(By Daisy Barringer)
The first 49ers home game at Levi’s Stadium started out with such promise. The Seahawks lost to the Chargers earlier in the day, the Niners had a 17-0 lead with three minutes left in the half, Snoop Dogg came from out of nowhere and performed at half-time, and it seemed like we were definitely going to walk away with a win and a 2-0 start.
Then Kaepernick totally imploded and lost the game for us. Sure, there were other miscues that weren’t his fault: the Niners allowed four sacks and somehow managed to commit 16 penalties for 118 yards. And the defense allowed Jay Cutler to throw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But really, when the football hangovers go away and we look back on the first-ever game at our brand new $1.3 billion stadium, all anyone is going to remember is how Kap completely blew it.
Three interceptions (two to a rookie cornerback on consecutive drives), a lost fumble, and Kap even managed get a flag for “inappropriate language,” which put the ball on SF’s 3-yard line and set the Bears up for the touchdown that gave them a 21-20 lead.
Kaepernick insists he didn’t say anything to draw the foul, but somehow I don’t believe him. And frankly, I’d respect him a helluva lot more if he’d just own up to losing his temper. Lord knows if the refs could have heard the things I was saying in that moment, they would have thrown a hundred yellow flags in my face and taken away dessert for a week.
I don’t know what one does when her quarterback totally sucks. Nothing, I guess. It seemed from where I was standing (which, admittedly was 24 rows back from the field and not in front of a television where I’d have had everything replayed and spelled out for me) that he just wasn’t able to get a good read on the field and that he was insisting on trying to make his first option work. Several times it appeared like he had another man wide open, but that he just wasn’t taking the time to look around the field. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe he was overly confident. Maybe it was just a bad day. I suppose it doesn’t really matter because he’s our guy. He’s either going to stop making stupid mistakes like those or he’s not.
Again, Kap isn’t the only player who blew it last night. Rookie cornerback Jimmy Ward was pretty terrible, allowing Bears receiver Brandon Marshall to have a fantastic night with three touchdowns. Sure, one was a crazy one-handed grab, but I don’t care. He caught it. They got seven points. A defensive player’s job is to ensure that doesn’t happen. Even if it does look like the guy has super glue on his fingers.
Also: Jonathan Martin gave up two sacks, Mike luapti gave up one, Corey Lemonier reminded me just how much the Niners are going to miss Aldon Smith for the next seven games, and I don’t care how well covered he was, Crabtree needed to make the catch in what became the final play of the game.
Don’t worry though; I’m not just mad at the Niners. I’m also mad at the “fans.” (I know, I’m such a joy the day after a loss.) Seriously? The fans were a complete and total embarrassment. I heard from a few other people at the game that their sections were loud and that’s great for them, but all I can speak to is what I experienced. Which was a group of people who sat the entire time, refused to get loud, and kind of seemed like they didn’t really care about the outcome. I mean, they didn’t even get excited for Snoop! Was I surrounded by a bunch of robots?
Listen, I get that I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I love football THE MOST. If it were up to me, I would stand the entire game and wake up the next day without a voice. I know that’s not “normal.” But I don’t think it’s so crazy to expect people to get on their feet during big defensive plays. I don’t think it’s so crazy to expect people know that we don’t yell “Let’s go Nin-ers” when we’re on offense. And I definitely don’t think it’s so crazy to expect people to do their part and make a ton of noise when the Bears are driving and it’s third and whatever.
But it appears that with the arrival of Levi’s Stadium came the arrival of a new breed of “fans.” My friend told me a girl in red and gold near him was yelling “Pick Six!” at the top of her lungs. That seems like just the kind of thing I want from a fan, right? Only problem? She was yelling it when the Niners were running the ball. Even sadder, the Chron (and other media outlets) reported “huge chunks of empty red seats in the club-seat sections behind the Bears bench.” That’s right. Those people paid $80,000 for seat licenses so that they could watch the game from the comfort of their private bar. Awesome. Just what we need.
Anyway: the Niners played terribly and the fans were pretty crappy, but the weather was amazing. Shorts and t-shirts! At a Niners game! At night!
Next up: The Niners travel to Arizona to face off against the 2-0 Cardinals. I think we all knew the Cardinals were going to be contenders this year, but I don’t think anyone expected them to be in first place in the NFC West at the end of Week Two. It’s going to be a tough game, but we’ve got to fix the mistakes we made this week, play hard, and get the W. I’ll be happily watching from the comfort of my couch. Can’t wait.
Daisy Barringer covers the San Francisco 49ers for SFist, giving us an insider perspective on live games. You can read all her previous columns here.