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This Week in Niners Nation: Week 14 2012 Edition

This Week in Niners Nation, a weekly revisiting of Niners Nation content. It was an unpleasant week for the 49ers, featuring a mistake-laden loss to the Rams last Sunday. The fallout was swift. I try to keep up.


Well, it's been a rough week for 49ers fans all over. The Week 10 tie with the Rams was viewed by most as an anomaly. The Niners followed it up with two dominating victories over the Bears and the Saints. Colin Kaepernick was named the starter and looked to be a superstar in the making. Fast-forward to now and 49ers fans have the appearance of a row of ants that someone dragged a stick through. We're running every which way, bumping into each other, turning to run the other way only to find someone running into the back of you. ARGH!!! Now that I've exorcised that demon, the one that makes me panic and requires me to put that panic into virtual print, I can get to the business of covering the news. Whew!

The loss to the Rams hurts from a psychological perspective but it also hurts us in the standings. Time will tell which hurt is worse. I think the team moves on psychologically, but we could have trouble securing the coveted second seed and the first-round bye that goes with it. We currently sit in second place, though our grasp is tenuous, with the Green Bay Packers 1/2 a game behind us. There are no tie-breakers to account for unless another contender ties as well. We're possibly looking at needing to win out to get the second seed, and with games at New England and Seattle following this weekend's matchup with Miami, that may be an unrealistic goal.

On to the news according to NN. We'll start with the last game, as per custom.

Week 13: Rams 16, 49ers 13

Both games against the Rams did not play out according to plan. The first one was the Week 10 tie, filled with more mistakes than a Junior Varsity practice game. This second contest didn't treat football aficionados any better. The 49ers' offense gave up more points than its defense. In fact, the Rams offense scored its first points of the game with the game-tying field goal on the last play of regulation. Colin Kaepernick, aka Secret Santa, gave the Rams 10 points. The first two came when he was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone on a questionable call by the zebras. His next gift was an errant pitch to Ted Ginn Jr. that sailed over the wideout's head before being scooped up by Janoris Jenkins, who now has more touchdowns than all but four 49ers (name them without cheating and you'll get a free touchdown from Colin Kaepernick), who promptly tumbled into the end zone from the 2-yard line.

It wasn't just CK7's 10 freebies, as the coaching staff had a lot to answer for as well. Coach Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman took the blame for the pitch play. Kaepernick has to execute that play, but there was truly no place for it at that point of the game. Poor situational football by the staff, one of the first times I can remember writing that. The other major 'situational' gaffe occurred as the 49ers were going down for the game-winning field goal. Following the two-minute warning, with a first down at the St. Louis 14-yard line and the Rams down to two timeouts, the 49ers inexplicably threw an incomplete pass on first down and saw Kaepernick run out of bounds on third down. Instead of the Rams getting the ball down by three with about 40 seconds and zero timeouts, they got the ball back with 1:34 and a timeout. They then marched down to tie the game with their first points of the game from the offense.

David Akers missed another overtime field goal. This bit needs its own paragraph. He's been average at best, making 6/10 from 40+ and 1/5 from 50+. This isn't 2011, people. The impending end of the world (via Mayan calendar) and the potential ensuing zombie apocalypse dictate that I change with the times. I wish the coaching staff would adjust accordingly and never allow Akers another critical FG attempt from long range. Or at least not play for that outcome as though it were favorable.

Fooch starts us off with his recap of the game. I may have done a good enough job of that with the intro to this segment, but, alas, this post has a hilarious GIF which makes it infinitely better. | 49ers drop OT loss to Rams thanks to poor coaching, poor execution (Fooch)

Next is the obligatory interesting stats piece that follows each game, like an early bedtime after day drinking. Aldon Smith has tied Fred Dean's team record for sacks in a season and has surpassed Reverend Reggie White for the most sacks by a player in his first two seasons. | 49ers vs Rams video recap: Notable statistics (Fooch)

I'm including this snap count piece from the Rams game because Frank Gore played 87% of the offensive snaps. That's going to run Frank the Tank into the ground. It's time to get LaMichael James on the field to see what he can do and I have a hunch it may come sooner than later. | 49ers snap count vs Rams: Rookie time soon? (Fooch)

Anthony Ly bats cleanup today with his weekly piece. I love it because he's hilarious. He refers to Delanie Walker as Droptimus Prime, for goodness sakes. That and the karate kids in Fooch's recap above made me LOL and ROFL and all that jazz. | The booth review - 49ers vs Rams: "Rams temper the hot hand" (Ly)

Our Dylan DeSimone reflects on the Rams game. He proposes that the loss, combined with the Seahawks victory over the Bears, will make the remains of the season more exciting. He's a 'glass half full' kind of dude, apparently. I'm a 'throw the glass across the room in rage at the mere idea of a loss' kind of guy. In fact, even though my future babies will most likely grow up in Australia, they will wake up every Monday morning to check the score of that weird American game they don't understand in order to find out why there's a broken glass on the floor near the TV. | Reflecting on San Francisco's Week 13 loss, Jim Harbaugh and the QB situation (DeSimone)

Here's liberty_JAC breaking down an early three-and-out for the 49ers using All-22 magic. He suggests that Kaepernick needs to work on identifying and adjusting to defenses. I agree. As teams get more film on the youngster and have more success at slowing him and the offense down, he'll need to progress at the same rate to stay ahead of them. | 49ers vs Rams: All-22 breakdown of Colin Kaepernick and an early three-and-out (liberty_JAC)

The next two pieces by Tre9er go together like stank on a 49ers-Rams game. He breaks down every single drop-back by our young Colin Kaepernick and throws in All-22 shots. It's broken down into halves so as not to slow down your precious iPhone. Look in your google search history and you can generally tell when you've been drinking. | 49ers vs Rams: Every first-half Colin Kaepernick drop-back plus All-22 shots (Tre9er)

If I need to introduce this piece then you're simply not paying attention. Shame! | 49ers vs Rams: Second-half Colin Kaepernick drop-back plus All-22 shots (Tre9er)

Week 14: Dolphins at 49ers

Dylan DeSimone takes a look at how LaMichael James stacks up against the Dolphins run defense. What...wait, why would one do there going I...whu? All will be revealed in time. | 49ers vs Dolphins: LaMichael James vs Miami run D (DeSimone)

Hot Topics

In the above segment on the Rams game I predicted that LaMichael James would see the field soon. To my amazement, Trent Baalke backed up my prognostication by stating exactly the same thing. Nostradamus, Mayan calendar references, zombie Tupacalypse (hologram or not)....It's been a weird week. | Trent Baalke: 'LaMichael James to start getting his opportunities (DeSimone)

What time is it? It's Christmas time. The time of the year when playoff scenarios grace the homes of all good families, and some bad ones as well. The time of the year when Colin Claus, pulled in a sleigh driven by Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis-headed reindeers drops 10 points down the chimney of nice children everywhere. I'll give 10 NN points to whomever creates that image. | 49ers playoff scenarios, Week 14 (Fooch)

XMas in Australia (Non-related fun)

Who's the biggest, baddest man on the Earth? If you said Aldon Smith, then you are correct and have earned 5 NN points. If you want to hear what Justin Smith has to say about the young man then click here. ====> | Justin Smith talks about second-year sensation Aldon Smith (DeSimone)

Liberty_JAC is at it again. He's got a piece about how efficient the 49ers are using a stat that I don't understand. If you like stats, or the 49ers, then this piece is highly recommended. | San Francisco 49ers: Historically efficient on both sides of the ball (liberty_JAC)


First place, and 10 NN points, goes to ak4niner for his most rec'd FanPost. It comes in the form of an open letter to Alex Smith (that's the name of it, too!) and encapsulates how many of us, I included, feel about Alex at this stage. | An open letter to Alex Smith (ak4niner)

Up next is GhostsofKesar for his number blaming Greg Roman for the loss. I have to agree with them that the play calling had a lot to do with the outcome. 5 points to you! | We deserved to lose it and once again OC Roman is to blame (GhostsofKesar)

Finally, a poignant piece on what it means to be a child growing up with dissociative bowel syndrome in a middle-to-lower-income family...OK, I made all that up. What is DBS anyway? Brundylop gets 5 points for writing a piece that got people talking and people thinking. Congrats. | Rooting for the 49ers to lose. Is it wrong? (brundylop)


10-25 points: You are either ak4niner, have done a drawing of the O-line as reindeers, a liar or all of the above.

0-10 points: Not good enough. Better luck next time.

Being a Sheep

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