I watched the game. I’ve read the papers. I saw the complete sh*t show that was the San Francisco 49ers yesterday. I know that they lost 25-17 to the St. Louis Rams in what was their most important game in eight years. I understand that they have now been officially eliminated from the playoffs.
And yet, as I sat in the corner of the bar yesterday after the game, staring forlornly into space, my only sign of life a small hand motion for the bartender to “bring me another,” I couldn’t help but imagine that at any second, my alarm clock would go off. I’d wake up and it would be 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 26th. The 49ers would be warming up on the field in St. Louis. The game would not have been played yet. And the whole debacle would have just been a terrible, horrible, incredibly frightening nightmare.
All the 49ers had to do to make it to the playoffs was beat two mediocre teams: The Rams and the Cardinals. (Seattle did their part by losing to the Bucs.) Instead, the lifeless Niners showed up for yesterday’s game and proved all off their harshest critics to be completely right. Excessive penalties (6 in the first quarter alone), poor play-calling (Mike Johnson had no idea what to do with Troy Smith and was unable to adjust after the run up the middle proved - SHOCKINGLY - to be completely ineffective, mishandled snaps (one for a safety), dumb mistakes on defense (Nate Clements pass interference call that negated an interception and Shawntae Spencer not touching the receiver who went down four yards from the end zone), a missed field goal in an INDOOR arena, more penalties, a timeout on defense, a screaming match on the sideline between Singletary and Troy Smith I’ve never seen a team who looked less deserving of the playoffs.