Packers 33, 49ers 30

The 49ers redeemed themselves as a legitimate NFL entity before a national audience Monday night in Green Bay, even though the game oozed away from them in the final four minutes.

Fans who enjoy good defense saw nothing much of it from either team, which is what the NFL seems to prefer these days. The 49ers had 400 yards  of offense and the Packers 520.

In the end, it was once again self-inflicted mistakes that did in the locals. Two early fumbles by DJ Reed and Kyle Juszczyk. An interception of CJ Beathard in the final minute that gave Aaron Rodgers a final stab at winning the game in regulation. And then a defensive penalty on Dickhead Sherman which wiped out a third and plenty sack by Deforest Buckner that brought the Packers off life support and led to the game winning FG as time expired.

The loss kept the Niners in the basement of the NFC West, but gave them some reasonable hope of not remaining there as the season plays out. And Beathard’s performance, on the heels of his nightmare game against the Cardinals, might have salvaged his NFL career.

Part of his success was due to the running game, which piled up 174 yards between Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert and allowed the play action game to be viable. HC Kyle Shanahan usually seems to consider running the ball a somewhat pedestrian effort, but Monday night he gave it proper respect. Did he learn anything? We’ll see next week.

DC Robert Saleh had no such redemption. His group had yet another abysmal evening. Then again, there aren’t many DCs in the league who are enjoying much success this year. The Rams esteemed DC, Wade Phillips is getting torched every week, despite having a ferocious D-line. We’ll see these two square off next week in a game that will probably resemble the same kind of track meet we just saw in Green Bay.

In the meantime, hail to the losers. They did not embarrass themselves, or us, Monday night.

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The bloom is off the rose. The honeymoon is over. The sky is falling – once again.

Yes, folks, after a brief vacation in the Kool-Aid tropics, Gloom and Doom have resumed their lengthy stay in the House of York. GM John Lynch has not brought much to the table. Kyle Shanahan is looking afflicted with Norv Turner Syndrome – good OC, bad HC.

And, of course, there’s DC Robert Saleh. His seat at the table is getting quite warm. His side of the line has received the most help from the draft and free agency, yet it has not improved much at all. It might even be worse. Some of that is Lynch’s fault, some former GM Trent Baalke, and mostly it’s Saleh’s head that is likely to get rolled down the road out of town if a scapegoat is needed at the end of the year.

Obviously, a team that loses its star QB and star RB is not  going to have the kind of successful year they had envisioned having. The blogosphere seemed to understand that initially and reluctantly lowered its expectations to suit events. But that doesn’t excuse a complete fiasco, which is what last Sunday’s game was. Relentless penalties and turnovers have nothing to do with having a wounded team. They have to do with a poorly coached team.

Next Monday night, the 49ers travel to Green Bay, where nobody expected them to win even before the injuries occurred. Now, the game seems like it could be a cringe-worthy nightmare. An epic blow out.

Or, it’s a golden opportunity for the team to redeem itself on national TV. They don’t have to win to earn respect, but another ten penalty, five turnover egg-layer will definitely make the Niners anathema to Prime Time TV and the hometown crowd in Santa Clara. And the rumblings for a scalp will become a seismic event.

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Cardinals 28, 49ers 18

The 49ers won the battle for last place in the NFC West Sunday in Santa Clara by drubbing the Arizona Cardinals for three hours while cleverly keeping themselves off the scoreboard in the process of this complete butt whipping.

It was a tour de force effort of self-flagellation. Using bargain basement wide receivers, third string running backs, a porous offensive line, and a backup quarterback, the team nevertheless humiliated the lads from Arizona in every category but the scoreboard. They ran 92 plays to Arizona’s 49, held a TOP edge of 40 to 20, and a yardage dominance of 447 to 220.

How did these commandos accomplish a ten point defeat to secure last place? Tut-tut. They simply violated every precept of Jim Harbaugh‘s secret to winning football games: HANG ON TO THE EFFING FOOTBALL!!!!

QB CJ Beathard led the way, as leaders do, by heaving two interceptions and fumbling twice. Third string RB Raheem Mostert accounted for the other turnover by fumbling away his first carry of the day.

The Niners actually had the lead after an excellent game opening TD drive. But it only lasted ten seconds. After a botched extra point (a foreshadowing of the wondrous ignominy that would follow), Arizona took the following kickoff and promptly scored on a 75 yard TD pass, courtesy of CB Ahkello Witherspoon‘s traditionally inept coverage and FS Adrian Colbert‘s asleep at the wheel assistance.

If this game were played in Nevada, there would probably be a point-shaving investigation. But it was played in Santa Clara, where awful football has become the soup du jour. In fact, the Niners have not provided a single winning season to the gullible Santa Clarabels since moving there from San Francisco nearly five years ago. I’m assuming that will be the case this year, too. And it’s likely there will be no dissenting opinions from the audience. Even from the most optimistic specimens at large that might live in Florida!!!

With upcoming games against the Packers and Rams, the 49ers will not be in danger of losing their grip on the NFC West cellar. But after that, there will be a rematch with the Cardinals in Arizona. By that time, the Niners will be 1-6 and the Cardinals have a very good shot at the same record. It will be an epic showdown of inferior football and might lead Arizona to provide free sleeping bags for the money wasting idiots that actually attend the game.

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It’s In The Cards

The 49ers have been hit hard by injuries lately, but it hasn’t affected the quality of their poor play. The backup players have proved to be nearly as semi-talented as the starters they have replaced.

That would be good news, if it wasn’t also bad news. It means both the starters and the backups, predominantly as regards the secondary, are all essentially backup quality players. And without a pass rush to help cover their deficiencies, they’re getting burned every week and will likely continue that trend for the rest of the season.

Currently, with 25% of the season entombed into history, the Niners rank 12th on offense and 27th on defense. This should make this week’s game at home against the Cardinals interesting, since the Cards are ranked 32nd offensively and 15th defensively. A battle of opposites. It’s also a battle for last place in the NFC West.

This is not where we expected the team to be at the quarter pole, grubbing around for last place again, but perhaps it’s still a little early to throw in the towel. The season really comes down to whether the 49ers can beat the Seahawks and the Cardinals. If  they can beat the Cardinals, then four of the next six games are winnable and would put them with a 5-5 record at the BYE week.

Unfortunately, a couple of other things have also changed since the start of the season. Then, it looked like if the Niners survived the tough opening schedule, they could make a late season run. DC Robert Saleh thought so, springing a stiffy at the thought of it. But that late season run doesn’t look like such a given anymore. The Bears are no longer a pushover, nor the Buccaneers, and the burial of the Seahawks  might have been premature, too.

At any rate, Sunday’s game figures to be the most winnable game this month. A loss here and you can forget about saving that towel. It’ll be lights out for the 2018 season.

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Chargers 29, 49ers 27

Sunday’s 49ers looked a lot like last year’s 49ers. Gritty, competitive, never-say-die, back-and-forth nail-biter but short end of the stick.  Just enough positive play to stay in the game and just enough mistakes to lose.

CJ Beathard filled in admirably for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, throwing for nearly 300  yards while getting pounded on way too many plays. The two game-turning interceptions charged to him were not his fault.

The first occurred when Garrett Celek used his hands to rebound a perfectly catchable ball into the grateful hands of the Chargers’ Trevor Williams, who he ran it almost all the way to the other end of the field, where Los Angeles settled for a field goal instead of the Niners getting one or even a TD. A six to ten point swing in what ended as a two point game.

The second int was Joe Staley‘s fault, for getting hurt and allowing Garry Gilliam to replace him and give up the game ending sack, which whoofled the ball into the air for Chargers’ DE Isaac Rochell to cradle it lovingly to the turf.

HC Kyle Shanahan deserves a bowl full of blame himself, both for his strange game plan and losing two Challenges, which left him with no time outs available at the two minute warning, allowing Philip Rivers to kneel out the game. RB Matt Breida entered the game tied for the league lead in rushing, but only got nine carries against the Chargers. With a backup QB in the game, one would think the rushing attack would have been more prominently featured. Instead, Beathard went back to pass 37 times.

Once again, 49er players limping off the field injured was a common sight. Staley and Dante Pettis were the most prominently wounded fellows. We might be tempted to call this endless string of injuries the past few years as the Curse of McCloughan. Former GM Scot McCloughan made it clear he favored big guys to smaller guys, one reason being big guys don’t get injured as much. The current regime seems to lean more toward smaller, quicker players.

Or maybe it’s just the Curse of that other fellow who went 49-21 here a few years back.  He had the uncanny ability to invariably win close games, not lose them. An underrated skill that our current HC has yet to develop.

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2018 Schedule
9-9, L: Vikings 24, 49ers 16
9-16, W: 49ers 30, Lions 27
9-23, L: Chiefs 38, 49ers 27
9-30, L: Chargers 29, 49ers 27
10-7, L: Cardinals 28, 49ers 18
10-15, L: Packers 33, 49ers 30

10-21: vs. Rams, 5:20 pm, Sun.
10-28: @ Cardinals, 1:25 pm, Sun.
11-1: vs. Raiders, 5:20 pm, Thur.
11-12: vs. Giants, 5:15 pm, Mon.
11-25: @ Tampa, 10:00 am, Sun.
12-2: @ Seattle, 5:20 pm, Sun.
12-9: vs. Broncos, 1:25 pm, Sun.
12-16: vs. Seattle, 1:25 pm, Sun.
12-23: vs. Bears, 1:05 pm, Sun.
12-30: @ Rams, 1:25 pm, Sun.
2018 Draft Class
1. OT Mike McGlinchey
2. WR Dante Pettis
3. LB Fred Warner
3. DB Tarvarius Moore
4. DE Kentavius Street
5. CB D.J. Reed
6. S Marcell Harris
7. DT Jullian Taylor
7. WR Richie James
2018 Prognostications
Bakkentom: 8-8
Bullit: 9-7
Grumpy: 8-8
Mr Fletch: 7-9
NJ49er: 9-7
Skeebers: 10-6
Winder: 8-8

Spitblood: 0-16
Rob!!!: 16-0