Ugly Fucking Loss – Pin the Debacle on the DC

I fully blame Demeco Ryans for this terrible showing so far this season. Our defense has much better players than last year, but we are 17 in yards allowed and 17th in points allowed. Horrible. Much worse than last year. No aggressiveness. The goal line stands have been nice, but drive by drive, GB was doing whatever they wanted. The Eagles had a lot of yards as well. Dee fucking troit took it to us in the 2nd half.

This is WITH Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, and DJ Jones back. Robert Selah had lesser players playing much better. Yes, this is a learning process for Ryans. But the cardinal sin against Rodgers is to let him feel comfortable in the pocket. He was very comfortable on that last drive. What Ryans should have pressured Rodgers with blitzes. Instead we dropped deep and protected the sidelines. Which left the middle wide open. Which Rodgers took advantage of easily.

And, stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Kyle Shanahan has a real glaring fucking issue with clock management late in games. Even with GB having no timeouts, I was screaming for Shanahan to run the ball. Burn time. Give Rodgers as little time as possible. But no, he went pas happy. 4 incomplete passes on that last drive gave GB the time needed. Out of the 2 minute warning on GBs 36, we needed to burn time. Instead we burn ONE second on an incompletion. This isn’t 20/20 hindsight. I was telling my son, RUN THE BALL!!! ONE stinking running play. 1st and goal from the 12 with 43 seconds left. RUN THE BALL!

Maybe Reid pulls a McCarthy and lets us score. Who knows? But all I know is we left Rodgers too much time and he did what he usually does.

And sure let’s get into the fucking inability of the offense to do anything for the first 20 minutes. THIS is when the defense shone. Like the Eagles game, the offense looked like the 1976 Buccaneers. The saving grace of the 1st half was Trenton Cannon’s 70 yard KO return which set up the 1st TD.

The 2nd half was played well enough as we took the 2nd half kickoff and scored 6 on a 83 yard, 14 play drive culminating in a TD to Brandon Aiyuk. Apparently fully out of the dog house Brandon Aiyuk.

Anyhow, this far along in the Shanahan tenure, and I’m still worried about how Shanahan seems to fuck up a lot of these close finishes. Ryans I’m less concerned about as he’s new to this, but he HAS to understand that his base 4 man rush was beaten by 2 rookies and a 3rd string tackle. Come up with something else to disrupt the opponent’s passing game.

Mainly because we have arch-thorn-in-the-side Russell Wilson coming to town, and there 2 things that cannot happen that usually does. Wilson getting 50+ yards on scrambles, and our offense starting slow.

Do that, and we are 2-2 and looking up at everyone else in the west. This becomes a huge game. Seattle is reeling a bit with their 2 losses already, and them being 1-3 would seriously hurt them as the rest of the west would be 3 games up on them.

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Sunday Night Football – Game III – Grilled Cheese Time

One way or another it feels like the Niners and Packers play every year. And then meet in the playoffs. It has been a back-and-forth affair, with the Niners dominating the Cheeseheads in the playoffs these last three meetings. Sure, they beat us last year, but that is the outlier. Throw in the intrigue of the 49ers trying to GET Rodgers last year as Rodgers fought with the Packers front office, and the other fact that Rodgers was snubbed by the 49ers and Mike McCarthy WAAAAAY back in 2005, and you have a nice bunch of subplots.

The game? Well, we will have Trey Sermon starting, Elijah Mitchell is doubtful, Kinlaw, AA, and Moseley all are questionable but should play. The Packers have issues at their left tackle spot as Serra boy David Bakhtiari is out, and his replacement Elgton Jenkins is out, they are starting their 3rd string undrafted tackle Josh Noggin (?), and they are already starting two rookies on their line.

Look to GB to try and establish the run, throw quicker passes, and try to negate our pass rush. I think we can dominate at the point of attack and keep Rodgers off the field.

We have our usual concerns. No mistakes from Jimmy G. No fumbles. At least we don’t have to worry about 40 yard scrambles with Rodgers, but he is elusive enough in the pocket to get his passes off. Our recipe for victory is constant and unrelenting pressure. And to keep Jimmy G clean in the pocket. The Packers aren’t putting much pressure on QBs in their first 2 games, but they did get better in the 2nd half of the Detroit game. Their first 6 quarters were disastrous defensively.

Should be another good one. 35-27 Niners.

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The Usual Injury Report

The good news is we are on grass again. Yay. Still and all, guys got hurt in Philly.

OUT
Kevin Givens (ankle) – Heading to IR
JaMycal Hasty (ankle) – Heading to IR
Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) – Day-to-day
Arik Armstead (abductor) – Day to-day

LIMITED
Emmanuel Moseley (knee) – Day to-day
Trey Sermon (concussion) – Day to-day
Javon Kinlaw (knee) – Day to-day

There’s hope for Mitchell. His injury was ‘a little worse’ than a stinger, but he’s on a wait-and-see approach. There’s hope for Sermon as well. But AA is out for this game. He had the play of the day on the Philly Special, and also forced one of the sacks by Bosa. Moseley is looking good to play, so there’s that. Issues with the CBs notwithstanding, our safeties Tartt and Ward have been pretty solid. Shit, Lenoir played well but for the stumble on the 91 yard pass. He broke up a couple, including the 60 yarder. Norman had 2 tick tacky calls but was otherwise not thrown on.

Then again, this is Aaron Rodgers we are facing. Once again though it will be about the pass rush. Get consistent pressure and we should be OK. The offense needs to get rolling much earlier than with 1:52 left in the first half.

We’ve owned Green Bay recently, let’s keep this shit rolling.

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Phugly in Philadelphia – Two and Phuckin’ O

Well, that was brutal. In true grind-it-out fashion, the 49ers managed to escape this 10 day camping trip in Deetroit, West Virginia, and Philadelphia with a 2-0 record. Yes, there were more casualties among the walking wounded, and the offense took 28 minutes off in the first half, but the niners, behind some monumentally solid defensive play, eeeeked out a 17-11 win over the not-so-pushovery Eagles.

The hero of the game, among many many guys, very well may be Alex Mack. He provided enough push to allow Jimmy G to get 5 first downs on the many 3rd and 4th down and 1 scenarios. Speaking of Jimmy, the voices in my head were starting to clamor for Trey Lance as Garoppolo spent the first 4 drives sailing his throws over open guys, and clanging short passes off others. Sure, Juice and Aiyuk dropped them, but the 49ers had 0 first downs in the 1st quarter, and their best drive to that point was negated on a completely bullshit crackback block call on Mohammed Sanu.

To that point, the 49ers had 3 first downs and 64 yards, and Philly had 8 first downs and 204. But, by sheer determination on the part of the defense, the score was 3-0 Philly. Javon Kinlaw made me forget about DeFoBu for a day as he was the key force to stopping the Eagles run game as he forced a 2 yard loss on 3rd and 1, and then blocked a field goal on the next play. The Eagles next drive saw them hit a 91 yard pass play from their own 3, and NOT score anything despite getting a soft PI call on Josh Norman, and 7 plays within the 5 yard line. Philly tried their famous Philly Special pass play to J Hurts on 4th and 1 but K’Won Williams stayed at home and covered Hurts while AA forced WR Greg Ward to throw the ball out of bounds.

That defensive stand seemed to wake up the 49er offense as Jimmy G directed a 12 play, 97 yard drive to put the 49ers up at the half 7-3. The 49ers were not having much luck on the deeper routes, so they dinked and dunked themselves down the field amid some tough inside runs by Jimmy G of all people on a few scrambles, and QB sneaks. The big play being a nice dart by Jimmy on a 12 yard crossing route that Deebo took across the field and down the sideline for a 40 yard gain down to the 11. The Niners then took advantage of Philly overplaying Deebo and Kittle for an easy toss to Jauan Jennings for the score.

Philly to me wimped out amazingly by taking a knee with 12 seconds left in the half. Dumb. Shades of Mariucci against TB back in the day.

The 2nd half saw the 49ers use up 9 minutes of clock on a 16 play 85 yard drive. It was more of the short passing game mixed in with tough runs up the middle, ending with yet another quarterback sneak on 2nd and goal from the 1. The defense held again, and the Niners went on another drive punctuated by TWO negated fumbles. One on JaMycal Hasty, whose fumble out of bounds for a 12 yard loss was negated by an unnecessary roughness call on Philly, and Trey Sermon’s fumble on his first NFL touch, a 10 yard run up the middle that resulted in two shots to his head, a likely concussion, and a personal foul on Wallace. That saw the Niners go a little too conservative on the 3rd and 3, but they got the FG and had a 17-3 lead.

The one TD drive by Philly late in the 4th was a result of our man coverage on the outside guys, deep safeties, and the subsequent vacating of the right edge. Hurts had 52 of the 60 yards on the drive by running down the right side on runs of 9 and 42 yards. They got the 2 point conversion, so the lead was down to 6.

The last drive was gut-check time as the 49ers could not afford to let Philly have the ball back. Philly had used their timeouts earlier in the quarter, so all the 49ers needed was one 1st down. They got it on an 8 yard pass to Juice, and the last QB sneak to seal the win.

Yes, road wins are tough to come by, and to get these first 2 is something, but man, this was a tough game. Sermon, Hasty, and Mitchell all went out with injuries, but Mitchell was able to return as we were down to Terryon Cannon.

The big takeaway was the outstanding play of Javon Kinlaw. Bosa had a solid game despite being double-teamed all day as well as he works his way back from his knee injury. He had 2 sacks, and some decent pressure and some nice runs defensed.

His most telling comment was: “Any game on grass is better for everybody.” Amen to that.

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Game 2 – Cheese Steak Time

Amazingly, the team bus didn’t crash on the way to the airport today and injure half the team. Instead, the team arrived safely in Philadelphia after spending the week in West Virginia. Because, well who knows? Maybe they got a little rafting in. Beats all the flying and possible plane related injuries.

Anyhow, on to the game. The betting line on the Eagles this year is 6.5. Pretty fucking low, and I bet no one had them beating the Falcons. Which they did pretty handily 32-6. Then again, the Falcons win number is 7.5. We are 10.5 for those of you counting. I’m not too knowledgeable about the Iggles. Just that Jalen Hurts looked pretty good last year, and now this year, he has a stable of very fast WRs. Including the Heisman winner Devonta Smith. Do they run well? Doubt it. Is their defense any good?

We of course have a lot of injuries. Emmanuel Moseley still hasn’t played, Jason Verrett is done for the year, and we have some lukewarm bodies we signed in Dre Kirkpatrick and Josh Norman to fill the gaps. Both excellent signings. In 2014. Dontae Johnson has been yoyoed, cut, practice squadded, and jerked around so many times, they are calling him boomerang.

And that’s my worry. That they are going to come out throwing early and throwing often. Which puts pressure on our fragile DEs in Bosa and Ford. I know they got a lot of rest last week, but they will make up for it today. We usually struggle with mobile QBs, and that was when we HAD Dre Greenlaw. AA could be out as well, so we are depending on a lot of backups, like Azeez Al Shaair, Kent Street, and Diminius Finnius-Farfignugen (whatever his name is) and Marcell Harris. Oh yeah, he’s questionable as well. Me?

So, the offense needs to get off toa fast start. Our run game looked decent enough last week, and the passing game played well enough, but I would like to see more play-action on 1st down. This game looks to be a track meet, and we need an early lead to force the action. Make them play from behind.

I think this is another high-scoring affair, and I think we should prevail given our offensive firepower.

38-27 Niners.

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A Horse, a Horse, My Kingdom for a . . .

. . . Cornerback. Here we are, week 2, and we are down 3 starters, and 3 more are questionable. Plus a back up.

DOUBTFUL:
– CB Emmanuel Moseley (knee)

QUESTIONABLE:
– DT Javon Kinlaw (knee)
– DT Arik Armstead (adductor)
– S/LB Marcell Harris (oblique)

By the time we face Seattle on October 3rd, we should be decimated even more.

Perusing the injured list, there are 438 players listed as out, doubtful, or questionable. I don’t know if this is high for ONE WEEK, but is sure seems very high. I’m sure some of this has to do with COVID, but some of this also has to do with curtailing the amount of live practice these guys go through, no more two-a-days, and less hitting and on-field time in every phase of the preseason.

One would think this would lead to less injuries, but it doesn’t look that way. Throw in the fact that the NFL in its infinite (greed) wisdom, added a regular season game to the mix, and here you have it. A league and a season strictly determined by how many players can survive. Good luck if you play on fake grass. This ratchets up the risk just a tad bit more.

The 49ers, among a lot of teams last year (hi, Dallas), had their 2020 season waylaid by injuries. One week in, and there are SEVEN teams with over 20 guys on their injured list, and we aren’t even on it. They are the Ravens, the Browns, the Cowboys, the Raiders, the Patriots, the Saints, and the Titans.

The Niners have ‘only’ 17. The new NFL is looking like simply a battle of attrition.

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Picking Up Where We Left Off . . .

. . . on the injury front. Yes, game one saw the 49ers lose two starters as both Raheem Mostert and Jason Verrett both suffered season-ending knee injuries. Both appeared to be non-contact injuries, as once again, an artificial turf field seems to be the culprit. Needless to say, both players are extremely frustrated as both have fought back from previous injuries. Verret with a torn achilles and a laundry list of injuries over his career, and Mostert with knee, ankle, and arm injuries.

To a man, the team has nothing but respect for Verrett and the battles he has gone through his whole career, and it really did affect the outcome of the Detroit game. The team completely lost its mojo and the defense lost their focus.

Beyond any more screeds by me for the ultimately cheapskate motherfucking owners who continue to force their players to play football on unnatural grass, the league needs to mandate real grass. Indoor stadium or no. Just watching football these last couple years, with shortened practices, less preseason build-up, and now COVID restrictions, I’d say around 25% of the injuries are non-contact ones where the players simply break instead of the field giving way.

We’ve gone past the days of Candlestick Park, and the old Veterans stadium in Philly, among others, in which the fields were basically painted concrete with ankle-breaking seams everywhere. So, let’s move on from the newer version of the same shit. The rubberized shaggy shit is better than the concrete, but it still grabs too hard at players’ ankles and knees, causing these non-contact leg injuries.

Baseball has nearly phased out artificial turf. The NFL should.

Meanwhile, it looks like Trey Sermon will be on the squad this weekend as he and Brandon Aiyuk were both mysteriously unused during the season opener. Sermon was a healthy scratch, for fuck’s sake. Brandon Aiyuk has been dealing with a hamstring issue, and I guess Shanahan felt that Sherfield, who blew past Aiyuk during the preseason, would give the Niners a better chance to win. Strange, as Aiyuk had such a strong season last year. Sermon however, was maybe a victim of the numbers game with Mitchell, Mostert, and Hasty all performing well. Mostert as we all know is done, but it appears that Sermon is now fighting for playing time behind Hasty. Odd.

Definitely weird scenes inside the 49ers gold mine. Don’t know WTF is really going on, but it appears to be some sort of issue with the two guys and the coaching staff. Stay tuned, I guess.

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Pyrrhic Victories Are Getting Old

UPDATE: The 49ers have signed free agent CB Dre Kirkpatrick, recently of the AZ Cardinals where he had 56 tackles, 7 passes defensed, and 3 picks last season.

A bad thing happened on they way to a laugher win in Detroit. With the game seemingly in hand at 38-10, and the starting D line getting a rest, Jason Verrett blew out his ACL backpedaling on a fairly routine pass play to his side. it was a huge blow to the team as Verrett was disconsolate on the sidelines. The defense rallied around him as he then struggled to get to the locker room amid the tears of frustration and pain.

His loss took the wind out of the sails of a team that was cruising through an easy romp. Detroit stormed back with 2 quick TD scores in the 4th and were threatening for the tying score amongst the botched onsides kick recovery and a fumble on what would have been a game-sealing 1st down for Deebo Samuel as the game wound down.

A win is a win, especially on the road, but this was the hapless Detroit Lions and Jared Goff. A team that thought they would get better by getting a lousier quarterback. The Niners took care of business for the most part through the first 3 quarters, minus some big runs early, a fumble on the first offensive snap, and the loss of Raheem Mostert on the 2nd offensive snap. Good thing we drafted a couple running backs. Trey Selmon didn’t even dress for the game. I guess they figured they could get Mostert through a game, but alas . . .

The offensive stars were plenty. Gimmy passed for 314 yards on 17-25 passing, Deebo Samuel caught 9 passes for a whopping 189 yards, including a solid single-coverage read by Jimmy that resulted in a 78 yard TD catch and run, Eli Mitchell ran 19 times for 104 yards, including a 38 yard scamper that saw George Kittle take out two Lions, and Trey Lance went 1-1 for 5 yards and a score to super preseason standout Trent Sherfield, a guy who passed up Brandon Aiyuk on the WR depth chart.

The defense played well enough, including a 4th and 1 stop, decent pressure most of the game (when Bosa and Ford were in), a pick 6 by Dre Greenlaw after consistent pressure from Dee Ford, who had a sack as well, K Street’s first sack as a Niner, and a sack by Nick Bosa.

As devastating as the injury was, Kyle Shanahan issued a pretty strong mea culpa to the press after the game saying he went too conservative and took out his starters (mainly Ford and Bosa) too early. Unfortunately it didn’t work out with Verrett, and Shanahan noted it really shook up the team to see Verrett, a guy who has worked his ass off for 3 years now, lose his season in the 1st game.

As much as I want to get down on the new DC DeMeco Ryans for the failure in the 4th quarter, it is safe to say the team was crushed by the Verrett injury and lost their focus. Add in the fact that the defense had gone to the 2nd string midway through the 3rd quarter, a bad bounce on the Preston Riley-esque onsides kick, and the Samuel fumble, it turned out a lot worse that it should have. Although still a win. Wash this off, and move on to Philly. Thankfully a grass field.

At some point the NFL needs to mandate grass fields. In yet another disastrous opening game for the 49ers, the team lost two starters to non-contact injuries. Word is we may bring back Richard Sherman. Mostert’s loss will be mitigated by Trey Sermon.

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2021 Kickoff!!! Revenge of the Niners

Here we go! The game will finally be played on the field! The talk is over! 2021 is here!

I won’t add much to the blather only to say I think Lance will only get 5-6 plays max. Unless it becomes a blowout. This game is about getting Jimmy G back to feeling good and hitting his passes.

Not too worried about the D. This one should be fairly routine.

31-13 Niners.

Any season predictions welcome as well. 12-5.

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Thursday Night NFL 2021 Season Kickoff

The 2021 football season officially kicks off tonight as the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (how the fuck?) take on the hapless Dallas Cowboys. Dallas’ 2020 season looked a lot like ours as Dallas suffered a multitude of injuries, and yet almost ‘won’ the east despite going 6-10.

Ageless Tom Brady once again will try to defy time and lead a team to the promised land. Tom Terrific got the job done last year on the basis of a strong defense and his minimizing of mistakes. But as show over and over, pressure him, and he will make mistakes.

Not tonight though. Dallas has their matador defense intact and will give up points by the truckload. I see something like a 38-27 win for the Buccos.

_______________________________

On the Niner front, Jalen Hurt has lingering knee issues. in other words, same as it ever was. Looks like another stint on the IR for him. They will ‘re-evaluate’ him in 3 weeks. Not sure how much longer they will put up with his inability to get on the field during a regular season game. Emmanuel Moseley is a game-time decision and they are holding out hope he will be ready If not, Josh Norman, Demmodore Lenoir, and Ambry thomas all look to get some playing time. Shit, we’ve even brought back Dontae (king of the waive) Johnson. Hey he knows the system, he just can’t play it very well.

Kevin Givens and Javon Kinlaw were held out of practice, but just precautionary.

Brandon Aiyuk, Aaron Banks, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Dre Greenlaw, and Jason Verrett all returned and fully participated in practice.

THREE MORE DAYS!!!

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