Nine months of thirsty optimism for the 49ers glorious march back into the NFL playoffs in 2010 was rewarded Sunday when the team squeezed out one of the nastiest looking foul specimens you would ever want to have the misfortune to find deposited on your doorstep with your foot in it. Just flat awful.
In one momentous game, the team managed to completely destroy the hopes of its fan base, the charisma of Mike Singletary, the patience with Jimmy Raye, and the last vestiges of good will toward Alex Smith. For the rest of this season, the 49ers and its coaches and players will have to earn any respect they get, for none will be provided in advance. The honeymoon with Singletary is over.
On Sunday in Seattle, this team needed a leader to step up and no one responded. Certainly not Smith, who looked completely frazzled the entire second half. He looked like a rookie playing in his first game, overwhelmed by events. Any leadership value he had acquired in the off season went straight out the window as his team unraveled around him.
It was a complete team wide melt down. The vaunted defense, playing against a patchwork Seattle offensive line, generated no pash rush whatsoever. Just a sinful performance. Nate Clements made one good play to start the game and then stunk it up from there on out. Tarrell Brown was terrible.
The brand new beefed up O-line looked no better than last year’s model, unable to get any push or open any holes. Michael Crabtree looked like a guy who didn’t care much for being on this team, just like he did during the pre-season. His lackadaisical attitude and indifference to the playbook directly resulted in two TDs — for Seattle.
When is this team going to get more concerned about scoring points than making them? In two Red Zone possessions, it was once again the stacked formation and plow into the line for no gain. Not a whit of play calling imagination. On the two critical downs, a 3rd and goal and a 4th and goal, with a whole shit wad of offensive weapons to choose from, Raye put the ball in the hands of the worst offensive player on the team — Moran “Stumblebum” Norris. Disaster.
After owning the first quarter, and getting six measly points out of it, the ball finally and inevitably bounced Seattle’s way and they seized on it and administered a thorough butt whipping for the final three quarters, scoring thirty-one unanswered points. Just pathetic.
The Smith Haters Club may be an unkind bunch, but their opinion of Smith certainly looked valid Sunday. With all the weapons he needs to show us what he’s got, what he lacked the most on Sunday was leadership and poise. Those are fatal flaws. His accuracy was fine for the first three drives, then disappeared in a hail of overthrown passes and resignation as the pressure to right the ship mounted.
But the most haunting nightmare that this game hinted at is far worse than simply “Smith sucks.” This team is in its fifth year of rebuilding, the year it is all supposed to come together. Yet Sunday’s game raised the ugly notion that the players this team has rebuilt with are simply not good enough. Either that, or their talents are being completely squashed by a clueless coaching staff, from Singletary on down.
It will be a long and bitter week in Ninerland. This site will no doubt attempt in the coming days to inject some light into the gloom. But not today. Today is a just one lousy ass Monday. About as bad as it can be.