Born To Lose

I thought I’d feel okay if the 49ers lost Sunday’s game against Dallas, as long as the team was respectable. They were, but I’m not. Losing sucks. Especially when you have a chance to win and don’t. Something that the 49ers have accomplished with numbing regularity the past few years.

Once again, we have a team with no pass defense, no pass blocking, no run blocking, and a better than average pass rush but not a dominant one. The only part of the game the 49ers do well year in, year out, is stuff the run. Nice. But no cigar in the fourth quarter when teams zoom by us time after time. All of which has us endlessly stuck in mediocrity. A team that can hang with anybody for three quarters, then stink out the place in the fourth. Neither the offense nor the defense can close out a game.

The team looked good in the first half, offensively and defensively, all the way up to that super dumb offsides penalty by Ahmad Brooks, which gave the Cowboys one more play, which turned out to be a touchdown that brought them right back into the game, just before half time. From that point on, it was all Cowboys. Our offensive line promptly turned into a sieve and so did the secondary.

Maybe we’ll get better as the year goes along, but yesterday made it clear there are no coaching miracles in Jim Harbaugh’s hidden bag of tricks. Nor Vic Fangio’s. There are no miracles available to a team that just can’t pass block. Period. There might have been some inspirational gems dialed up yesterday, but they would have been buried from view by yet another avalanche descending on our helpless QB. Maybe the O-line will improve, but that has become a yearly mantra, and sounds pretty hollow at the moment. It would take a QB as mobile and elusive as Michael Vick to make this offense a force right now, and Alex Smith is not that guy. Smith might thrive behind a solid O-line, but there won’t be one here this year, or maybe next year either.

It hurts to admit it, but the Cowboys are a lot better than the 49ers. They didn’t show up to play till almost half time, and still beat us. They have two rookies on their O-line, but those two held up well enough for Tony Romo to put up 200 yards of passing in the fourth quarter. That is obscene. Of course, much of that yardage was YAC generated by their receivers running free in our secondary, both before and after the catch.

Even the 49er fans sucked Sunday, as an estimated 33% of the crowd were Cowboys fans, who had obviously bought their tickets from 49er fans who valued an ROI on their ticket price more than rooting for the team. Shameful. Embarrassingly shameful.

Maybe it’s just the usual Monday depression after a Sunday loss, but I feel like I’ve hit the wall in measuring games by “progress” rather than “victory.” Just win, baby. And Sunday, the 49ers didn’t.

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42 comments on “Born To Lose
  1. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    So we are still tied for first place.
    Makes the Bengals game a must win.

    Roman needs to target Vernon Davis at least 10 times per game.
    Makes me wonder if VD is having problems grasping this offense much like he did when he first came into the league. Sorry to say VD is not the most cerebral of players.

    How does the Philly Dream Team defensive backfield give up 4 tds to Matt Ryan?

    Raiders complaining about their Hail Mary which the Bills DB clearly intercepted and then had to fight for when he was being tackled. Same tired excuses that they never get a break. Shut up and if you feel that way get out of the league is my HO. When you argue about BS and use that excuse it just turns everyone else against you.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    While watching parts of the late 4th quarter I was pointing out the hot read before every snap when we blitzed. I was correct every time. If we are going to blitz when the game is on the line the coverage needs to closer. Blitzing and allowing a quick release defeats the point, IMO.

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    VD came close to complaining after the game at being used so often as a blocker and not as a receiver.

  4. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- I didn’t watch for this but I would be interested to hear if it is true. With our top 2 receivers out I’m guessing the coverage treated VD as the top target.
    I do know VD was the primary read for Walker’s TD because Walker said so after the game. Walker saw the match-up, went wide and Alex went to him. That was a nice play by two players. Nice read, both on the same page. These are the kind of plays that happen more often when and offensive system is in for more than one year.

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I think what we need is for Jerry Rice and John Taylor to become revenant.

  6. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Maybe it’s time they spread the field as these tight formations
    aren’t working for Gore.Too much congestion.
    Norris is a liability and we would be better served lining up Snyder in the backfield as the lead blocker.
    More slants please. When a play works they don’t seem to go back to it.
    I was watching the Panthers on Red Zone and Newton completed his first pass to Shockey on an 18 yard out to the right sideline.
    They came back with the same play on the left sideline and Shockey was open but Newton overthrew it.
    Or at least run a variation of the play and make it a double move so that receiver goes deep.

  7. winderNo Gravatar says:

    We are not good enough to play prevent football. We need to attack at all times, giving Dallas everything underneath killed us. Our 2nd half play calling killed us(really vanilla). This loss hurt in more ways than one.

  8. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    We have to go to Cincy and play them on the road. We are not a good road team in general. Yes, it’s the Bungles, but still, it’s also the 49ers on the road.
    If we don’t win this one, the next three look awfully tough. 1-5 at the bye, conservative play calling, porous secondary, Gore going nowhere, line cannot block – where have I already seen that movie before?

  9. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- Gee, spread the field? You mean like the Patriots do? What a concept, especially when the QB you have likes, and is good at, running the spread. Amazing idea!

  10. barleyfreakNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t know what to think. It really does feel like deja vu all over again. I can only hope that, unlike his predecessor, JH won’t keep trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
    To me, that means to attack, take chances. Leave Mt. Moran on the freaking bench, or special teams. Please. More Kyle Williams (speed + hands). Spread formation and some Hunter. Throw a bomb, just because.
    I know our OL is a sieve. I know that we have not “learned” the full offense yet. But neither have a few other teams who have gained more in one game than we have in two. I don’t buy it. I smell conservative play calling and just can’t see how that really serves the team. Wins — of course they want to win. But it ain’t gonna happen with this group. I bet to a man that the players would want to come out swinging.
    These next few games will define the direction of JH’s coaching. We’ve already lived through stubborn. There is not a gimme game on our schedule right now — and that includes the Bungles. The Jugular. Go for. Always.

  11. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    20 rushes for Gore was way too much. Ginn? Too much him. Williams needs to be fully inserted. Crabs is a joke. Edwards is probably out next week. VD was in for blocking.
    Fricking Dallas threw for more yards in the 4th quarter than the Niners did all game. I keep waiting for this vaunted offense. Again, though, there aren’t enough spread formations. Again, they try to run against packed D lines. Again, there’s little play action. The only time they tried rolling out was when the sanp was bad, and Smith was forced to buy time.
    We seem to have another coach that doesn’t want to use what few things Alex does well.
    Yeah, its early. But at some time in my life, I want to see the 49ers fully commit to a passing game. Everyone screamed that the Dallas game would bring about more downfield passing.
    4 more passes than the Seattle game. be still my heart. Do we have another head coach who is going to play it safe?

  12. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Some folks can’t seem to grasp that the line has to block for at least 3.5 seconds for a given pass play to work. Some folks don’t seem to grasp that this coach is doing the SAME THING the preceding coaches were doing.
    There was ONE play where Smith held the ball too long. He was trying to go deep. The rest were breakdowns in blocking. DeMarcus Ware coming in unblocked is just too stupid to believe. If the blocking doesn’t improve, all this game showed was the team will have trouble winning if this continues.
    The pisser is, ONE slant. It worked. They never did it again. Again, though, They are throwing short because the blocking isn’t there. They are still trying to run in 2 TE formations. They aren’t trying to create mismatches by spreading the formations. Granted, the Niners were down 2 WRs, but they could have lined up VD wide and put in Snyder as a TE as they had earlier. Walker got single coverage splitting wide.
    Teams STILL do not believe that the 49ers will ever throw deep, so the short shit usually gets 0 yards after the catch. Dallas? Well, they got about 350 YAC.

  13. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- If the coach is all in for Alex Smith why doesn’t he design a game plan suited for his strengths. I completely disagree with your comment.
    I think what is happening is what we all said would happen when the lockout took away a bunch of our early practices in June. We aren’t all on the same page yet. We aren’t protecting well and we are still blowing coverages. Give it some time and if the same thing is happening in 4 weeks I’ll start doing some worrying myself. I did predict 7-9 and I am still predicting 7-9.
    In the mean time, I wish they would go all in for Alex and run the Spread like the Patriots and Eagles do because the Spread allows quicker throws to get around bad pass protection and gives a quality runner more room to get a higher YPC average. In our case, we have a QB that wants to run the Spread. Let him loose.

  14. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Frank Gore has rushed for 3 yards or less in 32 of his 42 carries this season. That doesn’t sound like all in for Alex to me. Spread the offense if you are serious about utilizing the QB. I think what we are doing is trying to just get the line to block more than anything. Spreading the offense would help the O-line more than anything. Ask Tom Brady how it works for his team.

  15. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Gore, at least how he has been used in SF since 2007, is part of the problem.

    Berger has hit the nail on the head here. Statistically, Gore looks very effective – because he gets a few very long gains. Thus his AVERAGE is pretty decent over the course of a year.

    But average is not the important thing in sustaining drives. That is another statistical function – the MEDIAN.

    Gore’s average is decent, but his MEDIAN gain is around two yards.

    So a few drives where he pops a big one end in TDs. The bulk of the rest where you lean on him end in Three and Outs.

    Personally, I think it’s less gore than how we use him. Following Moron into the hole does not work. Norris is not that good a blocker, and everyone in the freaking world knows Gore is following him.

    But something has to change here. Diversify the running game. Turn Alex loose – maybe he will fail, but if so, you deal with that and move on. What we’re doing now IS NOT WORKING.

  16. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- I agree with your 11:50 post. May I introduce you to the Spread offense. It is kind of new so I don’t expect everybody to embrace it yet. I believe 100% that this is what Walsh would be running today if he were still coaching.

  17. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Here is Gore’s 2011 data set for rushing:
    Negative yardage: 7

    No gain: 4

    1 yard: 8 (one was a one-yard TD run)

    2 yards: 6

    3 yards: 7

    4 yards: 1

    5 yards: 2

    6 yards: 1

    7 yards: 3

    8 yards: 0

    9 yards: 1

    10 or more: 2
    His average is 2.5. His median, however is 2.

    NOTE: His longest run was only 16 yards. This, however, is immaterial. Let’s say instead of 16 that was a 99-yard run for a TD.
    In that case, his average rises to a respectable 4.5.
    His MEDIAN, however, is still only 2.
    THAT is why running Gore into the middle behind Moron simply does not work and will never work. You just cannot move the chains that way.

  18. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The reason I say Walsh would be running the Spread is his basic philosophy for his offense was to put the ball into the play makers hands in space. That is what the Spread does.
    I disagree with Steve Young often but since he agrees me on this one I’ll talk about what he said about the Spread after a Patriots game last year. He said this is the evolution of the WCO. He also said this is what Bill Walsh would have evolved the offense into.
    When you reduce it to the basic philosophy of getting the ball into the play makers hands in space it all makes sense.

  19. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The Eagles run the Spread offense and Andy Reid has the highest YPC for his RBs since he took over as the HC. YPC is more important than total yards. YPC opens up the passing game, which in turn keeps the running game on track.
    Grumpy- I like your point about median yards.

  20. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    If you want to run Gore all the time, use him without Norris, with 3 WRs and a TE and run him all over the field. Even better, throw to him out of the backfield.

    I’m all for the spread, or anything else that actually works. What we are doing now, is NOT working.

  21. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    BTW, so people don’t get confused, the Shot Gun and the Spread are completely different subjects. Being in the Shot Gun does not make a formation a Spread formation, and a Spread formation can be run with the QB under center. A Spread formation is simply a formation that spreads the defense so the QB has multiple pre-snap reads, including hot, and does not allow the defense to stack the box, which allows more room for a good RB to operate in space.

  22. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    To say the Niner line couldn’t pass block is a little disingenuous there, NoFear. Besides, what did Walsh DO to alleviate the pressure? He moved Montana around the pocket. He rolled Montana out. He had Montana throw slants. Quick passes. As it is now, the 3rd coach in a row is trying to make Smith into a Dan Marino-style passer. Smith isn’t michael Vick, but ha CAN move. They aren’t using this at all. They never have. It may not help all that much, but it’ll be better than getting slammed 2 seconds after geting the snap.
    The 49ers STILL aren’t adjusting to getting the tackle box unclogged. Which is why Gore can’t run. Which is why the offense has so many problems sustaining drives.

  23. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I am not advocating for us to be in the Spread always, just make it our base offense and be able to mix in other, more traditional, offenses too. Like when the defense brings in 6 DBs, go power and run them over.
    For all I know, this is what Harbaugh is doing but is taking baby steps at this time for continuity. Stay tuned in and we’ll all find out soon. I can only hope for now.

  24. robNo Gravatar says:

    all i know is that we need to get vernon more involved in the passing attack ! i kept looking for him , and he never seemed to be targeted enough ! being without crabs and edwards really hurt us ! imo it was the equivalent of dallas being without romo ! when kitna came in we killed em’ … with romo they came back to win it .

  25. robNo Gravatar says:

    good one CHUCK (at 12:40)! i wanted to see more done to counter dallas’ great D-line ! i wanted moving pocket , bootlegs and rollouts and anything we could do to try and negate some of the effectiveness of ware and that defense !

  26. barleyfreakNo Gravatar says:

    Meanwhile, to quote JH today,

    “We’re going to stick to our guns. I feel we’re on track.”

    I’m not going to go ballistic on him after just two games, and frankly I don’t care what he says to the media. At this point I don’t care what any coach or player says. I want to SEE it. On Sunday.

  27. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- My point was two-fold. One, why we should run the Spread, and two, why the coach can’t be all in for Alex if he doesn’t want to run the offense the QB likes to run the most.
    The Spread allows for multiple quick hitting options, or hot reads, to slow down blitzing. Also, the run blocking becomes a more manageable 5 on 6 or 6 on 7 with wider lanes instead of 8 on 9 or 9 on 10 with every lane clogged and double A gap blitzes the norm.

  28. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Right, NoFear. Then say that about the O line. Otherwise people think you are referring to something else. Like the Niner line of the early 80s.
    Your 3:49 post belies the problem. The NINER defense was gassed, not Dallas’. Yet, there we were in the packed formations, trying to run to no avail. Dallas gave up on the run. Why didn’t we?
    As far as your 3:50 goes, well that’s been the bitch around these parts (at least in my head) for close to 7 years now. For 7 years, all these different coaches are not using what Smith brings to the table. What little skills Smith has are not being utilized. He is NOT a Dan Marino, stand in the pocket while the turmoils surrounds him kind of guy. He’s not Ben Worthlessburger. This is the offense Harbaugh appears to be using so far. It is what Nolan and Singletary did. He’s not Michael Vick either, but he is closer to that style of QB. Someone who can throw on the move. So, roll his ass out. Move the pocket. And, befiore you say it, NOT EVERY PLAY! Show it from time to time. You ALWAYS complain that if we go to the spread, all hell breaks loose. The thing is, no one is advocating doing this 100% of the time. Mix it in. Run no-huddle. Show different looks, for God’s sake.
    But, here we are again. 2 TE/2 back formations. Everyone packed in tight. Two, or even ONE, WRs in a given route. Easy to cover, easy to stop.

  29. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    On another closely related topic, is anyone seeing something I’m not – namely, why the hell Moron Norris is still in the NFL?

  30. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Grumpy- Norris was in a walking boot today!

  31. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes I wonder about some of the questions the media asks the coach. Fpr instance they kept asking him about the large number of Cowboy fans in attendance yesterday. Harbaugh gave a diplomatic answer but some of the press wouldn’t let it go.
    I didn’t realize Harbaugh was also the ticket manager.
    Just like when Crabtree was still on the PUP list and was catching some warmup throws.
    The beat writers reported it as a violation and made a stink that the Niners would be fined and might forfeit draft picks. And you wonder why they close prcatices to the media? Before reporting this in public they owed the Niners the chance to give an explanation. Sprry to say the media has created an adversarial relationship by their stupid tweeting trying to break a story instantly.

  32. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- I think Harbaugh isn’t protecting Smith, but that he is protecting the O-line with his play calling. Ergo, maybe he is protecting Smith from getting killed by the porous line?
    As far as the Spread offense goes, it worked fairly well for the Packers last year, all the way to the title. They moved the ball the best from spread formations. It is run differently in the pros and college. In college the QB needs to run as part of the offense. In the pros the QB doesn’t run the ball at all.
    I don’t know what your aversion to the Spread is but it is the best offense in the game, bar none. The Patriots, Packers, Eagles and Colts (with a healthy Manning) all run it, and those are all some of the best O’s in the game. I guarantee Walsh would run it as base today. The philosophy of the Spread is to get the ball in the play makers hands in space. Guess what, that was Walsh’s philosophy.

  33. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Also, if we ran a spread offense our QB would then have the opportunity to find a quick open receiver. With only one or two in the pattern that can be next to impossible because coverages can be rolled for the few weapons being deployed.
    Waiting for the RB to release to the flat can also get a QB killed. Especially yesterday in OT when he was the only option on a 3 step drop. He was covered step for step and the QB got sacked. The Spread would have been the safer option because many pre-snap reads would have been presented, allowing the QB to help win instead of just being used as a pawn in the offensive game plan.

  34. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    You are right, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Mike Vick and Peyton Manning shouldn’t be used in a spread offense. It will never work.

  35. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Oh wait a minute! Too late! They all are already playing in a spread offense. I wonder if their offenses are any good and if they’ll ever win a Super Bowl? That offense just can’t work because too many OCs don’t like it. Right? is that what I’m hearing from you?

  36. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Drew Brees runs a lot of Spread Offense too. Between Brady, Manning, Brees, Warner and Rodgers, I count 7 Super Bowls in the last decade, actually 11 years. That is 7 of the last 11 titles won by offenses that run the Spread. I guess it will never work.

  37. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Your argument is the Spread is not the answer for a bad line? My argument is that it is if you have a QB that can run it. If you think we already run it you have no idea of what you are looking at, unless you are counting 4 plays a game. I don’t think we ran one play with 4 WRs last game? The good news is we have a QB that runs the Spread well, the bad news is we run it very rarely.
    Your argument is also it can’t be good because “your opinion isn’t shared by a majority of folks getting paid to run pro offenses.” When they jump off a cliff are you joining in with Moran Norris? The majority also voted for Obama. I guess according to you they were correct?

  38. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I was hoping I wouldn’t need to write Harbaugh any letters!

  39. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The way to get to the acme of what a player can do is to allow him to do what he does well. See Brees, Drew/Brady, Tom/ Rodgers, Aaron/ Vick, Mike all running the Spread offense. Our QB does best at running the Spread. So far this year, we’ve run an offense built for Norm Snead. Analogy: square peg, round hole.

  40. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, I hope to hell we are not going to get into another ego situation where the coach says, ‘this is my offense and I’m not changing’.
    If what you’re doing is not working, it’s time to try something else. Running Gore between the tackles behind Moron Norris and not having even a threat of a real, dynamic passing game is not working.

  41. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

  42. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear, seriously? You think the Niners were well-advised to try and run the clock out in the 3rd quarter? You are beyond daft. No wonder you love Nolan. Dallas was moving the ball up and down the field in the 2nd half. Did you notice that the Cowboys outgained the Niner offense in the 4th quarter alone? Yeah, great job by SF to slow them down. Even when the Niner offense SCORED in the 2nd half, it was on the field for ONE play. The offense was NOT moving the ball. The defense was gassed. You don’t spell the defense by going 3 and out. You don’t run the clock out by giving up sacks. The Niners got THREE 1st downs in the 2nd half. The Niners were successful in getting 1st downs by throwing the ball. The ball control strategy hasn’t worked for the last 2 coaches.
    The facts are, the coaches let Dallas off the hook, and went into safe mode. No more blitzing, no more passing, no more 1st downs, no more victory.
    God, I can’t believe what you are saying. NO ONE WINS in the NFL by playing it safe. If these last two coaches taught us anything it was this very fact. They don’t have to go all Mike Martz and throw nothing but 30 yard passes, but do a better job of keeping the chains moving. Say, how about TE routes?

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2021 Schedules
09/12: W 49ers 41, Lions 33
09/19: W 49ers 17, Eagles 11
09/26: L Packers 30, 49ers 28
10/03: L Seahawks 28, 49ers 21
10/10: L Cardinals 17, 49ers 10
10/17 BYE
10/24: L Colts 30, 49ers 18
10/31: W 49ers 33, Bears 22
11/07: L Cardinals 31, 49ers 17
11/15: W 49ers 31, Rams 10L
11/21: W 49ers 30, Jaguars 10
11/28: W 49ers 34, Vikings 26
12/05: L Seahawks 30, 49ers 23 12/12 · 10:00 AMCIN
12/19 · 1:05 PM v ATL
12/23 · 5:20 PM v TEN
01/02 · 1:05 PM v HOU
01/09 · 1:25 PM @ LAR

2021 Draft Class
1. QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
2. OG Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
3. RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
3. CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan
5. OG/OT Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan
5. CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon
5. S Talanoa Hufanga, USC
6. RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana
2021 Prognostications
Bullit: 12-5
Grumpy: 13-4
NJ49er: 11-6
Skeebers: 14-3
Winder: 12-5
Rob: 17-0
Spitblood: 0-17