For the past three years, 49er fans have been able to count on a shutdown defense to make them more than competitive in every game the team played. So far this year, that is not the case.
In the Arizona game, the Cardinals punted once in the second quarter and never punted again. The Bears punted five times in the first half, then never punted at all in the second half.
The 49ers are not an elite team now. They’ll have to scratch and claw for victory against everybody. Unless the offense stops flirting with greatness and actually arrives there.
OTOH, nothing can help them if they don’t knock off the penalty parade. Whether they’ve suddenly lost composure team wide or the NFL is targeting them for their physical play is open for debate. But it has to stop or they’re dead in the water.
Philadelphia HC Chip Kelly said the Eagles picked 6-3 WR Jordan Matthews to get some size at slot receiver. He’ll be matched against the 49ers’ 5-10 Jimmie Ward. Terrific. This does not bode well. Ward was torched for three TDs by a similarly tall WR, Brandon Marshall, in the Bears game.
As discussed here last night, many of us have been clamoring for Tank Carradine to be active on game day to rush the passer. We’ve waited an entire year for him to be ready. But according to the 49ers and Carradine himself, he’s still learning the playbook and that’s why he hasn’t suited up. Good grief. Tank was here all last year and through training camp and he still doesn’t know the playbook? This is either total bullshit or Tank is an extremely not bright lad or he’s too lazy to study. Take your pick and there are no good choices. Very disheartening.
Chip Kelly likes to run the ball as much, or even more so, than Jim Harbaugh. Even on “obvious passing situations.” So there’s little chance that Tank, who’s only marketable skill at the moment is rushing the passer, will be playing this Sunday, either.
The Eagles defense is not in the same zip code as the Arizona defense, so you would expect the 49ers’ offense to put up more than the two touchdowns they’ve achieved in each of the first three games. But how the defense is planning to hold the Eagles to a reasonable amount is currently a mystery.
The 49ers rose to the occasion last year when two game losing streaks put them at 1-2, and then 6-4. Can they do it again this year?