Well, at least we won't have to worry about losing in the playoffs. I've figured out the 49ers' numerological code. Call me the Robert Langdon of the ole gridiron. W-W-L, right? At first glance, that would appear to hold true. But take a closer look at it...W-W-L-W-W-L-W-W-T-W-W-L-W-W-L.... now any 8-year old can tell you that the next three letters in that sequence are W-W-T, signalling the first ever game in NFL playoff history to end in a tie. The Mayans were correct, the world as we know it has ended. The Super Bowl is nevermore. We go into Green Bay for the NFC Conference Championship Game and leave with a 24-24 tie. Season over for both teams.
OK, that's enough silliness for this edition of This Week in Niners Nation. I'm acting silly so I don't cry while writing. There really wasn't a worse outcome one could imagine from Sunday's game in Seattle. We lost the game 42-13. Vernon Davis left the game concussed, after appearing to get into a rhythm for the first time since the Bears game in Week 10, Colin Kaepernick's first start. Mario Manningham had his knee shredded on a tackle on a 0-yard gain with the game close to being out of reach. Kaepernick fell back to Earth, appearing more like a guy making his 6th start than the NFC Player of the Week.
Do we have the consistency it takes to run the playoffs? Can we win three in a row? We haven't all season and it's a bit late to start fixing things but anything can happen in the NFL postseason. We're thin at wide receiver and 2012 is looking more and more like 2011. On a positive note, seven 49ers were named Pro Bowl starters, two more named reserves and plenty more named as alternates. Let's see what the NN staff has to say about all of these developments.
Week 16: Seattle 42, 49ers 13
Here's Fooch's video recap of the game. WARNING: If you are pregnant, suffer from heart ailments, have back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, monkey pox, moose bumps, wear corrective shoes, have big bunions or your toenails look and smell like onions, or are simply faint at heart then you should avoid watching this video at all costs. | 49ers vs Seahawks: Do you just burn the game film? (Fooch)
Anthony Ly's piece about the game discusses the Seahawks in depth. He notes that it feels odd to discuss the opponent in depth, but had the 49ers shown up for the game, they might be able to join in the discussion. Alas, twasn't to be. The phrase "the 49ers tasted the rainbow early and often" appears. It describes, rather well, the kind of game Marshawn Lynch had. | The booth review - 49ers vs Seahawks: "Ho-ho-holy $#&%, that was bad" (Ly)
Dylan DeSimone takes the 49ers to task for their blowout loss. While noting that Seattle is actually good (huh?) there is plenty of blame to be placed. Play-calling is being questioned for the umpteenth time this season. I can't remember who wrote the comment I am about to paraphrase (appeared on an edition of the Nuggets), but Greg Roman is an excellent play designer, and an often overmatched play caller. | What, how, why it went wrong (DeSimone)
Week 17: Cardinals at 49ers
Well if we aren't going to earn a bye-week by securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC, at least we have Week 17 against the Cardinals. And who better to practice our 'mad dog faces' on than Arizona. They talk a lot of smack, so crushing them shouldn't cause any sort of conflicting feelings among the players. Redemption time is coming and I smell a blowout. Did I mention... | Brian Hoyer to start at QB for Cardinals, a window opens for Aldon Smith (DeSimone)
I'm including this post in this section because the section is thin, and it affects the game. It appears Justin Smith may have a partially torn triceps muscle. If he's out for the playoffs, I think our chances of winning it all are halved. The way Aldon has played without Justin by his side demonstrates exactly why he's the heart of the defense. He's like John Stockton or Magic Johnson, everyone around him is made that much better by his presence. | Justin Smith may have partially torn triceps muscle (Fooch)
One thing I brought up following the 49ers' victory over the Patriots was Colin Kaepernick and his interviewing skills / technique. I was burned at the stake for nitpicking the young QB as many came to his defense. When we lost to the Seahawks, I heard more than a few people echo those same concerns, including the much loved Tim Kawakami. No, Kap doesn't owe us a thing, interview-wise. Maybe he is stonewalling the media because he's learning the art of interviewing. There are different types of leaders, but one who can be the face of a franchise can draw free agents. Winning is first and foremost, and I'll take a poor-interviewing winner over a personable loser. But, ideally, your franchise quarterback can handle all of these aspects. I think Kaepernick can be that guy, as he seems to have great character and leadership qualities in the little we've seen. But since becoming the starter, he's become less forthcoming and, thus, less personable, and I think that may be Harbaugh's doing. Hopefully I'm wrong. And quarterback is really the only position in all of professional sports that I feel this way about. | Harbaugh, Kaepernick and different definitions of leadership (Fooch)
Another hot topic is the wide receiver position. With Kyle Williams already on injured reserve and Mario Manningham joining him, we're getting thin at the position, much like in 2011. I mentioned this in an edition of Nuggets and some good comments followed. One (again, not going back to find it) noted that most offensive-minded coaches would be pretty happy to feature Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis as their playmakers, not to mention the other pieces we wield. | Wide receiver and practice squad news (Fooch)
Well, right smack dab in the middle of an awful week, we received as glowing a commentary as a team could possibly receive. We tied a franchise record with seven starters, plus two reserves and eight alternates named to the Pro Bowl. Every single starter on the offensive line received recognition of one form or another. I wondered aloud if that had happened (and if so, when was the last time)? Still no answer. Waiting..... | Pro Bowl voting results: 49ers match franchise record of seven starters (Fooch)
On the topic of Pro Bowl players, Dylan notes that on the defensive side of the ball, our selectees come in pairs. You've got Aldon Smith & Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman & Patrick Willis, and Dashon Goldson & Donte Whitner. The strength of the team really is up the middle, isn't it. | Defensive tandems solidify Pro Bowl spots for 49ers (DeSimone)
Wes Hanson chimes in with an article on the offensive line, and exactly why they received all the accolades. The left side of the line, Mike Iupati and Joe Staley were named starters while the rest were named alternates. Still waiting for the answer to whether this has happened before....am I annoying you yet? | All five starting O-lineman in Pro Bowl (Hanson)
There wasn't a lot of action on the FanPosts front. I guess a little thing called Christmas got in the way of most everyone's leisure time writing. Not me... but luckily I have 10 days off of work. Helps as I'm still nursing my sore wrist from falling off the bike two weeks ago.
Winner for the most rec's with one (that's right....one!) is GhostsofKesar for their Knute Rockne-esque pep talk to the 49ers fan base. We need it after the downer that we experienced last weekend. Thanks. | Why so serious 49er fans? (GhostsofKesar)
Coming up next is a piece for all you Pete Carroll haters out there. Something about the guy makes that segment of the population both grow and increase their rage toward him, while simultaneously making people in Seattle love him. I'm talking about Carroll, not DeafWriterJC, of course. I never could stand the guy (still talking about Carroll). His whole 'maple bar' defense was just the icing on the donut. HA! | Up my arse, Pete Carroll: Go do you Christmas carols (DeafWriterJC)
And finally we have a post debating the merit of trading Vernon Davis and letting Delanie Walker, aka Droptimus Prime (Anthony Ly's creation, not mine), take over. Davis is the better blocker, better deep threat and doesn't drop every third pass. I'll say no. | Tough front-office decisions: Trading Vernon and keeping Delanie. Is that even worth considering? (Gold Company)
Being a Sheep
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