49ers 20, Saints 23: Grades

NEW ORLEANS – Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 23-20 loss to the Saints.

KAEPERNICK: C-. Kaepernick passed the ball well. He was 6-for-15 on third down and 2-for-3 in the red zone. His worst pass was an interception, but it didn’t cost the team anything. Kaepernick ran down the defender and made him dive for the end zone and the defender fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone. Kaepernick’s worst play was his last play, a 16-yard run on third-and-19. He ran out of bounds at the end of the run and stopped the clock with 1:48 left. If he had stayed in bounds, the Saints would have gotten the ball back with around 1:08 left, and the 49ers may have been able to force overtime.

RUNNING BACKS: D-. Frank Gore had one good run – a 24-yarder. Other than that, he was terrible, gaining 24 yards on 12 carries against the worst run defense in the NFL. And he dropped a first-down pass on second-and-9 late in the fourth quarter. Kendall Hunter had one nice five-yard first-down run. Besides that run, Hunter rushed 3 times for -4 yards. LaMichael James rushed twice for 7 yards. And Bruce Miller had 2 catches for just 8 yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS: D+. The Saints single-covered Anquan Boldin most of the game, so he played well – 6 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. The only other wide receiver who caught a pass was Mario Manningham – it was an 8-yard gain. He has not been any better than Kyle Williams was.

TIGHT ENDS: D. Vernon Davis caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter, but he dropped one in the fourth quarter. Vance McDonald caught one pass for 10 yards but dropped a first-down catch on a slant pattern. And Derek Carrier lined up in the wrong spot on one play and forced the Niners to use a timeout.

OFFENSIVE LINE: D. They gave up three sacks and lots of pressure. They didn’t get much push in the run game, either. Mike Iupati left the game with a knee injury. After the game, his knee was in a big brace and he was using crutches to walk.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Aldon Smith got pressure on Drew Brees once or twice. Other than those plays, the 49ers’ defensive line did not bother Brees. And they gave up 4 yards per carry and a rushing touchdown. This group missed Ray McDonald big time.

LINEBACKERS: C. NaVorro Bowman had 14 tackles, but Patrick Willis had just six. And together, they did not do a good job stopping the run. Ahmad Brooks intercepted a pass, but he also got flagged 15 yards late in the game for hitting Drew Brees high. That penalty led to a game-tying field goal for the Saints.

SECONDARY: C. Donte Whitner had a couple of nice pass breakups, but this group couldn’t stop anybody in the fourth quarter. The 49ers gave up 144 receiving yards in just that one quarter. Carlos Rogers, Tramaine Brock and Eric Wright all gave up big catches. Tarell Brown left the game with a rib contusion.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Phil Dawson easily made a 55-yard field goal. Andy Lee and Dan Skuta and Kassim Osgood pinned the Saints at their 3-yard line. And Bubba Ventrone recovered a punt the Saints fumbled. But Osgood pretty much lost sealed the defeat for the 49ers at the end when he ran into the Saints’ punt returner, Darren Sproles, after he had made a fair catch. That penalty gave the Saints the ball at their 40 yard line.

COACHING: F. This was a close game because the Saints played poorly. Two Saints’ turnovers gave the 49ers the ball near the red zone. Those were the only times the 49ers scored touchdowns. If the Saints hadn’t been so careless with the ball, the 49ers may have scored no touchdowns for the second week in a row.

I give Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman credit for taking my advice and rolling out Kaepernick in critical situations. It led to a first-down catch by Boldin on a third-and-3, and a touchdown catch by Vernon Davis in the red zone. But the 49ers should have rolled out Kaepernick more often. Rolling him out was working. At the end of the game, the 49ers dropped him straight back twice in a row, and the result was a sack and a throw away that almost was a safety.

Harbaugh and Roman need to give Kaepernick more check down options, too. Kaepernick almost got intercepted in the first quarter when he forced a pass to Boldin. Kaepernick had no eligible receiver underneath to dump the ball to. The Saints had at least three defensive backs in the vicinity of Boldin. A quarterback has no chance with this style of pass offense.

Notice how the vast majority of Brees’ completions were check downs. The 49ers don’t have those check downs built into their offense.

One more thing. Harbaugh did a poor job managing the clock. He used all three of his first-half timeouts and both of his challenges in the first 20 minutes of the game, and both challenges failed. After the game, I asked Harbaugh who he communicates with in the booth to decide whether or not to challenge a play. He said, “Eric.”

So, that’s what Mangini does.

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  1. 6-4 with 6 winnable games to go. Hate losing yet another winnable game. Why is it that Seattle plays with so much confidence, speed, and swagger? Is our offense to complicated? Make this isht simple for Kap. Def agree on point about checkdowns. Alice was the checkdown king, need to give Kap an outlet as much as possible esp with Miller there

  2. Question: Which offensive coaches are worth keeping? (I think this will be a shorter list than asking who should get fired).

    Does Roman deserve to finish the season?

    1. Probably Geep Chryst, Rathman. Drevno 50/50, still haven’t been to coach pass protection with all that first round talent. This is Jim’s offense, Greg calls the plays. G-Ro can go without a hit to our continuity. He finishes the season, highly doubt he comes back unless we start shredding

    2. Just Rathman G ro sucks… Smith has been the goat for years but it look slike the same crapy O as it has for years… If the O line cant block then shorten up the pass plays.. Kaep never sells the play action fake when ever we use it (not as much as we should), he is not playing as free as he was last year. Sooooo was it Smith or the system as to why are O sucks….


    4. Geep Chryst (he made all the calls during the drive that led to “The Catch III” vs. New Orleans in 2012). Rathman; not only have Gore and Hunter been productive, but he turned a former DE into arguably the NFL’s top fullback. I think most of the coaching staff needs an overhaul. This staff was built for a power running game, and for some reason they didn’t seem to care to address the passing game much. Chryst has done a nice job with Smith and Kaep, but the younger receivers haven’t developed and the O-line pass blocking has been subpar.

  3. You brainwashed MF’s that keep cheer-leading for this dude they are calling ”G-Ro” are the problem. This guy sucks\….and should be fired immeadiately. He’ll never be a head coach – and for good reason!!!

    1. i think the majority of the fans here have fallen off of the G-Ro bandwagon. It’s the talking heads on ESPN and NFL.com that continue to call him the “genius” behind our “masterful” run game. We know the truth. We can’t pass worth isht and that’s a direct referendum on Roman

      1. Roman really only knows a power running attack. Outside of that he’s clueless. I think he chose not to take a head job because he’d be exposed as a fraud, instead choosing to hide behind Harbaugh.

  4. Man, I’ll be so damn glad when we get Crabtree back. Why? Because our problems are not about one receiver missing. We have some schematic issues right now.

    This is ridiculous.

    1. Yes, Crabtree’s return will likely highlight my suspician that problems are deeper than just missing Kap’s favorite receiver.

      1. I’m not sure how Crabtree coming off a serious injury and has not played all year is expected to come in and save the day. Kaepernick and Roman need to sit down and work it out.

  5. Defense held Drew brees to 23 points. And no position gets better than a C?

    I’d argue the qb grade. Kap played horribly with the exception of the last niners scoring drive. The TD to Vernon was a throw 90% of qbs make. And the running out of bounds potentially cost us the game. Idiotic play call from this mediocre of a qb. D+

    1. ^^^^. These grades seem more like someone that’s looked at the stats from nfl.com. The loss of Tarrell Brown exposed our secondary.
      Gore not catching the ball and the bogus penalty on Ahmad Brooks sealed the niners fate.
      Otherwise Grant would be giving Kap a solid B for making a clutch throw and the LBs an A.
      Funny how that works. Winning is the best deodorant.

    2. I feel like Kaep is playing way too safe. He gingerly jogged out of bounds a few times when he could have made an effort to lunge for the first down. I wish he’d play with the intensity and urgency that he played with last season (playing for his job).

  6. We need 2 draft some D-linemen that aren’t hurt and on IR. some speedy WR and here is an idea draft some o-line because our starting unit is not invincible and can get hurt some day or have to be replaced, Adam Snyder was horrible today

  7. We got screwed, but we.are just not very good,Kaep runs out of bounds to stop the clock ad he does not even try to pick up the 3 yards,Steve Young he is not.Young has way more heart.

  8. As much as I want to complain about the “calls”.

    This was a coaching lose, again. The design of the offense is simply not taking advantage of Kap’s strengths and minimizing his weaknesses. He ain’t hurt. He didn’t suddenly forget how to play. In fact, I would say his passes have been more accurate and been thrown with more touch this year.

    The offense scheme has not supported him, allowed him to grow in a structured way. It’s like, forget that you can outrun the entire D like a gazelle, forget you can throw on the run downfield better than any other QB, forget you ran the read option/pistol. Let’s just sit in the pocket and wait.

    I want dynamic Kap back, please.

    Hope the Niners takeaway from this lose is not we got robbed, or we lost by a last minute FG. Look in the mirror Roman/Harbaugh.

      1. Excellent point, regardless of how defenses are playing us and the change of roster the offensive strategy is not working. So Grow come on man lets get go

      2. Excellent point, regardless of how defenses are playing us and the change of roster the offensive strategy is not working. So Grow come on man lets get started,

    1. +1

      I agree completely. Kap’s legs or rather, the threat of him either passing OR running is what made (makes?) him so dangerous and difficult for defenses to deal with.

      He’s only played what, 16(?) professional games as a starter? Sixteen total games to learn how to read pro defenses from under center and performing straight drop-backs? How many times have we seen college QBs who’ve spent their entire career under center still take several years before they can operate competently in a pro-style offense? Why have we gone away from what he does best? Are we too afraid to lose him to injury (playing not to lose instead of playing to win)? The kid is just not ready to operate this offense like Alex did. He’s not experienced enough yet and it shows. Not a knock on Kap, he’s just “seeing things for the first time” sometimes. We all (coaches and bandwagon fans, alike) have to realize this and adjust our expectations.

      I hope the coaches realize their playoff window is closing. Release the hounds, already! Start calling a more QB-movement (lateral and forward) oriented scheme. Roll him out. Go heavy read-option. Call designed QB runs! Stop dropping him back behind our road-grading OL line like he’s the second coming of Peyton. News flash: he’s not. Go back to what you say you’re good at – playing to the strengths of your players.

  9. The game was close because the D was solid. You missed the grade for the refs. F-. That F doesn’t stand for physical or fail either.

  10. CK played poorly. The D overall played well. Grant please tell me you understand the lack of consistent pass rush was the game plan and it worked reasonably well for the most part. I understand you never coached or played the game but I believe you have done a pretty good job making up for it by studying the game but if you weren’t aware the lack of pass rush for the most part was a large part of Fangio’s game plan you have a lot more catching up to do. You might think about enrolling at your local J.C. and taking a class in football coaching theory.

    1. Agree. I lost count of the number of times we rushed only 3. The d-lineman were double teamed most of the day. I may have mixed in a little bit more pressure but holding the Saints down like the 9ers did is proof that the defensive game plan was effective.

    2. Some QBs are just too cagey to blitz very much; like Brees or Manning. They can pick apart the one-on match ups that are favorable to them. Eight in coverage presents its own problems to a QB. It helped limit a high powered offense. Vic has used it with success before against the Saints.

      1. Agree Bro Tuna, except that is why we changed over to a 3-4 to disguise our blitz package; the Saints outschemed our scheme and guessed or had devine intervention as to who was our fourth rusher.

    1. Ghost, I don’t think “chutzpah” begins to describe the arrogance of a UCLA journalism major who’s never played a down of organized football, who somehow actually believes he’s qualified to give advice to professionals. And actually believes they’d even hear his chirping, let alone consider it “advice”!
      At least it adds a bit of comic relief on an otherwise bad Monday. But seriously, Grant, get over yourself.

    2. Yeah, this kids arrogance and self promotion is a major turnoff. It’s like he’s trying to become the next Skip Bayless. It’s hard returning to a blog where the writer is so full of himself. I’ve been posting here since Maiocco started this thing but there are other venues for 49er fans.

  11. Saints played poorly because the Defense played well. The Saints have a powerful offense and the defense did a very good job against them.
    Boldin and Davis played well. The rest of the offense was fair to terrible. Kap looks uncomfortable and does not appear to scan the field.
    I donor understand why we don’t try to throw the ball down the field at least 3-4 times a game. The game plans are too conservative.

  12. Kap passed the ball well?

    Colin Kaepernick 17 31 127 4.1 2 1

    If this was last year, you would be calling for a the QB head.

    1. Well for CK, Its a different scale remember. He gets a bonus point for breaking tripple digits and another bonus point for throwing to someone else besides AB or VD. and yet another bonus point for ONLY taking 1 delay of game penalty (when he called for a TO when we didnt have any left) I mean he could have walked to the sideline and had the center snap the ball to no one but he was there

      1. I just like how some of last years critics of the QB play, are giving a free pass to CK. How many times was it stated that a good QB throws open a wr…oh wait…we don’t have any wr’s this year, it will all be better when Mario is back, no wait, it will be better when crabs is back. What will the next excuse be? CK has regressed, anyone can tell that.

  13. Lol… Tooting your own horn I see. Well this week ask the coaches why doesn’t Kaep study the in game snap shots between series to help him adjust to what teams are doing. Not putting it all on him but mabye he should spend more time studying opponents and less on twitter trolls.

    1. jjj…I think you struck a note with this post! I’ve heard numerous players from the Seahawks (on SIRIUS NFL RADIO) commenting on how Russell Wilson is the first player in every morning and the last one out. Does Kaep have the same work ethic? His play on game day makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

      1. Good question about in game shots, they don’t show him doing that often. As far as first in last out, the players all say Kap is the first one in, closely followed by Whitner. I don’t think studying is his problem whatsoever, it’s being aware on the football field. He doesn’t seem to see things ‘before’ they develop.

      2. Kap has a good work ethic by all accounts. Maybe he’s not looking at game photos between series is because the Niners don’t have any offensive coaches that have a clue about what to do or how to adjust.

      3. Maybe he’s still a “new” QB? By all accounts, it takes time for QB’s to get comfortable reading defenses. He can still be confused by what the defenses are showing him pre and post-snap. The coaches are seemingly trying to play him like Brady or Brees… round hole, meet square peg. This has nothing to do with work ethic. It has to do with perception vs. reality. Expectations (and hype!!!) shot through the roof this offseason – now everyone’s surprised Kap looks like a second year starter. smh

      4. His work ethic is there, no question, but there are issues with his decision making process; to me not deciding to review, prepare, and adjust during the game carries over to his poor decision making behind center during the game. I think Alex Smith was his brain out there last year and coached him up between plays. Now he has to do it on his own and it’s alot harder if you are not actually doing the work.

      5. I think it’s a combination of things. One is that Kap doesn’t have enough time to go through deciphering what the defense is showing due to the archaic way the plays are called. I’m also not convinced that he is proficient reading defenses yet anyway. These things combined with the lack of playmaking ability of our WR’s leads to ‘distrust’ which leads to loss of confidence for our young QB.

        Others have said this, but I wish we would run some backyard plays a handful of times per game. The guys don’t look like they are having too much fun right now [losing sucks] but I believe this could have a two-fold effect by releasing pressure and adding back that element of surprise. Run some plays that haven’t been seen or would never be expected under the circumstances. Run them with 15 seconds on the play clock! This puts the opponent on their heels, make the defense be ‘defensive’. Lately opposing defenses have been ‘offensive’ and aggressive, because they know what’s coming and WHEN.

  14. So many people saying the defense played well, yet the 49ers gave up almost 400 yards. That is not good defense. Plus with the game on the line there were no defensive stops (except the grand theft on Brooks’ sack). It seemed like every running back NO had bounced off the first tackler and took two or three tries to tackle. Way too many wide open receivers also. The defense wasn’t bad, but it sure wasn’t good. Overall about a “C”.

    1. Brees had his lowest passing yardage total of the year, below their rushing average and below the PPG average too. The main thing is the defense, not the offense gave them a chance to win and in that environment, the defense did well enough to win. One more stop would have been nice though!

  15. In a close game such as the one last week against the Panthers, one bad play, one bad dropped pass, one sack, one missed tackle, one INT, a bad officials penalty call could swing the pendulum either way.

    We played in a hostile environment against a pretty darn good team with the strength of our offense (running game) stifled and still missing our best WR (Crabtree) and lost by a freakin’ field-goal. I don’t like losing under any circumstances, but this team is going to keep improving as CK7 gains more experience and we get healthier at the WR position.

    I still believe that we will come into the playoffs (wildcard) at full strength and have the character and confidence to make some big noise.
    I’m certainly not ready to throw in the towel or any player under the bus with 6 games left.

      1. +2. I suspect the other teams around this league if they were to read this blog would say I hope the posters are right. But the players that have played the niners would not be so quick to follow into this dogma of how bad they are. I think it depends upon how strong Crabtree, Davis, McDonald on defense, come back and whether Kap can weather the confidence storm and return to his form from late last year. If so then I might interject the wild card might be whether there will be enough room to get 6-8 plays for LMJ out in the flat against a LB and then on ocassion send him on patterns into the secondary. If it pans out this way this offense will be very difficult to defend and things will start to open up all over the field including room for Kap. Remember Kap’s game has involved running but without weapons at all positions it’s much easier to take this away. I might add that it is very smart not rushing Crabtree back prematurely. And if the injured players come back at nearly full strength I think the niners are as good as any team in the NFL. Anyone who thinks you do not need luck besides skill to win in the NFL is just dreaming.

  16. The offensive coaching/coordinating, etc pretty much stinks. J-Har probably needs to get rid of G-Ro & E-Man and take over this himself, a la Walsh, Payton, etc. (I damn well KNOW I could do a better job than E-Man! What positive thing has this guy contributed to the 49ers?)

    Another new wacko sports terms – “winnable game”????? If you aspire to the Super Bowl, isn’t every game “winnable”? (of course, the term REALLY means “not a very strong team”)

    1. E-Man (no so Genius) is the guy up in the booth advising JH on challenges according to Grant. JH should just do the opposite of whatever Mangini recommends. Those were two of the worst challenges ever.

  17. Kezar splinters ur right. All the WR routs seem 2 be all verticals and kap is told to do is stand in poket. Move kap and poket around and 1 2 3 reeds or take off running. And some read option would be good. On their last drive I saw kap hand it off on a read option whene he could have kept it and ran it all the way for 80 yard TD to left side

  18. “Notice how the vast majority of Brees’ completions were check downs. The 49ers don’t have those check downs built into their offense.”

    Wasn’t the previous QB nicknamed Captain Checkdown?

    1. As of right now, I think we all can agree the Alex Smith move was the wrong move. I reserve the right to change my mind at years end!

    2. Rich Gannon made an interesting comment yesterday. He said the problem with the checkdown is that the QB can become dependent on it and tends to not look downfield with patience, and the checkdown guy basically becomes your primary receiver.

    3. I noticed Bree’s hitting receivers downfield too, not JUST check down after check down. I also noticed Smith trying to throw more deep balls last night. How was his completion percentage???
      It looked like coach stache was trying to get his qb to abandone the check down only mentality . The same as the NYG game last year that pretty much sealed Smiths faith in sf.

      So are you saying Smith would be better for this team jack?
      With the o-line, receiver and play calling? Those are the same excuses he was given when he stunk here. Denver made him throw more than check downs and I’m shocked more teams didn’t force him to do the same… Oh wait he was playing horrible teams the whole season. Do you think maaaaybe the 49ers forced Bree’s to stay short?and Bree’s took what our defense let him have? Answer me this. Can Alex smith throw like Bree’s beyond check downs? C’mon Jack. You’re better than this.

      1. Yep. There was one great throw by Smith on the Chief’s first offensive series that was just dropped. Even one of the guys in the broadcast booth said that you couldn’t ask for a better throw. The Chiefs don’t really have anybody to complement and take the pressure off Bowe in the receiving game. It makes me believe that the Chiefs will either grab a FA WR in the offseason or draft somebody like Marquise Lee.

    1. Brees was just OK until Payton got a hold of him. I wonder what he’d do with Kap & our offense? Harbaugh is at the root of the problem. Roman is his hand picked right hand man so JH needs to get it fixed or get someone who can.

  19. I’m starting to think that maybe this coaching staff believes in their system TOO much and not the raw talent of their players. It seems that everyone is playing stiff and no one is trying be a “baller.” Kaep is playing like he’s scared to screw up and the risks that he DOES take have a low “reward possibility.” I get it that teams are scheming better against him, but he is not making things happen right now. No one on offense is trying to make plays. Today I watched EJ Manuel light up the Jets…I know it’s the Jets, but the Bills top 2 WRs were out with injuries (Stevie Johnson & Robert Woods). You can’t tell me that our receiving corps is so awful that the bench players for the Bills are better than our current starters. It’s got to be schematic and players underachieving.

    1. Right now harbaugh is realizing the other coaches get paid too. But they don’t rely on bully tactics and tricks. Why is harbaugh the qb whisperer? Colin is playing worse and worse. He looks lost. There’s no confidence he can get it down in the 4th quarter unless the team sucks.

  20. jjj that’s dead on I always wonderd why the hell doesn’t Kap look at the in game snaps after every drive to adjust. if he can’t think of this on his on shouldn’t coaches teach him that great idea. Butt instead he just stand there on sideline and watches the game like some fan at the game instead of studying what the defense is doing. All the greats are looking at the in game snaps like maniacs

  21. Grant, Please do not let the coach get away during his presser without answering questions about how 196 yds of offense in a league geared towards points is acceptable. And how his QB basically still forces passes into his pre determined read and cannot go thru a progression. They had no business even being close in this game and have no business in the postseason with that ridiculous offense. He is the coach and it starts with him.

  22. Okay, so the Niners get the ball back, in a tie ball game, 20-20, with 2:oo minutes plus, left in the game. This is where good, not great teams, win it. Result: 3 Plays, 7 yards, 17 seconds of game clock elapsed. Punt. The Saints, then, march down the field, and kick the game-winning field-goal.
    I am sick of this! I believe our players are playing hard…with an awful play-caller at the helm. F###ing fire G-Ro now. He is worthless. Where is that daring and creative coaching staff we had just two years ago?
    Sucks to be a Niner fan right now. I am fed up.

      1. Pessimistic, really? Since Harbaugh took over, this team is now worse than his first year. I really believe the coaching has deteriorated; not the personnel, with the exception of Mike Iupati. Iupati should be benched: his backup could do no worse. Yeah, the referee call on Bree’s being hit was BS, yeah, I’m bitter. I do love my team, I am just not drinking the cool-aid. G-Ro has to go.

      2. Sean
        Why does it have to be Erickson Nolan or Sing, Just because the coach isn’t mooning players at halftime doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. Someone mentioned Holmgren (id take him in a second) Billick is out there and so are a bunch of other smart offensive minds. 77Fan is right, THIS YEAR what is there to be optimistic about? Making the playoffs? if this was 2011 then yes making the playoffs would be something to hope for but we are not the M Effin Bills whose last playoff game was the music city miracle with Flutie at the helm. The playoffs should be a birthright to us with an eye on the SB and dynasty beyond. Its about trends and we are not trending in the right direction. Since 2011 our D has regressed and our O has stayed the same (more or less) Our QB whispering coach thinks CK is doing just fine, meanwhile the next greatest thing since sliced bread has broken the 200 yard plateau TWICE in 10 games smh

      3. BOS, i’m just not ready to throw in the towel and watch the team start over yet again. The season hasn’t gone as I had expected but to start looking for another coaching staff seems knee jerk. I mentioned those coaches as a reminder of what the team was not so long ago. I think Harbaugh has done a great job. We’ll see if he feels like Roman or someone else is holding the team back.

      4. Bos,

        The Niners don’t run a typical WC offense so the playcallers you mentioned don’t fit the system. For better or worse Harbaugh is a meat and potatoes guy who has a run first mentality. Things have not gone well the past couple of weeks, but things are cyclical in the NFL. They’ve won ever since Harbaugh got here and it’s too soon to determine they can’t keep doing that imo. Obviously they need to change some things and get Crabs back asap, but this is still the same team that has gotten to the NFCCG and SB the past two seasons. We can’t overreact to individual losses.

      5. Sean
        Im not throwing in the towel either nor am I advocating for JH to go. but something needs to change. Usualy its the OC or the QB that takes the hit when the offense bogs down, I def dont want to get rid of CK so the only logical step left is G-Ro

        I know that they are WCO coaches but just because our style is run first doesn’t mean that for our passing philosophy cant be WC does it? Also Its not the “same team” that made it the last two years, some of the players are the same but there have been personell changes that have stripped our overall talent (current tallent not the type of players these guys will be in 2-4 years like tank or vance). And lastly paramount in the run first run often gamestyle is a QB who converts 3rd downs on a consistent basis. and while AS has had his issues with this its clear that CK is not at the level that he needs to be. Its not fair to run up the gut two straight times and then say “ok Colin go make a play on 3rd and long” that’s what jimmy rae used to do and AS suffered as a result.

  23. These losses to blame on these elements of the team.

    1. Front office-We blew it when we didn’t trade for some help at wide receiver. Why, because we’re probably so poor at gauging WR talent that we didn’t know who to trade for. Depending on 2 injured and slow wideouts to rescue this horrible passing team was a pipe dream.

    2. Coaching- our staff didn’t realize that we were putting a band aid on the passing game by excelling against our running game against weaker opponents. Our offensive coordinator and head coach are too smart for their own britches.

    3. Our offensive line is garbage. They are getting worse as well. They keep depending on Iupati to make blocks in space and he whiffs every time. They all take turns missing assignments in the passing game.

    4. Our receivers are exactly what every defense isnthe NFL knows. We are non- existent. Boldin is a $6m band aid on this heap of garbage. However,they were open downfield today. The QB didn’t throw them the ball.

    5. I hate to say it but I can’t protect Kap anymore. He is young and I admit that. However, he is the QB of a top 4 NFL team the last 2 years. If he couldn’t handle it, he shouldn’t have been given the job. The kid is completely lost. He’s missing wide open receivers. He’s forcing balls in space. He’s scared to death in the pocket, anticipating a severe pass rush every time. He’s killing us with the play clock. He’s completely incapable of engineering a 2 minute drill for a field goal, let alone a touchdown. He’s taking killer sacks late In games. For that matter, he taking too many sacks period. He’s a deer in the headlights.
    I see why we went after Peyton Manning. We’d better take a real good look at our QB position in the offseason. I realize Kap is young but the regression is what baffles me. Is the guy that played for us last year still in Atlanta working out? He’s playing like shi- right now. You can’t get sacked in the 2 minute drill. THROW THE DAM- BALL AWAY KAP!!

    1. 23 Jordan,
      I wish it wasn’t true. Colin is holding the team back. He’s about the lose the locker room soon if he doesn’t step up. This is a championship caliber team. He had the ball in his hand at he end of the game twice and couldn’t get a first down either time. In fact he looked atrocious. By not running out of boundsm he gave drew Brees an early Xmas present.

      1. Fan,

        You can’t lose the locker room when the backup is worse than you are.you are exaggerating as always. He didn’t lose this game by himself. He’s. Just not doing enough as the leader of the offense. Frank Gore’s drop was huge. That wasn’t Kaps fault. The interference with the punt return wasn’t Kaps fault. The run defense wasn’t Kaps fault. He’s just missing far too many open receivers on the field. That’s it, that’s all. Those damn sacks he’s taking are pathetic. He looks like Phillip Rivers back there waiting to get sacked.

      2. Fan,
        I know that this was directed at 23J, but I couldn’t help myself for responding.

        You say that we are a championship caliber team, and I must disagree.

        We did not win the championship last season with Crabtree, D.Walker, Aldon Smith, Culliver, and Golston.

        This year we have missed Crabtree for the entire season, Manningham for half the season, Aldon has missed a good part, Willis missed a couple of games and the play calling has been geared down because we have not had a #2 WR to take the pressure off AB.

        This is not a championship caliber team until we get back at full capacity with our key players back and healthy.

        My hope is that Crabtree is healthy by mid-December and Aldon gets his field legs and stamina by this time as well.
        But again, at the moment we are not a championship caliber team.

      3. AES,

        Fan77 shades his view because he hates Kap. His opinion is distorted. He’s anti- Smith. Bitter about the switch. He also said the Saints played soft on defense today even though we had 60 yards rushing. Saints hardly played soft. Smith carried his team to a loss just like Kap. 20-44 for a couple hundred yards. Kap was worse 130 yards passing. Kap can’t get it done right now though. He clearly needs something close to the weapons he had last year. There is no way we can get that this year.

      4. AES,

        We did win the Championship last year, we just lost the Superbowl. Might want to check your facts (even the most obvious ones).

      5. AES,
        23 Jordan does not speak for me. Ignore him. Like he claims I’m double posting as some other person. Yeah, whatever.
        This is a championship caliber team. It has those aspirations. What’s holding them back right now is the inexperience at the QB position. Look at Tom Brady’s receiving corps. A few years ago he won with Deion Branch. Right now Colin, who is a great kid, is showing that he is a one hit wonder like Tebow, and an athletic freak like Michael Vick and Vince Young. Vince had a few decent years but now is out of the league.

        Look at what 23 Jordan wrote: “He’s just missing far too many open receivers on the field. That’s it, that’s all.”

        Other then that, he’s great! Hello! That’s his job! It’s like saying, the mailman is just putting the mail in the wrong slot, otherwise, he walks the mail route great.

        And 23Jordan, before you open that clown mouth of yours and bring up Alex Smith, Alex is not on this team anyone. If you don’t think he’s on the verge of losing the locker room with his play, maybe you should look up Fran Gore’s comments after the Panthers game when he threw for 91 years. He gave a lackluster endorsement of Colin’s play.

        All the old guys on the team know their window is closing. When you have the lowest ranked passing offense, guess who takes the heat, yeah the QB. You are such a hypocrite, if the jersey was 11 and this was the output you’d be all over him.

      1. Pete,

        We don’t have a deep threat at wide receiver. We have no receiver that can stretch the defense. It opens up the running game and it takes the double team off of VD.

      2. Here’s an article that 23jordan responded to. The writer clearly states the reason this year’s Niners isn’t as good as the last year is the QB play.


        But now he’s trolling, picking fights. Can’t admit that Kap is clearly not doing it. Of course he’s going to bring up Alex Smith, that’s all he can do.
        We have plenty of WRs, we have a QB who doesn’t know how to read defenses and throw it to them.
        But he can sure kiss his bicep.

  24. Roman’s play calling was better this week than last. It wasn’t quite as predictable. He actually had Kap throw open a couple of receivers – what a concept! The big play that almost happened was a QB rollout – what a concept! – where the defender had to let Kap go or cover Frank Gore, and would have gone for big yards if Frank had made the catch of a ball thrown slightly low. So there were a few more quick strikes. But look at Drew Brees’ offense. If we had half as good an offensive coordinator, things would be a lot different now.

    The reason we all thought Kap was a future hall of famer was that his great speed meant that defenses would have to load the box and guard against Kap around the edges, which would, obviously, open up the passing attack. But it didn’t (except in the GB game). So Roman hasn’t figured out how to use Kap’s legs at all, or make the passing attack stronger, which means that if he doesn’t run, he’s no longer an elite talent, because while he has a strong arm and pretty good accuracy, his decision making is a little slow – and you’ve got to be a quick thinker in order to succeed as an NFL QB.

    What seems insane is that Harbaugh threw two – two! – challenge flags that were guaranteed to fail. He did that last year repeatedly. Not so much this season, but apparently the situation just hadn’t come up. Whoever was up in the booth telling him to throw the flag should be replaced – Mangini or whoever. Absolutely incompetent.

  25. The Niners are tougher than the Saints – generally bigger, stronger, and faster, and this is why we have gotten the edge in the last 2 and should have won this one.

    But this Niner team is no longer a team we can expect to win in the first round of the playoffs. They might congeal into such a team, but the evidence of the last 2 weeks argues strongly against it.

    I generally don’t criticize play calling because I’ve seen some of the simplest plays and plans be successful. But our tendency to run on first down became almost laughable in this game. Roman is quickly taking himself out of the head coaching sweepstakes at the end of the year.

    We were absolutely robbed on the A. Brooks sack, but good teams find ways around such misfortune.. And away from that play Drew Brees was unmolested in the pocket. We didn’t make enough plays. Sadly, our defense peaked in 2011, and our offense peaked in late 2012, and Kaep is now going through the learning process that young qbs either come out of better, or not. We’ll see if there are greater peaks ahead.

  26. Grant, do you realistically see us even clinching a wild card? I asked you before the game regarding how confident you felt about today’s loss and if Baldwin would make a difference? After today, I am not even sure if
    CK is the future here. I see AZ and Sea both as potential losses and maybe even Was.
    Thanks Grant, Jason

  27. This offense is not going to take this team very far if they even make the playoffs. They’ve had all year and they are not getting any better. They’re getting worse.

    As an aside, though, I think Grant’s grading is too harsh.

  28. This ‘blog’ is laughable, much like Alex Smith and those overrated Chiefs who finally had to play a halfway decent team tonight…. Even if they did have the league’s 24th ranked defense. Ouch.

    1. Yep. Alex Smith played decently tonight, just like he did for us last season. We gambled that Kap could play better than that, make big plays when they’re not obviously there like the great QBs do; SO FAR we’re losing that battle. I still believe Alex would not have won us a Super Bowl last year, and I think he would not have been the difference for us against the ‘Hawks and other great, aggressive teams this year.

  29. The 49ers aren’t very good in the trenches. Remember when everybody was saying they had the best offensive line in football? Kap really has very little time to set up, and there are often blitzers getting through unmolested. Peyton Manning has all the time in the world. Drew Brees has a lot of time. Those offensive lines are dramatically better than the 49ers’. Blitzes against them are stopped and there’s almost never a straight shot. With Roman’s inability to game plan and call plays, it’s the kiss of death.

    And the 49ers defensive front used to be the best. No more. Not much pressure on quarterbacks. Unable to stop the run. Time to add another body to the box and see if the defensive backfield can hold its own. I don’t know that this can be an elite team with Roman as offensive coordinator and weak offensive and defensive linemen. Kap may one day be great but it ain’t this year. Discouraging.

    1. We rush 3 and mostly 4! Most defenses bring a lot more against us. That’s how u beat a young Qb
      The problem right now with this team is the decision makers!

      1. Smith has made a career of moving teams late when the defense is in the prevent. It doesn’t matter, he lost those games then and he will lose this one as well. When you’re up 17 with 8 minutes left, you change your defense.

  30. Greg roman needs to be fired. take Johnny Morton with you.

    Next year bring in the west coast offense with a young OC. that system is built to help a young qb with timing route and friendly quick reads. This offense has sucked for all of harbaugh ‘ s era. oh, and hire a scout that knows recievers.

      1. no, his play book is huge. I’m sure there are better plays to call not to mention the circumstances to call them. Roman is like playing against a rookie in madden football. He’s so out of touch with his play calling that it’s hindering his young QB. This offense sucks and JR better realize that his ra ra ways can only take you so far.

      2. ok, but it doesn’t mean he’s a good play caller either. Maybe he trusts his coaches too much and shouldn’t. what happened to the screen play? counters, wham block’s, fly sweeps?

      3. I wasn’t thrilled with the play calling either, they have put the ball in Kaepernick’s hands way too often the last 2 weeks, but I also know that asking for Roman to be fired is basically asking for Harbaugh to be fired.

  31. suggestion for Coach Harbaw:
    give Kassim Osgood & Ahmad Brooks each
    their own game ball in the locker room.

    The two of them were indispensable, huh?
    How do you manage to coach that kind of thing?
    “Play hard – play smart.” (that’s the theory, hmmm?)

    1. He is who I thought he was. No more cupcakes left on the schedule. In 2nd place now and about to freefall. Guess you’ll be leaving soon!

  32. Alex sucks!!! He’s gone forever. get over it. His wife even talked smack about us. he’s never coming back. go cheer for the chiefs. spare us the nonsense.

  33. I think everybody got carried away with Kaep’s physical gifts last year. Defenses hadn’t faced him yet…were still trying to figure him out. He flourished, overachieving really. Now defenses figured out how to play him and he needs to be more cerebral. It may be obvious.he might not be the brightest student in the class. As one other comment noted. .why doesn’t he spend his time on the sideline looking at pics from his last series? or talking with coaches.? He just stands there watching the game with his goofy hat on. Wouldn’t you think Harbaugh would have this guy looking for that edge for his next series? Something is not right here.

  34. You see how Alex runs? Rarely a slide. I think you need to know when to slide and when your team needs you. Kap needs to man up in that dept.

    1. He did drop a lot of his own passes tonight. Let’s get back to roasting the Niners. I miss the Mike Nolan days. Much better than the competitive team we watch now.

      1. Three cheers for a “competitive” team. Horrray. Now lets start giving out gold stars to any player who doesn’t crap in their pants. That might fly with the Winnipeg Jets or Calgary Flames but should’n fly here. That is unless they are competing for the Super Bowl.

  35. Wow, just checked in and saw the comments. Talk about over reacting. It sounds like the sky is falling. The team is still 6-4 and there are a lot of football left to play. The remaining games are all winnable – even the one against Seattle since it’s at home. I think the Niners will finish the season 11-5 and roll into the playoffs.

    1. That’s a good call Nick. Said that earlier to Brotha. Would be funny if that’s how they finish up, with the same number of wins as last season, considering the reactions from some lately.

    2. Finally a voice of reason. I wasn’t able to watch the game because I’m deployed in the Middle East right now, but it sounds like we have a lot of Chicken Little’s on this site. I have been following this site for the last few months and it seems like after every loss, quite a few think we better start looking towards next year. Give me this Niners squad fully healthy in a Wild Card slot and I like our chances. Weird things can happen at the end of the year

      1. KB
        Its not just after a loss. When the team plays like Trash people on here will call it as such. Because our expectations have rissen to the SB or bust standard when we look bad week after week (win or lose) the SB seems like an improbable destination. So its not so much looking towards next year its more coming to grips with the fact that we probably wont win it this year (at least not if we keep playing this way)

  36. Lmao. Watching this same old Alex smith and reading some comments on here thinking he would be better for the 49ers is hilarious. I remember the old alexcuse of “the o-line never gives him time”
    His line is playing better than ours and yet he would have the 49ers winning with no receivers and o-line and bad play calling?
    Lol you idiots are dreaming. His defense couldn’t carry the team tonight.

    1. Montana,

      I’ve been saying it ever since before the trade deadline. We have 32 draft picks next year and we didn’t even try and get ourselves a wide receiver before the trade deadline. Andre Johnson appears to be quite unhappy with the Texans. His contract runs through 2016 but I’m sure he’d restructure it to get the hell out of there. We’ll get him on the phone after the season! Houston would take a #1. They need a QB like we need a #1 wide receiver.

  37. ” This was a close game because the Saints played poorly.”
    who dat? (spoken by a New Orleans fan… now 8 and 2 )

    David Fucillo calls this a “brutal” loss.
    Coach Harbaw sez: “they played their hearts out.”
    That, sir, is what we call a cliche. Get on the plane. Go home.

    Okay so Colin runs for 16 yards (needing 19 for a first down)
    & then he forgets to stay inbounds and keep clock running.
    Maybe if you had attended Dartmouth your learning curve
    would not be so steep? Yr clock management is killing you.
    127 total passing yards, Kaep? (Alex had 236 and no int.)
    Don’t worry; both you and Alex had 3 sacks/2 passing TDs.
    So yes, you can be in his club………….for now anyway.

  38. man, it’s so tiring reading hateful and racist remarks here. There seems to be a hidden resentment towards kap and his hip hop persona. I can read between the lines and wonder if it’s actually the case. funny thing is he half white. There should be no racism in his case. Hmmm mm would he get the same treatment if he wore a cowboy hat and listened to country? What are your thoughts? by the way, my opinion wasn’t just gathered from comments here, rather the local radio stations too.

      1. I thought better of you, Sean. And the rest of you guys, WTF with bashing country music? There’ve been some pretty good redneck QBs over the years whose love of c&w didn’t keep them from winning championships! What the Hell difference does it make? I don’t care if CK listens to Justin Beiber if he can lead the team to wins. Neither hip hop nor country nor Lawrence Welk mean a thing.
        Is CK edgy and obstinate? Yup. I thought he’d adopted Harbaugh’s style; I now think they share that style. But CK is not a punk. He’s not playing very well, but unlike say AJJ, we have seen him play well. He can do it again. It’s not about music or culture or tattoos.

      2. My comment was in jest, Brotha. I’m a big rock fan and my wife is a big country fan. Constant jabs back and forth about the music we like. What he may listen to doesn’t bother me one bit.

      3. Sorry Sean. Fussing and fuming here after a loss. Ill be better. It was an opinion on the broader ‘cultural’ issue though. Peace.

      4. No worries, Brotha. We need a font that signifies sarcasm. It’s gonna be a long week for Niner nation leading up to Monday night football.

      5. I dont care what he listens to as long as when he does post game pressers he takes those silly red headphones off his neck. Win or lose you have to sound and look professional

    1. Sorry but it’s his attitude, he doesn’t handle adversity or criticism very well. Just like the Miami hat issue. He acts more like a spoiled brat. He also makes himself hard to like. Hopefully for the team he’ll grow up soon. He’s the one that wanted to be the man but this isn’t Mountain West college football anymore Kap so time to man up, even if you are the teachers pet. LOL

      1. Can we not hate on kap for being a punk? Dude I would have hated on Montana too if he was such a douche. He’s a bozo with a chip on his shoulder for no apparent reason. I’ll knock him out. No joke. Send his ass my way. You too

    2. Big Niner….
      Idk if you were here when Troy Smith and Josh Johnson were here. Oh boy did the Smithers lose their minds then. I called this 3 years ago. Although none have came out and admitted it, the undertones were there. And now that Alex smith has failed his ONLY test this season, they’ll attack CK’s offield character. Again what real 49er fan protects another teams qb over theirs.

      1. >>What are your thoughts?

        My thoughts are if Keap played at even a quarter of the potential he showed last season, if he wasn’t leading the WORST passing offense in the league, if he could somehow pull a clutch drive, or even a clutch play out of his hat we could care less about any “persona” he’s trying to develop. I still could care less.

        It all comes down to football and Kaep has failed miserably this season. He hasn’t had much help form the playcalling or key injuries. But come on, 40 some net yards last week, 100 net yards this week? It’s a cruel joke.

        To quote our favorite QB hater, Alex is what we thought all along, but now it looks like we are stuck with someone who isn’t what we thought all along. If his game doesn’t pick up with the return of “his favorite receiver”, expect the board to go full Jordo on him.

      2. Ribico I’ve heard the excuse for years that coaching, the O-line and no receivers were smiths downfalls. Do you think these three problems are helping CK’s horrible play? I have a hard time believing Alex smith with these same problems would have made this offense any better. These are the problems that held him down before. Right? Idk about the Jordan comment. About going crazy if he continues to struggle it’s only his second year of playing. Looking at it in a whole, this whole offense from OC to the O-line look absolutly lost. And the general is #7. The good news is he didn’t stink when he started last season so we know he has the potential there. When is he going to get his confidence back????? Tbd.

      3. Md,

        What is real is this. Kap is truly not an diehard student of the game. When you are a student of the game, you don’t have time for a lot of the crap that he involves himself.

        Here’s the truth. I was amazed at all the endorsement deals he got this offseason. Every time I found out about another one I was scratching my head. All this after one season. He was just getting too much too soon.

        I look back on what luck said about endorsements. He said that he rather earn it on the field first before he got the endorsements off the field. You think he knew something about Kaepernick.

        You go to games and I do as well. What I don’t like is how Kaepernock watches the game like a spectator when the team is on defense. I feel like he is not a real student of the game. When you are constantly missing open receivers on almost every series, you need to know why and how. There is too much technology in football for him not to look for opportunities to make in game adjustments. Instead of looking at pictures, he’s watching the defense. Instead, you see the coaches showing McCoy the pictures. Kap is nowhere around.

        When he threw that stupid jump ball to Vernon Davis before that last TD, I was disgusted. He comes to the line. Sees that the saints are blitzing and that Boldin is in the slot. He’s killed his guy the entire drive. 3 3rd down conversions. On the most critical 3rd down, Boldin beats his guy across the middle and Kap throws this floater up to VD. When haveq you ever seen VD catch a jump ball, or catch a fade pattern for a TD?

        We are clearly not smart enough to win a Super Bowl. From the front office on down to the players. We are not smart enough. This may very well not be our year.

      4. Good point MD. We know the talent is there. I’m sorry but this offensive line has to think about making some adjustments or changes. Davis was horrible. Iupati was horrible before he got hurt. Goodwin played well on pass protection. Staley played okay. He have up that stunt with Snyder late to get Kap sacked on 1st down. That’s just inexcusable for two veterans. Our O line just takes turns getting a beat down and missing assignments.

        People keep talking about Kap and his progressions. There is no way in hell he can look at 3 players in the time he has to throw the football. This offensive line is and has a been embarrassing in all of our losses. They can’t pass block against anyone, let alone good defenses.

      5. Tee difference is, yes Alex did struggle due to those reasons. On one *bad* team after another, from coaches as illustrious as Nolan and Singletary. Flash forward to Harbaugh, “the QB whisperer” and his OC (getting so much scorn now), Alex was transformed into a servicable player, nothing fancy, but he “just won” as Jordo insults him with.

        This “just winning” team is the same team – coaches, OL, OCs and all – that Keap was installed into – he set the league on fire and gave us fans hope that the “franchise” had arrived. And this year they’ve taken huge steps backwards seeming only able to beat the league’s dregs, Kansas City-style.

        My jury is still out on Kaep due to the similar funk currently dogging the team, but to say the teams that Alex and Kaep inherited are similar is silly at best.

        But screw Alex, he’s KC’s deal now. If Harbaugh is still “the QB whisperer” (maybe he isn’t, given the calls to sack him and his scheme run through the OC), Kaep should perk up his ears a little.

      6. Good points 23… It may not be our year, but I think differently. That was a very tough game. Probably the second toughest behind Seattle this season. And played well enough to win the game. NO they won that damn game. Some say they could have done more for the refs not to have a hand in the outcome. That’s bull****
        A win is a win. Look at Seattle they have hardly beaten the pants off of anyone but they’re still in first. This team with smith or ck rarely beat the pants off of anyone. Seattle an KC have lived off of turnovers this season. So for anyone to say without the turnovers we don’t score is a joke. The two td passes were beautiful plays. If they had not scored td’s in the redone id be more worried. Bad teams don’t take advantage of turnover opportunities. Is the offense as good as we’d like to see it? No. But they did enough to win yesterday. And again I think the presence of MC alone could have pushed us to two victories the past two weeks. The last 6 years have shown its not how many games you win it’s when you win them. It’s not whether your healthy all season it’s when you’re healthy. Don’t know why but this team has that late season surge written all over them. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit, because I called it earlier in the year.

        Ribico…. Good points. I don’t know if Harbaugh can fix this qb problem this year. Him being the qb whisperer you’d think the problems of a “rookie” would look better week after week. I believe the same on what Jordan said. His offseason of layouts,commercials, and interviews really hurt his growth and this team. I believe it’s like he’s learning on the fly to be a pocket passer, and I also believe they are scared to death of him getting injured. Top that with one receiver, and one tight end and a carousel of wr’s besides Boldin and you have a mess. It’s ugly right now, and I don’t believe the solid Alex smith could save this offense. Hell Id have my doubts about Brady if he was on this team. I seen him struggle early in the season without his TE and main receivers. Gonna be interesting down the stretch.

    3. @damnreciever. Lolllllll big country white boy douch bag. you’re pathetic. Btw, you don’t want to see me son. smdh, Internet tough guys. oh, and if you would like to visit, I’m on 98th Ave. D block, oakland ca, next to Emad ‘ s tuneup. ask for E. lmfao

      1. Big…. This kid claims to be a Niner fan since the 60′s. that would make him at least in his 50′s. now what 50+ man talks tough like he does? This kid is a troll and a liar. So for getting caught lying makes his cred a joke. Ignoring him should be punishment enough. Lol

  39. “After the game, I asked Harbaugh who he communicates with in the booth to decide whether or not to challenge a play. He said, “Eric.””

    I’ve long thought that Harbs channels Stephen Colbert when he decides about a challenge – he follows his gut. Unfortunately, his gut is most often wrong.

      1. Jack,
        Thank you for that. This call has ticked me off like no other call in a long time. At game speed, where else could Brooks have hit Brees? He could have gone for the head, but he tried to go lower, and I thought he was successful. I guess the NFL wanted Brooks to run right by Brees and whiff on him. Seriously, how else is he supposed to tackle Brees in that position? It’s ridiculous.

      2. Thanks for that! Clearly shows the way the game was being called, from the “no calls” on the pass interference on VD, to “no calls” on offensive holding. I think from now on Brooks should just drop his shoulder, lock both arms and run right through the QB. When the league starts seeing guys like Drew Brees get drilled and knocked 10ft they’ll start putting flags on the QB and only allow defenses to grab the flag for a sack.

  40. I’m still a Kaep fan, but he is not playing well. He looks stupefied, in fact. He called for a timeout when none were left. When he finally realized that fact, he acted like a teenager. And once again, he had no sense of urgency when he was backed up with a could-be-a-safety if he doesn’t get out of his own way. Then he ran out of bounds to stop the clock. Guess he was eager to get to his tweets. Please take his iPhone from him. His obsession with social media could be time spent studying the game.

    Since we tagged Alex with making his receivers look bad, we must be fair and do the same with Colin. Tom Brady is making his no-name group look good, so #7 can do the same.

    The team still has that just-stopped-playing-a-videogame look. Maybe they need to start wearing those blue collar shirts again, but the boom effect is gone. We now are grouped with Arizona, Philly, Detroit, and Chicago for the last playoff spot.

    Bad Day At Black Rock for current & ex Niner QBs…Kaep, Alex, Scott. Yuck.

    Finally, the Aldon Smith curse continues. We haven’t won a game he’s played since his accident.

  41. upon observing the attitude and reading the statistics
    of Colin (sack ‘n pick) Kaepernick,
    Big niner decides to play the race card??? No, no, no.
    No hats (of any kind),
    no earphones (i.e., no distractions, no toys), and
    no denials (this game was completely winnable).

    Whatsay we do a little compare & contrast of
    Kapurnicus with Russell (10-1) Wilson.
    Completion ratio: CK 17/31… RW 13/18
    Total yards passing: CK 127…. RW 230 yds.
    CK: 3 sacks/1 intercept…. RW 1 sack/no int.
    CK: 73% QB rating……. RW: 151% QB rating
    total yards today: CK 196 yds …RW 323 yds.

    Take yr backwards ballcap & earphones & sweatshirt
    and get on the plane Colin. Go home. Go home 6-4.

    1. There’s something about karma. The way Kap took over the starting spot. And now he is exposed. He made a ton of stupid mistakes last year too! Like the lateral, the safety in the Rams game. But last year can be forgiven, as he went from back-up to starter. This year he is DA MAN, and his play is horrific since the GB game. At some point it is what it is. We can’t put it all on Greg Roman. They try to open it up and it’s the same results. Kap is going to stick with the First read. The Saints did everything they could to give the game to the Niners. Winners take it.
      That pass to Vernon that was forced into double coverage at the end, he had Boldin streaking across the middle and never looked at him. He hat LMJ in the flat, never looked at him.
      Gore’s dropped pass was a tough catch.
      And then the two minute drill. Sacked! Twice now he had a chance to win it! Sure the O-Line sucked, so throw it away. He can’t!
      They will only go as far as his play and right now it’s way below the standard of even Tim Rattay!
      At least it was an entertaining game.

      1. Fan77,

        You realize that you lose credibility when you exaggerate right.

        1. So you think Kap is being punished by a case of bad Karma? JH elected to give him the job.

        2. A ton a stupid mistakes last year? You do realize he’s had the position for over 1 year not 8? You said a ton but you named 2. All players make mistakes. Did you see your boy Alex tonight?

        3. He’s played horrible since the GB game? He’s had the 2 highest rated games in the ESPN QB rating system since the Green Bay game.

        4. Gore’s drop was a tough catch?? 80% of the guys on this blog would’ve made that catch. Hell, OldCoach would’ve made that catch!

        5. Tim Rattay????? Have I proven my point about your credibility?? You’re killing me.

      2. 23 Jordan,
        Even you said he has not played that well. Take away that GB game. What has Kap done to help his team win? Forget the QBR which is a joke. His play is at the bottom third of all QBs. He has not played well in any of the losses.
        It’s always a team lost, if Gore catches that pass, etc.
        Bottom line, in these last two games, KAP had the ball in his hand to win the game, and the results were sacks and bad decisions. It was a horrible decision to try and run 19 yards for a first down, and then go out of bounds? Come on.
        This is not acceptable play period. We all said it when they were beating up on the cream puff teams. It’s so easy do defend against Kap because it’s one read and that’s it. Manningham caught a few passes, but it’s going to be Boldin, Vernon, MacDonald.
        This is THE worst Offense for a SuperBowl contending team.
        End of story.
        Obviously Tim Rattay was a joke.

      3. And you always bring it back to Alex Smith. I didn’t even mention him.
        You do realize that Alex is on a crappier team then the Niners right? While he may not have had good stats, he did lead a TD in the 4th Quarter. At least he didn’t quit.
        You were calling for Kap’s head earlier, so now you just wanna pick a fight.
        Kap sucks. End of story. Bring on the next guy.

      4. Fan, our offense will have success as long as:

        a. the defense gives them the ball inside the 20.

        b. we could have more Jacksonvilles and Houstons the schedule

        But long sustained drives? “Stretching the field”? Clutch play from the QB position? We’ll have to forget about that until the return of our mythical game changing WRs.

      5. Fan77,

        Smith led his team to a TD when they were down 17 withe 7 minutes left. He used to do that for this team as well. Too little, too late. He looked like the Alex I know. Can’t win a big game. So far he has 1 of those in his career. 9 years, 1 playoff win.

      6. 23 Jordan,
        Yup you had to bring up Alex Smith. Just had to. Think back to 2011 idiot. How many times did Alex bring the team back in the 4th quarter? You have selective memory. Alex is on a team that went 2-14 the year before, and just had their first lost, on the road. Did you watch the game? How many penalty killing drives did you see?
        What’s funny about you 23clown, is you pick fights with so many people on this page and you lose them all, and then you bring up Alex Smith!
        How many teams with winning records have the Chiefs beat? Same as Colin.

      7. And point 2. For 23 jordan…. Compare 8 yrs of AS to 1 by CK at helm is a non sense. Take the same amount of time/ games under the same coach could be’ more appropriate

    2. Italian,

      Are we to assume that Smith was in the league for 5 years before Harbaugh and learned nothing? You’re kidding me right? Kap has to make the adjustments to counter what the league is doing. He will.

  42. Credit needs to be given to P Willis for covering Jimmy Graham all night. Held him to 6 for 41, which is just about a miracle the way Graham has been playing

    1. Indeed. It was a magnificent defensive effort. Over the last two weeks, I have been hearing statements from Willis and Bowman in interviews that are expressing their frustration, and reading between the lines, it seems to me that their frustration is with the offensive woes.

      What a waste of three years of championship-winning D! I’m not giving up on this season as far as Super Bowl is concerned, but the offense better get back on track soon.

  43. if the Ravens and John Harbaugh are in the tank
    right now, at least they picked up a SB ring last year.

    The Niners are 6-4 and no one believes they will make
    a deep run in the playoffs. Get out your golfclubs,
    Coach Harbaw. You are heading for Pebble Beach, sir.

    One more thing: stop burning timeouts & challenge flags.
    You’re killing us, pal.

  44. Seems some of you on past posts were onto something when talking about Kaps misplaced focus. Did you hear the Pam Oliver comment from the field at the beginning of the game about Harbaugh having a wood shed moment with Kap. Apparently had a talk with him about spending too much time on social media. Did I hear that right? That would explain Roman’s Corleone moment.

    1. That’s exactly what he spoke aboutcthe. Harbaugh said he wished Kap spent less time on social media. The man trolls Instagram incessantly. He’s young and that’s a fact. He clearly does not realize that is popularity with the hip hop community is not going to help him succeed in the NFL. The tattoos, fitted hats and earphones are just a fad. He’s in his early 20′s not his early 30′s. He’ll mature in time. He’s got a lot to learn. He was a lot hungrier last year. He’s got the job now. He doesn’t feel threatened. I don’t think he’s looking over his shoulder for Colt McCoy.

  45. Has Kap dropped our expectations so much that 50% with 127 yards is a “good” game. Smh. So much upside, so much hope, and it’s all dwindling. A good qb elevates the play around him and it’s clear Kap does not. Many in here are looking for crab to be our savior but don’t hold your breath fellas. Our troubles are much deeper than that.

    1. Adam707,

      In these last 2 games there was plenty of blame to go around. For example, if Hunter doesn’t fumble last game, I think we win that one. If gore doesn’t drop that pass from Kap in the flat, I think we win today. Not to mention ll the other plays. Yeah, Kap is not playing well but neither is anyone else on offense,

  46. Kap,

    You can’t run out of bounds on 3rd and 19 with 1:48 left in a tie game and your opponent having 1 timeout left. You have to know better than that. Either you get airborne and sell out for that 1st down or you slide so you can keep the clock running and may even draw a personal foul for a late hit. However, you can NOT run out of bounds and stop the clock for your opponent. That mistake was almost as bad as Osgoods interference call.

      1. Kap’s inexperience is showing in spades. He’s a 3rd year and he’s playing like it. Even college kids know they can’t run out of bounds late to stop the clock.

        On another note, Carlos Rogers is a total bum. Gets a big contract and has not made a play since. The man tackles absolutely no one. Lately, he can’t even cover. He looks horrible. I can’t wait until the season is over so we don’t have to watch him play again. He should offer T. brown half his salary this year. He hasn’t earned it.

      2. Poor situational play is seen all over the league. How many times do you see a qb rolling out, running for his life and running out of bounds for a gimme sack when you just chuck the ball away and you don’t loss the yards? Frustrating watching some of the mental mistakes.

      3. Sean,

        Kap did it earlier in this game. He only lost a yard and a half but the bottom line is, it’s still losing yardage. When you only gain 195 yards total in a game, you can’t afford to lose 2 yards on any play. I’ve been a big supporter of Kap but my patience is wearing thin. Crabtree can’t come back soon enough. He may not make a difference. At least he is at least another target.

      4. Sharing a brain on this one, Jordan. It’s those little plays that the elite qbs make that the others, whether they’re young or just middle of the road guys, don’t. They may seem like small mistakes at the time but add them up in a close game against a good team and it’s your downfall.

  47. Frank Gore is no longer the back he was. Even though Hunter is averaging fewer yards per carry, I’d like to see what happens if you get him going with 25 carries a game and make him the feature back. He never gets into the flow of the game.

    We know what we have with Gore. It’s not good enough anymore.

  48. I won’t put the loss on Kaepernick because we clearly should’ve won this game if not for that awful, terrible, disgusting roughing the passer penalty on Brooks, but it has gone from frustrating to just sad and depressing how bad he has been against even mediocre defenses. Blaming Harbaugh and Roman for not rolling him out enough or the wide receivers is just so played out at this point. How about he fires some accurate passes? How about he goes through his progressions? The funny thing is I still have this gut feeling that while we might limp into the playoffs as a 6th seed, we will turn it on in the playoffs and Kaepernick will dominate for us and get us that Super Bowl win but as each week passes I’m starting to feel more and more delusional.

  49. ESPN, for once, did a decent job summing it up:

    “Let’s face it, the odds were never great that the 49ers would go to the Superdome and beat the New Orleans Saints. But they absolutely had a chance to do it, and might have pulled it off had they not made a series of late mistakes. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks was called for a hit to the neck of quarterback Drew Brees, wiping out a turnover. Running back Frank Gore dropped a short swing pass that might have gone for a touchdown. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick stepped out of bounds on a failed third-down run, giving the Saints an extra 40 seconds to work with on their final drive. And special teams ace Kassim Osgood must have missed Darren Sproles’ fair-catch signal, because he hit Sproles and put the Saints 15 yards closer to the winning points. I don’t think the 49ers choked up a sure victory, but they certainly gave the Saints some unneeded help along the way. ” – Kevin Seifert

    I would like to add the following:

    1. Greg Roman continues to show why he is one of the worst offensive coordinators in the NFL and the 49ers’ most significant shortcoming.

    2. Great teams find ways to win. Not so great teams find ways to lose. The 49ers’ execution in the 4th quarter was very poor. The game was their’s to lose and they did just that. There are, of course, other examples this season. The Carolina Panthers outplayed both the Seahawks and the 49ers in their respective games. Seattle found a way to win on the road with some of their biggest stars on offense and defense injured. The 49ers found a way to lose at home.

    3. Someone explains to me why Greg Roman doesn’t utilize check downs and screens more often? That seems to be a very effective way to “take what the defense gives you,” get the offense in some type of rhythm, avoid 3-and-outs, avoid 3rd-and-longs, keep the chains moving, avoid forcing the ball when there’s no one open, make the offense less predictable and one-dimensional, etc.

    4. I actually like what I see from Jon Baldwin. I just don’t have any faith in Greg Roman and Kaepernick trusting him enough to utilize him.

    5. LaMichael James running between the tackles is a waste of a play. He isn’t good enough at breaking tackles, and he isn’t elusive enough to make up for that weakness. I would say they should utilize him for the read-option, based on his experience at Oregon, but he’s so ineffective between the tackles that the option to hand it off to him isn’t such a big threat.

    1. I don’t buy the idea that there aren’t any checkdowns in Roman’s offense. There were a handful of times I saw a wide open check down option and Kaepernick take a shot deep. Remember after the Bears game where people asked Roman if they changed the play-calling because of all the shots deep and he responded that its all in the scheme? I think it’s on Kaep.

  50. The CSN gamer headline, “Miscues Cost 49ers”.

    I say, BS.

    The last two games are the end result of not coaching up Kap, both via offensive scheme and game by game learning progression. When the Niners had a nice lineup of 5 “stiffs” games, they decided to run. That won them ballgames against weaker teams. BUT did they develop Kap, develop other receivers or offensive threats, or develop scheme learning progressions?

    Nope. They ran.

    And puffed out their chests about it. Manly football, meat grinding, Harbaugh called it.

    They had another choice. Especially against Tampa, the Jags and the bye week. They could have been developing Kap and offensive schemes that played to his strengths.

    Oddly enough while I am criticizing Harbaugh and Roman, I still believe they can right the ship. I think they are out of sync. The Green Bay game gave them over confidence in Kap’s god like status as a downfield passer. Then they forgot to run against Seattle and the Colts, thinking Kap could just pass them to a win. Then they rediscovered the run (correctly) against the Rams. But then they got run happy and forgot to develop Kap and the offensive schemes to support him.

    Harbaugh and Roman are smart guys that need to get a reset. Develop Kap. Develop scheme. Develop it on a game by game basis. More like in college. Think of Kap as is still in college, develop him. That’s Harbaugh’s duty.

    1. Miscues? The Saints handed the 49ers a 10-point swing when Corey White fumbled through the end zone. What about that miscue?

  51. Grant’s grading system is the silliest I’ve ever seen. If the referee hadn’t called the personal foul on Brooks – which was totally bogus – and the 49ers had won the game, I guarantee you that every grade would have been at least one letter higher – even though that call had zero to do with how well the team played.

    1. Haha yeah, I’m sure Kaep would’ve gotten a B with a “He only threw for 127 yards but he beat Brees in New Orleans” or something like that. Defense probably would’ve gotten a big bump as well.

      1. The Saints… We were imagining Gran’ts grades if one little penalty went the other way. A fun little venture into alternate history

  52. Kezar Splinters covered it.
    No long-term development strategy during winnable games
    to groom/mature the still rookie QB.
    Yes, they were overly impressed with the Green Bay win.

    Based on what we saw yesterday, nobody feels optimistic
    about the Seattle game up ahead…..
    no one except Pete Carroll.

    Drew Brees will certainly be undergoing a CT scan of the neck
    and if it shows evidence of any pathology, someone please
    encourage Coach Harbaw to issue a different statement.
    For him to criticize the penalty on Ahhhmaad for that hit was
    yet another proof that his catatonic “football fight” mentality
    has stripped him of certain core human values.

    The “winning at all costs” philosophy will ruin you, Harb.
    Maybe it already has, hmm?

    1. the hit was in the upper chest region Drew starting fall down which made his arm to go around the neck. Brooks did NOT attack the neck area it was cause and effect.

  53. Grant,

    Any thought if the 49ers will release a statement to refute Troy Aikmans insinuations that the team endangered Eric Reid’s health by allowing him to play after 2 concussions? In case you missed, Aikman made multiple comments expressing his shock that Reid was playing and he made the Saints sound like choir boys for chosing to rule Vacarro out early in the week. I felt like his comments bordered on slander and if I were a team doctor charged with protecting the health and well being of the players I’d be ripping Troy Aikman a new orifice this morning.

    1. Houston
      Aikman is Right. As someone who had his career ended by concussions he has intimate knowlege of the subject. It is a FACT that you are more suceptible to a concussion if you had one recently (like say 2 in a span of 9 weeks) Remember thats how our QB change occured last year or that KW was “targeted” by the giants because of his concusive history in 2011. In fact there was a play where i thought that ER got dinged again. (he dove at someones legs and their thigh struck nim in the head and he was a bit slow getting up) The only thing i disagree is that I think that ER wanted to play so badly that he was the driving force behind playing not the docs. and remember he passed the concussion protocol

    2. Well Bos, that is the point. Reid passed the concussion protocol so he was cleared to play by medical professionals. Aikman wasn’t in the meetings with doctors. Aikman doesn’t have any idea if Reid did or did not have lingering issues with a concussion. Aikman doesn’t know if Reid suffered a Grade 0 or Grade 2 or 3 concussion. What Aikman did was imply the 49ers were endangering a player when Aikman himself is ignorant of the facts. I’m not going to defend anyone if they are truly endangering the safety of a player but Aikman was certainly irresponsible in his commentary.

  54. Everybody has a hand in this loss…I want to start with Baalke..not good at identifying wr talent..could’ve traded on draft day to get another’s team wr off their roster..but…nah…let get another short undersized receiver like Aj..in patton..kyle and manningham are hurt…instead of looking for other options …nah let’s wait for them to come back..instead of kap goin into the ota’s with his wr core set..Most of the people kap went into ota’s with arent playing now..go f=cking figure..lol.. baalke couldve made a trade during season…nah lets hold onto hundred draft picks that most of em wont make the roster anyway..failed..Coaching staff..so hellbent on trickery.and deception in this offense..that they’re really tricking and deceiving themselves.Hell bent on winning the “Stanford way”..What has it gotten Stanford I ask? Stubbornness to have the players buy into that bs..Trying to get players to fit that scheme..instead of loosening up..and play towards a player’s strengths..Til they change their offensive philosophy..Things are not gonna change

  55. I can tell kap is bein a good soldier and doin what the coaches are telling him..dont force it, slide! Dont get hurt, u can rely on ya defense, and special teams..”we have alot on our plate” is a compelling statement from kap.when referring to gettin to the line and getting the play off on time..They got him thinking too much..I can tell..he’s hesitant,,not confident in his wr core..other than vernon and anquan..He wants to execute the first read..to a fault…not alot of options”most of the.time”

  56. To all those who blame everything on kap.. you got to stock the kitchen with groceries..give him a good cookbook..and let him become a chef..If the dinner is not exquisite or tasty.and undercooked…then you move onto another chef. But im not.ready for a new chef yet..cause the kitchen is bare

  57. Our coaching staff needs film from last year for what worked and what not.
    And it looks that they adapt to much to a opponent instead of going out from our own strengths.

    Our coachingstaff where known as bright minds its time to get there act together if not Harbaugh should take over the playcalling.

  58. Eddie D says:

    November 18, 2013 at 6:03 am
    “We did win the Championship last year, we just lost the Superbowl. Might want to check your facts (even the most obvious ones).”

    Eddie D,
    Yes, you are correct we did win a championship last year (NFC). But another person who went by the name of Eddie D often said that the 49ers goal was to win Superbowl Championships.
    For someone who dons the title/name Eddie D, perhaps that is a fact you should know.

    We are about Superbowls. That has been established a long time ago.

  59. OK, so I went to Radio Shack and got a kit and built an Acme Nano Drone. I remotely piloted it through an air duct and down into the Coaches’ Locker Room after the Press Conference. Here’s my transcript:
    Fangio: Well goll darn it!
    Tomsula: @#$%^&*! Double *&%$!
    Harbaugh: This stuff sucks!I HATE this!
    Roman: It could have been worse.
    Harbaugh: How?
    Tomsula #@%!
    Roman: Well, at least we got credit from Grant for taking his advice.
    Harbaugh: Yeah, I guess its a good thing we did. Could’ve been ugly.
    Mangini: True dat.
    Tomsula: +*&%$#@#$%&*^&&%$!!!!!!!

  60. note to Coach Harbaw:
    when you take that fat 3 to 5 seconds
    and shake hands with the winning coach,
    we expect you to make eye contact with the man.
    Directing some sort of angry gaze at the endzone
    or the moon or your own jacked up football future
    does not cut it. You teach your players and your kids
    to confront their own realities by facing up to yours.
    Sean Payton’s team beat your team – on the last series.
    (feels just like last year’s Super Bowl, huh?)
    The Saints just let all the air out of your emotional balloon.
    However, you still need to comport yourself as a good sport.
    Hope you do not take that hang-dog attitude and
    facial expression home to Mrs. Harbaugh #2 and the kids…

  61. The 49ers defense gave up 1 TD drive to the Saints and Brees in the Dome, set up a TD with the Brooks interception, and they get C and D grades?

    1. The defense also held New Orleans more than 6 points under its scoring average. The defense was not the problem yesterday.

      1. Jack,
        Didn’t you get the feeling that when the Niners kicked the FG to go up 20-14, that the team was playing not to lose? If they had gotten a TD, that would have been the game. And they really didn’t deserve it either, well the D did, until the 4th quarter.

        This team has way too many 3 and outs. The sky is not falling, but if you can’t run and can’t throw on offense, then what’s left?
        This team is lost on Offense right now.

      2. Grant,

        They held the Saints under their average score in their building. They made plays to get the ball for the offense. If not for Brooks hitting Brees about 6 inches too high, they probably would have won the game for them. The defense played about as well as you can in that building against that offense.

      3. Fan,

        I don’t think they were playing not to lose. They made mistakes. Gore dropping that pass was huge not only because it took what would have likely been at least 3 points off the board, but because it also would have resulted in more time coming off the clock. The Brooks penalty was the other. Two glaring mistakes that pretty much determined the outcome.

      4. The Saints held themselves back for three quarters and then they blew away the Niners in the fourth quarter.

        No, actually the Niner defense held them the same way they did last year and even in the 4th quarter when obviously gassed from being on the field so long, kept the Saints out of the endzone and caused a fumble that would have put the game away if not for a penalty.

        1. It was a penalty, though. If Moore hadn’t dropped the punt and White hadn’t fumbled through the end zone, the game wouldn’t have been close. The Niners gave up a 97-yard TD drive in the first quarter. There was no pass rush or run defense. The Saints played poorly until the end. They’re much better than the 49ers.

      5. The Saints held themselves back for three quarters and then they blew away the Niners in the fourth quarter.

        Please tell me you are joking because you realize that you may have been wrong about the defense. If not, holy crap, that is delusional.

      6. Grant,
        The Niners on D chose to rush 3 most of the time. When they blitzed, Brees hit Meecham on some cross ing patterns for big plays.
        The Saints are a better team mainly because of coaching. If Sean Payton was the Niners QB, I think he would find a way to get more production out of Colin and the WR group.
        If the they had switched teams, Sean would have beatened Harbaugh with the Niner squad.

      7. “The Saints held themselves back for three quarters and then they blew away the Niners in the fourth quarter. ”

        so… when a team like the Saints were held by their opponents for 14 pts in 3 quarters is because they held themselves back? smh

      8. Grant:

        Oh, I see. The 49ers’ defense had nothing to do with the Saints playing poorly. Your argument is only getting weaker.

        Also, you do realize, don’t you, that Fangio clearly decided to defend the Saints’ passing game more with coverage than with pressure? It may not be as sexy as blitzing and sacking the QB, but it was effective. Playing at home with one of the best home field advantages in the league, the Saints scored more than six points below their scoring average to date. As for Brees, his passer rating and QBR numbers were well below his usual numbers (approximately 19 and 15 points, respectively) and only slightly above league average.

        The defense was not the problem yesterday.

      9. Grant,

        It was a penalty, though. If Moore hadn’t dropped the punt and White hadn’t fumbled through the end zone, the game wouldn’t have been close. The Niners gave up a 97-yard TD drive in the first quarter. There was no pass rush or run defense. The Saints played poorly until the end. They’re much better than the 49ers.

        Yes it was a penalty, but that helped the Saints stay in the game, They also had the KO return after the Niners went up 10-7, and Gore dropping a pass that would have resulted in a huge gain. The Niner defense gave up one TD drive the entire game. Both teams had breaks and it went down to the wire.

        Two years in a row the Niners have held this offense under their usual point totals and it’s not because the Saints didn’t play well; it’s because the Niner defense knows how to play them.

        The Saints are not much better than the Niners and on a neutral field I’d take the Niners. They’ve won two out of the last 3 and were in position to do so again yesterday.

      10. Grant are you trying to say Brooks did’nt make a great play on his int? The most important TO of the game [the one the officials took away] was another great play by Brooks.

        1. The penalty was a penalty, not a great play. Brooks’ pick was a gift from Brees. Brees had a month to throw and tried to float one over Brooks’ head to a running back but Brees didn’t throw it high enough. Total fluke. Total gift.

      11. The 49ers defense had nothing to do with the Saints three turnovers.
        I sure hope that statement was sarcasm, although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t
        And to dispute your statement about the defense folding in the 4th, it doesn’t help when your offense doesn’t get a first and has negative yards in the quarter.

      12. The Saints committed three extremely fluky turnovers …

        No, at most, the Saints committed two fluky turnovers. Neither of them came against the 49ers’ defense, however, so they had nothing to do with the job that the defense did against the Saints’ offense.

        Brooks’ interception was a good/great defensive play by him.

      13. Grant’s right. The Saints were giving the Niners the game. But not because the D didn’t show up. At least I can see Fangio’s philosophy and game-plan.
        It was the offense. The niners didn’t pick up a first down until the 2nd quarter. 3 straight 3 and outs. Hey Alex has had his share of bad runs of offense, but before he got hurt, he was getting better. It was not this futile.
        Colin really has not played up to average and now all the teams know it.
        The Front Office did not help by giving him any weapons. At the same time, you can see how the entire offense is out of sync. Baldwin finally gets a chance at a TD, but bobbles at the end.
        There were some check downs that Colin chose not to take. That’s not his game.
        For the next 6 games, we’ll see how this plays out.
        I think they can beat Seattle at home, and the Saints go up to Seattle and can beat them there. They’re a good team.
        But none of this really matters unless Colin picks up his play. Unless this is all a big hat trick so that the real Colin shows up in the playoffs, running all kinds of read option trick plays we haven’t seen before.

    2. “The defense had nothing to do with it.”
      “Bree’s had a month to throw.”
      Sure due to limited pass rushers, but in that month he couldn’t find anybody open until he tried to get it to the wrong guy. Nobody open? Of course the defense didn’t have anything to do with that! No way! And a defensive guy makes a more athletic play than the QB thinks he can, but the defense had nothing to do with it? Was Brooks just standing there and it was thrown in his belly? No.
      Your comment doesn’t stand up

      1. Are we really using the ‘if they didn’t’ excuses again Grant? Really?

        Well then, by that thought process, it goes both ways. If Brees didn’t throw such a good pass to Colston, the Niners probably win. If Kap didn’t run out of bounds, the Saints have at least 40 seconds less on their last drive.

        This must be a ploy to get people riled up and get more blog hits, because there is NO logic in them.

  62. In trying to think about the various elements of the offense I ran through this speculation in my head. How would other QBs do in exactly the same situation as CK? Our coaches & schemes, our personnel only. So, 100% subjective:
    Peyton and Brady aren’t good fits but are too good not to find a way to move the ball. Their lack of mobility a problem this year, but Brady very adaptable to adjusting to what’s needed.
    Rogers and Brees are agile and too good not to move the ball.
    Wilson and RG3 are great fits and great talents.
    Luck and Alex have shown they can run the system; Luck pretty effective even under pressure.
    So all those guys could move this team this year I’m pretty sure. We don’t know the finer coaching points and restraints on the QB, but that’s my guess.
    Is Stafford accurate and disciplined enough? Its nice to have Calvin for those alley-oops. Not too mobile. Nor are Flacco, Rivers, Cutler, Eli, Big Ben, but they’ve produced under duress.
    Foles might be able to fit. I don’t think so with Dalton.
    Romo’s agility could probably move the chains for SF.
    Others around the League, not so much.

  63. Kaps mechanics look “wrong” to a layman there seems to be something funny about his throwing motion(this year). I am wondering if the Niners were sincerely worried about his work outs in the off season(there was a report that they wanted to lighten up on the workouts). Maybe he got too pumped and that is why he is struggling with accuracy but it also looks his acceleration(running) isn’t there either. Last year when he would run it looked like he hit the turbo button right out of the gate, this year it seems he is slower getting up to speed. And maybe they have stressed not running so he isn’t “ready” to run and he’s thinking about it too much….

    Obviously not being a coach I don’t have film from last year to compare, but its just what I am seeing this year and

    1. His footwork is bad right now. He’s not setting up to throw and he’s not operating with the proper base that allows him to move efficiently in the pocket. I’ve noticed it all year. He needs real QB drills to help with his footwork. He’s regressed this year quite a bit in his footwork.

    1. Mood:

      Thanks for the link. That is a thought-provoking, objective, fact-based analysis of the 49ers’ offensive problems. I’m not surprised: Tanier knows his stuff.

    2. This article is just factually incorrect, the snap counts aren’t up yet for the Saints-49ers game but last week against the Panthers Manningham was on the field for 45 out of the 57 plays (~80%), Boldin was on the field for 51 out of the 57 plays(~90%) and even Kyle Williams was on the field for 21 out of the 57 plays(~37%). Saying Kaepernick doesn’t throw deep is ridiculously incorrect, he throws deep(20+) on 15.9% of his attempts which is the 2nd highest figure in the league. Against the Panthers last week he threw deep on 18.2% of his attempts, which was the 4th highest figure of the week. This guy has no idea what he is talking about.

    3. tkamB:

      I don’t know where you are getting your numbers from, but I would be surprised if Mike Tanier was that far off. He has access to the Football Outsiders play-charting data (he used to write for the site), and he is reliable with regard to using correct data.

      If he is as wrong as you say he is, I would be disappointed, as well as surprised.

      1. Claude,

        tkamB is getting his numbers from PFF, and Tanier never used any data to try and back up his assertion that they don’t throw deep.

      2. Yeah as Jack said I’m using PFF’s data and the only data Tanier is using is results-biased stuff like YPA and the farthest completed pass. That doesn’t mean they aren’t throwing deep, that means they aren’t throwing deep successfully which is an entirely different matter.

      3. Jack:

        I don’t think I suggested that Tanier offered any data to back up the assertion. I simply wrote that he has been reliable with regard to his use of data in his analyses.


        Thanks for responding. Upon re-reading the article, it is possible Tanier may have limited his data review to completed passes, which, as you note, would only tell us something about the frequency of successfully completed deep pass attempt, not the frequency of deep pass attempts.

        Fwiw, I posted a comment on the article sharing your data on deep pass attempts and asking Tanier to share the data, if any, that supports his assertion.

        I have one other question. Tanier’s actual statement is “Colin Kaepernick does not throw deep anymore, at all,” which is slightly different from “he hasn’t thrown deep this year.” The PFF numbers from the Carolina game still contradict that assertion, but I am curious as to whether the PFF data otherwise shows a trend of declining deep pass attempts as the season has progressed.

      4. tkamB:

        Mike Tanier answered my question, and I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed. Even though I noted your numbers were for passes of 20+ yards, he proceeds with the assumption that they were for passes of 15+ yards.

        Also, he “did not do any fine detailed stat work on Kaepernick because a) the data was not available yet for Sunday and b) Kaepernick’s longest completion in 2 weeks was 17 yards, so I knew I was not missing any successful bombs. Kaepernick has thrown a handful of sorta deep throws in recent weeks, but since we are talking about 25 yard incomplete passes up the seam to the likes of Vance McDonald, I did not feel like I was exaggerating to say “never.”


    4. Mood,

      Good to see that we are both seeing the same thing in regards to the similarities to the 49ers and Stanford. During the Stanford-USC game, did you recognize that red zone play by Stanford that was picked off? That’s been a 49ers go to play down in that area.

      1. That was a heck of a game. Some big time power football. Stanford seems to have the same problem the Niners do when they face a team that can match them physically in the trenches.

      2. Jack,

        Yes, I did note the similarities. Shaw is not even half the play-caller Harbs is. It’s Shaw’s awful red-zone play calls and getting away from the run game at critical times that cost Stanford a shot the National Championship game. With the heart of the Stanford defense graduating, I expect Coach Mason to get a HC job at some other college team. I’m afraid that could end Stanford’s top-10 ranking run for good.

        Agree, Stanford often appears unprepared when they meet another physical team. Coach Mason’s D generally makes very good adjustments during the game. The offense is a whole other story.

      3. Mood
        Easy there fella, Stanford had the same “shot at the national championship game” as louisvile or some other fraud team (looking at you every team in the big 12) Barring a miracle it will be bama vs the noles and even if a miracle happens a 1 loss team from the so so pack 12 wasn’t going to cut it (thats why everyone said that oregon’s chances evaporated with that loss to stanford)

  64. I think we need some perspective here. The Saints have been pretty near unbeatable at home, were coming off of an historic offensive performance a week earlier and were playing a Niner team coming off of a poor offensive showing at home. Most predictions had the Niners losing this one convincingly, yet they lost by 3 and had a great chance to come out with a win.

    The season is not over, this team doesn’t suck and Harbaugh is not going to fire anybody or get fired himself. They just lost a close game on the road to a team that is second in the NFC right now. It happens.

    There were a number of mistakes such as: the Kickoff return given up right after taking a lead that gave the Saints possession inside the 20, Gore dropping what would have been a huge gain and possibly the chance to close out the game, Kap running out of bounds instead of staying in to keep the clock rolling (although this one I don’t think would have made a huge difference quite honestly considering the Saints still had time to move the ball without TO’s), and the biggest one of all which was Brooks’ personal foul on what would have been the game ending fumble recovery.

    The play calling was questionable at times, Kap held the ball too long in some cases although he didn’t have much of a chance on the last possession considering he had defenders in his face almost immediately, and Harbaugh needs to keep that challenge flag in his pocket, but even after all that this team was in position to win in one of the hardest venues for a visiting team there is.

    The defense played a great game both from an effort and scheme standpoint and deserved better. Kap while not great, did throw the ball pretty accurately and was let down by a couple of drops and officials ignoring blatant holding on the receivers he threw too in a couple of instances such as Baldwin on a long pass down the sideline where Greer was injured and VD in the endzone.

    I think what we are really missing however in all the analysis on what went wrong is pretty simple: They couldn’t run the ball, and when this team can’t run the ball they aren’t going to win most of the time because the offense is predicated on that element of the game. Everything goes through the run and even with it not working at all they still almost pulled it out.

    I’m obviously in the minority but I saw enough from this game to give me confidence that the Niners even in their current state can beat anybody if they can cut down on the mistakes. This is still a good football team that could be a lot better in a few weeks when Crabtree comes back.

    1. Rocket

      I agree with you that we should not get into the sky-is-falling mode of thinking.

      However, I have to respectfully disagree with you about the cause of the problem being the ineffectiveness of the running game.

      I strongly feel that in the modern NFL, a team cannot have an effective running game without the threat of an effective mid-range and/or deep passing game. Niners do not have an effective passing game against decent NFL defenses. The defenders are not only crowding the box, even the free safety stands closer to the LoS when a run is obvious. No RB including Peterson can run in the current Niners offense with any consistency. It is not by chance that the Niners have lost against better teams who have been able to render Niners (remedial?) passing attack ineffective.

      The myth of the importance of “establishing the run” to winning games was one of the first myths busted by Football Outsiders.

      A team with poor running game but a good passing game (top 10 QB and top 5 pass blocking O line, e.g., the 2007-2011 Pats) can do well in this league, at least until the cold weather play-offs start.

      Blaming the running game (like Grant’s grade of the RBs) is unfair under the circumstances.

      Ted Robinson pointed out on KNBR this morning that receivers were getting open yesterday and Kap was just not able to find them. I just hope that the Crabtree’s return sparks the passing game.

    2. Rocket,

      “They couldn’t run the ball”, it’s more like they wouldn’t run the ball. I understand that teams are stacking the box, but look at the drive charts and play by play. Although it was tough sledding in the running game they have put the ball in Kaepernick’s hands way too often these last 2 weeks.

    3. Mood,

      For better or worse this is a running team. When they they can’t or won’t run the ball they struggle. In the losses to Indy and Carolina, they were actually running the ball pretty well and just went away from it. Yesterday they were struggling with it and were forced to pass more than they like to. I disagree that they can’t win with this approach because that is all they’ve done since they got here. The QB has to be better and the passing game is really not up to NFL standards sometimes, but the running game is what makes this offense go and has been effective for the most part.


      Yeah again they seemed to abandon it and put the pressure on Kap. I can understand it to a degree yesterday more than I could last week due to the fact they really weren’t having much success, but this team does have to keep a balance to have a chance and once again focused too much on the pass late in the game. The 4th quarter just completely got away from them.

      1. Rocket,

        I agree that Niners often mysteriously abandon the run at critical times. However, I was commenting on the overall effectiveness of the running game when there is minimal threat of a passing game. They had won with that approach for a while but statistically they were sure to stumble at some point against a good team. That’s happened in the last two games. Niners did make mistakes as did the refs, but the Saints also made critical errors, too (fumbling in the end zone on the INT return), and overcame them.

        I’m beginning to think that its more than the absence of Crab that is holding back the passing game. There may be a systematic problem in placing too much emphasis on complex run plays at the expense of spending time on developing the passing game.

      2. You could be right Mood. Either way we are going to find out when Crabs comes back just how big a factor he is in the success of the overall passing game. Problem is I don’t think he is going to be 100% until next season.

        I am optimistic that the Niners are the type of team that can take their game on the road in the playoffs and win, but they have to make it first.

    4. Rocket, I don’t base my “sky is falling” fear on the outcome of this one singular last game. The Niners have had 4 chances to beat quality teams this year and have failed in each, often letting the games slip away in distressingly similar patterns. This inability to close out good teams, no seeming ability from the QB position to make the clutch plays that seal a victory or pull a game out, terrible clock management (forget any attempt at a 2 minute drill), substandard/missing WR play, horrible 3rd down conversion rates, it all adds up to a grim prognosis. We may win some games down the stretch due to the inferiority of our opponents, but any kind of post-season success is looking very bleak.

      1. Right now I’d agree with you ribico it doesn’t look great, but at the same time there are ebbs and flows over the course of an NFL season and as long as they make the playoffs anything is possible. The offense has to be a lot better though, no question about it.

  65. In slow mo it is clear that Ahmad hit brees in his chest. But I’m not one that’s gonna sit and blame the loss on that. With how the league is now I don’t blame the refs for making the wrong call. In fast motion it does look as if he hit him in the neck. Overall we had a lot of things go right, and had plenty of chances to win this one.
    On another note I believe we win this if harbaugh doesn’t challenge two of the worst challenges you’ll ever see. Key would be that graham catch in the 2nd where he was clearly a yard short of the first.
    This game is now behind me. Let’s bounce back and get a win on Monday. This could decide our season. Kap, time to elevate your play.

  66. So Grant,

    What time is your press conference today? Are you in Harbaughs spot down at Niners headquarters? Harbaugh is going to need more advice on what to do with Kap this week in Washington next week.

  67. watch the Andy Reid post game press conference.
    The man discussed a cross section of specifics.
    At least half of Reid’s comments were focused on
    what the Broncos did right in beating the Chiefs.
    When we listen to Harbaw’s generalizations, not just
    about his own team but also about the Saints, when
    we hear him remain so overly focused on “who we are”
    or what we can be (“we’re gonna win games….”), you
    realize: he is not real… he is a caricature in khaki.
    Ludicrous, absurd. Similarly, Kaep is a caricature.
    This becomes obvious when we see Peyton Manning
    in his postgame interview, having beaten his opponent.
    He looks and sounds like professional… polished, lucid.
    Draw your own conclusions, gentlemen. Gobble, gobble.

    1. No we wont, this team is too good. Gotta get Kaepernick confident again and Roman needs to tweak the passing game. I would have no problem going to DET. CHI, PHI, CAR, NO for that first playoff game.
      The only road block right now is winning out and getting hot which I think they will because the loss yesterday will galvanize this team. I think after yesterday they realize that to win they need a better balanced offensive approach. What really concerned me yesterday was the offensive line’s inability to protect.

  68. I think there is one HUGE problem! Neither Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman, nor Colin Kaepernick have grown and adjusted to the week-to-week/season-to-season growth and evolution that is required to stay successful in the NFL. This caught up to Kaep quicker, but I think defenses have figured out how to out scheme Greg Roman. This team has too much talent to be playing at the level it is, so either 1) the players and coaches are underachieving, 2) we’re being out-schemed, or 3) a combination of both. I go with #3. We no longer have “go-to plays” either pass or run. With Sing we at least had the seam route for Vernon, and he and Alex could hit that one fairly consistently. Last year we had some power runs that consistently turned in large gains. Yes having the sure hands of Crabtree back will help (how much I don’t know), but it seems more like defenses are ALWAYS calling the “right play” to counter our “go-to plays” on tough downs.

  69. I’m curious to see if/when coach Harbaugh realizes that the season (and his job) is on the line and he takes the proverbial gloves off and goes down fighting. So far we’ve had the “live to fight another day” mentality and that has gotten us nowhere but an NFCC loss, SB loss, and a shot at missing the playoffs this year.

    I hope he realizes that 11-5 may not be enough for us to actually get a wild card this year. The NFC East is starting to look interesting, which makes the battles in the other 3 NFC divisions that much more interesting because now each division has at least one team that can end the season with a record as or better than us….I think we’ve hit make-or-break for the rest of the season.

    1. Maybe this is what the organization needs, a wake up call. Personally I don’t see Harbaugh going anywhere. This team is too good to not make the playoffs.

      1. This team is good but right now the offense is horrendous. For he wildcard it will come down to an 11-5 for one seed, and 10-6 for the other.
        They can do it if they win out.
        But it seems like the offense continues to regress she they play good teams with good d.
        They barely lost these last two games. But the offense is so bad, it feels worse.

  70. The popular belief is once we get Crabtree back everything will be just peachy. I cant see how Crabtree appearance on the field is going to remedy what ails the Niners. Crabtree isn’t going to fix suspect officiating, he isn’t going to fix mental mistakes like Osgoods special team error, or Harbaughs inability to manage his red flag, he isn’t going to fix CK running out of bounds or his lack of game management, he isn’t going to fix pass protection or play calling. The only thing the addition of Crabtree ‘might’ do is too score enough points to overcome all the other errors. What ails the Niners is far more complex then merely missing a player.

  71. I agree old coach.
    VD’ biggest attributes are his straight line speed and blocking prowess. But his receiving has improved throughout his career. I’ve seen VD make the nice over-the-shoulder catches that were his bane early on and given the fact that the defense has to account for his speed makes VD a top 5 TE.

    VD is not the ‘blast & bang’ TE such as J.Graham’ and the Gronkowski’ but he is an all-around TE that any team would love to have.

  72. I’m curious as to why the Niners no longer call the play action misdirect pass to Vernon Davis that has worked so well in the past. Roman’s game planning is non existent and he is going through the motions on his play calling, I wonder if he’s suffering burn out or some other personal issue.

  73. Man, this is just frustrating and it was so hard to use appropriate language last night but my 2 little boys were present and I had to show A LOT of restraint. “Daddy really does not agree with that call” When the word, “regressing” is thrown around, I do not know if that is correct. Are the receivers getting open and Kaep does not see them or are we just not that good? I believe we will make playoffs but I cannot see how we win at home vs Hawks, just do not. Prime, I like the “wake up call” bit. If this game shows nothing else, it shows discipline must be played throughout the game within your assignments. So frustrating but maybe it is a learning lesson.

  74. i believe time managment is a huge problem how can a team that is down three points with less than 2 minutes left and no time outs come out after the kickoff and still run the clock down to 2 seconds before getting the play off. you cant call the play on the side lines?

    1. This is an ongoing issue and it has to be affecting Kaps concentration because he’s barely getting plays off and really doesn’t have a lot of time to look over the defense. They either need to change the delivery of the plays or they need to go to a no huddle style. This has been a problem for far too long.

  75. The 2nd game in a row the Kaepernick was blitzed and the WR had his back to the ball. No wonder his pocket skills are regressing. Until the Crustacean Sensation returns at full strength (which might mean 2014) expect more blitzing.

    The 49ers lost two close games in a row. With a healthy Crabtree they would likely be 8-2 or better. Players matter.

  76. hint for Colin K.

    put your money on a QB name of Tom Brady
    tonight against a team called, let’s see, oh yeah,
    the Carolina Panthers. Remember them?

    Mister Brady will get some revenge for you…
    try and enjoy it ….. vicariously, huh??? Huh???
    New England will go to 8-2, having an NFL quality QB.

  77. No doubt the 49ers miss Crabtree, but not having a viable #2 TE receiving threat has been a big problem for this offense.

    1. I live VMac, he needs to get over the hump and make a big catch for his own confidence. His drops may be why Colin doesn’t look at him more often.

  78. New Orleans was awesome. It’s one of the few places in the US that has such a unique culture that it makes you feel like you are in another country. The people the food, the culture were awesome.

    The way that their stadium is set up would leave most football fans green with envy. On the stadium grounds they have an amphitheater setting with a giant stage. They have a local radio guy that gets the crowd pumped up. He gets the cheerleaders involved, they mingle with the fans, then they bring up a talented rock band. This whole pregame whips the crowd into a frenzy. They have an outside area set up with food booths and bars. And a VIP indoor area that is like a night club with all of the games playing for folks that want to be indoors out of the humidity.

    Now to football. Some observations. First, the Saint’s defense made all kinds of contact with our receivers beyond five yards most of the game. Nothing was called. Baffling. The decibel meter hit 117 in the 4th quarter. The good thing is that this will serve as experience when we go to Seattle to play in the NFC championship.

    No grades, just observation.

    He’s not being used right. Don’t want to inflate young Cohn’s ego, but he is correct. Moving Kaep around was working. Gave him more time, he faced less pressure. What this coaching staff has shown us this year is that sometimes when something is working, they inexplicable go away from it. Kaepernick does at times look like a young QB. Because he is. He also make big third down throws time after time yesterday. There is a whole lot more going on here than Kaep’s stat line. VMac has got to start catching balls when he gets his opportunity. Baldwin, nice attempt, but make the catch brother. I love Gore, he’s a legend already. Best ever. On a play where Kaepernick scramble make the linebacker commit and flipped the ball to Gore at the last second, Gore had to make that play. There are hero’s and there are goats, and on this day, Frank was the goat. The worst play Kaep made IMO was not sliding to run clock on his final drive. Going out of bounds and stopping clock was critical.

    Like I said, Boldin is a beast. The back shoulder fade was worked to perfection. We know we don’t have NFL calibur WR’s. Don’t have confidence that we even know how to evaluate them “in house”. All year we’ve hoped to get Crabs back. Don’t know if that will be enough. I will say this, I had a perfect view of the whole field. There were 4 times when a WR or Vernon ran free and Kaep didn’t see him. One was a sure TD to VD.

    What happened to these guys? Can we all at least agree to stop calling them the best in football. They are not. Iupati is decent, he’s not really good or great, and neither is Goodwin. They are the main reason when you cannot make Kaep a straight drop back passer right now. Yet they continue to do that with him…..
    Once again, man what happened to this group. They frequently set up in formations that left them vulnerable to the run. Couldn’t stop the run and Brees was clean all game. Aldon has been average. Brooks was the hero in the end. And at the right moment of the game too. It was great and it was clean. Unfortunately one play does not save this group from the fact that they stunk on Sunday.

    These guys shine. Still the best. Took the best tight end in football and make him insignificant this game.

    Got thrown on for 300+. Gonna give them a bit of a pass since there was no pressure all game up front. Carlos Rogers got beat a couple of times for big gainers. He’s the one they picked on.

    Special team were terrible. Allowed too many big positive yard returns. The late hit on Sproles on the punt which resulted in 15 yard penalty was inexcusable.

    Roman made a comment earlier this week that there are some things that Kaep is seeing for the first time. Funny part is, I feel like the coaches look like THEY are the ones that are seeing some situations for the first time. The team has not been able to lean on experienced situational guidance from these coaches. And it shows. Harbaugh should have his challenge flag taken away from him. Embarrassing. On the final drive, the mentality had to be run clock, we either score or leave them with no time and play for overtime. Two of the three plays should have been runs to run clock. Had we gotten a first down and gotten a bit deeper down field, then you can pass and play field position. Calling two passes stopped the clock and benefited the Saints. My opinion is that Harbaugh sometimes is seeing something for the first time. Instead of coaching, he’s hoping his super megratron QB can be a super hero and do something magnificent.

    1. Good Points Bay,

      CK should not be dropping back on the final drive of the game, or for that matter, not at all. Offense was horrible, they only scored a field goal the entire game, other scores were helped by others, at least they took advantage of it. I am not sure if Harbaugh and Roman are delusional, or just in love with their crummy play calling. Why do other teams, just hike the ball, but we are barking out orders for 20 seconds? We are not Peyton Manning and company.

    1. Jack do me a favor, right around the 7:50 in the first quarter CK threw a pass into double coverage to Boldin on the right side of the field. Davis looked to me to be wide open on the same side of the field just deeper. Could you verify that, I cant tell with replay and I don’t have the all 22 this year.

      1. undercenter,

        It looked that way to me during the telecast too. I’ll check it out tomorrow when the all 22 gets posted.

      2. I saw that play and it appeared he was open but it also looked like his man left him when he saw kap was going short. Davis had him beat tho.

      3. That play infuriated me. I can only imaging Baalke screaming in the pressbox again.
        The part that really got me was the read was easy. The line of vision from the short man (Boldin, covered), went straight to the deep guy (Vernon, open TD). The progression there has to be look deep, then short if deep’s covered. How does he not see, or throw the ball to a WIDE OPEN Davis on that play????

      4. undercenter,

        I took a look at that play, and Davis doesn’t come open until after Kaepernick begins his throwing motion and the DB reacts.

        It was a simple zone flood concept off play action, but I don’t like the alignment they were running it out of. By having Davis and Boldin starting so close together it made it so that the CB could easily cover both guys.

  79. Based on how the 49ers are playing it is hard to imagine another trip to the Super Bowl this season. But throwing out the coaching staff that has taken the team to the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl in its first 2 seasons, and despite recent losses is still well positioned to make the playoffs again this season, is ridiculous. If every club followed these beliefs there would be 31 teams each year looking for a new head coach.

    What we are witnessing is a team that is struggling without some key players, in particular at WR. What we are also witnessing is a team that was probably a little over-rated these past two years – playing winning football glosses over any number of cracks. Getting Crabtree back probably won’t be a magical fix this season. They are sorely lacking a WR that can stretch the D. It is something they will need to address this offseason. They are also still a little light on in the DL depth department. Getting a fully healthy Tank with a full offseason under his belt will help next season, but not this year.

    Unlike many on this blog though, I don’t see this as the end of the world. It would be great to win every year, but as I’ve said before I don’t buy into this whole ‘window of opportunity’ about to shut theory. Yes, J. Smith and F. Gore are near the end of the road, and some starters will leave through FA. But aside from 2012 the 49ers have done a pretty good job of bringing in young talent. This is a team that *should* be capable of challenging every year, just need to fix a few areas.

    1. Scooter,
      it’s nice to stay positive, but you are giving a free pass to a coaching staff that has made a season full of blunders. They share in some of the losses. Tactical mistakes that make them look like college coaches instead of coaches that have been in the NFC championship two consecutive years and a superbowl.

      1. Much like Kaepernick last year, Harbaugh et al have had it easy since they signed on. They haven’t had to learn from their mistakes. Kicking them to the curb at the first sign of trouble is a good way to make sure no coached ever wants to work for Eddie Jr. Give them a chance to learn from this period of struggles.

    2. Well reasoned analysis Scooter. This team is set up to be competitive for titles for awhile which is the goal the way the system is setup right now. It’s obviously disappointing that they are 6-4 right now, but they are hardly out of it. They just lost to two of the hottest teams in the league by a combined 4 points. We aren’t talking about complete failure here. There’s 6 games left to try and make the playoffs and be the hot team that makes a run. Happens every year.

      1. That’s a good point rocket – the 49ers don’t look like a championship calibre team *right now*. But if Crabtree is close to 100% by playoffs time, this offense might well look a whole lot different when it matters most. Winning the Super Bowl is about playing hot when it matters.

        I still think they will struggle to go all the way this year though. But I’m a pessimist – that way when good stuff happens I’m pleasantly surprised, and when bad stuff happens I can say ‘I told you so’ ;-)

      2. Now this is the type of talk (comments) I like!
        Yes, we are building for the present and more importantly, for the future.

        Kap will get better with experience. As he learns the nuances of the game he will be ale to put the team on his shoulders for years to come.

        There are still some pieces missing such as a shut-down corner and of course a WR that has the ability to stretch the field. Also, its becoming more evident (to me) that a stud defensive lineman will need to eventually take Justin Smith’ place more sooner than later.

        The fact that VD (TE) is our only home run threat says a lot about our lack of an outside threat at WR.

        Heck, last year even an old pro Randy Moss had to be accounted for because he still had good wheels that had to be respected.

        I know, we’re not the explosive offensive machine we were supposed to be this year. But two key players have been sorely missed. One (MC) has been injured and the other (D.Walker) left for a big payday.
        So, adjustments (in the passing game) have become the mantra the season.

        But this team will be relevant and in the playoffs for years to come. Given the fact that we have been stockpiling draft picks over the last two years I believe the best is yet to come.
        But having said that, we still could be a factor once we get into the playoffs.

    3. Chemistry is not something that develops merely in the lab. Clearly Mr. Crabs and Kaepernick shared it on the field. We are witnessing what happens when it is missing….

  80. Grant, why does it seem like kaepernick is afraid to let the ball go..I dont think that its his receivers anymore I believe he does not hit the open man in his progression. This last game I saw that receivers are open but kaep is simply overlookn them. Another thing, last year against the bears kaep came out firing because they came out in heavy run formations but passed the ball and rolled him out..why not do that? Almost like theyre overthinking every call instead of staying simple they are driving me nuts!! Tomsula and special teams coach are the only coaches not lookn bad right now…theyre last couple drafts have been completely sloppy besides Eric Reid and Aldon smith…so much that I can keep bringing up but u get the point! Get it together Niners!

    1. Nah..Probably hire within on the interim..Geep? Offensive line coach?Assistant head coach maybe.. then if youre satisfied with the direction..They’ll be the guy goin forward..But..If youre not satisfied…Hire somebody next yr that runs somethin similar

    2. Jack,

      We can be 32 in the league on passing yards for the next three years and Harbaugh will say Roman is doing a great job. Do you see him as Head Coaching material in the NFL or top 25 schools in the College?

      1. Neal,

        This is Harbaugh’s offense, and it has been in place since before Roman joined his staff at Stanford. Changing the offense would first require Harbaugh to give up his offense.

        For those who are unhappy with the current system, never fear, Harbaugh’s contract is up in 2 years and so far in his coaching career he has not stayed in one spot past his original contract. Those who dislike the 49ers style of play may finally be rid of this boring, one dimensional offense.

      2. Jack,
        I don’t think anyone complained when the run brought wins. There were times when the run offense brought ingenuity and imagination. What happened to the pistol?
        It’s hard not to see the main problem with the offense right now, is the QB position. Just as Alex had some limitations, the coaches had to work around his, they are doing the same with Colin, I think, but the results are losses. Both the Carolina and New Orleans game were winnable games. We had the ball with two minutes left, and just flat out stunk.

      3. Then it’s one of two things. One, Harbaugh needs evolve his thinking into a more dynamic NFL offense and not be so one dimensional in the run game.
        Or maybe Kaepernick is just not that good. Maybe he cannot think the NFL game quick enough and he needs more film and study time to mesh with his physical ability.
        All the NFL coaches Kap was going to face studied and prepared well for him this past offseason. Did Kaepernick do enough this off season to be mentally prepared and focused to see the many different looks defenses were going to give him?
        In any event, the Niners can move on from CK this offseason or both parties try and fix this anemic offense. There is still 6 more games to start that process.

      4. PrimeTime,
        Let’s look at it this way – If Harbaugh had Luck, and was running his Stanford offense, would anyone complain? In fact, if we had decent offense play from the QB spot, most likely we win both against Carolina and New Orleans, would anyone complain? Even with Alex under center, when he was not playing good at all, it never looked this — helpless. I’m sorry but blaming it entirely on the WR is just a lame excuse.
        These are Colin’s passing stats:
        412, 127,150,167,113,252,199,164,91,127.
        He only threw for 164 against — Jacksonville.
        So clearly something is up.
        They never pulled the offense back this far with Smith, even when he was checking it down, so either they’re not letting Colin throw, or he doesn’t see the field at all.
        So he has 6 games to improve. This is not a slump, this could be who he is… All it takes is one breakout game to give us some hope.

    1. Sums up my sediments to a tee. This article is my reasoning why I don’t think Crabtree is the fix. Just too many problems in many areas. All fixable but the question remains will they fix it?

    2. Um yes I can. Nobody plays a perfect game. They played well enough to win the game and actually did win the game. That call screwed everything wrong or right they did. Point is the refs decided the damn game. With a bull*hit qb saving call. This article title is like saying the Catch didn’t mean anything because the 49ers looked horrible the whole game.

      1. It was a bogus call, but it was within the realm of possibility that they’d throw the flag there for a clothesline tackle on a QB.
        There’s worse calls every week in the NFL. Luke Kuechly physically restrained Gronk last night on the last play of the game, preventing Gronk from coming back to make a play on the ball, allowing the safety coming across to make the easy pic. Ref’s ruled that the ball was uncatchable as the safety cut in front and intercepted.
        Ridiculous. Gronk easily could have come back, made a play on the ball, and who knows what happens…it get’s deflected and anybody could have caught it.
        We had a bad call go against us, but last night the Pats were royally jobbed. I’m sad we didn’t get the call, but quite happy that the Pats finally had a big one go against them.

  81. I guess we are all Patriots fans tonight. Weird to root for Tom Brady tonight, very strange. Hoping for a Carolina loss tonight.

  82. Grant, i am going to again post my comment that you are so arrogant and full of yourself for believing the 49ers coaches took your advice for game planning. Also, your recent blogs have been so ridiculous with comments like “the game was close because the saints did not play well and the turn overs did not have anything to do with the 49ers!!! Again the same Saints offense just embarrassed your team the cowboys by setting a record and running all over them, slapping them all over the place. Grow up Grant be a professional not a typical fan, leave that up to us.

      1. I like you Grant, I just believe you can do so much better when you are focusing on reporting. Do you get what i am saying!

      2. Can you please ask CK this week if he spent anytime this offseason studying any former or current NFL QB’s? If so, who ?

      3. I guess as a columnist you got to stair things up. It would be very nice if you could please explore different perspectives from both sides so we can have a more well rounded discussion. Or even review defensive formations and strategy that lead to victory or defeat! I just get tired of drama and would like to read logical break down of events from both sides, however maybe my idea would not sell!

      4. Come on Grant, you mean that your statement about the Saints playing poorly had nothing to do with the 49ers was truly your opinion? please tell me you are just being a columnist! Saints have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and they played at home in the dome and still just barely won the game despite the poor offensive performance by the 49ers. You have to give credit to the defense, they played without Ray M and then lost Brown! still allowed only 23 points!

      5. I think what Grant is saying is that the Saints played a sloppy game. If they hadn’t, he feels they’d have blown the game open. He’s right. However, the 49ers played sloppy too, and if they didn’t, the Saints would have been down and out easy. There were several instances where they simply shot themselves in the foot on offense, nothing to do with what the Saints were or weren’t doing. If Kaep sees VD wide open, if Gore doesn’t drop the pass, if Kaep stays in bounds, etc.

        Both teams played less than stellar ball, and the game could have gone either way. Grant’s forgetting that mistakes and miscues happen to both teams, every game. That’s why they play ‘em.

        1. Yeah, there were at least a dozen plays in the game that could have been responsible for turning it one way or the other.

      1. That’s what good players do, make others around them better. Why do you think Ted Ginn is producing? His getting opportunities and Newton gets him the ball.

      2. That’s a good question. I don’t think Alex made anyone better around him. He just executed the offense to a T.
        But then again I wasn’t on here after week 11 last year saying Kaepernick was great, elite, and the next best thing.

      3. @LaMichaelJames: Man s/o to @TedGinnJr_19 for that catch remarkable … They lied when they said he a special team guy that boy can play

      4. Im glad u acknowledge that about alex..It was premature from media and bloggers to annoint..But you gotta give kap more time and chances that Alex got..One season is not enough..

      5. If Alex ran this offense to a T, why did he get benched then traded. Oh that’s right, because his ceiling is that he can win regular season games but he can’t win a Super Bowl. I think we saw that last night.

      6. I can’t answer that. All I know is that CK was brought in to make this team more explosive, more dynamic, and have a better chance to win a championship. Does anyone out there see any of that based on the play of our QB so far this year? Someone please bring up that Bears, Pats game from last year!

      7. No prime..Kap was selected in the second round to eventually take over..He was Harbaugh’s guy..It was inevitable prime..Just came sooner than some wanted

      8. Jim Harbaugh: Alex can win us games. Kap can win us Super Bowls. That quote is from JH himself. So now you know why he was benched and traded. That’s straight from the horses mouth.

      9. And of course Harbaughs words and actions carry so much merit these days. I mean he’s batting a buck a change with the decisions he’s making with this team. Ever heard the saying don’t believe everything you hear or read……
        But back to CK, what was that, winning championships? Buwhahahaha. He’s got lots of work to do before that happens ! Oh that’s right blame a Roman and Harbaugh.

      10. Nah that’s too easy cause Harbaugh won’t last 6 more years. If Kap fails then Harbaugh fails and it will be another era of 49ers football. It’s not looking good right now.
        Forget Alex, we have bigger more present problems!

      11. Alex is not the problem. Colin is. Stop comparing the two. That’s old news and a broken record. The problem now is Colin has regressed big time. Who does cam have to throw to? Yeah no one.
        Remember that poll last year of who was the best of the new breed qbs? Right now it’s a battle between rg3 and Colin on the worst of the bunch. At least rg3 won a heisman. And he has no one to throw to.
        Until Colin plays better, niners will have a hard road ahead.

      12. Who does cam have to throw to? Yeah no one.

        So Greg Olson, Steve Smith, Ted Ginn, Jr., Brandon LaFell, and DeAngelo Williams as no one.

      13. Oh that’s right, because his ceiling is that he can win regular season games but he can’t win a Super Bowl.

        That is Kaep’s ceiling as of right now.

      14. Who does Colin have to throw to?
        Boldin, Davis, Miller. There are other players on the team but he doesn’t throw it to them. You’re telling me that Olson is better then VD? Smith and Boldin are both old. We had Ted Ginn but let him go.

      15. >>I’ll give him at least 8 years. That’s the way we do it around here. That means he has 7 left. Time will tell.

        That he was inserted into a NFC Conference champion team and not a pathetic 2-14 celler dweller takes several years off that timeline in my book.

        And BS Jordo, no way do you have that patience. If Kaep continues this play next season you will be all over him like flies on $hit.

      1. I think it was more Ginn not wanting to be here actually. He wanted a chance to play a more prominent WR role and he’s getting that in Carolina.

  83. Referees had a horrible week. That was pass interference to end the Patriots game. Wow, how could the refs pick up that flag. Luke had Gronk in a bear hug. That’s a damn shame. This is not our year!

    1. I’m split on that call. On the one hand, clearly there was illegal contact. However, the ball was intercepted upfield from Gronk, so the ball never would have gotten to him regardless of the illegal contact. I think that is why they picked up the flag and why it shouldn’t have been a penalty.

      1. No, but the context of those 2 pictures is different. By the way, as a former NFL scout shouldn’t you have some connections?

      2. Not only that but Brooks arm appears to be right under Brees’ facemask while Hicks has his arm more around Kaep’s facemask. Still, it was a bad call.

    1. Nice link MidWestNiner. When was the last time we saw Kaep or Smith for that matter, get to the line and get the snap immediately without all the shifting and whatnot. Keep It Simple Stupid might be the order of business for the time being to get things going in the right direction.

  84. “I’m attacking the day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

    “If you want to feel better, you must coach better.”

    Let me break it down for you, Mister Harbaw:
    Unless and until you bring home a Lombardi trophy,
    the words “better” and “enthusiasm” are meaningless.

  85. I think Brooks and the Niners got jobbed on that call, but the boys need to get past that crap either now or yesterday. They’ve got enough challenges ahead of them that they can’t afford the least distraction. Get over it and get better!
    Larger picture question is will defensive players be able to play football? Is it reasonable to give pass rushers a strike zone that similar to the strike zone in baseball? The way priorities and interpretations are sent to the Refs from the League Office, these guys naturally err on the side of caution, on the side of the QB. If its close (this was), they throw the hankie. I was pissed; I wasn’t surprised. Fair, consistent and equivilent calls should be expects too and they are not being called that way, as evidenced by the pic Jack Hammer posted yesterday of both Bree’s and Kapernicus being dragged down by the neck; CK’s got no call, no penalty. Now WTF is up with that.
    5? 7? 10 years from now National Flag Football League?
    Okay, now I’m done; moving on.

      1. Grant I had Saints fans telling me it was a bad call. The spirit of the rule is to protect the QB’s head. It was a violent hit and it’s a violent sport. But, there was no blow to the head. Initially they called “blow to the head”. They then got together and changed the call.

        The Saints had no business winning that game with all of their sloppy turnovers. What the refs did was bail out a sloppy football team at home and give a really great QB a huge second chance.

      2. Grant:

        Brooks clotheslined Brees and wrenched his facemask on the way down.

        I didn’t know that hitting a player in the shoulder pads constituted clotheslining. Also, if you are clotheslined, your neck doesn’t/can’t whiplash forward like that. But we can agree to disagree on that one.

        The claim that Brooks wrenched Brees’ facemask, however, is pure fiction. Unless, of course, you have video or photographic support for that claim. Do you?

    1. Brooks should have hit Brees over the head with a bottle. There’s no penalty for that.

      It shouldn’t have come down to that play.

      1. I agree it shouldn’t have come down to that play. The Saints tried to serve up the game on a platter to the Niners three times but the Niners said, “No, thank you,” and then clotheslined the waiter.

      2. Well then… You could say the Niners handed the game to the Saints twice they said ‘No, thank you” then Kap said here you go! I just saved you guys 45 seconds, hope that helps!

        Grant- You cannot say the Saints handed them the game if you don’t also recognize the fact the Niners tried and succeeded in giving the game to the Saints. Picks, stupid ST penalties and poor clock management allowed the Saints to win the game.

      3. The Niners had the ball with 2 minutes and change. Did nothing. Saints came right back and kicked the winning FG. That’s why they lost. The team has to grow up. No more whining.

      4. Jack it should’nt have come down to that play…..but it did and i think i have seen you write “big time players make big time plays” Brooks made his second great play of the game on that play. The 9er D played very well on the road versus a great offensive team.

      5. They did coach, but I’m not going to blame a loss on the officials. The 49ers had one good drive all day. If they finish it off none of this matters.

      6. Fan77- No whining here, you’ll never see that from me. My post was to illustrate that it wasn’t just that the Saints ‘gave the game to the Niners 3 times’ statement that was made by Grant. There’s always the ‘other side’ but that get’s lost sometimes.

        I yelled at the TV when the Niners got the ball with 2 min or so left, “Seal this game now! Don’t let Brees get a shot to win”. Unfortunately the OL sucked the last drive and Kap ran out of bounds giving the Saints life one more time.

      7. Bray,
        Kawakami (I think) made a great point about the trend of this franchise not being able to get the play off until the playclock gets down to zero. What that does functionally is allow the Defense to get a running start at their pass rush because they know with certainty that it HAS to be snapped at one or zero or there is no play. And I think that is partly what has made our OL look so terrible in pass protection for many of our games throughout the past couple years, regardless of who is QB. It would be a huge surprise to the opposing defense if once or twice a game our offense came out and just quick snapped it. That would restore the natural advantage that an offense is supposed to have at the snap of the ball.

      8. Bray,
        The Niner Offense did nothing most of the day. Started with 3 straight 3 and outs. Those were the days of Alex Smith in 2008-2010. We didn’t accept it then and we shouldn’t accept it now. You can tell that Colin is not comfortable back in the pocket, and it should not come down to having his buddy Crabtree come back from IR. He’s a QB in the NFL. Learn how to play the position, or soon you’re out. Even during the win streak some of us were cautious because his play was just okay.
        And now the spotlight is on him. It’s a big wake-up call.

      9. Agreed on all points Fan77, I’m not happy and expect more too. All that being said, they still had a legitimate chance to win the game.

        Dangle- I saw that and agree, sometimes the simplest thing can make a huge difference. When the ball is snapped with 1-3 seconds 90% of time, the offense has given the ‘element of surprise’ away and are relying just manning up and winning the 1-1 battles. Problem is the NFL is full of bada**es. We need to mix it up some way some how, snap count, double reverse pass just something more than between the tackles and 7-10 yard passes.

      10. Fan you do realize that the 49ers converted 40% of their 3rd downs on Kaepernicks arm right? And the only good drive that they had the play calling was balanced. The rest of the afternoon it was slanted heavily towards the pass.
        I’d like to rip Roman for this except our offensive line couldn’t pass protect or run block.
        And I want you Monday morning critics to know just how difficult that environment was to play in. You couldn’t hear anything five feet away from you. At least 15 times I saw Kaep go to the line then back out and the linemen would all turn and look at him because they couldn’t hear. Then Kaep would begin to hand signal to his wide outs. On four occasions either a tight end, a WR and even Bruce Miller once got caught not looking at the QB which made the play clock wind down. This made changing plays at the line near impossible.
        Add to the Olines poor play the fact that Baldwin dropped a TD, McDonald dropped a sure 3rd down conversion and Gore dropped what could have been a game sealing play and you have an entire team responsible for the loss. But go ahead and blame it on the QB. From my perspective he threw well when the protection was there.
        This morning I listened to Brent JOnes and he made an observation. He said when the 49ers move Kaepernick around he is very successful and very dangerous. Brent said he wondered why they didn’t move him around more. Interesting right Mr. Cohn.

        On another note, Grant you would get over the top cred if you landed a one on one interview with one of the legacy 49ers. Can you make that happen?

      11. Bay,
        I’m glad you had a chance to watch the game. Sounds like fun.
        I want Colin to do well, but right now overall he just stinks. He has way more upside that Smith ever had. But right now it’s young baby steps. But he may never figure it out.

        You realize he threw a pick six right? And got bailed out by the officials. Who then later screwed the Niners.

      12. Pfft. All kinds of big games come down to “that one play”. The Catch. The Tyree helmet catch. Look up the last play of Super Bowl XXXIV. I could go on, Ice Bowl ring a bell? All games decided on “one play”

      13. Maybe it shouldn’t have come down to that play but here’s the thing…it did. Football is not played by robots, and involves many ebbs and flows during a game. There is always intangibles involved that if played out differently may wind up in a different result, but football always features key moments that decide the game and that was one of them, along with the drop by Gore.

        I don’t buy this argument that the Saints played poorly and that’s why it was close either. The Saints played the way they did because the defense on the other side forced them into playing like that and have for 3 years now. The Niners usually beat teams like the Saints and lose to physical ones like Carolina and the Giants before them. They played the Saints tough with the offense sputtering. If they get the offense figured out they can play with anybody.

        1. “The defense forced them to play like that.”

          No, two of the three Saints’ turnovers were not forced by the defense. They weren’t even forced. Lance Moore dropped a fair catch and Corey White fumbled the ball through the end zone without getting touched. If those fluky plays don’t happen, the game wouldn’t have been close.

          And the Saints’ offense had their way with the 49ers’ defense in the fourth quarter.

        1. Brees stared down Brooks and threw it right to him. It was a bad pass and a bad decision. An un-Brees-like gift from Brees. Give Brooks credit for hanging on to it, but it’s still a gift.

      14. Moore isn’t even back there to fumble it if Sproles wasn’t first hurt by the 49ers defense, and that ball isn’t fumbled through the end zone if Kaepernick doesn’t force the issue with a hustle play.

        1. Please. All Moore had to do was make the fair catch, and all White had to do was go down at the 2 yard line and that game never would have been close.

      15. Grant- Wouldn’t have been close without fluky plays?

        Like Osgood giving an extra 15 yards AFTER Kap just gave them 45 ‘extra’ seconds?
        Like Kap missing a wide open Davis in the end zone?
        Like Colston’s fingertip grab?
        Like MM stopping his route so White could even pick it off? Not to mention Kap is probably the only QB who FORCES the player to reach out for the end zone because of his speed?
        I could go on, but it would make more sense if you use a different, say valid reason to explain your stance. It’s the old ‘take this one play out’ and it’s a whole other story BS. All sports that are competitive have 1-3 plays that determine the outcome. Get used to it. You’re better and smarter than this Grant.

        1. The Saints averaged 5.8 yards per play and the 49ers averaged 3.5. The Saints had 23 first downs and the 49ers had 12. The only thing that made that game close was the Saints’ fluky mistakes in the first three quarters.

      16. So in your opinion Grant, Brees threw for 1 TD when he’d prevously been averaging 2.5 a game, held to 20 points off his season rating becuase “he felt like it”? Or the team decided to score 2 touchdowns worth of fewer points than their home season average just for the yucks?

        Grant, you are getting more and more unbalanced as the season goes on. If you are supposed to be an “impartial journalist”, start acting like one and quit trying to insult your readership with BS “analysis” like this.

      17. Nothing that Grant is saying is inaccurate, if those things hadn’t occurred the score might not have been close.

        The funny thing is that he knows exactly how to push all of your buttons to get you riled up and argue back, repeatedly.

        The last 2 weeks have been perfect for him. 49ers lose, and it’s easy to get the unwashed masses into a frenzy.

      18. Grant,

        What you are describing are football plays that happen and often decide games every week. If we are playing the what if game, well then what if Kap doesn’t throw that Int that white fumbles through the endzone? Let’s just pretend that play never happened at all. How about if the Niner coverage teams didn’t allow the 85 yard KO return that led to the other Saint TD on the day? What if Frank Gore catches the ball and runs for a TD or at the very least inside the redzone? You can play this fools game for both teams in every game of every week.

        The game was close because the Niner defense played a very good game against arguably the best offense in football in their building. You can’t diminish that.

        1. How often do you see a guy fumble a fair catch? How often do you seen a guy fumble through the end zone untouched? How often do you see Drew Brees make such a poor decision and pass?

      19. >>You said worse things to me last year when I predicted Kaepernick would keep the starting QB job.

        And now you are acting like Bay? When all else fails, change the topic to Alex Smith? Weak, Grant. Weak.

      20. Ignore the first three quarters because they don’t comport with the narrative I want to sell. The fourth quarter? That’s the representative quarter.

        I guess twisted logic like that is still better than writing fiction about Brooks’ sack of Brees.

      21. And if they didn’t get on the plane there wouldn’t have been a game.

        The game is decided by points, not yards, first downs or PFF run pass blocking grades.

        See CIN vs CLE from last week. The Browns averaged 2 more yards per rush, had twice the passing yards, 50% more first downs, 3 times the 3rd down %, and held the time of possession battle, but lost by 21 points. Lot’s of ways to skin a cat, some swing for the fences every game {Saints, Lions} and other’s body blow you all day {Niners, Seahawks}

      22. I think the easiest way to end this discussion is to say the Saints outplayed the Niners in the 4th quarter and that is the key reason they won. That work for you Grant?

      23. How often do you see Drew Brees make such a poor decision and pass?

        Couldn’t let this one pass without responding seeing as though the Niners picked him off for TD’s twice last year. The Niner defense knows how to play these guys Grant. Forget the yardage and focus on the points allowed. They have played well against the Saints since Fangio has been the DC.

      24. They lost, to me, that’s all that matters. There is never one or even two reasons a team lost, it’s always a myriad of things that sway the outcome one way or the other. I’ll stop, I just don’t like the finality of the statement ‘This is why such and such lost the game’.

        Everybody who tries to ‘sell’ something almost always wants to let you know that they have THE answer. I shouldn’t be surprised this is the case. I don’t usually participate in useless debates, but I got caught in this one.

  86. Mike Silver had a great take on Kaepernick using negative tweets as motivation to improve.

    “All he should do is look at his stat line.”

    1. These whole notion of social media affecting Colin Kaepernick is such a joke. The bottom line is he has not been able to decipher Greg Romans offense, read the complexities of defenses and simply, just play football.
      Its clear he is overwhelmed by all this and it has affected his confidence and his play. I think the organization might have over estimated his ability to play in such a complex offense and then be able make the necessary reads and audibles.
      Last year when he took over he was an unknown so defenses didn’t overwhelm him. He took them by mostly surprise. Now we are seeing teams fully prepared to confuse him. Its clear Harbaugh and Roman need to scale back everything from the play call to its very basic 1-2 read at most.

      1. I agree. They have proven 4 times this season that putting the ball in Kaepernick’s hands for 65+% of yhe plays during a game does not work.

        We saw similar results with Smith when they tried the same thing.

      2. Agree that it looks like Colin is overwhelmed by defenses and not doing a good job deciphering/reading/adjusting to them. But I think its kind of silly to attribute that to a character deficit ie “he’s not doing it because he is incapable.” So if he is capable, the question is why isn’t he. The Sophomore slump phenomenon is a very likely explanation because of the facts that you mentioned. It is situational factors, not personal attributes. Defenses have prepared for what he does well, and have countered with things that he struggles with. This is what causes the sophomore slump, and it is very likely what we have all been so frustrated with this year. The answer to that is that he and the coaches have to work and scheme to beat what defenses are throwing at him. They haven’t been able to do it yet, because it takes some time. But I fully expect them to make progress, and as you noted, doing things like simplifying the offense would help get him up to speed.

      3. Good point Dangle, its not because of personal attributes. I think the problems is a result of over coaching, over estimating his maturity and lack of experience.
        The other thing might be having a veteran QB there for him during this time. Not Smith, or McCoy, but the 49ers should have brought someone in to mentor him when times get tough like they are now.

      4. Jack,
        Smith did marginally better, but you’re right. I do think before he got concussed it was coming together. There was a stretch of good QB play from him, the Buffalo game and going 18-19 against AZ. He lead a nice drive against STL and then got banged up.
        You can’t win in the NFL if you simplify the offense to 1 or 2 reads. RG3 is struggling too. But he is banged up.

      5. FDM it is CK’s third full season in the NFL. He did sit and watch this same offense so Im not sure thats an excuse. Granted he is still young and developing but to me, right now, he is the biggest obstacle movin forward this season. If he gets hot look out. If he remains the same, the 49ers won’t make the playoffs.
        My question is, he was suppose to be the guy to take this offense over the top. Now it’s Greg Romans fault because the offense is too complicated? I don’t buy that. I don’t think Kaepernick was ready and the hype was unwarranted.

      6. Prime,
        Looking back at last year, Harbaugh was always itching to use CK, he’s an athletic phenom. The Steelers did similar things with Kordell Stewart. They called him Slash. Eventually Kordell took over as a starting QB, but he was never as effective when he was Slash.
        They trusted CK way too much. He’s smart, and last year was just a roller coaster. He picked his spots and made the most of it. But now he’s the DA MAN and outside the GB game, he has not played like it.
        Talking strictly results, he is on the bottom 3rd for QBs. Forget what the QBR says. He has top 10 talent, but he ain’t using it.
        And now suddenly it’s coaching? Umm. No. Coaches coaches, players make plays. Not sure how much more simple they can make it for him. Teams are already putting 10 in a box. He hasn’t proven he can make the right adjustment. Until he does, they’re going to keep doing what they’re doing…

      7. Prime it doesn’t surprise me to see you talk out of both sides of your A$$.

        Prime Time says:
        November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

        “Without Hunter and a winding down Gore, Kap will need to extend plays and he can make something out of nothing. But once teams account for that, he will need help from the run game and those WR reading him and making plays when break downs occur. That takes time to build and continuity between WR and QB. Does he have that down with Crabs, MM, DW and Moss. TBA.”

        It was a sensible comment then. Especially when you said it takes time for a QB to build chemistry and continuity with his WR. Then you went on to mention Crabs ( out ), Manningham ( out ), Walker (out), Moss ( gone ).
        So who is he supposed to build continuity with? Jenkins? ( gone ) Kyle Williams ( gone )
        Lockette? ( gone ). Had the organization utterly failed Alex Smith in this way the protectors would have been up in arms.
        You Alex crybabies acknowledged when the Org failed Alex. The way they handled the WR situation this year was laughable and it has and continues to have an affect on our passing game.

      8. Bay you made a good argument right up until you brought up Alex Smith. This isn’t about Smith, its about why Kaepernick was chosen as the chosen one. To be a more explosive offense, to be a better down field passer, to make other players a threat.
        You using the argument that it takes time to build chemistry is very valid, but the hypocrisy is Kaepernick has not done that with guys he worked out with in the offseason. In fact he has done nothing with Boldin since the GB game. Its been hit and miss with Vernon Davis all year so why has Kaepernick who was suppose to be the next best thing, not elevated his game when needed?

      9. FDM,
        Those are my sentiments. He had everything in place to excel, take the team to the next level. Something is not clicking and it’s not just the WR. We used to say Alex doesn’t have a sense of the pocket around him. My guess is Colin, this year, doesn’t have a grasp of the moment. Last year was easy because he took everyone by surprise. Now he has to work for it on offense.
        I made a comment that I wonder if he’s close to losing the locker room. Of course the clown one made fun of it. But think about it. A lot of players were close to Alex, and they admire his competitiveness. Vernon and Alex went through hell and back with Singletary. So now I think they want to see Colin handle adversity, grasp the moment and raise his game. So far this year it’s like they put training wheels on the offense as far as the passing goes. It’s not dynamic by any means, and certainly not efficient.

      10. Like FDM said Bay, this is no longer about Alex Smith. We have bigger more present issues on hand with a guy who was prematurely labelled elite, great, and the future. Well that has not happened. He has twice the talent and coaching the other guy had and still he has been nothing but average.
        Instead of talking about Alex why don’t you talk about CK and how his game is holding this championship team hostage by not playing to the level you all thought he could. Remember, take the top off defenses? Threaten every part of the field? That all seems comical right now.

      11. I’m not making it about Alex Prime, I’m just pointing out what a tool you are and how you talk out of both sides of your A$$.
        I know who we are and I can see where we are going. I am very confident that we are going to the playoffs. Just wish it was as a division winner but that looks unlikely.
        One thing to note, watch our O-line play better without Iupoti in it.

      12. Bay,
        Nice dodge. Why don’t you answer the question that Prime asked. You’re talking out the fifty sides of your mouth too. Colin’s holding the team back. They’re waiting for him to figure it out. If he does, look out! But for now. It’s dudsville!!

      13. Classic Bay, first the name calling, then dodge the question, then point the blame else where. Like Iuapti whose been nothing but a beast.
        Fact is you won’t admit that CK is the now obstacle holding this team back. With a 10% improvement in his game, the 49ers beat Indy, CAR and NO. Instead his regression might cost us a playoff ticket.

      14. I think they have to help Kap out with the playcalling and reads before the snap.

        Last night Brady threw pretty near every pass between 15 yards and the LOS. They threw swing passes, quick slants and the quick hitch that many of us were calling for against the Panthers because their CB’s were playing so far off, and of course that strategy was successful for NE and helped the running game as a result.

        If a defense is giving you something then take it. Don’t force what you want to do if they are gearing all their resources to stopping it. Get the ball out of Kap’s hands quickly is the key.

        The other issue they have to rectify is the this seemingly inability to get a play off with any kind of time left. Kawakami wrote and article about this today and it makes a lot of sense. Kap is trying to get the two plays called, after waiting for Harbaugh to relay them from Roman, then he’s breaking the huddle and having to set the line calls while at the same time looking at the defense and deciding which of the two calls to go with. It’s too much for him right now and it’s obviously affecting his play at times. They have to simplify things for him and give him more time to adjust at the LOS. It’s ridiculous that they are still having to call TO’s and taking delay of game penalties at this point in the season.

        Putting my Coaches hat on, I’d start giving him one play in the huddle and go to an audible system based on a group of plays he has at his disposal if he doesn’t like what he sees. At that point he can change the play but you aren’t forcing him to call two plays every time.

        On the road, they should think about wristbands for everybody on offense so he can simply say a number and everybody reads the play. This would help not only in speeding up the play call but also take away the issues with calling plays in a noisy stadium.

      15. Grant you say “all Moore had to do was make a fair catch” you obviously have never fielded punts. If the muff had been done by Sproles i might agree with you but the 9ers knocked Sproles out of the game and coming in cold and fielding punts is not easy regardless of what all your experience tells you. Grant i returned punts one yr in HS and one season in J.C. let me tell you if you are’nt the #1 returner and you have to come into a game cold it is one hell of a difficult job. Kyle Williams had a week to prepare and look at what happened to him in the NFC championship game. The game is not as easy as it looks behind a key board.

  87. Grant are you able to find or pull up a picture of Gore dropping the pass? I just argued with my buddy that the pass was just below waist high. In between the knees and the belt. My buddy said it was a shoe string catch.

    They played it a couple of times on the Saints jumbo screen. My recollection is different than my friends.

  88. Grant,

    You asked how often does Brees throw a pass like that? How about the game last year? I think he did it twice.

    Or maybe he’s used to getting away with that pass against lesser competition, and he underestimated Brooks.

    No, none of those are possible, it has to be the 49ers were lucky to be in the game. They had nothing to do with it.

    I hope for your sake that you are actually trolling for page hits. I mean the assertion that Brooks grabbed Brees’ facemask is just nonsense.

  89. Grant did say that the Niners needed to move Kaps release point and it did work for some of their plays. It did give him more time and it worked nicely on the TD to Vernon. The defense responded like they thought is was a run and VD was wide open. Amazingly, VDdint jump when he made the catch. Probably because it was at his stomach where he likes to catch balls! Lol

  90. For such a physical beast, why is Vernon do soft? Don’t get me wrong I love the guy but he won’t shed tacklers and get those extra yards. And why on earth do the niners throw back shoulder fades to him? That’s not his style.

  91. Adam,

    The throw in the end zone was just plain dumb. Kap threw to Boldin in the clutch that entire series. He got three third down conversions. Then we get in the red zone and Kap decides to throw a fade to Vernon while Boldin was open streaking into the end zone. Kap is someplace else right now. He’s not into this right now. He’s killing me right now with his decision making.

  92. Adam707,

    I wrote on this very blog how soft VD was over 2 years ago. Now he has no choice but to be play the way he does. He’s got 2 concussions in less than a year. He can’t afford to run hard now. He can’t afford to take a shot in the head. He never fought for yardage and went down easy before. I think his concern is being injured. He hasn’t been hurt very often in his career. He avoids contact.

    I remember the Thanksgiving game against the ravens zzz two years ago when Patrick Willis told Vernon Davis to run the cornerback over, don’t run out of bounds. The Ravens sideline got on Vernon in the same game for running out of bounds on their sideline after a catch. That is the player he is. As unique a talent that Vernon is, he has his limitations that he puts on himself. How many times have you ever seen Vernon dive for a pass? NEVER! He does not want to get hurt.

  93. I’ve wondered the same thing. He should be plowing through guys and muscling the ball away. It’s almost as if he has no “fight.” I’ve yet to see Vernon intentional run through someone or muscle the ball away in the air. I wonder if he’s TOO big and muscular to be fully effective. He’s a big grizzly bear who’s trying to finesse instead of mauling his way to success. If he wants to be the GOAT Tight End, he’d better start fight like it.

  94. Yeh he just hurdled over a defender and had two concussions in the past year. I would prefer for VD to stay healthy and play smart

  95. Jordan… Davis is difficult to figure out as a receiver and runner he is very soft as a blocker he is tough as hell. So i do’nt believe he is an overall soft player, I just think he is not a natural receiver or ball carrier. He is a product of unnatural speed and the weight room.

  96. He is a straight line guy. Probably needs to work with DBs in tip drips. Regardless, if he is healthy he is fine with what we ask him to do. Yes he can improve but it is what it is.

    Now if VM the same TE or can he provide a better fight in the red zone??? What about Baldwin???

    This is just sad across the board.

  97. There is a guy on the team that is Vernons size and bulls through guys and plays like a beast on every play, it’s Boldin.

  98. If Vernon had that in him, we’d already have seen it. Boldin is a freak when it comes to toughness, nobody wants to be compared to that guy.

  99. Yes, he has to get his $hit together fast or this season will be lost. We have 6 more games and if we can win 5 out of 6 that should work. However this offense needs to start finding a way to become productive fast.

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