The Missing Ornament

I had a dream last night that the 49ers beat the Eagles 59-0. In the dream, as the team lined up for its first offensive play of the game, one by one little light bulbs popped up over the helmets of each player until all eleven of them had a twinkler atop their noggins. The last one to pop up and glow was the one over Alex Smith’s head. When it flashed on, David Baas hiked the ball and the rout was on.

Mike Sando of ESPN’s NFC West blog noted yesterday that the Niners had the youngest offense in the NFL. Indeed, with Eric Heitmann out and Moran Norris off the field, every single player has been in the league five years or less, and all of them were drafted by the team. That’s pretty amazing.

While this augurs well for the future, it also explains a lot about the present. None of these guys has ever been on a winning NFL team. Their only taste of success came in college — a distant memory by now. Some day, my light bulb dream is going to happen for these fellows. It would be nice if it happened NOW. This week. But if not, it adds another precious dimension to the weekly matter of rooting for the team. Is this going to be The Light Bulb Game?

The defense is another oyster altogether. Four of the eleven are FA imports and getting into the 30+ years of their NFL lives. Each of the four, Abrayo Franklin, Justin Smith, Takeo Spikes, and Nate Clements has also never been on a winning NFL team. Although Franklin’s former team was a winner, he was a young 4th stringer with little, if any, playing time. Two players, Shawntae Spencer and Isaac Sopoagna have been around longer than five years, but none of those years featured a winning product. So, nobody on the defense has ever been on a winning NFL team, either.

Twenty-two guys, and none of them have any experience about what winning in the NFL is all about. What it even FEELS like. I dare say, no other team in the league can claim this dubious distinction.

And as Jack Benny would say, “Wellllll …., noooo wonder!”

•   •   •   •   •  

NoFear’s Replay

What went wrong?

This is the Atlanta TD play. They’ve bunched three receivers on the right, split another on the left and put a RB in the backfield with Ryan in the shotgun. I’ve indicated the approximate routes these receivers will take. We’re in a nickel D with our pressure guys on the line. Clements is up on the LOS to jam Gonzalez.

In the second screen shot Spikes will cover Roddy White and it appears to me that Brown and Mays see only White and Gonzalez and pay no attention to Douglas(83) as he heads for the corner. (arrows)

In the following shots it looks to me like Brown started his break on the ball too late to get in front of Douglas and defend the stripe. Clements will get behind Gonzalez and break for Douglas when he reaches the 3 yard line but too late.

It appears in the final screen shot that Brown is actually working to shield Douglas from Clements as he cuts Clements off and whiffs on his attempt to push Douglas out. I’m sure it didn’t happen that way. Right?

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12 comments on “The Missing Ornament
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Just my opinion, but I think Clements was supposed to chuck Gonzales and then cover Douglass. Gonzales blocks Clements out of the play with an illegal pick. This should have been pass interference on Gonzales. As I immediately explained this to my friend watching the game with me, the guys in the booth seemed to agree that Atlanta got away with one there.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebs- With all those light bulbs coming on the power company is going to be very happy! You see, that is what seems to happen to this team, the light bulbs come on and the bill just gets bigger. But that is what happens when you stay in the basement out of harms way. Our team has a play it safe mentality. If the coaches would allow them to be more aggressive they would come out of the basement. Then the light bulbs could be seen as running to daylight!

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    That’s how I see it, Berger. And when Clements was blocked off, it forced T. Brown to try to get over from a deeper position. Looks like Brown would normally have picked up Gonzales after he passed Clements. The old “Gosh, am I in your way” play.

  4. robNo Gravatar says:

    watching on TV my first thought was mays as the culprit ! if not , it’s good news for us because it shows that mays is more ready to play than almost anyone thought ! with his 11 tackles and big spec teams play , he looks like he’s going to be a good one !

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    In 1983 during the NFC championship game, the refs called a holding penalty on Ronnie Lott vs the Redskins on a similar play. It allowed the Skins to run out the clock and kick a FG to win 24-21. I’ve never figured how that was holding on Lott when the receiver was driving his shoulder into him. I immediately thought of that play when I saw this one and expected to see a flag on us. Of course, that would’ve been he wrong call, but when has that ever stopped the refs. In the end, it didn’t matter, they got their TD.

  6. robNo Gravatar says:

    we were victims of two bogus PI calls in washington in 83 !

    the refs gave wash. the winning FG !

  7. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, this has little to do with the 1983 play. Lott and the WR pretty much just tapped into each other. That play, it looked like the WR has half-assedly trying to block Ronnie, as the pass was on the other side of the field.

    The question on this play is, is Clements jamming Gonzlaez, or is Gonzlaez screening Clements from getting to Douglas? Where’s Brown in pic 2? It looks like he moved backwards. If Clements is man on Gonzalez, someone (Brown) would need to cover the right flat. So, yeah, yer right NoFear.

  8. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The point on the Lott play was they both were being driven back by the receiver.
    I think Clements has man cover on Douglass, or at least match-up zone in the flat, and was just giving Gonzales a bump at the LOS. Gonzales would bnot let him come off of it. IOW, an illegal pick.

  9. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NoFear- I agree with your first paragraph. In basketball it is called a match-up zone.
    Whatever the coaches dialed up it did not work.

  10. robNo Gravatar says:

    GUYS ,
    All i have to say is

    (more than just … guys lol)
    oops …

    but if we have used this defensive alignment before , i suggest we stop it , because atl. had the prefect counter for it !

    how in the world do you use this defense , with all the DB’s within 2 yds of the right hash , against an offensive lineup that has 3 if not 4 players able to take it out towards the corner / pylon in the right side of the end-zone !!! ???
    (what , do we have DB’s who can fly on this team ?)
    c’mon manusky , know your personnel , or at least could mike lewis not being here to call a defensive adjustment before the play been partly at fault ???

  11. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    That’s the way the play is designed. To get an ‘accidental’ pick on someone to open up the right side.

    We’ll never know, but if Clements is supposed to cover the short flat, then he was screened by Gonzalez, and couldn’t cover Douglas in time. Clements would have handed TG off to Brown and picked up Douglas if that was the plan.

    They had 3 WRs and the back on the right side. Someone on the Niners should have shifted left.

    Was the TD to VD similar to this play? Seems to me we ran something very similar.

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