Hey Everybody! Somebody gave my sister two free tickets to the MNF game (still wonder how all those Steeler fans got tickets?) so I was lucky enough to get to go. I have some interesting observations that you probably didn't get to see on tv and probably won't hear about from the beat writers.
Lights, Camera, LIGHTS??!?
The first power outage was actually pretty funny to those of us at the game. Everything was set up for the players to come running out of the helmet with all the usual pomp and circumstance. It was going to happen any second. Then, suddenly, most of the lights went out (think the lighting at the Shark Tank when the Sharks take the ice). It was a bit startling, but everyone thought it was part of the act. The crowd went totally nuts. It took a minute for us to realize that this wasn't just a really cool way to send the team onto the field. Personally, I only realized when I saw that the helmet had deflated. That made me realize the truth. What made the situation really interesting was that the PA system was down as well, so nobody could make an announcement to the fans telling them what was going on and not to worry.
After the first blackout, we had a good chuckle and I jokingly told my sister that at least it didn't happen in the middle of the game. Silly me, cause later we had the second blackout. During the second incident, some idiot ran onto the field, and many more (in our section at least) were muttering about doing the same thing. Poor fool wasn't even good at it though. He ran right into the security folks. Personally, I wish he'd run out to the 49ers logo on the 50 and started Tebowing. If you're going to get yourself arrested, you should at least go out in grand style! (I later saw a clip on the internet of Worthlessburger saying "Where's James Harrison when you need him?" Lol!)
The power outages themselves really weren't that bad. Power was restored fairly quickly. However, the big delays were caused because every time the power came back they had to wait the usual 15-20 minutes for the huge lights to warm back up (as is the case with all of those kinds of lighting systems so far as I know). In the meantime, the fans had a good time with it, including loud boos and cheers as the power went in and out, and there were several chants of "new stadium".
The big story that I bet you won't hear anywhere is about the security incidents that happened during the game. During the post-game wrap-up on KNBR, some guy claiming to be a volunteer with ESPN called into the show and said the big issue was two bomb threats that happened during the game. This may seem like a wild rumor, but I can testify to the legitimacy of it.
Early in the game about 7 or 8 cops hurried past our seats in the upper deck. This caused quite a stir as we all thought there must be a fight. However, it was still early, there was no visible fight (let alone one large enough to need that many cops), and there were no visible event security personnel (the ones in the yellow jackets that are always at the scene of fights).
After the second black-out a whole ton of cops came out and set up a perimeter on the field between the fans and players and playing field. They stood there the entire rest of the came alertly scanning the audience. They were joined shortly after their initial appearance by a whole host of Yellow Jackets who formed a perimeter between the cops and the fans, and they too spent the rest of the game scanning the audience. Though a little extreme, I figured this was because they were afraid someone might run onto the field during another outage and attack one of the players.
The last piece of the puzzle was the police patrols. The whole second half there were three-man patrols of cops roaming around the upper decks (I don't know about the lower sections).
I didn't pay much attention to any of these things at the time, but looking back it totally makes sense if there were bomb threats. Serious kudos to the police, security, and the folks running everything behind the scenes. Nobody really realized anything unusual was going on, everything stayed perfectly calm, and the game ran relatively smoothly considering the circumstances. I wouldn't have a problem going to anything game from the stand-point of security. These guys clearly did a good job locking the place down and doing it without arousing unwanted attention. I personally trust them.
Dashon Goldson is a bit like Chilo Rachal. On tv you always see him making plays. But if you're at the game, you'll notice he gets out of position quite a bit. There were several times a corner thought he had safety help but Dashon absentmindedly let them run by him before he realized he needed to get his butt over there. It's lucky Ben missed a couple of those long balls because they would probably have been touchdowns. Dashon was still a good 5 yards behind the play trying to catch up. He also tends to whiff as much as anything. Sometimes he lays a guy out, other times he bounces off the guy AND knocks the corner out of the play too.
Alex Smith IS having trouble looking downfield. On tv you can't always tell if he's dumping it off because our guys aren't getting open or if Alex just isn't looking downfield. Well, I can safely tell you that it's a bit of both. Our guys do have some trouble getting open. However, Alex Smith is frustrating as heck to watch. There were numerous times where he'd have a receiver (Williams in particular) isolated on the outside with the safeties creeping into the box. Alex needs to recognize that one on one matchup.
Also, there were plenty of times where a guy was open downfield but Alex dumped it off the guy in between him and the open man. Worse, Alex would often give the deep routes a look right away before the receiver is anywhere close to ready, and he'd immediately give up on the deep route and lock on to the dump-off option. SUPER FRUSTRATING! That isn't even mentioning the 3 touchdown passes he flat-out missed (wheel-route to Crabtree, screen to Gore on the outside, and the one where Williams was wide open but Alex tried to rifle it by the defender instead of lofting it over him). Our receivers are doing a pretty good job and Alex just isn't taking advantage. There was one play in particular where Williams was open beyond the short route, but Alex dumped it off instead. Williams was SUPER upset!
Don't get me wrong, Alex is managing the game well enough. But our offensive woes can definitely be blamed a lot on him. There comes a time when you need to force things. Like I've said before, you can't beat the Packers (or the Ravens or the Cardinals!) if you just keep playing it safe and dumping it off. Throwing a 2 yard pass on 3rd and 15 is STUPID! Keep your eyes downfield and look for someone to come open past the first down marker.
Kyle Williams is a beast. We keep throwing it to him 3rd down for a reason. He's the one guy on our team that we can trust to catch the ball every time. Heck, he almost made a spectacular diving catch on a horribly thrown pass (in the 3rd quarter I believe?). Look for those times he has one on one matchups. If you throw the ball at him, he'll come down with it 95% of the time that it is humanly possible. GET THE MAN THE BALL! (Why no slants to him? He'd be DEADLY on those!)
Our special teams unit is AWESOME! Besides their spectacular play on the field, our kick-off guys actually DANCE before they kick! It's really fun to watch. They get into their clump before spreading out along the line, and while in that clump they dance and try to pump up the crowd. Several of them have some good moves. If I got the numbers right, it looked like Tavares Gooden had the best dance skills.
I think we had an actual 4-reciever set. Looked like Swain wide left with Williams, Ginn, and Crabtree clumped on the right (could be wrong on that, but whatever it was it was cool!)
We had one play on defense where we had 3 safeties on the field. Whitner was up in the box almost like a LB, Goldson was matched up one-on-one with a WR as if he were a corner, and Reggie Smith was playing center field. This play failed horribly and I hope we never do it again. Goldson doesn't have the necessary corner skills (quickness etc) to cover a guy like that, and Ben (like a good QB) exploited the matchup.
We used Joe Staley as a decoy. He reported as an eligible receiver and did the same route he caught a pass on earlier in the year. The Steelers were smart and covered it, but that gave Crabtree the space he needed to get open on the outside just beyond him. That was one of the touchdown passes that Smith should NOT have missed.
Speaking of eligible players, it's cool being at the game because you can hear the refs announce the eligible players. It's like "who's number 67? Wait, we have two linemen as eligible receivers??" It's actually awesome too because you can see how it confuses the defense. The defenders are trying to make sure they cover any sneaky trick play and consequently get pushed out of the way for a nice run by Gore (or a nice wide open Crabtree!)
THE TERRIBLE TOWELS!! Gah!! Seemed like there were as many Steeler fans as Niners. Was like they had a home game. Oh yes, and those puny foam sticks we were handed at the game were totally useless and whoever thought of them should be fired. (Personally, I'm still fond of "thunder sticks".) Still, it was nice to shut them up. We had one obnoxious fan in our section who kept chanting "Let's Go Steelers", or saying "Whiners" after we said Niners. She was the ONLY one and she didn't care. After we scored our first touchdown, one clever fan turned to her and said "Let's go Steelers! Oh wait..." :D
JIM HARBAUGH GETS WHAT HE WANTS! Oh man! You know how the offense was complaining about our idiot fans doing the wave when we were on offense during an earlier game? Well the Niners spent this whole last week sending out reminders to shut up when we're on offense and bring the noise on defense. At the game, there were male cheerleaders holding up "hush" signs, and the signs that say things like "LOUDER" said something like "Quiet offense at work", and there were all kinds of things like that. Jim Harbaugh must've been super upset because the organization clearly went all out to ensure quiet when we had the ball. It mostly worked too!
Everybody knows by now that getting into and out of Candlestick Park really sucks, but I'd like to reiterate this in a little bit more detail because I think the Niners and San Fran really laid an egg with this game.
First off, with our free game tickets we also got free passes to a one of those "49er Experience" type buses. The company that ran this bus really blew it big time. The bus passes said the bus would leave at 3:00. However, the bus was apparently scheduled to leave at 2:45. This was not apparent anywhere on their website. There was something about buses for 5:00 games leaving at 2:45, but nothing about 5:30 games. We got there at about 2:45 and had some trouble parking. We pulled up by the bus and told the driver we were coming with him and asked for parking advice. He told us he had no idea, but fortunately we found some right across the street. However, after paying for parking and walking back around the corner, the bus was gone. WTH?? According to our passes it wasn't supposed to leave until 3:00 AND the driver knew we'd be there any minute (After parking we got to the stop at 2:51.) So that's pretty lame, and even more so because we then had to pay for gas to drive to the stadium and $30 to park in the far outdoor lot (ridiculous price for horrible parking).
When we got down to Candlestick there were signs directing customers paying for parking with cash to exit at 3rd Street. We pretty much knew that was BS as you can access the cash lots from the other exit as well (forgetting what it's called). Following the amber message signs erected by the city took us another 30 minutes from the exit to time we got to the parking lot. That is an absurd amount of time for such a short distance.
Now, in order to get from the massive far parking lot to the stadium you must cross a narrow, rickety wooden bridge. This creates a horrible bottleneck. The crowd trying to cross the bridge after the game was a nightmare. Took us a good 20 minutes to cross the dang thing, and people farther back probably had to wait at least 30 minutes.
After the game, when you finally get to your car, traffic does not move. Where we were parked, traffic did not move one single inch for almost an entire hour! You'd think it would at least inch along, but no, not inch did it move. Most people just shut their cars off and waited it out. In the end, we figured out that if you went to the opposite end of the lot you could get out no problem. But there were no signs telling you that, and nobody directing traffic, so TONS of people sat in a massive line that never moved when they could have been halfway home.
REC if you liked!