Failed Opportunities

It’s been a magical season for the 49ers. And for the fans. But Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals all but ended any delusions of making a Super Bowl run this year. That journey now would require a ticket from the Divine Intervention bureau and they seem preoccupied in Denver these days.

If the team can’t beat Arizona on the road, there’s a good chance they can’t beat Seattle on the road, either. And with Pittsburgh coming to town next Monday night, it may take a final game victory over St. Louis to even reach eleven wins for the year.

The defense has carried the team all year, but it failed big time against Arizona. After Frank Gore’s 37 yard TD run early in the third quarter, the 49ers had their typical 19-7 lead and the game should have been over. The defense had no respect for John Skelton and paid the price, giving up three huge, careless plays to lose the game.

This is the time of year when the offensive line should be settling in and improving. Instead, they seem to be regressing. The 49er receivers are drawing single coverage and not getting open or making any plays. Michael Crabtree is our best receiver, but the team curiously ignores using him in the Red Zone, where the team’s failure to score touchdowns is becoming legendary.

The 49er weaknesses all made an appearance Sunday. Deep pass coverage, shaky O-line, cautious QB, ordinary receivers, 16 points left on the field. 23 points if you throw in Ted Ginn’s lost in space effort on a perfectly thrown deep pass. 30 points if the refs don’t disallow the fake field goal surprise. The points are out there, but the Niners are not taking them.

I’m not here to crap on the team, however. They’ve overachieved this year and given us a hellava ride. The defense, despite its abysmal failed effort Sunday, is a playoff calibre defense. The great teams with great QBs can torch anybody’s defense. It’s our offense that is not ready for prime time. It could have been burying teams this year, instead of getting these efficient close game victories. If the offense did its job Sunday, Arizona would never have been in the game.

And we are going to the playoffs. We might even win a playoff game. With one more victory or a loss by the Cowboys, the 49ers will lock up the number three seed. The number two seed is still in play, but hanging by a thread. A lot of fun football coming up and what promises to be an interesting offseason.

But today is Blue Monday. The kind of rotten day that used to be the norm. And no amount of cheerful thinking can cover up the truth. It sucks.

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40 comments on “Failed Opportunities
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The way the offense played was felonious. Suddenly, we can’t pass block. What is it, 18 or 19 sacks in the last 3 games. should’ve been 10 more.

  2. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Strange but true: the 49ers Red Zone offense has gone downhill steadily since Jimmy Raye was fired. He got TDs nearly 60% of the time. We’re dead last now at 35%.

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Todd Haley canned by the Chiefs.

  4. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Here’s a good one from Jed York:
    “Extremely thankful the NFL won’t let you tweet right after the game. Could have been awkward at the office today.”

  5. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Can you imagine what we’d have heard if Eddie D. had a Twitter account in the ’80’s?

  6. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebs, of course Jimmy Raye hardly ever got to the Red Zone, so it’s a small statistical sample (LOL).

    Some of it is Red Zone play calling and game management philosophy. Some of it is missing Josh Morgan. Wherever you want to assign the blame, it had better get fixed or our playoff run will be very short.

  7. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    I’m kind of surprised Harbaugh and Roman have shown so little imagination in the RZ. They’re creative all over the field, but very bland down close. Strange.

  8. bigjon49erNo Gravatar says:

    It’s time to master the 3-step drop and hit someone in stride. Open the vault. Bring Steve Young in. Whatever it takes! Go 9ers!!!!

  9. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    If they think that Crabtree is a “Playmaker” he ought to be targeted everytime they’re in the redzone. He was not given any opportunities yesterday in the redzone.
    I feel the ref really blew that call on the challenge. You either stop the play before the ball is snapped or you tell Whisenhut “sorry too late” no challenge.
    The ref blew it because he revealed the Niner suprise play
    and gave a huge advantage to the Cards.
    The blown call changed the complexion of the game.

  10. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still annoyed with that call, but really, the game should have been over by that point. We had our chances, and could not take advantage of them.
    I think Harbaugh knows his strength is defense, and figures he can beat most teams scoring FGs, as long as we don’t turn it over. And he’s right – MOST of the time. But as we saw yesterday, not ALL of the time.
    I still say we have to be much more efficient in the RZ to avoid an early playoffs exit.

  11. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Tony Sparano fired by Dolphins.

  12. robNo Gravatar says:

    imo we need to play smarter football ! mistakes cost us bigtime …
    kyle williams – catching with one hand
    ted ginn – KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL (duh)
    delaney walker – catch it before you run with it !
    alex smith – sometimes you just have to let it fly ! imho if i’m in the redzone i’m throwing to vernon davis in the endzone before i look for ted ginn !
    even if vernon is double covered and ginn isn’t !
    etc etc etc !
    i’m sure we all saw how many opportunities we let slip away !

  13. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    It seems like calcu;ated risks need to be taken. Alex Smith needs to know that his receivers should fight for the ball and sometimes he needs to throw into coverage and allow these guys to make a play. This caution and playing it safe get’s you 3 points. Throw the ball into the endzone that is catchable.

    Also the secondary is going for the picks and it cost them yesterday when Fitzgerald outfought Goldson for the ball.
    Goldson should’ve spiked the ball
    away. What I didn’t like is when Goldson failed and Fitzgerald scored than Dashon was “injured”. Maybe his pride was hurt. With Fitzgeral , he is that good so
    knocking the ball away is a win
    in a jump ball situation and the secondary has to be smarter about it.

  14. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Bullit I’m with you on Goldson.
    He is not worthy of a fat contract IMO.
    He’s better than average with TE coverage but can’t beat the Top guys like Fitz.
    Granted Fitz is All World but, Goldson has never shown any degree of skill when it comes to proper angles and securing a tackle after the catch.
    He’s mostly a SS playing FS.

  15. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I also believe the MO by Harbaugh is to get the passing game in order for the Playoffs. Throw, throw, throw until the OL picks up the pressure and, Alex and his Receivers get into sync.
    Protect Frank and get the sub-par pieces of this Team corrected.
    Bye Week or not, this Team needs the experience of Playoff pressure before they reach the Tourney.

  16. robNo Gravatar says:


    good post ! excellent points !

  17. robNo Gravatar says:

    ur right

  18. robNo Gravatar says:

    i still like goldson and think he can will get better but …
    ” Goldson has never shown any degree of skill when it comes to proper angles and securing a tackle after the catch ”
    add to that going for a pick on a jump ball vs. fitzgerald when you’re the only one between him and a big TD is just dumb !
    maybe with the better coaching and a little more experience he’ll get there !
    good call on whitner btw , after a slow start he’s been pretty good !

  19. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Eddie is wrong. Yes, this team is stronger than the 1981 team in some areas – notably running back and linebacker. But the secondary is not nearly as good, the pass rush is not as good, and Joe Montana is the elephant in the room.
    The 1981 team was very good at passing the ball and stopping the pass. This team, not so much. In the playoffs, I fear that will be our undoing.

  20. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I liked Eddie’s comment about keeping Jed’s father out of the way.

  21. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Grumpy- Eddie’s point was that team was very young at those positions and this team has a better front 7 on defense and a better O-line. I see the teams as different in what you pointed out but still similar in the expectation department. Over all, this team is stronger in the trenches. I’m fairly sure that was his point.

  22. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    It seems we had a cortege after winning the division. Especially since it was a shut out. Time to get focused again.

  23. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Can somebody who recorded the game help me out with a theory? I wasn’t paying attention to this aspect and need some help figuring it out.
    It seems when we get into the red zone we might be tightening our line splits. Our line splits were very short, or non existent, in the beginning of the year. We widened them and O-line started to play much better. I’m going with the notion that maybe we change our line splits in the red zone?
    Hey, I’m looking at everything I can think of to find our problems in the red zone. I know play calling is one thing but it has to be more than that.

  24. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Harrison suspended for the game next Monday night. Gee. What a shame.

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    It was an excellent decision!

  26. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, better front defensive seven without question, but that line did have Fred Dean for the late game pass rush. O-line? I disagree. Cross and Fahnhorst were very underrated, Ayers and Quillan even more so. And Audick had a fantastic year for a guy who wasn’t even a tackle. McKittrick’s guys never got credit from the east coast media, but we would not have won all those Super Bowls if they had not been very, very good. This team is no better run blocking than that group, and far more shaky in pass protection.

  27. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The WCO was a new phenomenon back then. Nobody knew how to defense it yet. A lot of what that team accomplished was in the newness of a revolutionary offensive system. Walsh was able to get throws out quick to hide O-line weaknesses. Later teams had better O-lines. Now the WCO has the Tampa-2 and the zone blitz designed specifically to stop this offense. Getting throws out quickly is not as easy today as it was back then.

  28. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Ask Lawrence Taylor how he feels about John Ayers.
    Taylor was basically rendered ineffective by Ayers in several meetings in the early 80s. The 49ers pulled him out to block LT. Ayers was not a Iupati in run blocking but as a former tackle, he ate pass rushers for lunch.
    Fahnhorst was vastly underrated. He always graded out, in McKittrick’s view, as his best lineman and one of the best tackles in the league. He just was not the prototype road grader and did not get the recognition from the national media. DEs in the league knew better, though. Cross was good enough in both run blocking and pass pro to make several Pro Bowls.
    Really, the only serious weakness on those lines was left tackle. In 1981 Audick had a pretty decent year there. Even Bubba was not terrible until he started eating himself out of the league.
    Our current group, at least Iupati, Davis and Boone, has loads of potential, but they have a way to go before they reach that level. Its mostly a technique and cohesion thing – you never saw the ongoing pad level issues with the 80s group that have plagued this unit for years now, and they played together long enough to gel – which our current line has not yet been able to do.

  29. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Grumpy- Nice post!
    John Ayers was a guard blocking an Elephant. LT was destroying everything except us.

  30. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Monday Night is our last regular season home game.
    Who’s going to win the Len Eshmont Award?
    Another observation on the Sunday Card’s game. Bowman had his worst game of the year with 3 tackles.
    Without PW he didn’t step up. Larry Grant had 8 tacles but the D was missing their captain.

  31. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    On the Len Eshmont Award I say either Justin Smith or Andy Lee deserve it.

  32. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I’dm give the Len Eshmont award to Joe Bonamassa for stopping in Reno to play on 4-20-12!

  33. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    My guess is the Eshmont will go to Alex Smith for his leadership during the lock-out without a contract, or Frank Gore for playing hurt all season and perfoming well.

  34. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Alex was the guy cleaving the team during the lockout.

  35. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a weird WOTD, Berg. Cleave means stick together and cleaver is a butcher’s knife. Totally opposite meanings.

  36. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    And we all know what cleavage is.

  37. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Would you believe Cleavon Little?

  38. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    “Excuse me while I whip this out.”

  39. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

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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