Close, but no seegar. For the second straight week, the 49ers wracked up a moral victory. And also lost their fourth game in a row. Last week, the defense was respectable and the offense stunk. This week the offense actually resembled one — an offense, that is — but the defense stunk.
The moral victory was so encouraging to the team that QB Colin Kaepernick started talking about going 12-4 by winning out. Down boy!
The 49ers started the game by baby stepping Kaepernick with a few short, quick throws and running lots of Carlos Hyde. Kaepernick got through the half without imploding, but the team only scored six points.
The second half was a different ball game. With neither team able to mount a pass rush, each QB just dropped back, completed passes, and traded scores until the 49ers ran out of time. It was one of those games where last team with the ball wins.
Through five games, the 49ers new identity is starting to emerge. The defense is pretty good at home and awful on the road. The offense is terrible when Kaepernick is pressured, mediocre when he’s not, and reasonable when facing an awful secondary like the Giants have. It’s pretty much the story of an NFL team going nowhere.
It was a great victory for Kaepernick, though. On the verge of being laughed out of the league, he finally stopped the bleeding with one of the best games he’s had in over a year. Whether that holds up in the days ahead remains to be seen. After next Sunday’s game, he’ll have four games against the defenses of Seattle, St. Louis, and Arizona. If he crumbles in those games, the Niners will be 0-5 in the division and wondering whom they should draft next year.
Anquan Boldin keeps raising the hopeful flag, frequently mentioning how young the team is. But on defense the only first year player is CB Kenneth Acker, and on offense, there are no rookies at all. Just bad young players, with a sprinkle of bad old players.
Not to rain on Kaepernick’s euphoria over playing one good game, or Boldin’s relentless optimism, but this team is a whole lot more likely to be 2-7 at the BYE week, than 12-4 at the season’s end. And that’s only if they can beat the reeling Ravens next Sunday in Santa Clara. Otherwise, it’ll be 1-8 at the BYE with a trip to Seattle afterwards and another game against Arizona to follow.
12 and 4 are still in play for the season record, but it’s much more likely to be just the opposite from Kaepernick’s hopes.