by Daisy Barringer
I should know better by now than to go into any game expecting an easy win. And yet, still: I totally thought the 49ers would handle Washington, a team with only three wins all season. Instead, what we got was a game where the 49ers actually trailed by three at one point and that without Anquan Boldin and the 49ers defense, would have been a loss.
In other words: Just another day of 49ers football. Sigh.
The 49ers looked great on their first drive, as they have nearly all season. It took just a little over two minutes for Kap to drive/scramble down field and then find Boldin for a 30-yard touchdown. We jumped up and down. We high fived. We yelled, “We’ve got this!” Because this time it had to be true, right? This time we wouldn’t go from looking totally composed to punting and fumbling, right? Hahahaha. WRONG. It’s the 49ers! Falling apart is what we do best!
Luckily, in this case, the offense managed to pull itself together in the end and score it’s very first 4th quarter touchdown of the entire season. Yup, that’s right. It took the 49ers ELEVEN games to score a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Still, thanks to a huge 29-yard catch by Anquan Boldin who was in the middle of two Washington receivers, one of whom (Ryan Clark) delivered a brutal hit that Boldin magically absorbed (Clark, on the other hand fell to the grass surrounded by yellow penalty flags) the 49ers were able to get into the red zone, setting up Carlos Hyde for the game-winning touchdown.
So yeah. The Niners won. Mostly thanks to Anquan Boldin who had 9 catches for 137 yards. And also kind of thanks to Colin Kaepernick who completed 20 of 29 for 256 yards, but also had a really brutal interception (by a Washington rookie, no less). Vernon Davis continues to be “meh” with just 3 catches for 21 yards and the running game was pretty nonexistent (Gore: 13 attempts for 36 yards and Hyde: 7 attempts for 16 yards). I mean, I’ll just say it: the 49ers offense was fine, but that’s not the kind of play that wins post-season games. (Though it was great to see them convert both of their fourth-down tries, especially considering both of those drives lead to scores.)
That being said, it must be awfully frustrating for the Niners defense to watch the offense take a mid-game nap each week. Especially when they continue to dominate. Sure, they gave up over 100 rushing yards to Alfred Morris yesterday, but other than that, they looked amazing.
Clearly, it’s a team effort, but I think shout outs must go to Aldon Smith who had two great sacks and popped his own dislocated finger back into place in the second quarter. Justin Smith, Aaron Lynch, and Ray McDonald also all had sacks on RGIII, whom I’m almost starting to feel kind of bad for Kinda wonder if he’s going to get the start next week after his performance. Still, who cares: his suckage might be bad for him, but it was good for us, and that’s all that matters.
It was also lovely to see Ahmad Brooks back in his usual form after last week’s little temper tantrum. It appears he has seen the light and plans to be an unselfish player from now on (guess the idea of taking up the solo sport of golf wasn’t too appealing to him). Seriously though, he recovered RGIII’s fumble (after a Justin Smith sack) on what became the game’s final drive and instead of taking it into the end zone (and giving Washington the ball back), he dropped to the ground, which allowed the offense to kneel down and end the game.
So where does all of this leave us now? It’s all still very much up in the air. I think we all agree that our offense is not playing the way we expected them to this year. And that without great performances by our defense, we’d have lost a lot more than four games.
But we’ve still managed to win seven, which puts us firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot. In fact, the Seahawks beating Arizona yesterday almost kinda opened up the race for first place in the NFC West again. (Honestly, I was hoping for Arizona to win because at 1pm yesterday, I was just hoping for a wild card spot and a Seattle loss would have helped us with that.)
There are still too many games left to try to do all of the math, but the Cardinals still have to play the Seahawks and the 49ers one more time. And the Niners and the Seahawks play each other twice. Basically: I think it was three weeks ago when I said the 49ers had no chance of making the playoffs and then last week when I said maybe we could get a wild card spot, and now I’m saying we have a shot at winning our division. Don’t blame me; blame football.
Up next: The Seattle Seahawks. At home. On Thanksgiving. This game is EVERYTHING. We cannot lose to Seattle at home, which means our offense needs to majorly step it up. And they don’t have a lot of time to do it. Tick tock tick tock, Niners. You don’t want to ruin Thanksgiving for every single 49ers fan out there, do you? That’s what I thought. Let’s gobble gobble those Seachickens right up. Yummy!