Well, that was embarrassing. For the first time in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure as 49er Head Coach, the team did not show up ready to play and were dominated the entire game by the lowly Minnesota Vikings. This game will either be a wake up call or the day we found out the team isn’t as good as it thinks it is. Or as good as we thought they were.
You name it, it stunk. The defense played its worst game in two years. The offense and the play calling were unimaginative and ineffective. Alex Smith fired one pass after another over an open Randy Moss and finally ended all hope by firing one over Michael Crabtree’s head in the waning minutes of the game — leading to his first pick in 249 pass attempts, and followed later on by his first fumble since last Thanksgiving. Earlier in the game, Frank Gore lost his first fumble since the fifth game of last season. The only positive of the day was the punt and kick returning of Kyle Williams. The defense recorded zero sacks and the only thing the secondary covered was our eyes.
This is what I wrote in last Friday’s column: “the Vikes won’t get the ball into the end zone — and the 49ers will. Case closed.”
There’s two things wrong with it. I mixed up the teams. The 24-13 final score was about what most fans thought it would be — once again with the wrong teams listed next to the scores.
This game had the eery feel of the 1987 playoff game against the same Vikings, where the heavily favored Niners were toasted badly. Hopefully, this game will be to this team what the Philadelphia shellacking was to the 1994 team: a call to greatness.
For the nonce, our stay at the top of the NFL rankings will be a one and done deal. Atlanta, Arizona, and Houston are all unbeaten after three games, so take your pick which of them gets the dubious honor.
The replacement refs continued to outrage fans, coaches, and players for yet another week. They were awful in the 49er game, but had little to do with the outcome. You never know what they are going to flag and what they won’t or what rule they won’t have a clue about. I thought they would get better each week, but they do not appear to be doing so. We’re getting close to the point of somebody standing up in congress and starting an investigation.
The league looks a little weird right now. The Patriots, Broncos, Steelers, and Saints are all losers and the Packers could join them tonight. Yesterday, the winless Chiefs, Raiders, and Titans all knocked off a favored opponent.
Meanwhile, the great Randy Moss bench warmer topic gets more and more puzzling. Why did we sign this guy if we’re not going to play him? When he’s out there, CBs give him a ten yard cushion and he’s pretty much always open. Ditto for Mario Manningham. Kyle Williams has played more snaps than Moss. That’s just not right. This is not going to go well if it keeps up.
We definitely got the smirk wiped off our faces yesterday. Not fun. Not fun at all. Time to regroup and get back the intensity that has marked this team since Harbaugh took the reins. An intensity that was clearly MIA Sunday.