Yes, that is a headline that mentions both Tim Rattay and Arnaz Battle on Niners Nation ... in 2013. The pinnacle of "backing the wrong horse" combined with the very definition of "I guess we could do worse" have made an appearance, and you have the venerable Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee to thank for that fact.
More accurately, you have the San Francisco 49ers and, accordingly, the Carolina Panthers to thank for that. Those two players wouldn't earn a mention if the 49ers didn't completely lay an egg and the Panthers didn't make me eat my "they're probably not THAT good" words on Sunday.
And eat them I did. The Panthers made sure I ate my words, put my foot in my mouth, got my just desserts and all manner of "I was wrong/I was arrogant/hubris" idioms you could possibly begin to imagine. Carolina's defense showed up in a big way,and made the 49ers offense look ... bad. Just awful.
Tim Rattay and Arnaz Battle awful, as it happens. As Barrows noted on Sulia, an insufferably annoying tool that offers no benefit to Twitter-goers or modern society in general, the longest play by the San Francisco offense was a 17-yard run by running back Frank Gore. Now, Gore had a solid game -- the only player on offense to do so -- but it's worth noting that the last time the 49ers had a 17-yard gain as their longest play was on Sept. 18, 2005.
On that day, Rattay threw a 17-yard pass to Battle, mid-way through the third quarter of a game that was 28-0 in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles. I guess, to their credit, the drive ended with a Joe Nedney field goal, but given that a quick search of the play-by-play shows a whopping 10 mentions of the name "Battle," the fact that the 49ers ultimately lost by a score of 42-3 shouldn't be shocking.
Ultimately, this 49ers' offense is obviously a good bit better than that offense, even if the stats might not show it on paper. There's a lot more scoring potential and explosiveness and all that jazz, but it's not an exercise in futility to draw comparisons to just how futile the 49ers were on Sunday.
Again, as Barrows notes, this means that offenses managed by the likes of Jimmy Raye and Jim Hostler all managed to avoid a low of 17 yards for their longest play. I don't think the game was all about Carolina domination -- far from it. The 49ers beat themselves at least half as much over as Carolina beat them, but the Panthers played fast, aggressive defense that didn't allow the 49ers to recover once they'd faltered.
Either way, I'm thankful we've got Colin Kaepernick and these guys as opposed to someone like Rattay and Battle ... especially given that Drew Brees should have a swell day throwing to the hole in the secondary that is Craig Dahl in Week 11. The 49ers will need to be just a tad better than they were on offense in Week 10.