Let’s call it a ‘Dallas Drubbing’! No, I almost have it . . . how about ‘No Star State’? Yeah, that has a delightful undertone of vanquishment; enough to take a stab at those ‘Boys’, and still deplete any optimism among their fan-base. That’s it, let’s finalize this headline, maybe even make it front page so the entire NFL understands the Golden Gate Bridge is truly lustrous. No more hesitations, forget the doubts, the proof is in the performance. 28-17 people, that’s a Week 1 “W”.
If you haven’t received the memo by now, I’m being sarcastic. We all know the niners secured a victory in their NFL season opener at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The 49er faithful stared awestruck, erected from their cushy seats by some offensive prowess. Kaepernick, 29-yard strike, scores! “The 49ers can put a tumultuous offseason behind them. . .”. Wait, seriously? Only one game in the books and you have NFL.com analysts transfixed to the belief that the niners offense is impenetrable. Farewell preseason passing woes and a big hallelujah to a rejuvenated offense? Here is what I have to say, GUESS AGAIN.
You are leading 28-3 at halftime in an away game. Check the Daktronics scoreboard because I saw a glaring 28 up there. Now, how many points do you register in the second half? Better yet, what did your scoring opportunities look like? I mean you batter-ram through the gates of Cowboy haven with a Chris Culliver fumble return to pay-dirt only 54 seconds into the game. Thereafter, you opt to go deep on a bread-and-butter post route to Boldin for a pickup of 37 yards. Afterwards, same case scenario, another DEEP pass to Vernon for that 29-yard touchdown. Now, I will never discredit a team for strategically picking apart their opposition, but that drive consisted of 3 plays and a total possession time of 1:28. Two of those plays amounted to 66 yards. So, there’s 14 in the books. Where did the other 14 points come from before the half?
Eric Reid sky-hawk’s Romo, nabbing an interception; one which was eventually taken back 48-yards to Dallas’s 2-yard line. Then what happens? Play action, Kaepernick to Davis from 2 yards out, 21-3 game. Hmmm. . . . are you starting to get the picture yet? Possession Time: 0:06, plays run – 1. Ok, so a total of 4 offensive plays chewing up 1:34 on the clock, ultimately spanning 2 drives so far. And they’ve put up 21 points. Sounds good. Where’s the next score? Hold on, another interception, this time by Perrish Cox at San Fran‘s 36-yard line. Drive result: TOUCHDOWN, 9 plays, 3:00 minutes. There you have it. 28-3, NO POINTS in the second half from San Francisco. Four minutes and thirty-four seconds, that’s all I have to say people.
The 49ers pranced into Dallas carrying a cargo-load of questions about their offense, and you have “the experts” telling you that the niners offense is PAST the point of question or collapse. I see a team that rode cruise-control backed by a tenacious defense. Total time of possession for the niners in that game was 28:36. Of that total TOP, all they needed was 4:34 to put up 21 offensive points. Bearing that their defense doesn’t return one to the house nor pick off Romo with a return of 48-yards, this is a game and certainly NOT one to be won by the 49ers offense. Two deep plays, a touchdown, one play from 2-yards out, another touchdown. I understand they made the most of their opportunities, but let’s take a step back from the offensive mirage for a second. A good first half and pointless second spells inconsistency for me.
In the worst way we want what’s favorable for a team that nearly won the NFC Championship 9 months back. We’ll inspect this niners team on paper and converse about the offensive weapons at their command. They aren’t just a paper team, but you have to be realistic about their performance aside from talent. I love guys like Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and so forth. However, I’m not about to be lead astray from the facts; particularly those which indicate that defensive momentum established a clear avenue for an offense’s triumph. Sure, you can look brilliant on back to back breakdowns by a dilapidated Dallas secondary, though I find it difficult to measure a team who exhibits that splendor in spurts. In other words, look magnificent one moment then appear incapacitated the next – case in point: 49ers vs. Bears.
Week 2 Primetime (between the 49ers and Bears) is kicked off by an Aaron Lynch punt block. Who told you about the 49ers “Lynch-Pin” 2 weeks ago? This guy! And I’ll continue to say it, LOOK OUT FOR AARON LYNCH. Consequently, Kaepernick and company score off the punt-block from guess where? 8-yards out! Again, can you see the trend from week-to-week? Short scores or live and die by the long ball to set up these touchdowns. Time of Possession: 3 plays, 0:34 seconds. San Francisco comes out swinging first.
Next drive is shaky. 14 plays, almost 8 minutes snarled up by the niners offense en route to a Phil Dawson field goal. 2 separate penalties from Joe Staley and Jonathan Martin up front. A reversed interception, am I missing anything?
Kaepernick is actually intercepted by Bears’ Chris Conte on the next drive. Chicago’s Danny Mccray recovers a Kaepernick fumble on the drive after the pick. Finally, right before the 1st half is over, deep pass to Carrier which allows for an 8-yard rumble to the end zone by Gore. 4 plays, 1:03. Score at the half: 17-7 in favor of the 49ers.
In all seriousness, NFL analysts want to sit there and tell me the preseason offensive “tumult” is resolved? The niners are not over the hump yet. How many points did they score in the second half of their game against the Bears? Three points. A mere field goal was all the 49ers could put up while Chicago rallied back forcefully to oust them. Are you done hearing the monotonous “The Niners OFFENSE is ELECTRIC” from NFL gurus? I am. I’m quite frankly tired of watching 49ers fans be duped into believing their offense is untouchable.
By now you are wondering about the title of this article: “49ers Limbo Land: Gambit & The Unknown”. It says precisely what it should. The 49ers are stuck in 2nd half limbo right now on offense. The only reason we haven’t come to terms with this sooner is because we’re disposed to side with the onslaught of offensive instruments they have headed into every Sunday. We listen to the loud commentators when a big play is made, but fail altogether to realize that those large chunks of yardage CANNOT be earned when squaring off against greater opponents. My point is that as a team they are not always going to execute the long ball (or back to back for that matter) to win football games. Also, their defense isn’t always going to be able to bail them out with forced turnovers. At one point or another, the 49ers are going to be confronted with a situation where they have to drive 70+ yards for a score. Down the stretch, the gambit may not involve risking an offensive play in hopes of a long pass producing much of the drive’s yardage. A defensive back may not be capable of jumping a ball for an interception. And when the 49ers don’t have these advantages at the beginning of a game, what then happens?
Here is the “unknown” niners fans: Can the bay area boys’ offensive play sustain them enough to close out tough games in the SECOND HALF? All the more to a team for delivering a thrashing at the onset of a game, but those 4th quarter battles on the gridiron can be critical. Let’s play a game: The Niners or their NFC West Cardinal foe in Week 3? You decide by hash-tagging #49erInsider on Twitter. As for now, I’m out kind folk, college football Saturday looms.
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