That was butt ugly, folks. Is it too soon to panic?
The 49ers lost to the Giants 26-3, but it could have been a lot worse if the Giants hadn’t laughed their way through the fourth quarter.
The game started out well, but two long drives netted only three points. Then Alex Smith threw a surprising pick and it was all Giants from that point on. Smith added two more picks along the way, following up his sterling game against the Bills by laying his biggest egg in two years.
For the second time this season, the defense got toasted. That’s a trend, not an aberration. They are not as good as last year, which is also a trend. In the past five years, the 49ers have followed every great defensive season by regressing the next year. The same holds true for Vic Fangio’s track record as a DC. They are not getting any pass rush, Justin Smith and Aldon Smith are not terrorizing anyone, the secondary is dropping picks, not making them, and that’s only when they manage to be near the ball when it’s caught by the opposing team.
Our special teams are no longer special. They’re giving up long returns routinely and David Akers has lost his magic toe. The team is not winning the turnover battle and the regression to norm prophecies are unfortunately looking like solid, statistical science.
The razzle dazzle plays that have marked the Jim Harbaugh/Greg Roman era look brilliant when they work and clumsy, momentum killing nonsense when they don’t. Whether they work or not seems to depend on whether the opposing team is well coached or not. The Giants are well coached. They stuffed the vaunted Colin Kaepernick wildcat like it was nothing more than a house pet. Offense is a rhythm game and the team has gotten away from that concept with its infatuation with gadgetry.
Even more disturbing is that in both the Minnesota loss and the Giants debacle, both our offensive and defensive lines have been outplayed. Perhaps it’s time to install some Singletary focus on the basics and put the cute shit on the shelf. After the game, even Harbaugh questioned the disruptive nature of the in-and-out burger QB shuffle.
Watching the Giants WRs haul in any kind of pass that was remotely near them made me wonder if any 49er WR would be anything more than a 4th stringer on the New York team. Our WRs did better than in last year’s NFC championship game, but the only one who looked dangerous Sunday was Randy Moss, and we hardly play him, for some increasingly mysterious reason.
Last year’s team was focused and resilient, as witnessed by the six fourth quarter comebacks. This year’s team lacks that grit. Two games have not gone according to plan and the team has folded in both of them, looking confused and bewildered in the process.
It’s time to put away the we-belong-in-the-super-bowl hangover from last year. The Giants look fully capable of repeating. The 49ers don’t even look like a serious challenger. With three straight division games on the horizon, even making the playoffs will look like a stretch if the team doesn’t hunker down and win these division games.
The team will probably be without LT Joe Staley for the Seattle game Thursday night. Staley suffered a concussion against the Giants, meaning RG Alex Boone will move to LT and big lug Leonard Davis will fill in at RG. Not a good time for an offensive line shuffle.
All in all, the worst game of the Harbaugh era. We just said that a few weeks ago about the Minnesota game. But this game was way more worse. If we’re saying it again come Friday morning, both the team and its coaches will be feeling the Nolan/Singletary heat.