Last year, the San Francisco 49ers were one win away from the Super Bowl. This year, we can’t beat the struggling St. Louis Rams at home. What a difference a year makes. What a sad, sad difference
First, the facts about the 49ers:
- They’re 4-4
- Lost two in a row
- One game back from the Seahawks
- Three games back from the Cardinals
- Still have to play the Saints, the Giants, and the Seahawks on the road
- Lost to the 3-5 Bears and the 2-5 (at the time) Rams
In short, my friends: things are not looking good.
The 49ers likely need to be at least 11-5 to have any chance of making it into the playoffs. That means we need to win seven of our next eight games. We can lose ONCE. Do you think we can do that? Be honest.
If you’re sitting there nodding and telling yourself “Yeah, we’ve got this,” then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Also, a totally reasonably priced $12K Stadium Builders License for Levi’s Stadium.
Here’s the thing: if it were up to our defense to win those games for us, then maybe, just maybe I would think the Niners have a chance. But the problem with the defense is: if they do their jobs well, it gets the offense back on the field, and OHMYGOD HAVE YOU SEEN OUR OFFENSE?
No. No you haven’t because they didn’t actually come back from the bye week.
A few more facts for you about the 49ers offense yesterday:
- Allowed 8 sacks (to a team who only had six sacks all season)
- Didn’t score in the last 41 minutes
- Four (really, really dumb) penalties (and two that were declined)
- 80 yards of rushing (3.8 yards per carry)
- Three fumbles: All of them by Kaepernick. ALL OF THEM.
Oh, and one of those three fumbles? It was on the goal line. As Kap was trying to score the winning touchdown. He says he knows he got into the end zone before he fumbled the ball. I say, “Who cares if the refs don’t have enough evidence to overturn the call? How about just don’t fumble the ball in the first place and then we won’t even have to have this conversation?”
Why the 49ers were even in that position on 3rd-and-goal at the 1-yard line is still baffling to me for several reasons:
1. GIVE THE BALL TO GORE. I understand the clock was an issue, but did we seriously learn nothing from our Super Bowl loss?
2. Why is Kap, who’s already fumbled the ball TWICE in the game, trying to execute a quarterback sneak? If a guy is having a crap day (which Kaepernick was on all levels), maybe don’t put the game in his hands? (Not only did he fumble the ball, he started the play by bobbling the snap.)
3. How is it possible that we didn’t have a better plan to try to score a TD and, if that didn’t happen, kick the field goal? Oh right: HI, GREG ROMAN. You’re The Worst!
Truthfully, I think the worst part of this loss is that everyone needs to come to terms with the fact that perhaps Colin Kaepernick is not the guy we were hoping he was. Does he have moments of brilliance? Absolutely. But as they were saying on the radio during the looooooooong drive home last night: “How many times have you seen him kiss his bicep this year?” Exactly.
And it’s not just that defenses have learned how to stop Kap’s run game. It’s that he looks frazzled even when he has time. He isn’t able to find the open guy. He tries to force passes to guys that are covered. (Just think about how many of his passes yesterday could have been/should have been intercepted.) By now, Kaepernick should be comfortable in his role as offensive leader. Instead, it looks like he’s regressed into a guy who doesn’t have the confidence or the skills to lead his team to a Super Bowl.
To be fair to the offense, they aren’t the only ones who played a terrible game. Andy Lee (who I love with all of my heart and know just had an off moment) shanked a punt that set the Rams up for the field goal that put them up 13-10. Phil Dawson missed a 55-yard field goal, which is fine because that’s super far, but he missed it by like 8 million yards.
Even more important: the coaching was abysmal. I don’t know what goes through Greg Roman’s head when he decides to make terrible, terrible play calls. And I don’t know why Harbaugh lets it happen. But it’s not good. Not good at all. Yes, Kap lost us the game by fumbling the ball. But Roman lost us the game when he decided to call that play in the first place.
I feel bad for the Niners defense, which it should be noted, is playing really well even without key players. The held the Rams to 193 yards yesterday, which in any other universe would mean the home team wins. They also had two INTs (Bethea and Cox) and rookie LB Chris Borland was on fire with 18 tackles. I hope the offense spent last night baking them cookies and writing them apology notes.
Being a football fan is tough. I went into Levi’s Stadium with my brother yesterday expecting a win. Mind you, I never take anything for granted, but it seemed pretty certain we could take the Rams out on our home field. Things were better at the stadium: the sun was still hot (the little boy behind us legit could not handle it), but the beer was cold enough that I didn’t want to die. My brother noticed how much better the sound system is at the new stadium. And, like me, was elated to have a cup holder. (We’re simple folk.) I was happy I was bringing him to a game where we would be stoked on the 45 mile car ride home. We believed.
And then Kap fumbled the ball and it was over. We lost to the Rams. Couldn’t even manage to tie the game and send it into overtime. Just a flat-out horrible, terrible, no good loss.
That’s how it goes in the NFL. The highs are high. And the lows are very, very low. The problem with this particular low is that it looks like it might last for the rest of the season. It’s going to take a miracle for the 49ers to make the post-season now, but all we can do is take it one day at a time and hope that the necessary adjustments are made and that the 49ers we all know and love start to show up again. All we can do now is believe. It just feels a lot harder to do so today, ya know?