Every dog has its day and Sunday the 49ers had their second WTF Dog Day of the year. The first was against the Raiders and this was against the Broncos. And both of them were engineered by Nick Mullens, who has most definitely yanked the backup QB job from CJ Beathard‘s fumble prone fingers.
Of course, he got quite a bit of help from emerging superstar TE George Kittle, who caught seven passes for 210 yards in the first half! The Broncos must have decided at half time that maybe somebody should cover this guy, who was wide open during his rampage. When Kittle was shut out in the second half, a mere five yards shy of Shannon Sharpe‘s NFL record for TEs, the Niners also were shut out.
Kittle did become the first 49er TE to gain over a thousand yards in one season, surpassing Vernon Davis‘s 900+ yards. If he keeps this up, he’ll go down as the greatest TE in team history.
The Broncos came into the game with the supposedly better defense, but it was the no-name Niners that pitched a shutout in the first half. Why the porous 49er defense suddenly became potent is a mystery. They had rookies playing all over the place and doing very well. DJ Reed played nickel corner and led the team with 12 tackles and a sack. Marcell Harris filled in at strong safety and had seven tackles. Of course, Denver was without its number one WR, Emmanuel Sanders, and their other WRs were even more of the nobody variety than the Niner nobodies.
The loss put an end to any notions Denver had of sneaking into the playoffs this year. And it might have cost HC Vance Joseph his job. Not that we care a fig about that, even though he probably has a wife and maybe some kids and they’ll all be uprooted now and forced to live on a position coach’s salary somewhere else in the league while disappearing permanently from the public radar screen.
It’s tempting to think the Niners are poised for another hope inducing late season run of victories, like the five in a row Jimmy Garoppolo had last year, but one look at the upcoming schedule gives some pause to that delusion. Seattle comes to town next week, followed by the Bears (who beat the Rams Sunday), and finally the Rams to end the season. The Rams might be in a position to mail in the final game, but neither the Bears nor Seahawks will.