Hey everybody! As brutal as that loss was, all I can say is: "Hell'uve a game!" I may be smoking some different weed than other people, but that was a heck of a game from my perspective. A "horrible" game is one like the Eagles vs the Falcons. THAT was ugly! The Cowbodys are a darn good team and we came darn close to beating them. You have to remember, we are a franchise that has been the lowest of the low for a very long time. The fact that we can even hold our heads up at this point, let alone come out after a short off-season, major roster overhaul, and entirely new schemes being implemented and beat the Seahawks and then make a HUGE leap forward against a very good team says a lot. We need to work on consistency and we need to be more aggressive. That much is obvious. But I saw some things from our team today that I have never seen before. I honestly think we can beat any team in the National Football League. I remember the game we trashed Peyton Manning. I had never seen that guy look so confused before! I remember the close games against the Saints and Falcons last season. Those were were flash in the pan moments mostly. But the team I have seen this season looks like one that could be Super Bowl champions sooner than later.
Anyway, I need to vent a little bit and mention a few things (negative and positive) about this game that will likely not be given enough coverage by the media folks. Read on...
1. The "neutral zone infraction". This had to have been one of the worst calls I have ever seen. Absolutely awful. That was the beginning of the end for us. Stupid refs owe us an apology for that one!
2. The touchdown where Madieu Williams "whiffed". Roger Goodell should be publicly whipped for the crimes he has committed against the game of football. While I wish violence upon no man, Goodell is directly responsible for that touchdown. What am I talking about? You will remember the STUPUD, BOGUS, _____ (Insert favorite swear word here) "defenseless receiver" call from last week against...Madieu Williams. I watched the replays of today's touchdown over and over. I kept wondering what the heck Williams was thinking. He was coming in like a freight train and the receiver never saw him. He timed it perfectly and could have given that receiver a hit he would never have forgotten. No way in heck the receiver catches that ball if Williams had hit him like he could have. Finally it dawned on me. Williams was gun shy. He was trying to make a desperation save play without committing a stupid penalty. He pretty clearly did the only thing he could do without paralyzing the receiver for life. However, this decision gave them 7 points. Stupid, stupid, rule! This play needs to be shown EVERYWHERE back to back with the play from last week as an example that the DB has no choice but to lay the guy out if he wants to protect those points.
3. The "illegal substitution" call. Do you see a pattern developing here? Our guys played their hearts out and our coaches TRIED to do throw in all the wrinkles they could. In the end, it took a guy playing with a fractured rib to beat us. I think more than anything, the sheer guts of Romo continuing to play on, despite getting hit over and over again inspired his team like nothing else could. It's really hard to beat that. HOWEVER, back to the call. Based upon the reaction from Harbaugh and company, I would guess that that call was pure BS. Harbaugh stays pretty darn calm for a coach. Even when things get ugly, it takes a lot for him to lose his temper. But after this call he was ready to commit murder. He was ready to drop his pants. It wasn't just him either. His assistant head coach was screaming too. Our offensive players were yelling too. This was a play that could have been huge for us. We saw last week how we used this play to draw a key off-sides penalty. I don't blame Harbaugh for being furious when he is throwing out everything he can to try get a win for his guys and the refs pull a stunt like that. I'm guessing it was something along the lines of "Oh I'm sorry, I know the player tried to say something to me but I couldn't hear him. I figured it was no big deal. He has to stand in front of me and pick his nose and do the Macarena and sing the Gummy Bear song before he can actually be ruled eligible."
4. The "you have to wait for the defense to adjust" play that wasn't a play. Yet again, the 49ers tried to throw in a wrinkle to catch the other team off balance. Once again, the refs couldn't keep up with Brad Seely's genius brain. "Uh, we don't know what you were doing and the defense didn't either. So, um, to keep it fair, you gotta explain it to them before you can use it." Ok, so we hiked the ball when they were still adjusting, but really? Isn't making a sudden change and quick-snapping it a part of the game? I don't all the ins and outs of the rules here, but given how angry this call made Seely I'm guessing that there is yet another discrepancy between the 49ers and the league about the rules. I'm really curious to see how this one plays out. I'm guessing the 49ers try to get clarification from the league about this rule (and maybe the other suspect calls). Frankly I'd like to know what the Niners were trying to do and I'd like to know what the league has to say about it. If we were trying to confuse them and then run a fake punt or something (not out of the question) then I too would be STEAMED at the refs for blowing that play dead. Any football experts have an opinion on this one?
5. Where, oh where, was Aldon Smith? We weren't getting any pressure on the QB in the second half and our secondary was getting torched. Clearly having a coverage OLB on the field was not helping. Clearly, Fangio didn't want to send extra blitzers. Clearly Tony Romo was a couple of hits from being out of that game for real. So why didn't we play Aldon Smith more? He was clearly our best hope at that point. Am I just a football noob here or what? Cause this decision really puzzled me and it doesn't seem like a hard one to make. If monkeys can discover the best way to open a banana, Vic Fangio can surely figure this one out, right? I also didn't see Spencer out there much (at all?). Our other guys were getting beat already. What was the harm in giving the veteran a shot?
6. Sucky offense? I'm sorry, but I just don't get our offensive game-plan. I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now. I know we played well in the first half. But it was in a very limited offense. Their defense made some easy adjustments at half time and we couldn't keep up. We have a receiving corps that could be one of the best in the game. Our running game isn't getting anywhere. Why don't we go to a more sophisticated passing attack? We kept only putting one or two WRs on the field at a time. WHY?? Kyle Williams is a BEAST! His combination of speed, quickness, strong but soft hands, cuts in and out of breaks and savvy play is SICK! By savvy play, I mean the way he leaned toward and away from the DB during his TD route forcing the DB to give him some room as he had no idea which side of him the ball was coming to. That was the first savvy part of the play. The second was the way he kept his hands close to him until it was too late for the corner to do anything about it. He then finished the play by having great awareness of the sideline, tapping BOTH feet in, and then making sure he maintained possession all the way through the catch. You can't teach this stuff! The kid is a natural! He was the same way in college and he has clearly made the transition to the NFL. So WHY did we not send him on slants across the middle? The defense would have been forced to keep people back to cover that and not send so many blitzers. Otherwise we would burn them all day long. If you watched the Saints game in pre-season you'll remember that it take Kyle about 1.5 seconds to come flying across the middle of the field on a slant. There is no pass-rusher, not even DeMarcus Ware, who can get to a QB that fast. I mean, heck, we could have even stuck Hunter in there sometimes. He is small, quick as lightning, and fast as heck. By the 4th quarter, I guarantee you those Cowboy D-linemen must have been exhausted. Giving Hunter some pitches to the outside or some quick screens might have given the Cowboys fits. No 300 pound D-lineman wants to chase a 5 foot nothing water beetle all over the field late in the game. Again, am I just an idiot or can Roman simply not figure this stuff out?
Those are the key things I remember off the top of my head. (Other than the sickening replay of the Cowboys fumble sitting at Brock's feet while he just stood there. If he had seen it and picked it up, it would have been game over.) If I have anything else to add I'll put it in the comments or if I have a lot more I'll put them in a new post. Thanks for reading, please rec if you liked this and discuss freely and politely in the comments.