Impure Thoughts

The 49ers have not compiled a 4-1 record to start a season since 2002. It took three straight wins to compile that 2002 record and it will take the same to achieve it now.

2002 was the last year the team made the playoffs, so comparisons to that year might find their way into our hearts and minds as this current season unfolds. At least, we hope that’s the path we’re on, and not a repeat journey of the 2009 team that started off 3-1 but fizzled to 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

Unlike the Eagles, Tampa Bay’s team is fundamentally sound, if not spectacular. They are well respected around the league. Last year, they trotted into Candlestick and popped the Troy Smith bubble, exposing him for the UFL QB he currently is, and methodically whipped the Niners 21-0. This year’s Tampa team has gathered a rep of starting slow, but finishing strong. Which is the same MO that the 49ers have had this year, excluding the Cowboy game.

Tampa is seen as a good young team on the rise, and beating them Sunday would probably garner the same sort of accolades for the 49ers. More significantly, with Seattle playing at the New York Giants and Arizona playing at Minnesota, a win over Tampa might give the Niners a three game lead in the NFC West. An envious position for a Tampa team that resides in the same division as Atlanta and New Orleans, where a 10-6 record last year was not good enough for Tampa to make the playoffs.

I believe that covers the basics for next Sunday’s game, so let’s move along to more festive craziness. Screw Tampa. They’re last year’s feel good team. The Niners are going to send them home with a serious dent in their teamwide aspirations. It won’t be quite as explosive as the grenade we lobbed into Philadelphia last Sunday, but it will definitely hurt the mojo of a team that can’t get its fan base excited enough to fill the stadium each week and avoid blackouts. A loss to the lowly Niners would just about kill off any excitement in the St. Petersburg area of Florida.

That would make two teams in a row that the Niners had sent to 2011 hell! Now that would be fun!

Speaking of envy, would it be too much to suggest that Pete Carroll up in Seattle is ruing that he had to lam out on collge football one year too early and end up with a barren Seattle team instead of cashing in on a loaded SF team one year later like Jim Harbaugh is doing? Of course not. Haha. Eat it Pete! You earned it!

Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt is playing out the last year of pretending it was him and not Kurt Warner that brought success to the desert, and Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis is looking just like Mike Nolan in 2007, watching the wheels fall off of the upwardly mobile team bus and the nervous pacing in the owner’s box over his head. He’s also seeing his prized QB going down Alex Smith avenue, taking a beating each week and seeing his journey to the HOF derailed big time.

And here we are in San Francisco. The most stable franchise in the NFC West. Who’d have thunk we could get so far in such short time?

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71 comments on “Impure Thoughts
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I think losing to TB and Detroit is a distinct possibility. We opened the offense up last week because we were down by 20. In a close game would we do that again? I don’t know but I have serious doubts. My guess is we run an old fashioned conservative offense, get beat in a close one, and then the blogs can all get back to blaming the loss on Alex for the one bad play he seems to have each game.

  2. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Smith said they didn’t open up the offense, they just executed better. It was the improv heave to Hunter that went 44 yards that seemed to ignite the team.

  3. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    When they say they didn’t do anything different in the 2nd half, I agree. But only a lttle, because they did the same things in the 2nd half but they did them in different proportions. They mixed in the spread formations at a higher ratio than the first half.

  4. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    That was a momentous sequence for Smith. First, making something out of nothing. Then hitting the hot read slant to Morgan for the TD.

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    He was leading the comeback last year vs Philly when he got hit while throwing on three straight plays to end the game for us. One was a dump off to Gore that was wide open. Problem was he got hit before Frank was turned around or even open.

  6. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    This was a game we should have lost and the Cowboys is a game we should have won, so we’re even on the fateful games slate so far.

  7. winderNo Gravatar says:

    I agree, screw Tampa.

  8. barleyfreakNo Gravatar says:

    I agree Berger — we could lose both. As much as I’d like to feel that the Eagles games was a turning point, one turd laying game against TB at home and it is back to blaming, Smith, Gore, the playcalling, or the flying fickle finger of fate.
    The unknown factor for me really is Harbaugh. Whereas Singlenumbnut WAS a known factor (outcoached, repeatedly), Harbaugh gives the appearance of being able to outcoach. So although we typically root root root for Smith, Gore, the secondary, etc., I am particularly rooting for Harbaugh to keep the focus, the game planning, and the smart drive to win, in high gear.

  9. bigtimNo Gravatar says:

    as much as this could end up as a loss,the Bucs have not really beat up on any one this year either they won games they should have and squeaked out a game against ATL, Mon night the winless colts lost a squeaker, in the 4th,one thing for sure stop the running game and Tampa is going to need to lean on there QB who can be rattled 4-1 is a possibility Harbaugh just needs to keep the team on track, any one who thinks he doesn’t know that is kidding themselves

  10. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Berger did you watch the game Monday night? Tampa played horribly at home against an 0-3 team that is decimated by injury. They must have had 10 holding penalties, along with 10 others. Now they travel across 3 time zones and play here on a short week? ANY decent team should be able to get ahead by about 20 playing the way they did.
    Yeah, Freeman is good, but he’s not a deep passer. Play the WRs tight. Yeah, Blount is good, but I’m pretty sure we can hold him in check. The only thing the Niners have to do is ensure that they don’t get too high off of last week’s win. Harbaugh seems to have a handle on that aspect. Yes, last week was a big win. But the 1st half was bad. There’s room for a lot iof improvement.
    And I agree with Alex on this. They didn’t do anything drastically different. Maybe 4 more spread plays than the Cincy game. That being said, TB’s D line is a lot better than Philly’s protection becomes an issue. Slants are imperative. Quick passes.

  11. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Tampa doesn’t worry me nearly as much as Deetroit on the road does.

  12. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Check this out.
    Skip Baseless. Classic.

  13. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, the play in question vs Philly last year was a screen pass where Gore in the flat had about 40 yards of clear sailing in fornt of him. Smith threw the pass, but it was tipped by a blitzing DB. If he throws it a foot higher, or waits ½ a second, he completes it and Gore rips off a big chunk of yards. Maybe even a TD. The next play was a Hail Mary that got picked.

  14. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Of the next two games Tampa is the more winnable one. It’s at home and they’re not on a roll like the Lions.
    They called the same type of plays, the plays just were working. 3rd and seven and they run Hunter off the left side for 14 yards.
    At the end they imposed their will on the Eagles. Here comes Frank Gore, we’re going to run him down your throat to run out the clock and the Eagles couldn’t stop it. First down, GAME OVER.

  15. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    unca- Your memory is foggy. If he waits a half second he hits the ground as he was already going down when he threw the ball, which is why the pass was not on the money. We argued this last year for days, so I probably reviewed the play 50 times. The solution would’ve been for Gore to chip the pass rusher on his way to the flat. Instead the play called for the QB to step right, right into an untouched pass rusher who only had to go 3 or 4 steps for the sack. The next play, the Hail Mary, was not a Hail Mary, he was hit in the middle of throwing the ball which caused the ball to up in the air.

  16. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Whatever. Smith gets it over the DB, it’s a big play.

    The next play he threw into triple coverage. Unless there was someone 10 yards past where he threw it, it was a prayer.

  17. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    But we shouldn’t go to the spread, eh? We shouldn’t tailor our offense to the skill set of our QB, right?
    Just checking . . .
    But seriously, the line, minus A Davis’ personal nightmare game, was better. Chilo, relegated to ST duty, was responsible for the guy who blocked the kick. The run game opened up because, well, they ran out of some out of those spread formations. Once the passing game started clicking, the run game opened up.
    They ran about the same amount of 3-4 WR sets in the Cincy game. Maybe a little bit less. But it was certainly a lot more than the Dallas game.
    I’m of a mind they are installing this offense in bits and pieces. Let’s hope they keep up the improvement. I’m real curious to see how they come out and play this one. Recent regimes would springboard off a game like the Eagle one to turtle back up and go into safe mode. Teams would catch on real fast, and just flood the box with bodies. Boom, fall behind, struggle, lose.
    We’ll see if harbaugh can keep the throttle down a little. TB is decent, but no great shakes either. Their game on Monday night was brutal in its ineptness.

  18. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- Thanks for that info.

  19. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- That’s the thing, when you mentioned it seemed like we were running more spread in the 2nd half because it was working. I have to agree with that because I definitely thought we had run more in the 2nd half. That is why that is such good info.

  20. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    All in all, 18 plays out of the spread is a move in the right direction, IMO. I wouldn’t run it every play but I would like to see it a lot more than 18 plays per game.

  21. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Kumbaya, motherfurkers. I said from the get-go that the Niners didn’t use a lot more spread. You were the one to tell me I was wrong, Bergs. But, hey no biggie.
    The first half looked a lot like the Cincy game. Things would work for a few plays, then a stupid penalty would kill a drive. Or Green Akers would miss a kick. Or 2. The difference between the 2 halfs is the types of passes. Rarely in Smith’s career have the Niners thrown passes that require Smith to hit guys on the run. They have run maybe 5 slants in the past 8 games. We rarely do it. The pass to Crabs where he split the zones? Rare. Most of our routes are outs and sideline curls. Or the oft-used 6 yard TE pass and WR bubble screen.
    The point being, these types of passes gain no positive yards after the catch. Defenders can easily keep these plays in front of them, as there’s little to no threat that we will even TRY a go route or even a deep seam. The broken play to Hunter was a beauty, mainly in the fact that Hunter got 35 YAC. Crabs got 15 on his. THOSE kinds of passes, more than anything else, change how DBs play WRs. The next drive, Morgan (he of the 5 slants in the past 2 years) caught that for an easy score. Philly didn’t expect it. Because we rarely throw them.
    It’s these kinds of plays that soften up defenses for the run game. The 1st half it didn’t work because it was the same-old same-old smoke routes, and 8 yard outs. The Niners can throw out of the spread all they want, but the 2nd half showed that if they hit bigger plays, the payoff is much better.
    I think Harbaugh wasn’t sure if Smith could handle the types of passes like that. Look at the Cincy game. Most of the passes Smith threw were low. Why? Because Harbaugh is drilling into his head that he sails his passes. He had a few more in the 1st half, but his passes were at least catchable. The 2nd half? I thknk harbaugh just said, hey, let’s air it out. It worked.
    What they do Sunday will be very interesting to see.

  22. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    unca- Sorry, I did not know you were starving for attention. You are correct, and I did disagree. I was just thanking NoFear for the actual info.
    Speaking of Mofos, I made some pho a few months back. It was very noodly, so it was more than just pho. I ended up naming it Mo Pho!

  23. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, they evolved in the first half to use that intelligent design in the 2nd half. Gotcha.
    Yeah I read what I write, NoFear. Mainly because they are in response to some stupid thing that you’ve previously posted.
    Remember the one about how head coaches shouldn’t be forced to alter their game planning around the style of QB they had? That was a good one. One you’ve been harping on for oh, the length of time Alex Smith has been the QB.
    hyuk hyuk

  24. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Hey, it’s a slow day . . .

  25. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Days aren’t slow or fast, people are. And we all know the answer to that question…

  26. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    You’re neither slow or fast Dennis.
    You’re half fast.

  27. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Harbaugh’s having Dobbs and Ian Williams compete in practice for who gets to suit up come Sunday. My money’s on Dobbs.

  28. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Barrows says Sopoagna has a staph infection. Not good news at all, especially with Blount coming to town.

  29. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Off topic but they just announced that Steve Jobs has died. RIP

  30. robNo Gravatar says:

    yup skeebs , i think dobbs gets the nod too , but don’t forget dobbs is a DE/DT and williams is a NT ! imo since we have sop and ricky j at NT …
    i’m betting on dobbs too ! williams being picked wouldn’t surprise me btw !
    the best part imho is just how nice it is to have a coaching staff good enough to choose the right players to even look at !

  31. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, you sure you’re not in politics, NoFear? You backpedal faster than Rick Perry.
    You said it was ludicrous for the 49ers to try and use what strengths Smith brings to the table. You said it many many times. I saids for 4 seasons that t was crazy that they’ve never tried to run a system he obviously is better at. Don’t you remember?
    Too funny, pal. Hmmm. Let’s test your QB theory. Let’s use Bill Walsh since you bring him up. Were Young and Montana similar? Well, beyond the lefty/rightie thing, no. Young was a strong-armed scrambler. Montana, by then (meaning after the back surgery, sport) was a semi-mobile touch passer out of the pocket who was never even close to having a strong arm. Similar? No. They were about as opposite as possible. Rice bitched for half a season how difficult it was to catch Steve’s passes. Velocity and the reverse spin. Walsh adjusted to what Young brought. And Young adjusted as well. It took a while before all the issues were ironed out. Why did Walsh want Young if he was so different from Montana? I think you can figgure that one out.
    Your welcome. Next?

  32. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    And, it’s always possible for you to get nothing right, sport. You can’t even come up with your own comebacks, skippy.
    Sucks about Soap. That shit can linger a while.

  33. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    If Soap is out this week, it would mean both Dobbs and Williams will be activated.

  34. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Ditto, if Ice is out, Dobbs and Williams are in. I’m not sure Williams is ready at NT. They’ll need plenty of one gapping schemes if he plays. Dobbs looked plenty ready in pre-season at DE.

  35. robNo Gravatar says:

    omg ! what’s wrong with sop ?

  36. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a little intrigued with the workout of 3 RBs today. Could Mr Dixon be whistling while he dances?

  37. robNo Gravatar says:

    if sop can’t go , will it be ricky j at NT and SMITH and dobbs at DE ?
    WOW , that’s kinda scary imho !

  38. robNo Gravatar says:

    good to see we might be trying to use all of our backs for a change !

  39. robNo Gravatar says:

    living here in the tampa bay area , i kind of think we can beat the bucs this week ! the biggest concern for me is josh freeman imo ! he is cool in the pocket and can really give a defense fits !
    being without sop is going to hurt us big time !
    is braylon edwards going to be back yet ?

  40. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    You forgot Ray McDonald at DE.
    If anything I think they keep Dixon as a FB and look for another RB cutting Norris.
    Miller is the FB and has so much upside over Moran.
    Oman was picked up by the Browns

  41. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Edwards is not expected back until after the bye vs the Browns.

  42. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’d like to see us take a wide open, go for their throat, attack on Sunday.
    If we can jump out early Blount becomes less of a concern, especially if Ice misses the game.

  43. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Looked up staph infections this morning. The report is Soap felt ill on the flight home. That’s probably good news. It would tend to point toward a stomach infection that lasts 1-3 days, no medication needed. If it’s outside on his skin, it’s contagious and needs medication, but it wouldn’t have made him feel sick. If it’s in his blood stream, it’s contagious and life threatening. Here’s hoping this is just a big belly ache.

  44. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, I haven’t heard much either way on how Soap is or what/if any time he misses.

  45. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, Josh McDaniels is pretty much laying to waste all the good work Bradford did in his 1st season. Wasn’t he in the running for our OC spot a couple years ago?

  46. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    The Rams have lost their top THREE corners to season-ending injuries. Pretty sure that’s not Josh’s fault.
    I had cellulitis, which I believe is caused by the staph bacteria, about 3-4 years ago. I got a cut or an insect bite on my rt. elbow and the damn thing swelled up like a tennis ball. I don’t recall feeling sick, I was just worried the damn thing would keep getting bigger and finally burst. I went to the ER and they gave me a heavy doze of antibiotics and some more to take home and the infection went away. I coulda played NT that Sunday.

  47. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    “dose” of antibiotics. I can take naps and siestas on my own.

  48. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Remember who the RB on the practice squad is? Ian Johnson
    from Boise St.
    I really think if Miller proves
    to Moran’s equal as a blocker than Norris is toast.
    Miller catches passes and actually takes it downfield 15 yards. We just need to get younger there at FB or at least have a FB that the defense takes as a threat.

  49. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    NFL fired Hank Jr but Hank Jr said he quit. Regardless Monday Night Football will be Hank Jr free.

    Other news, Miami has lost QB Chad Henne for the season and might be in the lead to lose all games and draft Luck. They are headed in that direction unless Reggie Bush can save them.

  50. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Dennis, StL is 31st in scoring.
    THAT’S pretty much Josh’s fault.
    They didn’t improve their line or get better WRs.

  51. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Look at you, making excuses for the Rams, no less.
    McDaniels is a tool of the highest order.
    I don;t think Norriss sets foot on the field again. At least not as a 49er.

  52. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    You know who the Rams could use? That’s right, Tony Romo.

  53. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Chuck, I think Josh McDaniels must moonlight as OC for your fantasy team. You’re dead last in scoring in our league.

  54. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Better me than the Niners. I donl;t pay enough atention to my shit to be any good at it.
    I’m getting closer though.

  55. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Bullitt, there are 10 teams (!) at either 1-3 or 0-4. NoFear’s astute statistical analysis aside, there’s going to be a hell of a lot of jockeying for that 1st pick.
    . . .
    Dennis, Tony Romo is finally getting tired of you blowing smoke up his ass.

  56. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    I was reminded this morning that Luck still has another year of college eligibility left. He could return to Stanford next year and screw some NFL team royally.

  57. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    Miami is without a legit QB and no running game. Matt Moore was one of the QBs at Carolina last year and it worked for them.
    The one team that absolutely can’t get Luck is Seattle. That would not be good for the Niners.

  58. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Miami would be the perfect place for Luck, I’m with bullit on this one, keep him out of Seattle, STL, or AZ.

    Looks like I was totally wrong about Sop this year, I didn’t think he could play a competent NT, glad I was wrong and hope he gets well soon. I guess we get a look at the big kid this week, I also hope Dobbs makes the squad because he has such a killer TC.

  59. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    From what I gather, Dobbs is in for Tukuafu, and Williams is in for Ice Ice baby.

  60. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    RJF gets the start at NT though.

  61. winderNo Gravatar says:

    chuck – I think RJF will be able to hold his own, I am curious to see how far he’s come along. He was a Nolan project and i always liked that we picked him.

  62. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, RJF was a late round flier that just might pay off. I think they’ll rotate these guys around. That has been the MO so far.
    You know what they say about blind squirrels, Rob!

  63. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    I guess it means I guess you were a dumb six year old.

    Uh, are you telling me Steve Young and Joe Montana were the same style QB?
    If so, you are about as keen on football as you are on politics . . .
    I think that Walsh ran more deep patterns for Young. Including the deep seam to B Jones. More roll-outs/designed run/pass options. Montana by the late 80s wasn’t too mobile, and Walsh didn’t want him running around too much. I’m not saying there were wholesale changes, but to think Joe and Steve were similar QBs is about as far from the truth as Fox news usually is.

  64. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Editor! Clean up on aisle 6 . . .

  65. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    One too many ‘I guess’es . . .

  66. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    I guess.

  67. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Just a GUESS, but with Chuck’s wife outta town, I think he’s taken liberties with the liquor cabinet.
    But that’s just a GUESS.

  68. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    My guess is as good as yours, Dennis. WTF, actually, my guess IS yours. Cheers, Chuck.

  69. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I’m looking to join unca in the liquor cabinet tomorrow night!

  70. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

  71. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    As usual, NoFear, you have no point.
    As usual, you say something stupid, and cover your tracks by saying I don’t understand it. I don’t understand what? Tell me Steve Young and Joe Montana were similar QBs.
    I disagree. As does everyone else in the world that follows football.
    Your simpering about it being over my head is cute. But it doesn’t mean anything.

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2020 Schedule
9-13: L Cardinals 24, 49ers 20
9-20: W 49ers 31, Jets 13
9-27: W 49ers 36, Giants 9

10-4: L Eagles 25, 49ers 20
10-11: L Dolphins 43, 49ers 17
10-18: W 49ers 24, Rams 16
10-25: W 49ers 33, Patriots 6

11-1: L Seahawks 37, 49ers 27
11-5: L Packers 34, 49ers 17
11-15: L Saints 27, 49ers 13


11-29: W 49ers 23, Rams 20

12-7: L Bills 34, 49ers 24
12-13: L Washington 23, 49ers 15
12-20: L Cowboys 41, 49ers 33
12-26: W 49ers 20, Cardinals 12

1-3: L Seahawks 26, 49ers 23

2020 Draft Class
1. DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
1. WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
5. OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
6. TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
7. WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
2020 Prognostications (Mulligan Version)
Bullit: 6-10
NJ49er: 6-10

Skeebers: 7-9
Winder: 4-12

Grumpy: DNP