The Niners lost to the Chargers in week 4 (29-27) showing that they are just good enough to lose. Of course, one can easily say the same thing about the Atlanta Falcons whose power ranking was #8 after week 3 and now have the same record as the Niners (1-3). Additionally, the Chargers had a power ranking of #13. The most important factor for me is that this year’s Niner team is fun and entertaining even though they are going through a lot of growing pains, especially on defense.
C.J. Beathard showed that the drop-off from Garopollo isn’t as wide as most people think. He had a great game throwing for 298 yards on 23 completions on 37 attempts and 2 TDs. Phillip Rivers, one of the league’s top QB’s threw for 250 yards on 25 completions on 39 attempts and 3 TDs. Beathard displayed plenty of grit and toughness as he took hard hits in the pocket. He was rocked on a third down play where he ran and gave it his all to try to get a first down in the red zone. Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured and only had the wind knocked out of him. With a fourth down and one inside the Charger’s 20 yard line with a chance for the Niners to take the lead, Shanahan made the right decision to have Robbie Gould make the sure field goal to close the score to 29-27 as Beathard needed a breather (no pun intended).
I don’t like to criticize one individual in a team sport, but in this game, Tight End Garrett Celek lost the game for the Niners. They were driving nicely when Beathard threw a dart to Celek on the Charger’s two yard line. The ball hit him in the chest and both hands, then bounced to a Charger defender who ran it back 90 yards to the Niner’s six yard line. The Chargers later scored so that one play created a 14 point swing for the Chargers. Celek was also called for holding three times killing Niner drives.
As I said in last week’s post, Beathard fits Shanahan’s system really well but his ceiling is limited whereas Garopollo’s ceiling appears unlimited. This was the year for Garopollo to have a full year of experience under Shanahan’s tutelage and learn from his mistakes. Unfortunately, he won’t get that opportunity until next year so my belief is that he won’t be a top notched QB until 2020. Under Beathard, the Niners will be in most games with a chance to win, but they will be just good enough to lose.
Around the League:
- Earl Thomas, the Pro-Bowl Safety of the Seahawks, broke his leg against the Cardinals. He had been holding out for a new contract and also very vocal about wanting to be traded. Unfortunately for Thomas, with this injury, he will lose out on millions of dollars as he is at an age where he is still playing brilliantly but most teams including the Seahawks will be unwilling to give him a large long term contract. As he was being carted off the field, he flipped a bird to the Seahawks sidelines… Did you see that, Pete Carroll? When asked about it, this was Carroll’s response… “Somebody said something about that,” Carroll said of Thomas’ gesture. “It’s a big stadium. I don’t know where it was aimed at.”
- The Chicago Bears may have re-awoken the Monsters of the Midway. They absolutely destroyed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 with Trubisky throwing for 6 TD’s. Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of Jameis Winston but he threw 2 INTs, good enough to be named the starter in the Buc’s next game.
- The Cleveland Browns got jobbed by the referees twice in yesterday’s loss to the Raiders. The first bad call came with about 6 minutes remaining in the game when Derek Carr clearing fumbled (he was still standing up). The Browns picked up the fumble and started running toward an apparent TD but the referees ruled the ball dead so the Raiders maintained possession. The second bad call came with 1:28 left in the game with the Browns leading by 8 points. Carlos Hyde was ruled to get a first down so the Browns would have run out the clock. But, the NFL decided to review the play. Although Hyde’s elbow hit the ground, there was no conclusive camera angle that proved that the ball didn’t reach the first down marker. Thus, there was no reason the change the call on the field. But, they overturned the call, the Browns had to give up the ball, the Raiders scored and converted on a two point conversion and won in OT. The Browns deserved better but the Browns are the Browns.