I'm coming to you live from Calgary International Airport. Consider it posting on the run. I get two hours of free wireless so we're here to make them count. It's apparently 0 degrees celsius outside (freezing for those of us a few miles to the south). Needless to say I won't be wandering outside during my four hour layover.
Every other week over the last month we've handed out a "Sprint Game Ball of the Week" to the best performer in that week's game. It's certainly nice to recognize positive performances, but given the 49ers struggles, should we really be handing out game balls. I've noticed some comments from folks to that effect, and I have to say that I agree.
I am as big a fan of recognizing the positive as anybody, but the 49ers performances are not exactly all that inspiring. Yes they've had some crazy bad luck at times, but the continual run of problems does not make it easy to recognize the positives.
Accordingly, the time has come to mix things up in this particular post. When the 49ers lose a game the week of this post, we will no longer present a Game Ball of the week. Rather, we will recognize the player whose struggles were a key factor in the team's loss. Maybe it's the QB throwing an ill-timed interception. Maybe it's a cornerback trying to jump a route and getting burned badly. Whoever it's going to be, we're here to recognize them.
Before we get to the actual award, I'm curious what people think of the name choice. After all Just Turnovers O'Sullivan would have won this award numerous times in 2008. It seems like he would be a worthy namesake. If you have other suggestions, feel free to offer them.
Sprint JTO Memorial Game Ball Of The Week: David Carr
This week there were several players to consider for this award. And yet, I think many folks will agree that David Carr is clearly the deserving winner. This is not a question of how prepared he was to enter the game, or the fact that it was only a half and we shouldn't dog him for that given all the love for Alex Smith.
Rather, just taking the game in isolation, it could be argued nobody had as much of an impact on the 49ers eventual loss as David Carr. It's easy to point to the shot-put throws (most notably his first ugly duck in Vernon Davis' general direction) or the ill-timed interception that set up the Panthers game-winning drive.
The real issue was that Carr's struggles in the first series seemed to remove any sense of confidence offensive coordinator Mike Johnson might have had in him. The team tried to mix things up with Carr but the offense came to a grinding halt. Even though the 49ers held the lead thanks to a defensive touchdown, they could not do enough on offense to chew up the clock or add some insurance points. At the end of the day it cost them the game.
And that is why I've awarded David Carr the Week 7 Sprint JTO Memorial Game Ball Of The Week.