49er Follies

Normally, with your team out of the playoff race, it would be a good time to look at some of the rookies and backups. Unfortunately, those are the guys who have already been playing for the 49ers lately.

It seems prudent to maybe take a look at backup QB Blaine Gabbert in these final two games. If for no other reason than to see if he’s worth keeping around next year as the backup. And let’s face it; he could hardly play a whole lot worse than Colin Kaepernick has played. And there’s no sense exposing him to needless injury, either.

But that won’t happen. If Gabbert played well, it would make Jim Harbaugh look bad for not sticking him in there when it still counted. And if he played like crap, it would make Trent Baalke look bad for bringing him here in the first place.

It’s been four years since we last had to watch a meaningless game. Maybe the players don’t want to finish dead last in the NFC West, but I can’t say that gives me a lot of juice. The last time we had to scrounge for these kind of small triumphs was 2009, when the team went 8-8 and most of us thought they were on their way up, only to crash and burn in 2010.

While the team plays out its hand, the rest of us will be wondering what sort of clown show spin the inept 49er management team will conduct in January. They’ve proven to be quite good at getting money and saving money, but it’s hard to come up with comparable franchise bungling as we’ve seen from them this year. Does anybody remember any other franchise rewarding a tremendously successful head coach by trying to run him out of town? And that campaign went on well before this season even started.

The team is two Kaepernick failed passes to Michael Crabtree away from holding up two more Lombardi trophies. So, let’s fire the coach! He failed to teach Kaepernick how to throw the ball a foot higher and/or a foot further, or to try looking around to see if someone else might be open. And the coach is abrasive. Goodness. Get him out of here!

Maybe Baalke will get lucky and hire a good coach, but I can’t say I’m optimistic. The new coach won’t have DC Vic Fangio around, so he’ll need to hire a damn good DC, too. Fangio should get Coach of the Year for the job he’s done in 2014. With all the injuries and the suspension to Aldon Smith, Fangio has still managed to cobble together a unit that’s currently ranked number three in the NFL. That’s one hellava job.

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Posted in Game Previews

Seahawks 17, 49ers 7

When you go into a game with third string CBs, backup ILBs, a third string NT, a third string C, a backup RT, two guards wondering where they’ll play next year, and a QB who panics as soon as he finishes his drop back, you’re not going to win many games in the NFL. By the end of the game, the 49ers also lost Frank Gore, Garrett Celek, Carlos Hyde, Ahmad Brooks, and Chris Borland.

Still in all, nice try, Niners. You went down swinging!

The team fought a spirited battle in the first half, taking a 7-3 lead to the locker room, but adrenaline eventually wears off. In the second half, as has happened all year long, the team looked tired, lost their focus, and the flood gates opened. The offense, which looked as good in the first half as it’s looked in many a game, went back into the disarray tank. The O-line stopped blocking, the passes started sailing, the QB couldn’t pull the trigger, they stopped scoring, and the defense ran out of gas and caved in.

As if all that adversity wasn’t enough, Ed Hochuli managed to make his typical game altering brutally mangled penalty call, changing a Seahawks FG situation into a first and goal from the five, and a subsequent Seattle TD that pretty much iced the game.

Not to beat on the obvious, but it just hasn’t been a good year for the Niners — in anything!

On the plus side, for the first time in his career, Colin Kaepernick did not commit a turnover against Seattle. Also, for you futurists, Tank Carradine recorded his first NFL sack.

This was also the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era that the team has lost three games in a row. A common occurrence in previous regimes, for the history challenged members of the audience.

The nightmare 2014 season is now officially over, as the team was eliminated from the playoffs today. What lies ahead promises to be interesting and highly debatable. Or should I say arguable, as debating is a bit too dignified for what goes on in the blogosphere.

The only thing left at this point is to root against those teams each of us may despise. May their seasons end tragically and broken-heartedly! As has our own.

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Posted in Post Game Spread

Custer’s Last Stand

Tuning into the Seattle game this Sunday has all the allure to a 49er fan as a trip to a Third World dentist. Unless you’re a sadomasochist, this is not going to be a pleasant experience.

As I see it, all we need to win this game are two interceptions returned for TDs, three Seattle fumbles deep in their own territory, and Bruce Ellington returning a punt for a TD. Other than that, this looks like a 40+ to 3 type of game, with a tremendous amount of Seahawk gloating and several loss of composure scuffles by the Niners.

Assuming the latter, more probable, outcome, the Niners will fly home eliminated from the 2014 playoffs. There will be talk about players playing the final two games for pride and professionalism, but let’s face it: the players just want to go home for the winter and escape the toxic atmosphere created by the year long Jed York effort to deflate Jim Harbaugh, turn him into a lame duck coach, and show him who’s boss.

Much has been said and will continue to be said about injuries, the players, schemes, and the coaches, but one thing has emerged this year that seems clear: the 49ers’ owner is a gutless little twit who’s far more like his dad John York than he is like his uncle Eddie Debartolo. If his petty tweet throwing the team and its coaches under the bus following the 49ers loss to Seattle wasn’t sorry enough, the following game in Oakland, there were Jed and John leaving the stadium before the game even ended. Say what you will about the jackass owner in Dallas, but even he has never walked out on his team while they were still on the field.

It’s possible the Seahawks will come into this game so overconfident they blow it, but it’s not very likely. They love beating the Niners, for one thing. For another, they still have a great chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Aaron Rodgers might be the only one standing in their way, but Rodgers has shown a streak of Peyton Manningness in recent years — great in the regular season, splat in the playoffs.

But, that’s all down the road a bit. For the moment, despite my pessimism, it’s still possible to say, “Hey, anything can happen! We can win out, sneak into the playoffs, and pull off a Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl miracle!”

It’s also quite possible that two minutes into the second quarter, we’ll be jamming the official fork into 2014 season.

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Posted in Game Previews

Raiders 24, 49ers 13

Posted on December 7, 2014Skeebers

The 49er season, and probably the Jim Harbaugh era, came to an ignominious end Sunday in Oakland. The team is in such disarray and so riddled with injuries that it’s difficult to see them winning another game this season.

The 49ers didn’t just lose to the one win Raiders, they were soundly beaten on both sides of the ball. The defense got no pressure, the makeshift secondary couldn’t cover, the offense ran the ball effectively, but chose to mostly pass ineffectively. It was the Niners who looked like a team that had only won one game all year.

It took most of the season, but the past two opponents finally realized Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman weren’t playing ILB for the Niners this year. The Seahawks and Raiders have single-mindedly torched our backups. Chris Culliver went down with an injury in this game, leaving not a single starting CB in the lineup, and the nickel corner a guy signed off the street a couple of weeks ago, Leon McFadden.

The offensive line lost its starting center a few weeks back, played most of the year without starting RT Anthony Davis, saw Alex Boone turn into a liability, and never got settled the entire season. It’s mercifully over now.

Of course, the Harbaugh-is-gone rumors have swirled round the team all year and clearly cast a pall over the players concentration and focus. These rumors had to have originated with the Niner Front Office, so take a bow suits, your campaign to force out Harbaugh at whatever cost has probably born fruit. Be careful what you wish for, though. If the next HC can’t cut it, guess who’s going to get the blame?

In some ways, this loss is a relief. Hanging to a thread of hope week after week is painful. This team, this year, just didn’t have it.

Not that it matters to most fans, who are going to want to see some blood spilled to pay for this disastrous season. Obviously, that blood will be Harbaugh’s and OC Greg Roman. If Harbaugh goes, it’s likely DC Vic Fangio goes with him. It’ll be square one next season, with a tumultuous offseaon ahead of us.

Time to dig in, load up on the popcorn, and get ready for the fireworks.

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Posted in Post Game Spread

Last Ride of the Harbaugh Gang?

Posted on December 5, 2014Skeebers

Back to football for the moment. There are four games left, they might be interesting, and they might be all we get to see until next August. May as well try to enjoy them, too. We have no idea what we’re going to be getting next year, after Jed York finishes squandering the best asset the organization has had this century.

It’s probably fitting that Sunday’s opponent is the perennially dysfunctional Oakland Raiders. Both franchises are headed up by children who inherited their clubs from the family. York has the edge on Mark Davis, so far. He’s gotten the 49ers a new stadium, minus any semblance of Home Field Advantage, but roaringly hi-tech and suitable for the league to use it for Super Bowls. Davis is still staggering around with Oakland, toilet problems, and a team that has won only one game this year.

I occasionally see citizens walking around wearing Raider paraphernalia and I can’t help thinking, “Aren’t you embarrassed?”

Then I remember they are Raider fans and consciousness has no relevance in their existence.

From 2003 to 2010 these two franchises battled for bottom feeder of the year. Tampa Bay whipped both of them in the 2002 playoffs and Super Bowl, sending each spiraling down the path to ignominy. The 49ers broke out of the muck in 2011, but the Raiders just dug in deeper.

It’s ironic that these two teams play this weekend. Both are coming off embarrassing ass kickings. The Raiders are 1-11 and have nothing but pride and Bay Area bragging rights to play for. The Niners still have flickering hopes of making the playoffs and this game is vital to keep those hopes alive.

But it’s also possibly a crossroads moment for each franchise. If the current rumors turn out to be true, Jim Harbaugh, the man who raised the 49ers out of the muck, is liable to step across the conference and begin to raise the Raiders out of the same mess next year. What happens to the Niners after he leaves is anybody’s guess. But a descent back into shitsville is not out of the question.

At kickoff, though, all the politics go out the window for three hours. The only question is whether there will be more violence on the field or in the stadium. The game should be a 49er walkover, but we all know how that’s gone lately. May as well have one more nail-biter before the heading to Seattle for either the final nail in the coffin or the most stunning victory of the Harbaugh era.

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2014 Schedule
1. 9/7 @ DAL: W 28-17
2. 9-14 vs CHI: L 20-28
3. 9/21 @ ARI: L 14-23
4. 9-28 vs PHI: W 26-21
5. 10/5 vs KC: W 22-17
6. 10/13 @ STL: W 31-17
7. 10/19 @ DEN: L 17-42
8. BYE
9. 11/2 vs STL: L 10-13
10. 11/9 @ NO: W 27-24
11. 11/16 @ NYG: W 16-10
12. 11/23 vs WAS: W 17-13
13. 11/27 vs SEA: L 3-19
14. 12/7 @ OAK: L 13-24
15. 12/14 @ SEA: L 7-17
16. 12/20 vs SD: L 35-38
17. 12/28 vs ARI
2014 Prognostications
NJ49er: 11-5
Berger: 11-5
Grumpy: 10-5-1
Rob: 13-3
Skeebers: 12-4
Winder: 10-6
Earl: 12-4
Mr Fletch: 12-4
Phil Fan: 11-5
Chuck: 11-3-2
Bullit: 11-5
Bigjon: 13-3
Tony: 14-2
RTFirefly: 11-4-1

2014 Draft Class
1 Jimmie Ward, S/CB
2 Carlos Hyde, RB
3 Marcus Martin, C
3 Chris Borland, ILB
3 Brandon Thomas, OG
4 Bruce Ellington, WR
4 Dontae Johnson, CB
5 Aaron Lynch, LB
5 Keith Reaser, CB
6 Kenneth Acker, CB
7 Kaleb Ramsey, DE
7 Trey Millard, FB