Ice Bowl Weekend

The NFL season has continued without us these past two weekends. A common occurrence during the ill-fated ownership years of the York family.

The current regime has been to the playoffs once in four years, and the Harbaugh regime went there three times in four years. All the other years and eras: pink slip.

Of course, 49er fans are probably less disappointed in not making the playoffs than Seattle fans are about making the playoffs and immediately, ignominiously face-planting – once again.

Should be a busy offseason for the Niners. We don’t know who’s coming, who’s going, or who’s staying – including the coaches. Next year’s team will look somewhat different than this year’s team which looked different every week.

We’ve now seen, in addition to the Seahawks demise, the AFC South dismissed, the NFC West sent packing, the AFC North (three of them!) flicked aside, and the NFC South battle of the really old QBs who played like two really old guys. Another year and another Saints playoff meltdown.

Speaking of melt downs, let’s hear it for the Houston Texans. Wow. Completely toxic franchise right now. Nobody wants to play there and any coach taking over the HC job has got to be desperate for an opportunity. Deshaun Watson wants out and rumors are flying in every franchise that’s QB needy. The 49ers are included in these trade scenarios, but Jimmy Garoppolo has a no-trade clause in his contract and there’s no way he would ever approve a trade to Houston. That would be career suicide.

Amazing how a QB can lead his team to the SB one year and be thrown under the bus the next year like he was garbage. Then again, since the average attention span of cretins at large in the internet age is about five seconds, I suppose a year is like an eternity.

Title games this weekend will both be frigid affairs, one in Green Bay and one in Kansas City. The popsicle vendors will have the day off. May the best teams win and who really gives a shit out here in Ninerville, where the season ended way back in September.

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Seahawks 26, 49ers 23

The 49ers ended their 2020 season the same way they ended their 2019 season. They gave up three TDs in the 4th quarter to blow a ten point lead and lose a game they had handily controlled for three quarters.

Of course, the two losses had very dissimilar effect on us poor fans. The 2019 loss caused severe indigestion for months, maybe even years. But Sunday’s loss went down as easily as a plate of prunes on a blocked butt. And the team moved higher on the 2021 Draft board, which is even one of the few positive developments to occur in this ill-fated season.

DC Robert Saleh is evidently on his way out the door to become the HC of one team or another in the league, and I will not be sad to see him go. This choking in the 4th quarter business has become a tired act.

While we’re at it, HC Kyle Shanahan is getting a bit too close to earning the same rep as his DC. The Three Quarters genius and the Fourth Quarter doofus.

There’s a word for this type of behavior, but it escapes me at the moment. Something about premature something or other.

Meanwhile, our old friend Alex Smith came back from the dead this year to bring Washington back from the dead and into the playoffs. Perhaps Washington will settle on ZOMBIES as their new franchise moniker. Smitty has become the Marty Schottenheimer of NFL QBs. Good enough to get you into the postseason, but not good enough to do any damage once you get there.

And the season from hell has officially ended. There will be a lot of comings and goings this offseason, which may or may not be entertaining, but at least none of it will involve torn ACLs, hamstring pulls, or high ankle sprains. For that, we’ll have to wait until next August.

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49ers 20, Cardinals 12

The 49ers finally found a way to corral Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on Saturday in Arizona. All it took was losing their star pass rusher and three quarters of the secondary, then starting their 3rd string QB and RB while missing their number two WR and limiting their number one WR to one catch.

Presto! The team also decided to rub it in by having kicker extraordinaire Robbie Gould shank two FGs and an extra point, which left seven points off the scoreboard.

The 49er offense boiled down to three guys: CJ BeathardGeorge Kittle, and Jeff Wilson. Beathard threw for 182 yards, Kittle caught 4 passes for 92 yards, and Wilson ripped off 183 yards rushing plus another 21 as a receiver.

Tarvarius Moore filled in for Jimmie Ward and he was making plays all over the field. Ahkello Witherspoon subbed in for Richard Sherman and the much-maligned CB played well, even making a game saving end zone interception late in the fourth quarter. Jason Verrett held Arizona’s top WR, DeAndre Hopkins, to 8 catches for a measly 48 yards.

The loss may have knocked the Cardinals out of the playoffs, which would allow Niner fans to enjoy the misery of an opponent instead of the misery of themselves. AZ would need to beat the fading Rams next week and have the Bears lose to Green Bay in order to slither into the final postseason slot. Most likely, it will be the Bears who get sent home early.

The final game of the year against the Seahawks should have been a doozy, but instead is probably meaningless to either team. The NFC East winner will have either a 7-9 or a 6-10 record, with only the Eagles eliminated from the mix.

With one game left for the regular season, it looks like the NFL, despite long odds and a few blatantly unfair games, will succeed in getting an entire season in the books. Too bad. This is one year I would not have minded seeing the season tossed into the toilet.

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Cowboys 41, 49ers 33

The 49ers were officially eliminated from the 2020 playoffs Sunday in Arizona. Nick Mullens played Santa Claus to the Dallas Cowboys, gifting them with two interceptions and a fumble for 17 points. Richie James kicked in a fumble, too, for another 7 points. And if you’ve never seen an onside kick returned for a touchdown, you came to the right game, as the Niner special teams performed just such a fluke to send us all home muttering and incoherent.

The loss also guaranteed that the 49ers will finish the season with a losing record. For the third time in Kyle Shanahan‘s four years as the HC.

This is exactly the career track of former HC Bill Walsh, except Walsh won his SB outing and Kyle did not. Walsh went to the NFC Title game in his fifth year and launched a 17 year run of 10+ victories per year, racking up two more SB titles before retiring after the 1988 season. Shanahan has his work cut out for him if he wants to continue emulating Walsh’s career.

If you look at the stats, it would appear the 49ers completely dominated this game in all areas. Then you get down to that lone fatal stat: Turnovers = 4.

On the never ending injury front, Raheem Mostert sprained his ankle yet again and limped off the field, while Jimmie Ward tried to knock Ceedee Lamb out of the game, but instead wobbled himself off with a concussion. Mostert’s injury forced the team to insert Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon into the game, praying they wouldn’t get injured bad enough to prevent cutting them both as soon as the offseason arrives. This appears to have been successful.

Only two more games until we close the book on this awful year. The team could wreck the season for either the Cardinals or the Seahawks, or both, but most likely neither. 5-11 seems where this mongrel is headed. It hasn’t been a totally lost season, at least. The Patriots were also eliminated from the playoffs Sunday. We take our pleasure where we can.

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Washington 23, 49ers 15

The 49ers bid farewell to the 2020 season Sunday in Arizona, kindly gifting Washington with a victory which kept them in first place in the NFC East. Nick Mullens was the most generous giver, tossing a pick six and dribbling a fumble six.

Not sure about you guys, but I’ve seen enough of Mullens, quite frankly. He’s the same guy he was in 2017, 2018, and now again in 2020. A QB who does just enough nice things to whet your appetite, but mostly comes out on the short end of the scoreboard at the end of the day.

There has to be a reason  CJ Beathard never gets to play and there are only two choices: CJ is even more awful than Mullens or he’s being kept under wraps to kill his free agency appeal so he can come back next year and replace Mullens in the awful backup role.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Niner game without the usual assortment of injuries occurring, and this game was no different. In fact, Deebo Samuel got the ball rolling right off the bat on the first play of the game by roaring downfield for a nine yard gain and then limping to the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Thanks, Deebo. Great job.

The only guy who seems to be motoring along oblivious to the injury bug and ineptitude around him is Brandon Aiyuk. He had another quietly great game with 10 receptions for 119 yards. A stat that is becoming common place for him. Bullit can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’ve had a 1,000 yard receiver in Ninerville for quite some time. Aiyuk has an outside chance to get there this year, but he’ll most likely become a regular next year and in the years to come.

Other than that, a wasted year for the 49ers, with a challenging offseason and uncertain future coming up in 2021. As for 2020, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

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2020 Schedule
9-13: L Cardinals 24, 49ers 20
9-20: W 49ers 31, Jets 13
9-27: W 49ers 36, Giants 9

10-4: L Eagles 25, 49ers 20
10-11: L Dolphins 43, 49ers 17
10-18: W 49ers 24, Rams 16
10-25: W 49ers 33, Patriots 6

11-1: L Seahawks 37, 49ers 27
11-5: L Packers 34, 49ers 17
11-15: L Saints 27, 49ers 13

BYE

11-29: W 49ers 23, Rams 20

12-7: L Bills 34, 49ers 24
12-13: L Washington 23, 49ers 15
12-20: L Cowboys 41, 49ers 33
12-26: W 49ers 20, Cardinals 12

1-3: L Seahawks 26, 49ers 23

2020 Draft Class
1. DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
1. WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
5. OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
6. TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
7. WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
 
2020 Prognostications (Mulligan Version)
WINNERS:
Bullit: 6-10
NJ49er: 6-10

LOSERS:
Skeebers: 7-9
Winder: 4-12

ABSTAINERS:
Grumpy: DNP
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