What a depressing week.
Losing to the Rams, at home, is always depressing, but this time it was also embarrassing. The loss to a team that had no business even being in the game set off tremors to the franchise.
The vaunted O-line has been a floundering mess for two straight games. The team, the team, the team has been replaced by guys hawking their own wares (Vernon Davis and Alex Boone), guys who are going through the motions (Ahmad Brooks and Michael Crabtree), guys who are questioning the coaching (Frank Gore and Joe Staley), and a coast-to-coast, year long crescendo of predictions that Jim Harbaugh is essentially a lame duck coach, either leaving or fired at season’s end.
There’s a gathering gloom that the glory days are over and the future is uncertain. It’s been a great three year run, back at the top of the league. Is it over? Is it a one year malaise? Or a longer term debacle. This is the kind of gloom that losing to the Rams can give you.
This is Harbaugh’s fourth year as HC. Mike Nolan’s team unraveled in year four, but Nolan never had a winning season. Harbaugh has had three extraordinary seasons. Why would the Niners want to fire him? And why would Harbaugh want to leave? Going back to college is an admission of defeat. And there are no other NFL teams that would be more appealing. I don’t buy that he’s money hungry.
For the endless rumors to make any sense, somebody would have to be crazy. Either Jed York or Trent Baalke or Harbaugh. 13-3, 11-4-1, and 12-4 are not the product of lucky, or maybe even replaceable, coaching. If the FO is behind the rumors, they’re sabotaging the 2014 season, the inaugural Santa Clara stadium season, which makes no sense at all. What would make sense is the rumors are just media driven bullshit that has been so persistent and enduring that everyone starts to believe them, even the players and some of us.
In the meantime, the season is slipping away. It will take at least a 6-2 second half, maybe even a 7-1 to get back to the playoffs. And that half begins Sunday in New Orleans, where the Niners are 1-5 in recent history. Coming out of there Sunday with a win would be borderline miraculous.