Big game this weekend. As big as it gets in Palookaville, that is. Are the 49ers closer to the marginally decent team we saw against Minnesota? Or nearer the fiasco bunch featured in Pittsburgh? Are they a 3 win team or a 6 win team? Anybody getting goosebumps?
There’s no chance of a 49ers’ blow out win, but a close game, win or lose, would send a message to the NFC West that this team might win a game or two in the division this year. But another lopsided loss would get every team on the schedule circling the day they face the once powerful Niners.
Lots of sound bites this week about how Colin Kaepernick gets to be “himself” this year. He isn’t being asked to do things outside his “character.” When asked to elaborate, Kap walked off the stage in a huff. This looks a lot like the old “himself” character, it appears to me. Reporters speculated that the new “himself,” which Kap said he knew best how to be himself, had something to do with the passing “pocket” thing. The mystery remains unsolved. For the moment. Knowing those pesky reporters, it’s a mystery that might get beaten to death over the course of the season, prompting HC Jim Tomsula to regret ever mentioning the dang nonsense in the first place.
Another sound bite Tomsula might grow to regret is the pet phrase “Own it, fix it, move on.” We heard that quite a bit this week. While it’s always possible to own things, and to move on from them, it is not always possible to fix them. Not when you don’t have the players or coaching skills to concoct a remedy.
Arizona likes to throw the ball deep, much like the Steelers did quite successfully last Sunday. Will our shell-shocked CBs play 10 yards off the line of scrimmage this week? Will the safeties turn and run backward at the snap of the ball? Will Larry Fitzgerald feast on the open mid-range passes afforded by back pedaling, fearful DBs?
On the stat sheet, the 49er offense seems to be doing well. But they’re 24th in points scored and most of their yardage and points have occurred in garbage time. Against a beaten Viking team while closing out the game and against a soft second half defense in Pittsburgh in a game that was 29-3 at the start of the fourth quarter. If the Niners don’t put up a TD until the 4th quarter against Arizona, it’s going to be another rout.