So another week and another loss, this time at the hands of the hated Dallas Cowboys. It has become almost an expected occurrence to see this 49er team underperform and essentially do nothing more than continue to disappoint week in and week out. I will admit that there are times (although very few and far between) where someone will make a great play or even piece together a good series on either side of the ball, again though these times are not coming in abundance.
It makes one wonder how much longer the coaches, players and even fans can continue to make comments like; “the talent is there, the team simply needs to put it all together” or “this team needs discipline and good coaching to succeed.” I know I myself have been making comments such as these at times during this season however, at 3-8 something has to give.
I continue to champion Mike Singletary as the head coach of this team and as I stated previously will do so once this season ends, regardless of the outcome of the next five weeks. I love his style and attitude on the sideline and how his players have responded to him since he was given his interim status. I love how the players trust him and go to battle for him because they not only want to succeed but because they seemingly want him to succeed as well. I really just feel that he is the man for the job based on his experience not only as a player but with the men on this team.
Some things from last weekend’s game that really stood out for me:
- The offense looked really good early on in moving the ball almost at will. On the flipside, failing to put it into the end zone while twice being inside the 5-yard line is unacceptable and should be addressed this week!
- Nate Clements was burnt for deep passes to Terrell Owens on three separate occasions and aside from two monster hits when the game was already out of reach he grievously disappointed this week, in fact he has been doing so for the most part all season. This man is supposed to be the anchor of the secondary and he is continuously being put to shame with the deep pass. Also he was called for an offside penalty on the onside kick when he was on the complete opposite side of the field from where Joe Nedney kicked the ball. Completely unacceptable!
- Shaun Hill, while an obvious upgrade over J.T. O’Sullivan is still prone to game killing mistakes as well and is (as we all know) not the long term answer at quarterback for this team. The play immediately after the turnover courtesy of Manny Lawson was the worst one I think I have seen him run and giving the ball right back to Cowboys was the end of the game. If that drive nets a touchdown then who knows how the game ends.
- There continues to be no pass rush whatsoever. As I watched the game I pondered out loud to the company I was in why it was that when I see other teams blitz the quarterback with four down linemen and a linebacker or two there always seems to be at least one player who breaks through untouched to either sack or hurry the QB. Yet when the 49ers blitz, even bringing a few linebackers and defensive back for example they have no such luck. Is the San Francisco offensive line simply that awful? Apparently so.
- Good teams make the kind of plays that this team doesn’t. Again I will reference the interception thrown by Hill on the ensuing play after Manny Lawson took the ball away from Dallas, a good team and quarterback doesn’t do that. There was also a punt where Marcus Hudson had the chance to pin the Cowboys at about their own 1-yard line. Instead of trying to jump in the air and bat the ball back outside the end zone, he decided to get cute with it and the result was a touchback. There were of course many more plays which fall into this category however bringing them all up here would necessitate my being in front of the computer until well after the Thanksgiving holiday, something I have neither the time nor the patience for.
So now the 49ers must travel to Buffalo and on the weekend after Thanksgiving no less. I’m taking odds right now that this team is not only going to be so full from stuffing their respective faces this Thursday but that they are going to get manhandled in the wintery conditions in Orchard Park. They are not adept at playing in hostile conditions, let alone ones that call for snow showers and a high of 36 degrees on Sunday.
I try to be optimistic about the prospects of the rest of this season, I really do. However when one is continuously let down and faced with the disappointment of another losing season it becomes commonplace to harbor a pessimistic attitude. Perhaps next season will be better. There needs to be changes made on this roster and once again, I see Singletary as the man to make that happen. With a full offseason, free agency and draft I can see good things coming to fruition under him and I hope the Yorks concur.
For now though…
3-9 here we come!