I Hate Moral Victories

In a game that looked sickeningly familiar to the early games of last year, the 49ers hung around a decent team, had a lead, lost a lead, got the lead back, lost it again, and in the end shot themselves in the feet enough to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

CJ the Beater took a mighty pounding and kept bouncing back for more as he dove and pummeled himself into near death as he tried to shoulder the team to victory. But the usual drops turned a possible TD into an 85 yard scamper the other way, and as the Niners were trying to drive late, a tipped pass at the line, or a fumble, was intercepted to seal the loss.

The Dawgs tried to keep us in the game by giving us an early pick 6, and their FG kicker did his best Wade Richey impersonation as he missed two extra points and a FG. After the 49ers defense came roaring out with the pick 6 and some nice pressure on the first couple series, they settled back into their previously ineffective ways by missing tackles, forgetting to cover backs coming out of the backfield, and giving up big chunks of yards to Philip Rivers and co. with no pass rush to speak of.

Yes, they played with heart, they cut down on the penalties, and they were in this one till the end, but it is much the same as last year. Woulda coulda shoulda. Loss.

How we can consistently miss a back out of the backfield time and time and time and again is baffling to me. Most of the time, the RB has 10-12 yards to run before even  getting hit by someone. To break down so many times is beyond awful. Sure, we play zone a lot, but you have to account for everyone. Either no one (Foster?) is stepping up into the short flat to cover the back, or we just can’t scheme a proper defense.  And it isn’t like this is simply to the weak side, screens go to the left and the right, and in neither case can we cover them.

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Game IV – A New Dope

This is the first game of the rest of this wasted season, so what happens? Likely another bloodbath, as we weren’t winning a shootout with KC, so we’ll prolly get another defensive spanking at the hands of the San Dawgs.

All I am looking for today is some improvement by the defense. We have drafted a ton of defensive guys but have netted little in results. Coaching? Players? Both? Neither? I think it has more to do with coaching as it took us 2.5 quarters to stop a simple screen pass. Unacceptable.

Anyhow, CJ and the Beaters now run the offense so  think we see a whole lot of Matt Brieda and Alfred Morris to try and keep Philip Rivers off thew field.

31-13 Dawgs.

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Wait Till Next Year

So, once again we are back to evaluating talent, and looking to the future. I suppose this is a good thing, at least in the case of our recent draft. CJ and the BeatHards get a shot at becoming a viable backup, and guys like Dante Pettis, Fred Warner, and Mike McGlinchey work their way into solid vet status. Frankly, Pierre Garcon has done little and I’m wondering when he’ll yield to Pettis. Maybe we should just cut him loose or trade him for draft picks. Beyond that, we can wait for our injured pass rusher Kentavius Street to healthy up.

Then there’s the Beater. He took his lumps with little complaint last year as the team transitioned out of the wilderness years of the post-St. Jim moonscape. Sure, he’s deliberate and slow on his release, but he’s just getting acclimated. If he can process things a little bit quicker, he maybe able to do some damage. But I’m not holding my breath.

And then there’s Jerick McKinnon. We designed our entire offense around him this offseason, and he has been available for nothing yet. Like Malcolm Smith before him, he may be a guy that can’t seem to get onto the field.  Smith, like the entire Niner defense last weekend, seemed to whiff on everything, and he had one tackle.

Going forward though, the onus is on the defense. Last week was a debacle of epic proportions. 5 TDs on 5 possessions will never put you in a position to win. 3 games into this season, and we have given up at least 6 first downs on 3rd and 10+ to screens and scrambles up the middle. KC ran 5 or 6 screens that all netted at least 12 yards over and over and over. Linebacker coverage the last 2 weeks was atrocious. The Det game was understandable as the always-unavailable Smith was out, and Foster was on the last game of his suspension, but Foster, Warner, and Smith were nowhere to be seen all game vs KC. Sure, they have weapons, but when a back has no one within 10 yards of him at the time of the catch, he’s going to get big yards.

Inexcusable.

So, we got San Dawg on the road. It’s early in the season, so they should suck. But, the perennially underachieving Bolts will likely light up our suddenly depleted defensive backfield. I guess Tarvarius Moore will get more playing time . . .

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PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, it’s an early end to a season that started with such promise. Jimmy Garoppolo jammed his leg into the ground, more than likely tearing his ACL trying to cut and gain an extra yard or two down close to the goal line yesterday. He was carted off the field after limping his way to the sidelines. Richard Sherman also joined him on the injury list with a calf injury that will be getting MRIed as well. Throw in the Jerick McKinnon injury to star tht preseason, and that’s a truckload of money sidelined.

But I digress. The game yesterday went like many other KC games, and seasons, to boot. Huge early success, fade badly, and in the end come up short. Unfortunately for San Francisco, they were the ones who came up short in the end. After a first half where every play was either a TD or a penalty against our defense, KC ran up a 35-10 lead, scoring TDs on all 5 possessions, the 49ers came roaring back, scoring 2 TDs, and seemingly scoring a 3rd on a nice pass from CJ BeatHard, but for the homiest of home-town calls, and being down 7 with 6+ minutes left. So we settle for a FG while Jimmy G gets carted away, and the hopes for the season go down the drain.

Yes, KC is a talented team, and yes, this one was pencilled in as a tough loss, but they way this one went was infuriating. Robert Selah has GOT to figure out how to defend a fucking screen pass! Time and again, on 3rd and long, we have given up short passes that go for 10-20 yards. Whatever is needed + 1. KC is a good team but they negated just about every player on our defense.

This falls squarely on Robert Selah. Yeah, the missed tackles are annoying as fuck and players need to make plays, but they need to be in the right POSITION to make plays. Reuben Foster, Malcolm Smith, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Fred Warner were no-shows the whole game. The secondary was ripped new ones all day, but you can’t defend guys when Mahomes (or Stafford, or Cousins) can read 3-4 WRs on a given play and pick the most open guy.

I wonder if Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid are available. We need bodies!

 

 

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Game Day III – Season of the Witch

These tough games are coming fast and furious for the upstart youngsters that are the 49ers. They played tough but sloppy against the Vikings (a game they should have won by 14), they played great against the Lions. For 3 quarters. Now we face the hottest QB in one of the hardest road venues in the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium.

They lost their best offensive weapon in Marquise Goodwin in that Minn loss, and were down to 3rd string LBs in the Detroit win. The good news is Malcolm Smith will finally play a meaningful down after missing his first 18 games. Even more significant than that is the return of Reuben Foster. So I think the defense rallies.

Which is why I think the 49ers win tomorrow. Yeah, it’s another early start for a west coast team in a hostile environment, against the hottest QB in the NFL in Pat Mahomes, but I think their defense will be their downfall. I think our defense makes more plays against our improved D (and a hopefully healthier Ahkello Witherspoon), so we win.

My concern is what it has been since before training camp started. And that is our pass rush.  DeForest Buckner is actually #2 in sacks at 3.5, but the rest of the team is at 1.5. Which sucks. The return of our LBs, and the havoc they bring (I see Foster blitzing) should be able to slow down the Mahomes express.

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Great Googly Moogly

I can’t seem to get a proper read on this game.  On paper this looks like a sure loss. KC is on fire, they have their upstart QB in Pat Mahomes, who looks like the 2nd coming given his predecessor, Young Sir Alex the Timid., they have the quarterback whisperer in Andy (I am the Walrus) Reid, and weapons galore, but when you look at who KC has beaten, you have the aluminum Steelers, and the brown-out Chargers. Both teams that give up a shitload of points.

However, KC is a team that is mired in disappointment for lo so many years. I remember their lose Super Bowl win over the Minnesota Vikings waaaay back in 1970 as the last time the AFL and NFL were separate leagues. Their playoff history since then , whether Matt Cassell, Alex Smith, Elvis Grbac, Joe Montana, Damon Huard, or Trent Green have crashed / burned in the playoffs 16 times. And they have not even reached the Conference championship, let alone the big prize.

Blown leads are the order of the recent past.

The 49ers? We have looked like a young team that has struggled with their newly minted but slightly tarnished Jimmy G, a defense that has suffered a bunch of injuries (and a suspension thrown in for good measure), a few too many drops, a few too many mistakes, and a bit of a red zone issue.

That being said, I don’t think this one will be easy for KC. Keep the mistakes and  drops down, get some pressure, and we can win this one. Mahomes and company are due a let-down and as loss, and we’re just the guys to do it.

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KC and the Sunshine Chiefs

Everyone has hopped on the KC Express to Titletown it seems. Pat Mahomes is the second coming of Len Dawson, Otis Taylor has been replaced by Tyreek Hill, Ed Podolak has been replaced by Kareem Hunt, and they pile up yards like shit gathers flies.

Will they obliterate us? Sure, it’s highly possible.

Thing is though, KC is not the lockdown defense they were not so long ago. No Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Curley Culp, or Bobby Bell. Gone are Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson. Gone are Marcus Peters and Sean Smith. Eric Berry is hobbled with a heel injury.

Thing is, the only thing that gives me hope is that KC has given up a shit-ton of yards. Over 1,000 in 2 games. they are last by a pretty big margin. KC has given up 860 in the air! In 2 games! Serious numbers there that we need to take advantage of.

If we can control the clock and actually grind out some drives, we can win this. To me, as usual, it comes down to our pass rush. And with Reuben Foster set to return, the hope is the play overall gets better defensively. Ahkello Witherspoon is going to have a monumental task in slowing down KC’s WRs, but we also need to provide help for him over the top. Hopefully we can stop the run well enough to get pressure on Mahomes. Not as easy task, but our D line has been solid against the run.

Crazy stats of the week? Matt Brieda leads the league in rushing, DeForest Buckner is #2 in sacks with 3.5, Fred Warner is 3rd in tackles with 22.

This is our coming out party. 49ers 33 – KC 27.

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