SF 49ers – Week 9 WIN – Niners Crush Turdy Raiders

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The Niners totally dominated the Raiders on prime time Thursday Night Football to the tune of 34-3. The real question is if the Niners actually found their stride or are the Raiders indeed the worst team in the NFL thus masking the Niner effort? They play an equally bad team next Monday night when they host Eli Manning and the NY Giants. If the Niners win that game, then a bit more will be learned but not much more. After all, the only two wins that a bad Arizona Cardinal team has this year are against the Niners.

This is a lost year much like last year was so it was refreshing to see Shanahan turn to an untested Nick Mullens at QB. He had a brilliant first game with 3 TD’s, zero turnovers, 16-22 passes completed for 262 yards earning him a whopping 151.9 QB rating. This ranks as one of the top four performances in NFL history for a QB in his first starting role. Nick received a call from Brett Favre during the post-game interview as Mullens and Favre both went to Southern Miss. Turns out that Mullens shattered all of Favre’s passing records there.

The big question that will dominate this week’s Niner media coverage is whether Shanahan will stick with Mullens for the NY Giants game even if Beathard’s wrist is healed and he is cleared to play. It is a mini QB controversy as we all know that Jimmy Garopollo will be back to start next year. Having said that, it will be telling to Niner fans on what direction Shanahan will take for the remainder of this year. The overwhelming fan sentiment will be that Mullens should continue to start due to his stellar performance. Beathard has a history of turnovers and being sacked as he hangs onto the ball way too long waiting for receivers to get open. Mullens showed last night that he can make quick decisions and get the ball out accurately before the receivers make their final break. So, will Shanahan stick with the hot hand or be loyal to Beathard? My recommendation is for Shanahan to have this discussion with Steve Kerr and get his thoughts on this topic.

Last night was really fun for a change. Let’s find out if Nick Mullens can finish out the remainder of this season much like Garopollo finished last year with five consecutive wins.

Game This-n-Thats:

  • Before the start of last night’s game there was Breaking News… The Niners traded their Len Eshmont candidate to the Raiders as a salary dump (pun intended). Yes, Toi Lett Bowle the Turd (III), is now a Raider so he can be united with his twin brother, Turd. The Raiders now have exclusive rights to all Turds.
  • The leading candidate to win the Len Eshmont award now belongs to George “Gronk” Kittle. He had 4 receptions last night on 4 targets for 108 yards with a 71 yard 1-handed catch and run that must be seen to be believed… WOW !!!
  • The Niner defense came alive last night and sacked Derek Carr 8 times. They did this with the following starters out with injuries: Reuben Foster, Adrian Colbert, Jaquiski Tartt, and Antone Exum.
  • The Kittle catch was the play of the night but the next best play was Raheem Mostert’s 52 yard TD run. Raheem’s speed to the sideline was impressive but the guy who made the play special was rookie 1st round Tackle, Mike McGlinchy, who was a 1-man convoy leading Mostert all the way into the End Zone. Yes, a 6’8” 315 lb mountain of a man was the lead blocker 50 yards from the line of scrimmage… AMAZING !!!
  • On a down note, Mostert broke his arm late in the game and will be lost for the remainder of the year.

SF 49ers – Week 8 Loss – Niners Lose But Find Their Player of the Year

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The Niner player of the year and a lock to win the Len Eshmont award is Toi Lett Bowle the Turd (III). Unquestionably, he is a fan favorite of:

  • Those who are so pi$$ed at the Niners play that they want to pee in their pants. But Toi is there to provide relief.
  • Those who are so appalled at the Niners $hitty play that they want to drop their load on the spot. But Toi gives them the best seats in the house (Levi stadium lavatories).
  • Those who are so drunk, they want to puke at every bad Niner play which means they are barfing on almost every play. But, Toi is always there to help prevent a messy situation.

Next Thursday night, both Niner and Raider fans get a chance of a lifetime to watch the Super Toilet Bowl of 2018. Toi’s twin brother, Turd Bowle the Turd.5 (III.5), plays for the Raiders is clearly their best player. This Thursday night match-up is shaping up to be the $hittie$t game of the year with no clear favorite and an over/under of 1. Vegas is taking bets on a 0-0 tie at the end of Overtime. Also, the over/under on turnovers is 31. Vegas isn’t clear which team will have 16 turnovers vs 15. The turf between the 40’s will be all worn out while both End Zones and Red Zones will be danced on only by the Gold Rush and Raiderettes. Lastly, Jed York has hired 1,000 Roto-rooter trucks for Thursday at Levi as the lavatories will sure to be backed-up. Toi is good but he ain’t Superman.

Around the League in all Sports:

  • In MLB, the World Series is over. The LA Fodgers are Ducked !!! They have to deal with these clowns:
    • Clayton Kershaw’s legacy will be as the worst highly paid MLB pitcher in World Series history.
    • Manny Machado hasn’t washed his uniform ever since he joined the Fodgers, thus becoming the dirtiest player in MLB history.
    • Yasiel Puig has a lock on the MLB all-time Punk Award.
  • In the NBA, the Houston Rockets are 1-4 after not re-signing their two best defensive players from last year and adding Carmelo Anthony who hasn’t found the word “defense” in the dictionary because he doesn’t know how to spell it. They also added a player named Uri Knoll. He doesn’t care if guys pi$$ on him but watch out if someone spits on him. He’ll lose total control.

SF 49ers – Week 7 Loss – Niners Lose – Same Tune, Same Song

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The Niners came out to play against the Rams… for half of the first quarter. Then they played their same familiar song over and over again to the tune of 4 turnovers on 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles and 7 QB sacks in a 39-10 loss.

Not much to talk to about as the best team in the NFL clearly dominated the Niners in every category. It will take a minimum of 2 years after Garoppolo comes back that the Niners can think about competing with the Rams.

Following are some of my rambling thoughts:

I can say this about a lot of QB’s in this league, but Niner QB’s MUST learn to throw the ball away when their receivers are covered instead of taking a drive killing sack. This applies equally to both Garoppolo and Beathard.

Since this season is lost, why not try switching Soloman Thomas to the inside and move DeForest Buckner to the outside? At Stanford, Thomas was very effective as a defensive Tackle because of his quickness. Buckner just may be the pass rusher that the Niners are missing.

The Rams defensive game plan was fairly easy. Since the Niners have only one deep threat, Marquis Goodwin, they double covered him every play. He had only 2 receptions for 24 yards. Trent Taylor and Pierre Garcon were the only other wide receivers to have a reception, 1 each for a total of 11 yards.

The Niners defensive front four actually had a good game as they held the league’s best rusher, Todd Gurley, to 63 yards on 15 carries.

Arik Armstead finally showed up and had a good game with 5 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, and 3 QB hits.

Sad to say, but other than Richard Sherman, the rest of the Niners CB’s and Safeties are poor to average players at best.

Niners need to rest Matt Breida for a full month until he heals his high ankle sprain. Last year, Bryce Love courageously played every week for Stanford with a similar ankle injury. This year, Love is not the same player. The Niners need a healthy Breida for the future.

George Kittle is becoming a premier Tight End. Every week, he puts up good numbers with some exciting runs after catches. Yesterday, Kittle had 5 catches on 8 targets for 98 yards and the Niners only TD. He should make Good Morning Football’s Angry Run list this week on his 23 yard reception that was a 3 yard pass and a very impressive 20 yard run that including a stiff arm on one defender, Marcus Peters, while dragging Troy Hill for another 5 yards.

The highlight of the day was the unveiling of the new Dwight Clark and Joe Montana statues at Levi Stadium. It brought back fond memories of “The Catch” that launched the Niners Glory Days. More importantly, it honored Dwight both as a football player and as a beloved and courageous human being. Sadly, he lost his battle to ALS on June 4, 2018.

Around the League:

  • The Cowboys vs Redskins game came down to the final play, a 47 yards field goal attempt by the Cowboys to tie the game. Illegal motion by the Cowboys moved the ball back 5 yards and their field goal attempt hit the cross bar, game over.
  • The Saints vs Ravens game came down to the final play. The Ravens scored with 24 seconds left and needed only an extra point kick to tie the game by the league’s best kicker, Justin Tucker. He had made 221 consecutive extra points, never missing. So, what happened? He missed and the Ravens lost.
  • The Patriots vs Bears game was a barn burner and that game also came down to the final play. The Bears needed 55 yards on the final play of the game to tie. So, Mitchell Trubisky threw a “Hail Mary” which was caught by Kevin White. Unfortunately for the Bears, they got 54 yards. Bears lose. Trubisky needs some lessons from Aaron Rodgers to put at least 1 more yard of umpf into his throw.
  • The Browns vs Bucs game went into OT. The Browns lost 26-23 on a 59 yard field goal. The Browns are no longer bad, but they still have bad luck.
  • The Oakland Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys who gave up their 2019 #1 draft pick for Cooper. This trade says a lot for both teams. The Cowboys are still disillusioned to think that they are still in the playoff hunt. Giving up a #1 draft pick for an average receiver is an act of desperation by the Cowboys. It will turn out to be a bad trade for them. It is now clear that Chucky Gruden signed up to coach the Vegas Raiders, not the Oakland Raiders. He has traded the best pass rusher in the game (Khalil Mack) for the Bears #1 pick and now Cooper to the Cowboys for their #1 pick. Thus, with their own #1 pick which just may be the first overall pick in the draft, the Raiders now have 3 1st round picks next year… or more #1 picks next year than wins this year. It’s a gamble but, this is why they are moving to Vegas. Sadly, the losers in all of this are the Oakland Raider fans.

SF 49ers – Week 6 Loss – Niners Loss That Felt Like A Win

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After last week’s embarrassing loss to the Cardinals where the Niners dominated in every offensive and defensive category except for the gut wrenching 5 turnovers, they again dominated the Packers for 58 minutes. Unfortunately, there are 60 minutes in an NFL game. Aaron Rodgers took over and scored 10 points in the final 2 minutes to squeak out a victory, 33-30.

Once again the same theme cropped up as it does every game. No pass rush and poor defensive backfield play when it mattered. The corner back position opposite Richard Sherman gets toasted every week and last night was no different. Jimmy Ward played really well but hurt his hamstring late in the game. Greg Mabin replaced him and Rodgers immediately targeted him and roasted him for a TD, then completed 4 passes in succession against Mabin for the game winning drive. During the last drive, DeForest Buckner sacked Rodgers with 43 seconds remaining in the game on a 3rd down play and it appeared that the Niners finally got the big sacked with a chance to win in the final seconds. But, Richard Sherman was called for illegal contact which gave the Packers a 1st down and Rodgers picked Mabin apart… game over. What remains a mystery is why Ahkello Witherspoon didn’t play last night.

As in every loss including this one, there was a lot to like about the effort that the Niners gave. Marquis Goodwin had a monster game with 2 TD’s on 4 catches for 126 yards. The O-line had an outstanding game opening holes for both Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Breida, playing with a severe ankle sprain, still carried 14 times for 61 yards and Mostert had a career game with 87 yards on 12 carries. CJ Beathard had a great game except for the 2 drives at the end of the game where the Niners had a chance to ice the game with a 7 point lead. This team simply doesn’t have the experience or wherewithal to finish a game yet. The defense also played better but 33 points is 16 more than the 17 point goal that they have established.

These gut wrenching loses are in a way a positive as the Niners are playing without their franchise QB, Jimmy Garopollo and their #1 running back Jerick McKinnon this year. They play good enough to win but key mistakes cause them to lose. Last night’s game was no different. Playing at the legendary Lambeau Field and facing a future Hall of Fame Aaron Rodgers was a tall order but the Niners met that challenge with a great effort.

The Niners have enough good pieces to be competitive in most games. It is my hope that this group can grow together, work on reducing their mistakes, and become better football players in their remaining games. Before the start of the 2019 season, it is absolutely critical that they acquire a legitimate pass rusher and cover cornerbacks and continue to add depth in all positions.

Around the League:

  • Both the Sunday night game (Chiefs vs Patriots) and the Monday night game (Niners vs Packers) were great entertaining games. Both games were won by the team having control of the ball at the end of the game, the Patriots and the Packers. Both games were high scoring, Patriots 43-40 and the Packers 33-30. The only difference is that the Chiefs/Patriots matchup was highly anticipated while the Niners/Packers matchup was expected to be a blow-out.
  • The Buffalo Bills vs the Houston Texans game was a tight defensive game. With a minute left in the game and the score tied at 13-13, the Bills brought in Nathan Peterman at QB after Josh Allen injured his elbow. Peterman is best known for throwing an NFL high 5 interceptions in the first half of the Bills games vs the Chargers last year. So with a minute left in a 13-13 game, what did Peterman do? He threw a pick-6… game over. To add insult to injury, after the Texans kicked off and the Bills took position, Peterman’s next pass was also picked off. Yikes !!!
  • This past Sunday, the Seahawks and Raiders played in London. Seattle traveled on Wednesday, got acclimated to the time change and prepared for the game in London. The Raiders, on the other hand, didn’t travel to London until Saturday. The result was a 27-3 pounding that the Seahawks gave the Raiders. There is now a website that is counting down Jon Gruden’s $100 million, 10 year contract. After trading their All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack and starting 1-6, Gruden’s tenure now is at 9 years, 13 weeks and 1 day. Incidentally, their one win was against the Cleveland Browns in a game that the Browns should have won but was given to the Raiders via poor officiating.
  • The Titan’s QB, Marcus Mariota, had a rough day. He was sacked 11 times by the vaunted Raven’s defense. Mariota completed 10 passes, so he was sacked more than passes that he completed.
  • The NY Giants played like Midgets. Three Dog Night made their song, “Eli’s Comin'”, famous. They are now writing a new song called Eli’s Goin’. This will become Odell Beckham’s favorite song.
  • The Cleveland Browns played like the Browns as we know them… What their Dog Pound produces… Stinky Brown stuff…

SF 49ers – Week 5 Loss – Niners Are Now Officially Worse Than the Cleveland Browns

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Throughout the many lean years under the ownership of Jed York, there was one constant: The Niners were always better than the Cleveland Browns. Now, the “Jed York lean years” have taken on a whole new meaning as his team is much worse than the Browns. Even when York and Baalke hired a puppet as coach in Jim Tomsula in 2015, they still had a better record than the Browns (5-11 vs 3-13). This year, the Niners and the Raiders are the two worst teams in the NFL… period !!! The Niners will square off with the Raiders on Thursday night, November 1, in a game which may very well determine who gets the #1 draft pick in 2019. It was NOT a good weekend for Bay Area football fans as the Cal Bears and Stanford Cardinal also lost… sigh…

This past Sunday, the Niners found an incomprehensible way to lose. They completely dominated the game in all statistical categories except for one glaring stat that lost the game for them.

  • The Niners had 33 first downs to the Cardinals 10.
  • The Niners had 447 yards to the Cardinals 220. This includes the Cardinals first play of the game where they threw for a 75 yard TD on a blown coverage.
  • The 49ers controlled time of possession 40:12 to 19:48.
  • They had 92 total plays to Arizona’s 49.
  • They converted 10 of 17 third-down plays, while the Cardinals went 2 for 12.

Throughout NFL history, when a team gains 30 or more first downs and allows 10 or fewer first downs in a game, they almost always win. In fact, since 1954, teams had been 46-3 in that situation. Now, that record stands at 46-4.

The Niners lost because of one statistic… 5 TURNOVERS !!! When a team is minus 1 in turnovers for a game, they lose 80% of the time. The funny thing is that half way through the 4th quarter, when they had only 3 turnovers (ha ha), they scored and had a chance to actually tie the game with a 2-point conversion (which they failed on). Their dominance over the Cardinals almost worked but their incompetence in taking care of the ball insured a loss.

Acknowledgement goes to the Defense (except for the 1st play of the Cardinals possession where they allowed a 75 yard touchdown pass). Their solid play showed up in the stats (above). The front four held the highly touted David Johnson to 55 yards on 18 carries.

Although the Niners have had a disastrous years in terms of injuries, all teams have had their share and it is part of the game. What is troubling is that this team cannot perform basic things like tackling and covering on defense and blocking, catching, and holding onto the ball on offense. Additionally, they are not disciplined and commit needless penalties at key moments of the game. This is very unlike a Shanahan-lead team.

The foundation of this Niner team is much better than before the Lynch and Shanahan era began 2 years ago. They are going through growing pains now and it is unclear when they can grow out of it. Faithful fans have gone through a lot of draught years and have to hope that the oasis in the horizon isn’t just a mirage.

 

Around the League:

  • Looking like this year’s Super Bowl is set… Chiefs vs the Rams !!!
  • This is the difference between the Rams and Cowboys… The Rams had a 4th and 1 at their own 42 yard line with 1:39 left in the game holding a 33-31 lead. The Cowboys had a 4th and 1 at the Texans 42 yard line in OT in a 16-16 tie. The Rams went for it, got it and won. The Cowboys punted and lost. This is why the Rams are 5-0 and the Cowboys 2-3.
  • This past Sunday, there were 14 games played with 7 losing teams. There is one more game scheduled for Monday night, the Redskins vs the Saints. Of the 8 losing teams (including the MNF game), the Niner game was/will be the most disappointing while the Raiders showed that they are just plain bad.

SF 49ers – Week 4 Loss – Niners Are Good Enough To Lose

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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.

SF 49ers – Week 3 Loss to KC Was Disastrous

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The Niners lost to the Chiefs in week 3 (38-27), but, they lost their leader on offense for the remainder of the year and may have lost their leader on Defense for a prolonged period of time. Jimmy Garoppolo went down in the 4th quarter trying to gain a meaningless extra yard and tore his ACL in his left knee and will be sidelined for the year. Richard Sherman strained his left calf in the first half and did not return to the game. The extent of his injury will be known after an MRI.

In a year where expectations were so high, Arrowhead punctured a huge hole into the Niner Nation balloon. With Jimmy G., the Niners are a top tier offense… Without him, they are in the middle-of-the-pack. With Richard Sherman, the Niners opponents needed to focus on only one side of their defense… Without him, their defensive backfield is as porous as a broken dam.

The Chiefs are the real deal. Their offense with Patrick Mahomes is Super Bowl caliber. They will be limited by their defense which is in the lower tier. The Chiefs had the ball five time in the first half and scored five touchdowns… game over.

In years past, the Niners would have folded. Shanahan’s team will not quit under any circumstances. They actually out-played the Chiefs in the second half to the tune of 17-3. This team is much better than last year and will continue to surprise even without Garoppolo and Sherman. C.J. Beathard is a good QB for Shanahan’s system but his ceiling is limited while Garoppolo’s ceiling is the Super Bowl. Lynch and Shanahan have a solid core from which to build and they will get better year by year. Their offense is solid now with a good O-line and a good core of running backs. They need a game breaking receiver to become real contenders. On defense, they have a solid D-line and Linebackers who can develop into one of the league’s best with Reuben Foster and Fred Warner. They sorely need an edge rusher who will make the D-line even better. Regarding their D-backs, the Niners have gone through so many without success, one has to wonder if they actually have the athletes but need a new Defensive Coordinator. Robert Salah came from Seattle and came highly regarded. But, his defensive schemes have not yet worked. Saleh was not Shanahan’s first choice so look for a change next year.

At the beginning of the year, I thought that if the Niners went 2-2 in the first four tough games, that they would make the play-offs. Sadly, the Faithful will have to wait yet another year before those dreams become reality.

Around the League:

  • The NFL has to do something about the roughing-the-passer rules. There were multiple cases again where a defensive lineman hit the QB with his shoulder and not his helmet and landed on the QB with his weight. Once again, Clay Matthews was involved and once again, he and the Packers got screwed. When the lineman is on top of the QB as they both fall to the ground, the law of gravity takes over. Can the NFL and Roger Goodell change Newton’s Law?
  • The Buffalo Bills shocked the Vikings in Minnesota. In the NFL, anything can happen.
  • The Cleveland Brown’s let the Dogs out, won a game, and found their QB of the future in Baker Mayfield.

SF 49ers – Week 2 Win That Felt Like A Loss

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The Niners got their first win of the season in their home opener against the Detroit Lions. They played and looked fabulous for 3 quarters as they built a 30-13 lead. Then the wheels came off as the Lions came roaring back, cut the lead to 30-27, and very well could have won the game. While trying to run the clock out, the 49ers (Shanahan) made a curious call on a 3rd down play with less than 2 minutes left in the game. He spread the offense with no running back so the Lions knew that Garoppolo would be throwing a short pass. That signal blew up their face as the Lions cornerback anticipated a sideline throw and intercepted it and ran down the sidelines to the Niners 6 yard line for a go-ahead score. Fortunately, for the Niners, a defensive holding penalty against the Lions nullified the interception and the Niners got new life. They were still unable to get the game ending first down so the Lions got another chance to win the game but were unable to convert on a 4th down pass… Niners won but they showed that they have yet to develop a killer instinct.

The weak link in the game was the Niners defensive secondary. Mathew Stafford threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns on 34/53 passes. Stafford never looked in Richard Sherman’s direction and picked apart Ahkello Witherspoon as he was playing with a sprained ankle. There were also too many missed tackles leading to the Lions getting a new set of downs.

The Niner offense showed brilliance through 3 quarters as they scored 30 points. The running game exploded with Matt Breida running for 138 yards on only 11 carries. Breida deserves the game ball as he had a break-out game. His 66 yard touchdown run was the highlight of the day. He ran right, then cut into the middle, found Pierre Garcon blocking on the left sideline, and followed Garcon’s block for 30 yards for the TD. Garcon also had a great game. In addition to the 30 yard block which is unheard of and truly remarkable, he had 4 catches on 4 targets for 48 important yards. Alfred Morris got the tough yards carrying 14 times for 48 yards. The fact that the running game came together showed that the offensive line had a very solid day. Garoppolo was sacked 6 times but those sacks were on him and not on the offensive line. He held the ball much too long waiting for a receiver to get open. Jimmy G must learn to throw the ball away instead of taking those drive killing sacks. Garoppolo did have a good game otherwise as he threw for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18/26. My belief is that Shanahan’s poor play calling in the 4th quarter allowed the Lions to stay in the game. He along with the rest of the team have a lot of improvements to make.

Around the League:

  • The Cleveland Browns are a much improved team but they are still the Browns. They played a very good Saints team and actually should have beaten them. But, their field goal kicker, Zane Gonzalez, missed 2 extra points and 2 field goals in a 21-18 loss. Ouch…
  • The Packers vs Vikings game was a thriller with controversy involved. Aaron Rodgers continued to amaze as he went 30 for 42 on pass plays for 281 yards and a touchdown with an injured leg. The controversy involved Clay Matthews who hit Kirk Cousins as he was releasing his pass and was called for roughing the passer. Matthews, didn’t hit him in the head nor knees and hit him in the chest leading with his shoulder and not with his helmet. The play resulted in a Packer interception with them leading 29-21 with 1:45 left in the game. They would have iced the game. Instead, the Vikings got new life and scored and converted a 2 point extra point to tie the game and send it into overtime. The referee said that Matthews lifted Cousins up and slammed him into the ground. Replays clearing show that he merely tackled him in text-book fashion. In addition to that controversial play, the Vikings missed a field goal from the 17 yard line with 2 seconds left in overtime, so the game ended in a kiss-your-sister tie.
  • The Buffalo Bills corner back, Vontae Davis, abruptly “retired” at halftime vs the LA Chargers. He said that reality hit him and he told himself that he shouldn’t be out there any longer. I certainly don’t have any issues with any player retiring from the NFL as it is a brutal game. But, at halftime when his teammates are counting on him??? C’Mon Man !!!

SF 49ers – Week 1 Loss But They Proved They Can Play With The Big Boys

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For 49er fans, the week 1 loss wasn’t a bad sign for the remainder of the season for multiple reasons.

Despite losing to a Super Bowl contender in their hostile environment, the 49ers showed that they can play toe-to-toe with the big boys.

Multiple injuries to their Right Guard position forced Shanahan to move his rookie Right Tackle, Mike McGlinchy, to play Guard and Garry Gilliam to play Right Tackle. The Offensive Line held their own against the league’s best defense under these conditions. Starting Guard, Mike Person, and backup Joshua Garnett both suffered foot injuries forcing this move.

Marquise Goodwin, the 49ers Home Run Wide Receiver, injured his quad early in the game so couldn’t contribute.

Then, there were the Turn Overs and Dropped Passes which were the deciding factors in the game. The 49ers had 4 Turn Overs (1 Fumble and 3 INT’s). The reliable Alfred Morris fumbled on the 1 yard line. The sure-handed Pierre Garcon dropped a Touchdown pass. George Kittle dropped a perfect long pass from Garoppolo and could have run all the way back to San Francisco without being touched. On the very next play after the Kittle drop, Garoppolo threw a Pick-6. Kendrick Bourne, the target Wide Receiver on that play, admitted after the game that he ran the wrong route causing the Pick-6. Those two plays created a 14 point swing against the 49ers. In the 4th Quarter, Garoppolo over-threw a wide open George Kittle in the end zone. Thus, they left a potential 28 points on the field. Then, to put the icing on the cake on errors, with a little under 3 minutes left in the game, Defensive Tackle, Solomon Thomas, committed the sin of all sins by biting on a hard count with 1 second left on the play clock and jumping off-sides giving the Vikings another 4 downs to run the clock.

Now, onto the positives…

DeForest Buckner had a monster game on Defense recording 2 ½ sacks. In general, the entire Defensive Line (including Solomon Thomas) had a solid game. Shanahan said that he was pleased with his Defensive Line play as they held the Vikings to 17 offensive points which he thought would be good enough to win.

Rookie LB Fred Warner had a game high 12 tackles and looks like the real-deal. Richard Sherman looked like he is fully recovered from his achilles tear injury and had a solid game. He also said that Middle Linebacker is the toughest position to come into as a rookie and commended Warner for his performance.

Rookie WR Dante Pettis also had a good game and made a fantastic 22 yard catch in the back of the End Zone for the 49ers only Touchdown.

Garoppolo had the 3 INT’s but otherwise had a decent game as his stats match that of Cousins. He had 266 yards passing to Cousin’s 244 yards.

Many mistakes that the 49ers will correct as this is a much improved team from last year…

Around the League:

  • The Chicago Bears won the Khalil Mack sweepstakes. He was a 1-man wrecking crew on Defense vs the Packers.
  • Aaron Rodgers is more dangerous with 1 leg. He came back to play in the 4th quarter after suffering what looked like a season-ending knee injury in the 1st half and threw 3 Touchdown passes to secure a 24-23 comeback win vs the Bears. The Bears were ahead 20-3 when he limped back onto the field. This was the greatest come-from-behind 4th quarter deficit victory in Packers history. Rodgers played like a wounded bear (no pun intended)… something that nobody wants to deal with.
  • Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson, two oldies who haven’t received the respect that they deserve over the last couple of years, showed that they still have plenty in the tank by demolishing the Cardinals in Arizona.
  • The Cleveland Browns ended their 17 game losing streak. BUT, they didn’t start a 1 game winning streak either. A tie is like kissing your sister.
  • The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs last year and traded their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns so that they can start Nathan Peterman at QB. Against the Ravens, Peterman went 5 for 18 for 24 yards (I didn’t forget the zero at the end of 24) with 2 INT’s and a QB rating of ZERO. In case you are wondering, the Bills lost 47-3.
  • Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, the other Super Bowl contender, got trashed by the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a back-up QB, Ryan Fitspatrick, who threw for 417 yards and 4 Touchdowns. Jameis Winston may have to go back to stealing more crabs…

2018/2019 SF Forty Niners 53 Man Roster Projections

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Here are my projections for the Niner roster which will be determined by Saturday 1:00 pm, September 1, 2018.

Most are straight forward but a few will be hard decisions that Shanahan and Lynch have to make.

The 6 WR’s: The hard decision is whether to keep Burbridge or Bourne. Burbridge has the edge as he is an excellent Special Teams player. Bourne developed a great connection with Garoppolo last year and is still in his second year. He has the length (6-4) and the speed that Shanahan likes. Stay tuned…

The 4 OG’s: The Niners signed Jonathan Cooper during the off season and they were hopeful that he would be one of the starting guards. But he has been slow to recover from various injuries and both Person and Garnett have played well so Cooper is behind both. Thus, the choice boils down to Cooper or Magnuson who can play both OG and OT so I give the edge to him.

The 6 LB’s: Reuben Foster is suspended for the first 2 games. When he returns, either Watson or Taumoepenu will be released. I give the edge to Taumoepenu as he was drafted by Lynch and Shanahan last year. Plus, he looked really good in pre-season games.

The 6 CB’s: The tough choice here is between Mabin and Reed. Again, I give the edge to Reed as he was drafted by Lynch and Shanahan this year.

The 4 S’s: Marcell Harris is recovering from a torn Achilles but Lynch and Shanahan still thought highly of him so drafted him this year. He is currently on the Niner’s IR list but has made good progress. When he is fully recovered and ready to join the team, Exum will be cut.

This-n-That’s:

I am so glad that the Niners signed Alfred Morris. He is an established pro running back who had his best years at Washington under Shanahan. He will be a great complimentary power runner to the speedier McKinnon, Breida and Mosterdt.

The addition of Richard Sherman was genius. He still has the speed and skills to compete at a high level. More importantly, he is a great teacher and will make the entire defensive backfield play “together”.

Richie James has been a stand-out WR since being drafted in the 7th round this year. His play is very similar to Trent Taylor’s style of play so one could question why they need two similar players. But James played so well during pre-season, he’ll make the team.

Jullian Taylor has also been a stand-out DL since being drafted in the 7th round this year. He, along with the stellar play of D. J. Jones and Sheldon Day are the reasons that make Arik Armstead expendable (although I still do have Armstead on the roster, I look for him to be traded).

Joshua Garnett has gone from being on the brink of being cut to fighting for a starting job at Right Guard. Mike Person will be the starter but Garnett’s solid showing gives Shanahan the luxury of turning to him if either Tomlinson or Person get hurt.

Watch for Jerick McKinnon to pile up a lot of yardage on screen and flare-out passes this year.

Look for Lynch and Shanahan to scour the league’s cut list for a Safety. Other than Tartt and Colbert, this position looks weak.

Also look for Lynch and Shanahan to look for trade partners for Arik Armstead and Jimmy Ward. They were both #1 draft picks from the Baalke era and are serviceable players but not as #1 pick players. A dream trade would be trading Armstead, Ward, and the Niner’s #1 draft pick next year for Khalil Mack.

With this roster, the only players remaining from the Baalke era are Joe Staley, Arik Armstead, Jimmy Ward, Ronald Blair, and Bradley Pinion. I think Lynch and Shanahan have done a truly remarkable job in turning this franchise around in 2 years.

QB (2)Jimmy GaroppoloC.J. Beathard
RB (4)Jerick McKinnonMatt BreidaRaheem MostertAlfred Morris
FB (1)Kyle Juszczyk
WR (6): Pierre Garçon, Marquise GoodwinTrent TaylorDante PettisAaron Burbridge/Kendrick Bourne, Richie James
TE (3)George KittleGarrett CelekCole Wick
OT (3)Joe StaleyMike McGlincheyGarry Gilliam
OG (4)Joshua GarnettLaken TomlinsonMike PersonErik Magnuson/Jonathan Cooper
C (1)Weston Richburg

DL (10)DeForest BucknerSolomon ThomasArik ArmsteadCassius MarshEarl MitchellD.J. JonesSheldon DayRonald BlairJeremiah AttaochuJullian Taylor
LB (6)Malcolm SmithMark NzeochaFred WarnerDekoda Watson/Pita Taumoepenu, Brock Coyle, Reuben Foster
CB (6)Richard ShermanAhkello WitherspoonJimmie Ward, Tarvarius Moore, K’Waun Williams, Greg Mabin/D.J. Reed
S (4)Jaquiski TarttAdrian Colbert, Tyvis Powell, Antone Exum Jr./Marcell Harris

K (1)Robbie Gould
P (1)Bradley Pinion
LS (1)Kyle Nelson