jimmy G.

  9. Lurker John says:

    From the last thread, I’ve known several Chargers’ fans over the years and they’ve all been passionate about their team. I think their whole fanbase is that way. I’ve also always liked the Chargers. They have an interesting and colorful history, filled with great players and coaches, not to mention some of the coolest unis ever. All that to say, I think their fans and the city got hosed by the team owners. I like to think they’ll return to SD some day, but that’s probably not going to happen.

  10. Lurker John says:

    It’s barely Wednesday and I’m already champing at the bit for this game. The whole weekend will be a football junkie’s dream, capped by the first-ever Monday night playoff game.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, this super WC thing looks to be pretty cool. Glad we get the Sunday slot.

    Hopefully both the Williams come back. This is the healthiest we have been all season. We NEED to get Johnson off the field with their WRs Cee Dee and Cooper out there. Our secondary is as strong as its weakest link.

    What I totally dug was the fact that Ryans dialed up blitzes at crucial spots in the game that WORKED. Ryans became much better at calling defensive plays and getting a feel for what would work as the season went on. His failure against the Packers taught him a lesson.

    Total shame about Art Spanos Jr. disavowing his dad’s wishes to never move the team and moving the team out of SD. LA offers the Chargers nothing as they have no fan base in LA.

    As seen Sunday, the Rams can’t even fill that stadium with their fans even when the team is 12-4 and heading to the playoffs.

  12. Irish Kevin says:

    My Neighbor gives my the paper Chronicle everyday, Monday was the 40th anniversary of the catch. What I forgot about in that game was how the the Niners tried lie heck to give that game away, 3 fumbles, Montana, Walt Easley, and Bil Ring. And Montana threw 3 pics. Now granted it was only Montanas 2 or 3season as the starting QB that was not one of his better games, all of that was erased with “The Catch”. Also, JG has had 5 years to learn Kyles system and he still makes the same mistakes. That is the difference between the two. Montana leaned Jimmy has not.

    • Irish Kevin says:

      I need to proof read my stuff, should read tried like heck, and Montana learned and Jimmy has not

    • Winder says:

      Remember when the Chargers and Raider games actually meant something. For a long time I think SD was the Raiders biggest rivalry. But then I quess KC, and Denver were just as tough of an opponent.

    • Winder says:

      A couple of those calls were pretty sketchy in that Dallas game. I just remember yelling at the refs more than usual.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    The 49ers outgained Dallas like 475 to 250 that game iirc. We should have crushed them like we did earlier in the season. And it took that game-saving tackle from Eric Wright to win that game.

    • Lurker John says:

      Which would likely draw a 15 yard personal foul today. What a great play by the largely unheralded Wright. He was great in the SB too. I say unheralded because he never seemed to get his due, but he was one of the best corners in the NFL. All-time 49er if you ask me.

      What a great game that was. I watch it every couple of years or so. You can find it on YouTube. If that doesn’t get you pumped for 49er football, nothing will.

  14. Lurker John says:

    Yeah, that’s bizarre. The Rams have been really good for quite some time now and still can’t fill their very nice new stadium on the brink of going to the playoffs. Their fanbase has always struck me as a little tepid. I’m sure they have some die hard fans, but in general there doesn’t seem to be a lot of passion there.

  15. Lurker John says:

    Walsh was livid after the game, specifically about the horrible PI call on Lott that ended up leading to a TD. 6 turnovers in all and the Niners still won the game. And outside of of the picks, Kevin, Montana was brilliant in that game. You make it sound like he sucked and only redeemed himself on their last offensive play. Not the case.

    • unca_chuck says:

      I watched that game a couple months ago, and it was nuts how many turnovers there were. On both sides. We really should have beat them by 20. Everson Walls had a great game. Till that last play.

      • Lurker John says:

        I believe the PI rule was changed or modified a few years later, in part due to calls like that. No way that’s PI now. If you remember, there were a couple more shitty PI calls in the ’83 NFC Championship game against the ‘Skins. The Niners should’ve won that one too, but the officials had other ideas. Another great football game with an amazing Montana-led comeback.

      • Berger says:

        The PI rule for a catchable ball was changed after the 49ers-Redsins NFC Championship game for the 1983 season.

  16. unca_chuck says:

    The thing about LA always has been that most people that live there aren’t from there. At least the ones that go to football games. And the Rams left for 21 years. And there are a shit ton of other things to do around there.

    They are too blasé about it to even be fickle fans.

    • Lurker John says:

      You see it with the Dodgers too, though they do have some good fans. I married one of them. Lol

  17. Lurker John says:

    The Rams don’t even have good trolls. What happened to that clown from the gameday thread? He flat vanished after the Rams choked, kind of like Dodgers fans do in the 7th inning.

  18. unca_chuck says:

    This is crazy. Pat Summeral and not sure who announcing this 1970 playoff game. My first heartbreak as a Niner fan. The ads are priceless.

  19. alleykat69 says:

    Geez I think that might be Twin’s old the legendary Ray Scott with Pat Summerall in the booth?

  20. unca_chuck says:

    Could be. He did games with Summeral iirc.

  21. Irish Kevin says:

    Matt Barrows, Which areas of this year’s playoff team are stronger than the 2019 team, and which areas are weaker? — Kamran A.

    Ooooh, this is a good question.

    The 2019 team was stronger overall, especially in the running game and with the pass rush. Remember, that squad rushed for 471 yards (not a typo) and six touchdowns in the two NFC playoff games and had four proven tailbacks in Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Jeff Wilson. This year’s team can run the ball, too, but it would be in trouble if Elijah Mitchell got hurt, and he’s already had five different injuries since the start of the season.

    The 2021 team’s advantage is that it has three excellent pass catchers in Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, with a fourth, Jauan Jennings, peaking at just the right time. It also has a starting quarterback with more experience and more of a chip on his shoulder. Among the things that make up Jimmy Garoppolo’s chip — the fact that he came up short in the 2019 postseason and has been criticized for it since.

  22. Irish Kevin says:

    Buy high on Green Bay’s +400 Super Bowl odds

    The Packers have played in each of the past two NFC title games and won 13 games for a third consecutive season. So is this the year Aaron Rodgers gets back to the Super Bowl? I’ll do you one better: I think he wins his second championship. Rodgers’ touchdown numbers took a dip in 2021, but his completion percentage was the second-highest of his career and he still topped 4,000 yards while throwing 37 touchdowns against four interceptions. Green Bay potentially has the fifth back-to-back MVP in league history and, in large part due to Rodgers, it also has home-field advantage in these playoffs. The Packers are 8-0 at Lambeau Field this year and also 5-1 against teams that made the postseason. But this team is much more than Rodgers. Green Bay’s defense is top-10 unit against the pass and ranked 11th against the run, despite getting a combined four games out of Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander. Both could be back in the coming weeks. Green Bay has the highest percent of the handle to make it out of the NFC at over 40 percent as well as the highest handle on Super Bowl bets at 12.3 percent.

  23. Irish Kevin says:

    Trevor Lawrence 3-14, Zach Wilson 4-13, were these guys on crappy teams or could they have benefited by sitting behind a vet QB

  24. Lurker John says:

    I watched that game a year or so ago, Chuck. Definitely a tough loss and the beginning of Cowboy hatred. My family was living in Brussels at the time so the Niners weren’t even on my radar yet. We were back in Santa Clara in time for the ’72 Divisional playoff and I definitely remember that one. Gut wrenching to say the least. Blowing the lead late like they did was devastating.

  25. Lurker John says:

    Here’s highlights of that ’72 game. Three straight losses to those cocksuckers. Ugh. No wonder most 49ers fans despise the Cowboys:

    Vic Washington gets it off to a banging start, 28-16 lead late, Bruce Gossett misses what would’ve be a game-sealing 32 yard field goal, Staubach does the rest. FFS.

  26. alleykat69 says:

    That 72 playoff loss still puts a dagger in my heart!!
    49ers had the game in the bag up 28-16 with 2 freaking minutes left!!!and the Cowboys brought in Roger Staubach cold off the bench for an ineffective Craig Morton to rally them of course with the never to be forgotten Preston “Brickhands “Riley botched on-side kickoff gaffe, I knew they were done right then it was just a nightmare finish…

    • Lurker John says:

      No shit. Preston Riley. The ball bounced right into his bread basket and he still muffed it. Unbelievable.

  27. Winder says:

    The Niners have had quite a few ‘daggers to the heart’ games. If Craig just holds onto the ball and if what’s his fuck doesn’t touch the fucking ball on those two kickoffs the Giants would have been out two SB’s. That’s why i am always reserved even when we have a nice lead. Shit just happens to us.

    • Berger says:

      That ’72 game was the first game that crushed me as a fan. Couldn’t watch it on TV because it was blacked out. I listened to it on the radio while bouncing a tennis ball up against some stairs. I thought we had it won and then we didn’t. Preston Riley lives on in infamy. I had forgotten the missed 32 yard FG by Gosset. That was probably worse.

    • alleykat69 says:

      Yeah Winder that was gut wrenching too! As great a player that Roger Craig was #33 had the worst possible timing just trying to run out the clock and the exchange from Young just was off as well ( seemed to be sliding off his hip as the ball never hit the ground) what was the killer,as the Giants drove for the winning FG and it kept the 49ers from being the 1st team ever to play in 3 straight SB games!

      • Berger says:

        The Giants ran a Double A Gap Blitz and got good penetration. That caused Craig to move a little to the left to avoid pressure and Young’s hand off was toward the hip. It was a great play by the Giants. That was bad but you have to credit NY for a great play call and execution.

        What was really bad on our part was we had them stopped and they came out to punt. We had only 10 men on the field, they faked the punt and ran the ball over the missing payer’s spot. They picked up the first down, ran out the clock and kicked the game winning FG. If we had 11 players on the field they probably don’t get that first down.

        For me, it is like blaming Preston Riley in 1972 when all we really needed was a 32 yard FG. I don’t blame Roger Craig for a fumble when he never got a clean exchange.

      • Winder says:

        Berger- I am not blaming Craig for the fumble I’m just saying bad things happen to us when the games are on the line. Once the domino effect takes hold on us we just seem to fall apart even when we have the superior team.

      • Berger says:

        Winder- Unfortunately, I know exactly what you are talking about.

  28. Smack Prescott says:

    The Cowboys will smoke the one and dine whiners

  29. Lurker John says:

    I’d forgotten about what’s-his-name muffing those two kicks, Winder. Seriously, WTF, GET AWAY FROM THE BALL. That was infuriating to watch. Two heartbreaking losses to the Giants in NFC Championship games at The ‘Stick. Yikes.

    And Gossett. A good kicker, but missing what is now PAT range is inexcusable. Those straight-on kickers were always kind of dicey and their range was nowhere near what guys now can do. The kicking game is much more reliable in the modern game but, still, you’re putting the game in the hands of a guy who really isn’t even a football player. lol. I was imploring Shanahan to just punch it in the other day and end it, but it worked out in the end, and it was still a great drive, chewing up all of that clock.

    But I’d bet none of us were comfortable with the Rams having 2:30 minutes left and only needing a FG.

  30. unca_chuck says:

    Kyle Williams. Gen X’s Preston Riley. I was at that game in 1972. Major fucking drag. I was at the game the week before when John Brodie came off the bench after being hurt for 6 games and led the team to the playoffs by throwing 2 4th quarter TDs to Dick Whitcher and Dick Windsor to beat Fran Tarkington and the Vikes. Sat in the south end zone for both those games. Pisser about that is the first play after the Dallas touchdown was a 40 yard pass to Gene Washington that was called back for holding. We would have been at the Dallas 40 with 45 seconds left. And the goal posts were still on the goal line.

    • Winder says:

      I was in Hawaii visiting my mom and watched it on tv. I was devastated almost as bad as the 62 world series. We had such a great team that year. That was Brodie’s last hurrah

  31. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah he retired after the next season. An injury-filled disappointing debacle of a season that saw Steve Spurrier show himself to be a very mediocre quarterback. He was Steve DeBerg before Steve DeBerg. Broide was awful as well but the line was in bad shape by then.

  32. unca_chuck says:

    New thread is up.

    FUCK DALLAS!!!

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