by Daisy Barringer
Confession: I was not looking forward to watching last night’s game against the Rams. Three hours of 49ers’ football on a Thursday night felt a lot more like a punishment than a party. And when Brian Hoyer threw an interception on the first play of the game, I resigned myself to the fact that it was going to be a long night. A very long night.
But here’s the thing: When I’m wrong, I admit I’m wrong. And I was wrong. Last night’s Thursday Night Football game was actually enjoyable. In fact, during the fourth quarter, I found myself yelling at the television, something I haven’t done much of in the past couple of years. And while that hiatus of random screaming outbursts was something both my neighbors and dog really enjoyed, for me it was depressing. Because if you’re not yelling at the television, it means not that your team is doing something wrong (you’d be yelling at them for that), but that they’re just doing nothing worth caring about at all.
So yeah, it felt really, really great. For the first time in a long time, I was invested. And I forgot how exhilarating it is for there to be meaningful football moments that have a legitimate impact on the game.
Would we get the touchdown on fourth-and-goal with just over two minutes left to come within two points of the Rams? (Yes, thanks to Carlos Hyde.) Would we convert the tying two-point conversion? (Nope. Hoyer would throw an interception.) Would we recover the onside kick? (OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING?) And sure, ultimately, the 49ers failed to get within field goal range (hello, very questionable offensive pass interference call on Trent Taylor), but it didn’t even really matter because at least it finally seemed like everyone was trying.
Well, everyone except the defense that is. Last week the D looked pretty decent while the offense was stinking up the joint. This week the two traded places. Granted, the defense was banged up and exhausted from the game in Seattle just four days before, but these back-to-back games are part of the deal, and they just can’t allow a QB like Jared Goff complete 22 of 28 passes for 292 yards, and three TDs (not to mention sacking him exactly zero times). Also, congrats if you have Todd Gurley on your fantasy team since he was able to score three TDs, including two on the ground. What a gift.
(Seriously though: Thursday Night Football needs to go the way of other terrible decisions, like Crystal Pepsi, Betamax, and pretty much every guy I’ve ever dated. It’s bad for the players. It’s bad for the game. And it’s not even that good for the NFL considering the ratings as of late.)
Still, I really am willing to give this very injured defense a pass Let’s just hope the long week allows everyone to rest and get healthy because a bunch of guys were knocked out of the game last night, including three who suffered concussions (Tartt, Coyle, and Carradine).
(I know no one wants to hear this, but it’s becoming harder and harder to watch this sport knowing what these guys are doing to their brains. And yes, in theory they have all of the information and it’s their choice to make, but considering the prefrontal cortex doesn’t finish developing until around the age of 25, I’d argue that they aren’t actually armed with the ability to weigh the risks and rewards. Anyway, it’s a problem and I don’t know how the NFL is going to last if it doesn’t address it.)
Okay, back to happy stuff like HOW MUCH DO WE LOVE PIERRE GARCON RIGHT NOW? He caught seven passes for 142 yards, including an 18-yard catch where he managed to just scrape his feet inbounds. The 49ers receivers have been dropping some dumb passes the last couple of weeks, so it was so refreshing to see a guy who was clearly energized and ready to play some football. We’re paying him a lot, so I’m glad to see him truly earning his paychecks. And hopefully inspiring some other guys at the same time.
All in all, it was a fun game to watch. I fancy myself more a defensive struggle kind of girl, but it’s hard to argue with this excitement of a high scoring game where teams are consistently within one score of each other.
And (here’s where those of you who have been pissed that I’m being so negative about the team get mad at me again) the truth is, it’s actually better that the 49ers lost. Yes, in the moment, I would have preferred the excitement of a win, but in the moment I also think that Doritos are delicious and I should definitely have that fifth cocktail. Unfortunately, just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
In the case of the 2017 San Francisco 49ers what’s good for them—and for the fans—is that they lose.
“Ohmygod, it’s so lame to root for draft picks,” you’re furiously typing in the comments. And younger Daisy would have agreed with you. (See: undeveloped prefrontal cortex.) Older Daisy understands that sometimes you have to suffer in order to succeed.
The 2017 San Francisco 49ers are all about suffering. We have a temporary quarterback. A roster that has some talent, for sure, but nothing like the teams that will make it to the playoffs. I know it’s felt like we’ve been rebuilding ever since Harbaugh left, but I think the sad reality is that those years were all just a complete and total wash. This is truly our first year of rebuilding.
If we’re buying into the whole “brick by brick” motto the 49ers marketing team is pushing so hard, then literally this team has only laid the first couple of bricks. It’s going to take thousands more before they’ve created a road that will take them anywhere near the Super Bowl. Still, it’s at least nice to believe they’re actually working on it. That’s not something I’ve felt for a long time.
Next Week: Enjoy your Sunday because we’ve got 10 days before the (0-3) 49ers face off against the (1-1) Cardinals in Arizona. The good news is that we get 10 days of rest while the Cardinals have to play on Monday night. The “bad” news is that I’m pretty sure we’ll still lose. But maybe not by much.
All previous Daisy Does the Niners columns on SFist.