The earth shook. The mountains trembled. Zeus fondled his lightning bolt. Time stood still. And there it was. With eleven minutes left in the 4th quarter in Seattle, the 49ers took a 9-6 lead. Zounds!
Then Russell Wilson said, “Screw this,” and single-handedly pushed his team down the field for the go ahead touchdown with seven minutes still remaining to play. Their kicker graciously missed the extra point, leaving room for the Niners to tie it with only a FG instead of needing a TD for the win.
Brian Hoyer responded with a brisk three and out, the Niners punted with almost five minutes left on the clock, and never saw the ball again. That’s six straight years of futility in Seattle.
After two games, it’s clear the 49er defense is vastly improved. Just how much will have to wait until they play a team with a modestly proficient NFL offense. Which neither Carolina nor Seattle has demonstrated yet.
However, after two games, the Niner offense has yet to score a TD. Heck, they’ve yet to put up as much as ten points.
There’s a twisted logic at work here, but I’m danged if I can put my finger on it. Former HC Jim Harbaugh roared into town with the reputation of an offensive guru, and he did indeed improve the offense. But the backbone of his team was the defense. Now we have Kyle Shanahan with the big offensive credentials, yet his offense is limping badly while his defense thrives.
At the end of the day, it’s another loss and an 0-2 start to the 2017 season. The post-Harbaugh Niners are 7-27 through 2+ seasons. They’re in last place in the NFC West and will remain there for at least another two weeks — either alone or in a shared occupation. The Rams come to town Thursday, and it will take a win over them to avoid being the only winless team in the division.
The Rams are 1-1 and have shown remarkable offensive life after last season’s epic fail. An example of an offensive guru (Sean McVay) who actually came in and gurued. The Niners beat the Rams twice last year. They will have their work cut out for them to duplicate that this year.