49ers 23, Panthers 10: Grades

CHARLOTTE – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 23-10 divisional playoff win over the Panthers.

KAEPERNICK: A-. He played terribly before the 49ers defense made their second goal line stand but, then again, most of the Niners played terribly before the second stand. After that, Kaepernick and the rest of the Niners were just about unstoppable. Kaepernick accounted for two touchdowns – a pass to Vernon Davis while rolling to the right, and a 4-yard touchdown run on a read-option play. On both plays, Kaepernick benefitted from the Panthers’ strong safety, Quintin Mikell, being out because he injured his foot. Kaepernick finished with an 87.8 passer rating despite not turning the ball over. Kaepernick’s rating wasn’t higher because he was inaccurate – 15-for-28. And he was inaccurate because he didn’t consistently set his feet and step into his throws.

RUNNING BACKS: A-. If you take away Frank Gore’s 39 yard run, he gained just gained 45 yards on 16 carries – 2.8 yards per carry. But his 39-yard run was one of the key plays of the game, it came against a fully stacked box and Gore gets tremendous credit for that. Breaking through stacked boxes for 30 or 40-yard gains has been Gore’s signature this season. Great signature to have. Gore played well considering the Panthers are tough against the run, and they injured fullback Will Tukuafu early in the game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: A-. The Panthers couldn’t stop Anquan Boldin. He finished with 8 catches on 12 targets for 136 yards. In the second quarter, Boldin made three catches on the 49ers first touchdown drive and drew a pass interference penalty on the Panthers in the end zone, setting up a touchdown to Vernon Davis two plays later. In the third quarter, Boldin beat a blown coverage and caught a 45-yard pass before he got caught and tackled at the Panthers’ 2 yard line. Michael Crabtree caught one 20-yard pass a couple short passes, and Quinton Patton caught on the first drive of the game when the Panthers forgot to cover him.

TIGHT ENDS: A-. The only tight end who caught a pass was Vernon Davis, and it was a one-yard touchdown. Davis did a great job dragging his second foot in bounds on that catch. Since Crabtree came back, he and Boldin and Gore have moved the 49ers’ offense down the field. But Davis has been the Niners’ No.1 touchdown threat by far. Without him, the 49ers kick field goals.

OFFENSIVE LINE: A-. They gave up one sack early and no sacks after that. They got better as the game went on.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A. They shut down the Panthers’ running backs, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert. And the 49ers’ defensive line knocked the Panthers’ offensive line back on every single play during the two goal line stands. That was the turning point of the game. Without those stands, the Panthers could have scored 21 points in the first half.

LINEBACKERS: A+. Ahmad Brooks and NaVorro Bowman were unbelievable. Brooks tackled Cam Newton for no gain on fourth-and-1 during the first goal line stand, and tackled Newton for no gain on second-and-1 during the second stand. Bowman tackled Mike Tolbert for a one-yard loss on third-and-1 during the second stand. And two plays before, Bowman tackled Newton one yard away from the goal line after a six-yard run around the left end. If Brooks or Bowman had missed any of those tackles, the 49ers may not have won. Bowman and Brooks made other great plays. The Panthers were down 10 points toward the end of the third quarter and they were at the 49ers’ 29 yard line, in field goal range. First, Bowman blitzed and sacked Newton for an 8-yard loss. Next play, Brooks sacked Newton for another 8-yard loss and the Panthers had to punt. And I didn’t even mention Patrick Willis. He had 11 tackles and an interception. This is the first A+ I’ve given all season.

SECONDARY: B. They gave up a 64 percent completion rate, 10.7 yards per pass attempt, 9 passing first downs, a 60 percent third-down-conversion rate and a touchdown. That’s not good. Tarell Brown gave up the touchdown – a deep pass to Steve Smith. Brown ran stride-for-stride with Smith, but Brown never turned his head to find the ball. Donte Whitner boosts this unit’s grade with his game-ending interception.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Phil Dawson was perfect again. LaMichael James didn’t try to return any punts or kicks. The 49ers’ kick coverage team gave up a 24-yard punt return to Ted Ginn Jr. And Andy Lee bounced a pass to a wide open Kassim Osgood.

COACHING: A. In the first half, the Panthers moved the ball on the 49ers no problem – 7.5 yards per play. Gaudy. Vic Fangio adjusted and, in the second half, his defense held the Panthers to zero points. Fangio has been one of the best coordinators in the NFL this season. He doesn’t get enough credit. The 49ers’ offense struggled in the first half, too, averaging just 3.9 yards per play. But as soon as the Panthers took a 10-6 lead in the second quarter, Greg Roman became Super Greg Roman. On the offense’s next three drives, almost every call Roman made worked, the 49ers marched down the field three-straight times, scored 17 points and put the game away. Also, give Jim Harbaugh credit for properly preparing his team. The Panthers’ head coach, Ron Rivera, did not properly prepare his team. They were nuts in the first half, committing dumb penalty after dumb penalty. Overall, the Panthers committed five penalties that resulted in first downs for the 49ers. And when the Panthers failed two times to punch the ball into the end zone, they folded. The Panthers were trying to prove to themselves they were the tougher team, but they weren’t. Give Harbaugh credit. The 49ers didn’t come out over-hyped trying to prove themselves. The truth revealed itself. The 49ers were tougher, more prepared and more composed than the Panthers.

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  1. Whoa, Grant …

    I usually disagree with some, (if not all)
    of your grades …but
    this time.. I not only agree with them ..
    I also agree with all of your reasons …

    Does this mean that Earth’s magnetic poles
    are about to reverse ?

    1. I don’t think “inaccurate” is the right term to explain the low completion percentage. Not like every throw there was a guy open while he was not under pressure.

  2. Agree with the grades, although you still keep giving Frank Gore grief…take all the Niners big plays, and they lose…smh…

      1. “If you take away Frank Gore’s 39 yard run, he gained just gained 45 yards on 16 carries – 2.8 yards per carry” He would of had a bad day

        ‘ If you take away the Niners -23 points, they would of lost.
        If you take away Boldin 8 catches for 136 yards the game might of been close.

        If you take away Whitner interception, Carolina might have scored”
        Yawn and snooze. This just in BIG PLAYS ARE PART OF THE GAMW !!!

      2. So what was Cams grade seeing how you picked Carolina because “they have the better QB”? Kap is 4-1 in playoffs, 3-0 on the road. What other young gun is that successful?

      1. Jack,
        I’m curious to see what snap counts the different personnel groupings got after Tukuafu went down. I’m guessing lot’s of 12 but I feel like there was a fair amount of 11.

      2. Grimey,

        I’ll have to double check with the film, but watching live I got the following:

        22: 17 run, 2 pass
        21: 7 run, 12 pass
        11: 3 run, 8 pass
        12: 2 run, 5 pass
        13: 2 run
        23: 2 run, 1 pass

    1. Jack / Grant

      off thread, but I would like to know who keeps the game clock at playoff games. On the last drive at the end of the first half, Boldin caught a pass and went out of bounds at 3 08. The clock should have stopped until the next snap, but it didn’t. It kept running costing SF perhaps 25 seconds of clock time that could have proved critical. Then on the famous Vernon Davis touchdown, the play was over with 8 seconds on the clock. That meant that SF had another play ( they had a time out) they could run if the pass was ruled out of bounds from the one yard line. Instead the clock restarted and ran down to 5 seconds which meant there wasn’t enough time to run a play and still kick a field goal ( even with the time out ). i believe this is what Harbaugh was so upset about.
      I realize that in the end it didn’t matter, but what the hell ??!!
      Is the clock operator the home team’s thirteenth man????

      1. Andy– the clock continues to run when a player goes out of bounds until two minutes left in the first half and five minutes left in the second half. That has been the rule since 1990. The nfl and the networks decided that they wanted a shorter game that would fit into a mane gable tree hour package.

      2. so it’s two minutes in the first half and five minutes at the end of the game, I thought it was five minutes for both. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

  3. Coaching A: Fangio rotated TJE, Skuta and Lemonier in keeping the starters fresh in the 4th QTR. The D focused on stopping the run to make the Kitties one dimensional.

    1. Roman: A for getting 2 TDs against a defense that gave up 8 home TDs all season…. and calling a good game despite of losing Tukuafu.

  4. I beg to differ. Mr. Brown turned and looked for the ball, but he was a tad late. I agree with these unusually high grades. It sounds like you may have learned your lesson when it comes to devaluing playoff and Super Bowl experience. This team will be a handful for the Seahawks and their 12 men…..

  5. Grant, just out of curiosity, do you know what the 49ers’ record when scoring first this Season and Postseason is?

  6. I think Kap was more of a B+. He was off the first half. Got it together on the TD drive.
    Otherwise I agree with the grades.

      1. Don’t take this the wrong way Kaepernick is the QB for my team but I think they both need to take a visit to Mr. Tom House.

  7. I do want to add that even if the Special teams earned a C, Dawson is a A+. he is a big reason why we are going to the Division Championship game.

  8. We are where destiny says we are. Every opponent is different, every challenge is different. Our team however is battle tested and ready for anything

  9. We have the best offensive line in football. The drive before half and the one after the half they dominated the line of scrimmage giving CK time and opening holes for the run game.
    A++ to this coaching staff. 3 straight trips the NFC Championship game is remarkable.
    Can’t wait for Seattle. If NO can run on them, we will steam roll them.

  10. I’ve been grading the Niners hard all year, because this team wants to go to the Super Bowl.

    But this was a huge road victory against an excellent defense – not only were they 12-4, but once they found their game they played everyone tough, and they beat us on our home turf.

    Our D has become Super Bowl-worthy. There’s no higher compliment I can make. And those 3 drives against an excellent D, on the road, in the playoffs…well, our O might just be peaking at the right time. And if Roman wants a HC job, he can earn it with an excellent game plan this sunday.

    1. I haven’t been tough on Kaep as a hater, so much that I wanted him to elevate his game. He still has a ways to go but all these playoff games at such a young age is going to make him more mentally tough then any other young QB in the game.
      The Panthers are a very good team and Cam is a very good QB.
      But I am impressed most by the will of the team. It’s very hard to get back to the Superbowl after losing, and as good as the Seahawks are, i don’t see them enforcing their will and their physical intimidation on the Niners. In fact, look what the Saints did. They played like crap on Offense and they had a chance to tie the game.
      This game reminded me of the first game against the Packers last year.
      It was a close score but the Niners just dominated both sides of the ball.
      That’s what happened in the 2nd half of this game.
      They just show their championship moxie and that was the most impressive part. Now it’s their time to close the deal. To get to the SB and beat either Brady or Manning.

  11. Panthers by a whisker? Gore done? Niners going nowhere after Crabs went down in TC? Bah…. Niners get an A+ while marching on to take home #6…

  12. Grant,
    Good grades overall.
    I feel that your A- grade for CK is generous, but nothing to quibble over.
    I would (nothing new here) give CK a B- based on his 1st half play. CK has almost thrown INT’ in two straight playoff games that would have come at critical times. I’m still waiting for Kaep to put together a good full game in the playoffs, but I’ll sacrifice a few lapses in his game for a win anytime.

    Love how you have remained consistently staunch in your F.Gore descriptions. I used to take umbrage with your “if not for the long run” statement, but I find them amusing as long as we get the win. In any case, I agree with the grade here.

    Again, good grades across the board Grant.
    Good job.

    Question, is Crabtree ok? He seemed a little shaken for about the 1st Qtr of the game.

    Great win. Great game coming up in Seattle.
    Good stuff!

      1. Razor,
        I did see MC make the big catch you’re referring to. But he did not look right after he was tackled on the first pass attempt in the opening series.

        Just hope that he is ok because it looked to me that he suffered some kind of head/neck injury that seemed to have a lingering effect throughout the 1st Qtr and could have recurring problems this coming week.

  13. I thought T.Brown played well within the scheme. His numbers won’t look good because he gave up some catches, but he played it correctly. I thought on the TD he was beaten by the throw, it happens. The receiver’s light hand play kept Brown’s attention, which is why he was bait late turning to look. But really, he got beat by the throw.
    Fangio’s rotations really paid off. Dobbs has been playing well on ST also.
    I’d hoped to see a bit more of Patton.

    1. Reminds me of the catch and score by Jones against Brown in the Atlanta Championship game. Just a perfectly thrown pass and catch. He’s just got to locate that ball a tad earlier in the route. Not sure Rogers would have been any better on that play. Ginn Jr. sure seems to have a chip on his shoulder against the 49ers……

  14. There you go again Grant; Mikell was out because “he” injured his foot but Tukuafu was out because “they” injured him.

    And there you go again: “Take away Gore’s 39 yard run and…” You don’t get to take away ANY of Gore’s runs! Stop staying that every week, you sound foolish and spiteful.

    1. Right? Imagine Grant covering MMA :” If you take away that last left hook, the one that knocked that guy completely out! Flat on his back motionless for 6 minutes, then he only landed 16 of 64 strikes, 12 of witch were jabs . Thats only 1 of every 16 punch attempts that made an impact…….blah-blah….. and thats why i gave him a “C-” even though he won via first round knockout”

      Ridiculous !!

  15. You can’t say that without the 2 goal line stands the Panthers would have scored 21 points because the first goal line stand resulted in the punt that was brought back to the 31yd line and they scored on the next play.
    Basically the first goal line stand was for nothing regarding points.

    The second one avoided a TD for a FG.
    So Panthers scored 10 instead of 14 in the first half thanks to the goal line stands.

    Not a huge diference in numbers, but is was a huge difference in momentum.

    1. Allen,
      Good point. But the two goal line stops (although as you say they came back to score after the big punt return) could have had a big psychological effect on both teams.

      In Donte Whitner’ post game comments, he referred to the importance of making those two goal line stops as a turning point for the game.
      Those types of stops do make huge swings in momentum as you mentioned.

  16. Allan, you are so right about the two goal line stands; “not a big difference in numbers but a huge difference in momentum”. Those goal line stands completely changed the momentum away from Carolina confidently moving the ball against the Niner D to the Niner D completely controlling the outcome of the game.
    Onward to Seattle. This has been the Niners destiny all year. Go into that
    armpit in Seattle and B—h slap the hawks! Go Niners!!

  17. “The truth revealed itself. The 49ers were tougher, more prepared and more composed than the Panthers.” And yet you picked against them. Also, I think you meant a wide open Osgood, not a wide open pass.

    1. I didn’t realize the Panthers’ game plan would be “commit personal fouls to set the tone.” Ron Rivera went to Cal for that? Shameful.

      1. I thought it was comical that Rivera said at half time his team was only responding to the 49ers “antics.”

        It was obvious the Panthers came out to start a fight and played very dirty. The Panthers instigated nearly everything that happened in that game. Troy Aikman is a flipping idiot. That first late hit personal foul was egregious.

      2. Houston
        Was it me or was Aikman overly “anti 9ers” in the broadcast. He kept saying how it was a bad Personal foul call, then he was begging for anquan to get flagged after his headbut (which should have been flagged) and a bunch of other nonsense. I heard him do other 9ers games but this is the first time the antagonism stood out to me.

  18. Ken Whisenhunt is going to get reamed this week. Interviewed for 3 teams last week and scored 7 points on Sunday. Uh oh.

    1. I have to believe that if a team has made a decision to hire him this game was going to do nothing to change that opinion.

      1. Grant, admit it, you love to play the role of the “heel” dont you?! Your an ’80′s WWF heel ! Instead of high 5′s and pats on the back……you revel in the boo’s and hiss’s

    1. The guy on CBS Radio just said the 49ers are 3 point underdogs to Seattle. He thinks Seattle is the best team in the NFL and all the pressure is on S.F. I think the pressure is mostly on Seattle. People have been doubting the 49ers all year.

      1. right..
        and as I recall, Saints had some success
        running on the outside ..
        seems that might be a good idea to include
        some of that in the game plan..
        maybe a little “hurry up” to help tire out
        the D, too ..

      2. Make now mistake about it, Seattle is nervous! There the top seed, at 5, were playing with house money! R.Wilson is not playing well, there winning despite him, with that D and Lynch! Wilson is making one big play a game…..and thats been just enough. We are rolling, peaking on both sides of the ball!

  19. Grant you remind me so much of a couple of football coaches I assisted yrs ago. They would grade out the players after a game and no matter how well a unit played they would almost always finish with a caveat. IE as well as you played in the first quarter you lost the edge one time and Damn it that could have cost us the game. I would approach them in private and say come on coach you didn’t need add that negative shot at the end. They would tell me Coach I don’t want them getting big heads.
    Sometimes I think you see yourself as the coach of the blog and those of us who post here as your players and you just don’t want us to get to confident. Anyway I agree with most of your grades, I really think this was a coaching victory. Rombaugh and Fangio were unbelievable. Lastly I don’t have the stats in front of me but I have a feeling if you don’t count FG’s carries at the end of the game which weren’t much more than kneel downs his avg would have been excellent/

  20. Oh by the way Grant your Pops seems to have a real feel for this yrs 9er team, maybe you should spend a little more time listening to him before you post this weeks prediction.

  21. so Grant said Newton was a better QB than Kap all week. On the surface, that might be true. If you are blinded by numbers and numbers only. But ill tell you what the stats dont: Cam is a spoiled brat who spent 2 yrs pouting about not winning games! With all the great plays he made over the last 3 years, pilling up superior stats, not one of comes to mind. In fact, the iconic image of him, at this point in his career, is pouting in the final minutes of a loss with a rag over his head! Sulking! Then sulking some more in the press conference, like a spoiled little brat that needs an @$$ whooping. Not just today, but for 2+ years. He was playing for money and not the love of the game…..RIGHT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL!! Degenerate father selling his services ( excellent family values)!

    All Kap does is win! Wins games, makes plays that matter and gets it done in the clutch. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Arrogant people have a sense of entitlement, everything has been given to them. Confident people earn everything and are given nothing, hence the self confidence. I dont wont to dwell on Kaps personal life, but being adopted, that kid will NEVER not have a chip on his shoulder. He will continue to work harder than most and try his damnedest to prove people wrong. Hes a winner! Hes got heart! You know, the intangibles! Thats my QB and i wouldnt trade him for anyone else….not the future HOFers pushing 40 or any of the youngsters that stat geeks would argue are better!

  22. CK s grade is too high, good to see him shake off the first half blahs and turn in a fine performance in the second half.

    1. One of the PreGame Shows, maybe Fox, the boys were bantering and calling it Insider Trading to get Boldin for a 6th.

    2. Hammer,
      As a 6th rd pick, A.Boldin has paid dividends many times over for the teams he’s played for.
      But there may a very strong argument that Tom Brady could be the all-time best player taken in the 6th rd.

      I love AB, but my vote has to go to TB.

    3. A great trade, especially when you take in consideration that by acquiring Boldin through trade rather then free agency, the likely 3rd round compensatory pick remains unchanged.

      Its possible The 49ers actually gained draft value by trading instead of competing through FA (had Boldin held out).

      1. so the top of the 2014 draft is shaping up like this…
        Round 1 – Own Pick
        Round 2 – From KC, 24th
        Round 2 – Own Pick
        Round 3 – 13th, from TN
        Round 3 – Own Pick
        Round 3- Likely Compensatory Pick

        Its possible (can’t say for sure since the compensatory formula is secret) that if the 49ers waited for Boldin to become a salary cap casualty FA acquisition, the 3rd rounder would have been downgraded to a 4th rounder.

      2. I wouldn’t count chickens regarding the 3rd round compensatory pick just yet. I’ve been left scratching my head on the way compensatory picks are allocated before…

      3. i think this is the year we trade up for a corner….or 2!!!

        You figure Brown and rodgers could both be gone, at least one of em for sure. Culliver and brock…….cox and wright,who both do not figure into our long term plans like cully and brock do. Whitner could return at a lower salary. Goodwin will be replaced by Kilgore, from what i read ( its my opinion that we need to draft someone to compete for that job ) that leaves Rodgers and his huge salary and Brown seeking a big free agent contract as cap casualty’s . CB is gonna be an issue this off-season

      4. Don’t be surprised if they sign another vet CB on the cheap this off-season. Will be interesting to see what sort of market Charles Tillman gets at 33 and coming off a bad year…

      5. Scooter_McG: True, I’m counting chickens before they hatched. The compensatory formula is secret, but most think it will be a 3rd rounder.

    4. When the 49ers traded for him I recall there was a lot of argument that he and Crabtree were too similar (possession style WRs) to be effective playing together, and that we needed a burner instead. Seemed silly to me as he teamed up just fine with Larry Fitzgerald for a number of years. Turns out he and Crabtree make a damn fine team.

      1. Possession of the ball is the most important thing(besides scoring of course). I love big receivers who can keep the chains moving. Besides, both of these guys make big chunk plays as well.

      2. As Grant put it ” we didnt have a deep threat” and it was gonna be a HUGE problem. I pointed out many times, that Vernon Davis would be the deep threat, and he has been.

      3. Labelling either Crabtree or Boldin as possession receivers is a tad misguided anyway. Both guys know how to make big plays through good route running and a willingness to go up and get the ball even when covered. Don’t need to be super fast to be a downfield threat.

      4. The Pats seem to be getting alot of mileage out of 2 similar slot receivers. In a way it makes sense from a match-up standpoint. How many teams have 2 good slot cover guys?

  23. So proud of the 49ers. They give you their best every game. Gamers who experienced the lows of losing seasons and are now part of this great football team. Players like Gore, Willis, Davis, Brooks, McDonald, Staley, Lee, and others. And this is a great football team. 3 straight NFC Championships is a great accomplishment. This team will be a tough beat in Seattle and if they get by that game, they will go on to win the Super Bowl. They deserve a damn Super Bowl win, and they will go out and take it. Best and most consistent team in football for 3 years running. They are playing better than last year and this year, they won’t be denied.

    1. This team earned it. They went through a lot of adversity, and finished 12-4.
      This team hasn’t won anything yet but it’s really showing its poise. It’s everybody on the team. Even Boobie Dixon.
      Seattle was the best team for the most of the years, like the Niners in 2010. But the Giants came in hot, and had the championship experience.
      That’s going to be a huge difference and a big advantage for the Niners.
      I see them pulling away in this game. The team looks focused.

    1. This will be the second time for the 49ers since 1981. Played the Rams after 89 season. The “Chris” Everett game.

  24. Cam Newton’snew nickname should be Flop. That’s about the 5th dive I’ve seen him make. Karl Malone would be proud. Flop Newton should be embarrassed. That Flop was a disgrace.

    1. Houston,
      Did you see that play when Brooks came flying of the line? He barely touched Newton, but the ensuing flop was worthy of an oscar.

      1. Yeah. That’s the flop I’m referring to. The NFL is a mans game. Keep flopping like that and Flop Neeton will get a bad rep with other players.

  25. Neat o stat of the day:

    Joe Montana road playoff victories: 1-3
    Steve Young road playoff victories: 0-3
    Jeff Garcia road playoff victories: 0-2

    Colin Kaepernick road playoff victories: 3-0

    1. Except:

      Joe Montana SuperBowl record 4-0
      Steve Young SuperBowl record 1-0 as a starter
      Jeff Garcia SuperBowl record 0-0

      Colin Kaepernick SuperBowl record 0-1

    2. If Kaep and the Niners get by Seattle, he will be the SB MVP. Pats or Broncos can’t stop him. He will have a huge Super Bowl.

  26. Grant,

    How did the Panther’s dynamic passing attack do today?

    How did the neanderthal 49er offense manage to score more than 20 points on the mighty Carolina defense?

    Keep grinding that axe …

  27. Peyton Manning post game one on one interview:
    ” That was the perfect call against the perfect defensive call. You only get that once or twice a game.”
    It puts play calling and LOS adjustments in perspective. The goal is to guess right or almost right as often as possible.
    “The first casualty in battle is The Battle Plan.”

  28. Easier said than done but we win next week if our offense sustains drivers, scores TOUCHDOWN(2-3), and keeps the defense fresh. Our D will stop Wilson. Our offense has to come to play. The physicality of today’s game was a good warm up

  29. Well enough celebrating. The question of the week, hell the only question, can CK handle the crowd noise? If he can the 9ers win by 8pts or more. If he ca’nt the 9ers lose large.

    1. I say go no huddle. Don’t allow them to rotate the DL. Give all skilled guys wrist bands & they put them on their belts. Kap only communicates with the OL.

    2. I call it “stadium” noise since the facility was engineered to funnel sound towards the field. I still wish the Yorks copied the design of their sounds redirection flaps for Levi Stadium.

    3. Many say home field is worth around 3 points. Some ex players (I forget the name) said the architecturally amplified sound hole known as Century Link ads at least 7 points.

      On a neutral field the 49ers would win.

      I’m hoping for bad weather, which can reduce noise a bit. Too bad the Saints failed to take advantage.

  30. In Seattle next week it might be time for a little back to the future: script the first 20 plays and don’t audible.

  31. “Boldin beat a blown coverage and caught a 45-yard pass before he got caught and tackled at the Panthers’ 2 yard line.”

    That wasn’t a blown coverage. They were jumping shorter routes earlier in the game and they got burned there on a double move. Harbaugh even said that in his presser.

      1. And that one guy was the safety (Lester?) who he was remonstrating with after the play. He thought he had over the top help.

      2. Losing a starting DB is always a big deal, especially if you then have to replace him with a rookie. So easy for coverages to be blown if you aren’t getting most of the reps during the week. No doubt it helped the 49ers cause, including on that play.

        I still think the 49ers win this game if he had stayed in though.

  32. Step up and be honest. Who said earlier this year that Newton was a better QB than Kaep? I Know who you are. Grant care to run that poll again?

    1. I thought Newton outplayed Kaepernick today. Newton was much better than Kaepernick in the first half, and it isn’t Newton’s fault the Panthers fell behind in the second half. Kaepernick attempted four passes in the second half. Newton has to carry that offense. Shula was horrible today, especially in the red zone. No imagination.

      1. It sure was Newton’s fault. His offense had 7 shots from the one and scored 3 pts. He threw 2 costly picks, and got sacked twice ending a long drive. Face it, Kaep outplayed Newton. Kaep ran it in from the 4 and Newton could not run it in from the one. Newton threw a few nice passes and ran well at times, but was too inconsistent. And remember, you said Carolina had a better defense, so that should give Kaep even more props.

        1. Carolina’s defense folded when their offense failed to punch it in the end zone in seven tries. And their offense failed to punch it in because Shula had no imagination down there. I’m not saying Newton played a great game, I just think he slightly outplayed Kaepernick. Far superior completion percentage. Far superior yards per pass attempt. Far superior rushing. Superior third down conversion rate.

      2. I don’t disagree that Newton played darn good early on. I think you’re short changing Kaepernick a bit on his play early in the game. On that first drive he made throws to convert 2 3rd downs.

        1. That’s true, those passes to Patton and Gore were nice. Still, the 49ers wouldn’t have scored on that drive if Mike Mitchell hadn’t hit Vernon Davis late near midfield after an unsuccessful conversion attempt on third-and-6.

      3. You gave Kaepernick an A-. Do you think Newton was an A? Because if you think he outplayed him, then Newton should get an A. And he did not have his A game.

        1. No, I’d give Newton an A-, too. I was going to give Kaepernick a B+ but I rounded up because he beat a good defense in their house, although I think that defense folded after the offense failed twice at the goal line. The writing was on the wall after that.

          When the Panthers decided not to go for it on the second fourth-and-goal, you knew they were done. They made their statement right there — we’re not as tough as the 49ers.

      4. i disagree Grant, Without even acknowledging the first pick, the 2nd killed the panthers!! Down 13, you need a td ,a stop and another td. You have enough time and you drive down, get a luck BS penalty, putting you close to the red zone, and dont have the cool or the patience to not make a stupid throw!!

        2 int’s
        crucial int that literally cost you the game!
        5 sacks, cuase you panic and cant get rid of the ball
        unable to get ONE FREAKIN yard at the goaline
        not having your teammates focused enough to avoid stupid penaltys

        factor that into the equation and get back to me……curious to hear your assessment


        1. That game was over. The Panthers defense had given up. They couldn’t stop the 49ers’ offense anymore. That was obvious. That’s why Newton was forcing passes.

      5. That’s true too. Kaepernick was not very good on 1st down today. Only 1-7 for 20 yards.

        Before anyone gets fired up, I didn’t track Carolina’s offense.

      6. Grant c’mon man! CK got his guys to rally around him. They went all out for him, diving for balls, leaping catches, huge blocks. That’s the mark of a leader.
        As for performance, Newton got shut out in the 2nd half. CK engineered 2 championship drives that showed he is clutch when it mattered. Newton threw a horrible pick when they were in striking distance to make it a one possession game.
        The difference in the game to me was CAR came out too amped up. It fatigued them late in the game. The goal line play calls are on Rivera, not Shula. The Panthers game plan was to out muscle the Niners. That’s why they went with the sneaks. It didn’t work. I hope SEA thinks they can do the same thing with Lynch. It won’t work.
        We have the best game planning staff in the NFL. Can’t wait to see it next Sunday.

        1. I agree, the Panthers’ game plan was to out-muscle the 49ers. Moronic. The Panthers were the better team in the first half, but that wasn’t good enough for them. They wanted to be the tougher team, too, and that’s why they lost. Fascinating game.

      7. Prime,
        It was Cam who really wanted to sneak it, and Rivera listened.

        Going for it there was good, not going for it the second time hurt. I thought settling for a field goal gave the niners momentum and better starting field position.

      8. I disagree again! The Panthers were not better than us in the first half!!!!!!!
        We looked good early, but settled for field goals early. But the fact is, we had 2 productive drives and they had none!
        Then they knocked on the door we stopped em cold, but due to great field position and a perfect pass right over great coverage, they had a td and a lead.
        They marched down, got stopped again , and wisely chose not to test on 4th down again, took their little 3 pts and had a lead for about 5 minutes!
        We showed them how to finish a long drive with a TD and took the lead back by halftime! When we did the same thing to start the 3rd, the game was over!

        Carolina looked tough for about 10-12 minutes out of 30 in the first half, and thats the honest truth.

        1. Keep in mind, the Panthers averaged 7.5 yard per play in the first half and the 49ers averaged 3.9. A huge difference.

      9. Grant,
        That I agree with, but they couldn’t sustain energy and focus. And I think their coach lost his aggression as well. May have had an effect.

      10. jshaw,

        The 49ers didn’t drive for their 2nd FG. Carolina handed that to them with that silly head butt by the CB on Crabtree.

      11. When the 49ers needed big plays on offense, Kaep delivered with three big drives. That’s what wins games – coming up big when it matters, which he continues to show a knack for. He was also pretty good on the first drive. Between the first and last drives of the first half he was rubbish, but again, its what you do when it matters most that defines the game and the player.

        Newton on the other hand was good in the first half but couldn’t lead TD drives when he had the offense 1-yard out. Not game-killers in and of themselves, but then later in the game when the 49ers put together back-to-back scoring drives he was unable to respond.

        Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Kaep outplayed Newton in game defining moments.

        1. Newton’s TD pass to Smith was big. I don’t blame Newton for not punching it in at the goal line, I blame the coaches. Maybe I’m misguided.

          Newton’s biggest mistake was not converting the third-and-4 to start the third quarter. But you can’t convert every third down.

      12. Nope, you can’t convert every third down, but the momentum of the game had swung to the 49ers at that point and they really needed Newton to convert that third down.

        And I agree, sometimes you will just be victim of terrible play-calling by your coaches. I don’t think those goal line stands is where Carolina lost the game – a mentally tough team would have piled on the pressure despite those stops, knowing they’ve done well to get into those positions and the opponent will crack sooner or later. But by not getting TDs on those two occasions, and then not converting that key 3rd down, and then also taking back-to-back sacks when they were in field goal range – that’s the opposite of a clutch player.

        Kaep on the other hand has displayed a tendency to convert third downs when they matter most, and find a way to get a TD when they really need it. Winner qualities.

      13. Grant the true Raider fan has spoken again. Cam is not a better QB. The better QB helped his team to victory by orchestrating several long drives. Its ok man you don’t have to like the Niners but your opinion is only supported with if this or if that!!! Give me a break Grant.

        1. I was. He was nice to me when I was 8. But I’m past that. Joe Montana was the better quarterback. It wasn’t even close.

      14. Really Grant! Yes Steve was a very special football player. If we had the same rules today he might have still been playing. So what made you stop supporting the 49ers after Steve retired! Was it Dr York?

      15. I think Carolina’s defense came out too hyped, wanted to show us they were more physical. I think that wore them down later in the game. Someon commented about that during the game and I agree!

      16. Grant,

        I believe a couple of the beat guys used to be 49ers fans back in their youth. Don’t they get a little happy to see the team win?

      17. I read another writer saying the same thing about enjoying the game more now that they aren’t rooting. Makes complete sense.

        Detaching from the emotional side of it really helps to see the whole picture.

      18. You are too smart Grant:) I wish sometimes to be able to stop rooting for my team due to the pure feeling of stress and pain when they lose. However being a niner fan is like having a family and there is no way out. I will always be a 49er faithful no matter what. GO NINERS

      19. The difference was between Cam and Kaep was coaching and championship experience. Harbaugh is a sly dog and Rivera was almost fired this year. Riveria thought he could just be a bully and he thought he could get his players to intimidate. They wanted respect, well respect is earned.
        like Bowman says, they have better players. Cam is going to be a good QB, he is farther along then Kaep, just look at how he stands in the pocket. But Kaep is getting tons of championship experience and I think this year helped him get tougher.
        I also see the players rallying around Kaep, he’s not superman and he needs them to play well.
        But Boldin is a flat as beast. He’s tough and you can see how hungry he is. He already has a ring and he wants another one.
        He fears no one so I want to see those punk A$$ DBs from Seattle try and get in his head.
        Momentum is on the Niner’s side.
        I won’t say Russell Wilson has regressed but the league has caught up on how to contain their offense. He’s still clutch but I just see this Niners team as wanting it more then anybody.
        They have the talent and will not be denied. If Seattle tries to do what the Panthers do, and just talk, they will lose.

      20. Playing the ‘if’ game, if you take away Ginn’s 57 yard catch in garbage time (13 seconds left in the game), Newton and CK7 have nearly identical stats.

      21. good morning all! Grant, i love the insight! I met S.Young twice during training camp in ’94. I was 15. He was great, kind, friendly, good with kids. And i agree about Joe obviously being better.
        It also makes sense that you would distance yourself emotionally now that you cover this team for a living.
        To be honest, your “street cred” or whatever goes up with this revelation.
        You have, for most of us, what we would describe as our “dream job” and so when you seemingly despise the 49ers……..makes it easy to despise you.

        However, i dont see how emotional detachment makes sports funner. Without being emotionally invested……its just grown men running around playing a game. When the niners played yesterday, every play had me on the edge of my seat. Had my undivided attention. i was screaming so loud my girlfriend just got up and left for the day. But when Denver vs S.D. came on……..it was no where near as exciting!

  33. Next week will be epic…Niners-Seahawks was the predestined end…there will be a ton of smack talking over the next seven days, but deep down this is the match up both fan bases wanted…that being said, I hope Cheating Pete chokes on his Hubba Bubba, that Beast Mode chokes on his Skittles, that Richard Sherman chokes on his own tongue and our mighty men on defense send Frodo Wilson back to the Shire with a pronounced limp…it’s a great time to be a Niner fan!

      1. Cool. Trying to get to Seattle. My sister lives in Oregon so we’re hoping to circumvent this whole no California ticket sales thing.

  34. I give CK a solid B.

    The reason is, he just can’t miss some of those throws. Not in the playoffs. There were some first down throws that Superbowl winning QBs make… also the misses in the red zone. Some of that is on CK, some on other aspects of the game, if you are part of a failed redzone opportunity you don’t get an A. Same with missing wide open WRs (not to mention two almost deadly dropped INTs).

    We need to pull it together for the clash of the ages next weekend. Good to see we came out relatively injury free. We live in die by CK from here on out…

    Go Niners!!!

    1. Shawn,

      I agree with you about the bad short throws from Kap. Those throws are very easy and we need him to make those throws starting next week. ThTis how we’ve lost in Seattle. Kap getting off to bad starts and throwing poor passes. The pick in this game wasn’t even close. The DB damn near didn’t even see the ball, let alone catch it. Keep threw it so hard. Seattle’s DB’s catch the ball a whole lot better.

      We need Kap to use his legs against Seattle. They won’t play zone with us. They will be in man coverage.

  35. Been hearing alot about how playoff byes don’t help (and possibly even hurt) teams chances of winning a Super Bowl.

    12 teams make the post season. 4 with byes, 8 without. For the two week breaks to have no (or even negative) value, teams without bye weeks would have to win twice as many Super Bowls.

    Anyone have the long term stats on ratio of bye/no bye Super Bowl winners.

    1. What complicates things is changes to the playoff formula since the Super Bowl’s inception. Divisions and extra wildcard teams have been added.

      What I’m looking for is an apples-to-apples comparison that accounts for the (current) 2-1 ratio of non-bye teams.

      1. Dont know specific numbers, but some non-bye teams have won it all recently: giants and steelers to name 2 but getting a bye should never hurt

        off topic, watching highlights from today on tv…..49ers have won 8 games in a row! and Kap has accounted for 14 td’s and only 2 turnovers!!
        take that stat geeks!

  36. We beat Seattle if we don’t turn the ball over and we get points in the red zone. We just have to sustain and stay composed for the 1st half. We will dominate the 2nd half. We just need to take care of the ball. The defense always does their job. We’re good.

    1. Touchdowns. We have one of the highest red zone scoring percentages. We have to be specific. We need touchdowns in the redzone.

      1. A high red zone scoring percentage is great, but our offense needs to finish drives…that’s the biggest knock on our offense…they don’t finish…that has to change on Sunday if we want to keep going in the tournament

      2. Matt that’s why I say we have to be specific and say touchdowns. We score in the redzone, we need touchdowns instead of field goals.

  37. E writes 20 comments about me for ever 1 comment he writes about the 49ers. It’s weird having a stranger obsess over me. I wonder how his Peruvian bird feels about it.

      1. E,

        Keep it football bro. If we can refrain from degrading each other, then certainly you can refrain from degrading Grant.

        He didn’t get the job because of his pops and if he did , who gives a damn. It’s the American way. It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know. Bottom line is we’re in harmony in this blog for the 1st time in forever. Let’s keep it football because we enjoy your insight and comments when they are football related. You’re one of Kaps biggest supporters here. He’s proving you right in supporting him and you’re too busy insulting Grant to enjoy it. I’m just saying bro.

      2. this is what you call a nerd fight! exchanging insults and slights through cyber space , striking the keys and hitting send with cruel intentions! i love it!

      1. 23 is right. guys like us who supported Kap through thick and thin are having our day……i mean month! Attack grant the way he attacks the niners, with back handed complements and constant slights all the while pointing out every shortcoming and over emphasizing it and using it as an excuse to forever count them out…..any way. Enjoy it man, whats the fun in gloating if you cant be heard?????

  38. So what’s the game plan for Seattle against the Niners this weekend. Blitz CK, try and play power football, field position game? I just don’t see Seattle’s passing offense being able to do much. And I don’t see Lynch running wild. The only way this goes wrong for the 49ers is turnovers.

    1. Seattle is way overrated and have been figured out. Spread them out and run it down their throats, short to intermediate passes to Crabdin and shots to Vernon.

      Win by 2 TDs at least.

      1. Question is, will Roman and Harbaugh be willing to change their tactics and spread the field on runs, or will the continue relying primarily on heavy personnel packages and compacting the field?

      2. Scooter I see Roman doing both. He called a great game today. Mixed it up well. They will never abandon the power runs but it would be nice to see some runs out of the spread, quick screens and tosses. Seattle is an over committing type defense. Too aggressive.
        This next game comes down to turnovers. Whoever wins that battle goes on to NY.

      3. Grant is correct. Seahawks defense is built for that stadium and northwest weather conditions. They are fast and very aggressive. They force teams to make mental mistakes and once they have a few turn overs and a lead its time to pin the ears back and just hunt. We have to be methodical. We cannot have 5 plays and need to break out of the huddle fast to put pressure on their defense.

        I also hope the coaches have a long discussion about penalties. We can not let them get under our skin and should mouth off but back down to allow them to retaliate.

      4. Good call. Sometimes misdirection runs, fakes/reverses can get a fast defense on their heels. Last game against Seattle in SF Roman was very conservative. I hope they call an attacking type game like today.

      5. Well said CHI about the penalties. Seattle is a mouthy team, we need to stay focused and just play within the whistles.

      6. “I hope they call an attacking type game like today.”

        Prime, Can you please explain how you thought today’s offensive game plan was different for the 49ers.

        From what I saw it was about the same as most of their games. They were much more committed to the run, especially on 1st down than they were back in week 10. The difference was simply better execution.

      7. What I mean by attacking is you gotta throw to Sherman’s side of the field. The last game against SEA they didn’t throw to his side once.
        The other thing is maybe throw on 1st down more. Overall before the playoffs the Niners were content to play the field position game and punt. The last two games they are going for it. Putting together game changing scoring drives. Roman is letting CK make throws, taking more calculating chances.

      8. As I watching the game, when it was still close, I was wondering why they were passing so much. Then it became clear they were saving Gore for the 2nd half,
        Seattle’s run D is softening and I think the Niners can run it down their throats. I think Kendall Hunter is showing signs of explosiveness again. And maybe they’re saving LMJ for something.
        The D will slow down the Seahawk offense.
        It’s the turnovers.
        Also, people are making a big deal with the two losses in Seattle. Last year was a big blow-out, but it was after the Niners played that track meet game in New England. And they were well on their way to the playoffs, and everything was wrapped up.
        This year there was that freak rain delay, and the game was close and then the Niners lost composure in the 3rd quarter.
        Seahawks are going to come in overconfident, and really had some lucky breaks. Niners earned everything this year.

    2. I don’t think anyone mentioned it but our rotational depth along our front 7 on defense has been a real key. Guys like Dobbs, Jerrod- Eddie, Lemonier and Skuta have been huge. Tour reserves didn’t get many snaps along that front 7and we were gassed late in the season and it may have cost us the Super Bowl.

      This year our depth that we had tested during the injuries to McDonald and the absence of Aldon Smith has really added a boost to our front 7 and has seriously helped our past rush. Special thanks to these guys that don’t get much recognition from the media or this blog.

      1. I’ve been an advocate of greater rotation for a long time, but I have to admit I am pleasantly surprised with how well Jerod-Eddie and Dobbs have been playing. They are better rotational players than I thought.

      2. Skuta got robbed of a sack today…that was the absolute worst roughing call I’ve seen since Brooks got jobbed in NoLa…

      3. Grime
        Jason Pierre Paul, wouldnt mind having him i think his slump is injury related once he gets healthy he will be back to being effective

    3. We must stop the run in Seattle!!! R.Wilson had ,like 103 yard yesterday!!?? hes not playing well. Hes a horrible pocket passer. All his crap is of play action or broken scrambles. Stop Lynch and make Wilson beat you!!! Stop Lynch and take away the play action pass!!!!

      On offense, we need to sustain drives and cash them in for touch downs! that simple! Just like the drive to end the first half and the one start the 2nd. We have to not give up on the run, be patient, Gore will eventually break one and it will give us play action .

    4. One thing’s for sure. Seattle’s secondary will hold and grab on almost every play. They will try to cheat their way to a win. Carolina was trying to steal a page from that book and it didn’t end well for them.

      1. Carolina committed a lot of penalties after the play. As dumb as it gets. Seattle is a lot of things, but they’re not dumb like that.

      2. Nick you are right therefore its important to attack the ball and also do some acting just like basketball players to engage the refs. If i was in the coaching staff i would tell them if the defensive player pushes or holds you passed the 5 yard line, just flop a few times to get the call.

      3. This is a copy kat league and even Saints, Atlanta and the Packers were holding. so we better be ready and keep our cool

  39. The Niner head coach has a guaranteed future
    as a ballerina. Check out his
    double twirl move late in the game when he was
    upset over something or other on the field.
    Two back-to-back 360° turns.

    Best be sure to wear your toe slippers from now on.
    Oh yeah, and maybe a khaki tutu….!

    1. Alex blah blah blah the same coach also has changed the history in the NFL for a first time coach with 41 wins and three NFC appearances in the row. How is fishing these days bud?

  40. No big deal, but Grant’s grades are unbelievably strange most weeks. The wide receivers (including Boldin’s 137 yards) and running backs (Gore’s 85 yards), A- .. and the tight ends (one yard), A-? WTF?

    I’m not saying that VD played bad, and he scored the only passing TD, but a little balance would be nice. Boldin was magnificent, Crabtree had a great catch, and Patton had an important first down catch. Gore was the other hero of the game.


  41. note to Chicago49er…
    Please be sure to get back to me with an update
    regarding “who whooped who” after the Niners
    handle their business in Seattle, willya?

    I am the Super Bowl monkey and I approve of this message.
    (Until Coach Harbaw brings home a Lombardi trophy…
    he still sucks eggs.)

    1. Yawn…your comments have gone from pathetic to sleep inducing…of I ever suffer from insomnia, I know where I’m coming for relief…

    2. Alex’s dirty under garment, no matter what happens, the only monkey here is you and your sorry existence for coming on the 49er blog to disrespect our coach and players every week due to your fatal attraction being cut by this team.

      We have 5 super-bowls, 15 NFC playoff appearances more than any other team (except the steelers, tied) and the same coach/ young QB have started something very special here. I will be a proud 49er faithful regardless of the score next week. How about you! do you have Alex Smiths pictures all over your bathroom and bedroom! do you have a number 11 jersey that you sniff on every minute. Go see a shrink.

  42. I think Niners will beat the SeaChickens ..
    cuz .. well .. this entire winning streak .. there has
    been something I’ve noticed about this team, which
    I didn’t notice about last years team ..
    a look of ..“we’re on a mission” in their eyes
    at the pressers and locker interviews ..
    .. an air of confidence around them which seems like
    no one can undermine ..

    This is it, guys … Russell Wilson is a marked man..
    he will be … the Niners next victim !

    … and whether it’s Peyton or Brady in the dance ..
    doesn’t matter … cuz Kaep has already beaten
    one of them … on the road .. in a shoot-out !

    1. The toughest playoff win for the 49ers already occurred in Green Bay. Seattle and the AFC Champs after that are going to be relatively easy. Go Niners.

  43. Don’t know if anyone mentioned this but the ref in today’s game explained the no call on the 49ers for 12 men in the huddle– he had not spotted the ball yet, therefore no penalty.

    I visited a couple of Carolina forums after the game. They think they were completely hosed by the refs and that bad calls were the difference in the game. No mention that we completely dominated the game for the last 35 minutes.

    1. yes mickell was stating that he cant wait to play us with a new set of refs. Well Mr Mickelly you got to wait for another season. LOL

  44. let’s hear from the bookmakers, okay?
    Las Vegas has the Seahawks as 3-point favorites
    (just the way they did on September 15th)…

    Will Chicago49er be putting any money on the game?
    (proud 49er faithful regardless of the score next week)
    Please advise.

    1. what are the odds Harbaugh would slap the chewing gum out of Pete’s mouth if the 2 ever ran into each other in a dark alley or somtehing?

  45. “According to Weather.com, the high temperature in Seattle for the 49ers-Seahawks game will be 50 degrees, with light winds and a 30-percent chance of rain. In Denver, the Pats and Broncos will play with no chance of rain, light winds, and a high of 55 — and a low of 33.”

  46. Has anyone else a numerologist? I’m noticing the recurring recent theme of our 23 point scores. 2+3=5, magian’s power number…the 5 pointed star
    This is the third one of them. Cardinals was a 23 pt niner tally…to Cards 20
    Again in Green Bay (23 to 20).. And today in Carolina (23 to 10)
    Oh! and the win gifted to the Saints by the officials (20 to 23 loss) That one would likely have been a niner victory, 23 to 20 without officials taking the fumble away from Brooks, with the Willis’ recovery.
    NOW we can win in Seattle as well. It can be made to look easier than most of us likely believe. Your believing that will help.

  47. Please tell me that the hard-core fans
    were impressed with Coach Harbaw’s
    ballet move late in the game yesterday
    (the double pirouette over a ‘bad’ call).

    Please be advised: Coach Pete Carroll
    will have a few dance moves & a smirk
    when the Niners arrive in Seattle. Oh, yeah.
    next week. Coach Harbaw will probably
    rip off his toe slippers and khaki tutu in a huff.

    Me? I’m feeling like a quote: “strong, mighty man.”
    (even though I am really just a Super Bowl monkey).

    You say it real good, Coach [he means, really well...]

  48. I like the grades. I especially like the line about taking away Gore’s long run. You’re wearing on me, Cohn. A little self depricating humor is always welcome.

    Now, I’m going to say something that might be a bit controversial on this blog. Cam Newton is a better QB than Colin Kaepernick at this point in his development. Newton is a freak athlete who throws one of the prettiest passes I’ve seen. He has better field vision and better accuracy due to better footwork. CK has the benefit of a better supporting cast and better coaching. CK MUST MUST MUST fix his atrocious footwork in the offseason. It’s absolutely horrible. Now I think CK can have a better career than Newton and he certainly has all the tools to be just as good or better than Newton but CK needs to work on his craft to take the next step.

    1. I will agree to a certain extent. However, if things are not going Cam’s way, he tends to really let that affect his play. I think Kaep may not ride as much on the mood rollercoaster as Cam, and at this point, I’d rather have the steadier Kaep than the moody Cam.

      For whatever reason (playoff jitters?), Newton reverted back to 2012 Cam and tried to do to much himself VS the 49ers. Cam really hangs his head when things aren’t going well and no matter how great his footwork is, his play is affected. I don’t think Kaep is like that.

      1. Yeah, I think that’s right. CK has more of a Joe Cool attitude than Newton and that is important when stakes are high.

      2. Grant
        The name Joe Cool was coined enroute to the 1st SF Super Bowl because he was so cool under pressure. He earned that name before his 1st SB. It did NOT come from his exploits in the Big Game. I don’t think anyone was saying they’re the same, just speaking to the It factor.

        1. It may have been coined before, but you can’t earn Joe Cool until you win a Super Bowl. No one would call Montana Joe Cool today if he had lost a Super Bowl.

      3. I agree with you Grant. You have to do it in the big game to earn the Joe Cool title. If CK completes the pass to Crabtree in the Superbowl he’s probably further along in that regard. I’m just saying at this point it looks like CK has more of a propensity to keep his cool under pressure. Cam does get down and shows dejection instead of steadying the course with his teammates. Having said that, Newton has many 4th quarter come backs this year so he does make plays under pressure. They both do. Just like CK’s demeanor better.

    2. I do agree with you. I also think that Newton’s actual play experience has played a part. He’s been the guy for three years and struggled a lot in year 2. I don’t think Kap really knew his life was going to change the way it did. Happy he stepped up, and stepped up big but I look forward to seeing him progress. I must say I have issues with past 49er QB’s criticizing the young man instead of offering a helping hand.

    3. I don’t think he better at all. He has better footwork, yeah. ever see Rothlesberger? horrible footwork yet still considered top ten and a two time super bowl champ. would we all like for kap to get his footwork problem corrected? sure l, because it’s ugly!!!!! he hides his deficiency with his arm strength.

    4. It’s hard to argue your point, Houston. Colin’s passing accuracy would improve with better footwork. Cam’s TD pass to Smith was a beauty. So I’d give you that Cam is a better passer. My question is whether Cam is a better QB. In the Niners 2nd SB, everybody knew that Marino was the better passer, but Joe proved that he was the better QB. Yes Colin’s upside is great, especially if he improves accuracy, but he’s already showing can-do leadership skills.

      1. Kap is a winner. Cam is a guy who is pampered. You could see him get down on himself quickly in the second half. If Kap improves his footwork, he completes more of those passes he throws in the small windows. The kid already has a rocket for an arm. Just imagine if he sets and throws.

    5. Houston, Cam threw a beautiful TD pass and he is more polished with his passing mechanics. However being a very good QB in the pro football league requires some one to become the heart and soul of a team which is more than fancy footwork and passing ability. Colin is a young man with intelligence, dedication, blue collar mentality and a desire to be elite. Colin’s footwork, progression has improved and it was evident in this past game if you take a close look. I agree with you that CK needs to continue to get better with his passing mechanics in the future. CK still made several mistakes but he has all the physical/mental tools to take his game to the next level.

      Did you see Cam on the bench looking deflated and specifically looked at the score board and said “”oh man”! A true leader in the playoffs should not ever give up on front of his teammates when there is time left on the clock. Cam is not mentally strong enough to face all the adversity and he needs to mature in that aspect.

      1. I would say that neither CK nor Cam are the heart and sould of their team yet. On every great team there are multiple leaders but you want your QB’s to be up there. Right now, veterans are pulling their QB’s along on both teams. CK and Cam can establish that leadership but it will be another year or two.

    6. Joe was cool because he STAYED cool. His antics were sticking two hands straight up in the air to celebrate and then get back to business. None of that taunting or self aggrandizing that some QB’s need, that ain’t COOL!

  49. Good points Houston,
    We have seen many great/good NFL QB’ over the years that just did not possess the wherewithal to complete the job.

    Fran Tarkington, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino – the list goes on regarding great QB’ who would come up short for some reason or another.
    Cam does have the physical tools to achieve greatness, but the psychological and mental strength seems to be lacking imo.
    Yesterday would have been a great opportunity to gather his team for a rah, rah, talk to calm some of his over exuberant teammates down. But he seemed to lose his competitive edge when his team got down and didn’t do anything to get out of that funk.

    This is where CK is head and shoulders over him. the only young QB that I see that has the same resiliency as CK right now is Andrew Luck.
    But Cam’ day will come once he becomes more mentally tough.

    1. Cam made a lot of progress this year as a passer and as an all-around QB. IMO he can improve his image as a leader by remembering its OK to feel doubt and worry, but important to not show doubt and worry to his team mates. if the fans can see it, so can his mates.

      1. Yes but here was the superman, the number one draft pick sitting on the bench crying about the outcome of the game rather going to his team and telling them we still have time lets do this!!! The cameras captured his face and how deflated he was. He had given up before the game was over.

      2. During the anthem they showed Cam’s eyes and then Kaepernicks eyes. One guys was focused, determined, angry to win. One was too relaxed, almost too loose. Now I know everyone prepares in different ways, but I take the guy who looks angry to win. That guy made more plays yesterday, was cool and calm under pressure, and won.
        The other guy had a chance to make a play and make it a one score game. he threw an INT. Newton will be better for that experience next year but as far as ready to win, Kaepernick has grown two fold in the last 7 weeks.

      3. FDM, I also noticed before Cam took his first snap he had his eyes closed. Wouldn’t that be a good time to survey the defense? Perhaps he forgot he pretends to be superman and was channeling his inner Luke Skywalker?

    2. AES everything you wrote about CK is true other than when he plays in Seattle. This Sun is CK’s true test is he calm and under control or does he go into panic mode like the last 2 times. I believe his ability to manage the game this Sunday will be the difference between a 9er win or a 9er loss.

      1. Good points Coach. I think overall as an offense, they have done much better with their clock and game management. The noise to me is so over exaggerated. The Niners know what to expect. They have not done well with it, but that’s the regular season. This will not be a factor in this game because the focus and attention to detail is so dialed in from practice to in the game.
        I look at NO and they didn’t have as many issues with it. You know what to expect and prepare for it. This staff will have it under control.

      2. old coach,
        CK has had his issues in Seattle, but even when he was losing in Seattle, he never lost his cool and calm demeanor.
        My point is that CK has a strong mental toughness that has been proven since the SB loss of last year.

        Even after his miserable game at home against the Panthers, CK’ competitive edge and leadership never seemed to buckle.

        Andrew Luck is the other QB that has this same kind of mental toughness as Kaep. You could never count these type of players out because they exude an extraordinary confidence that lifts their teammates
        when things are going bad.

        Cam needs to work on this aspect of his game, and the loss yesterday will actually help in developing the mental toughness down the road.

        old coach; in the words of Michael Corleone, “we have family business” to take of in Seattle.
        CK will be at his best on Sunday. I don’t believe past losses in that park will have any affect on him.
        With CK, the best is yet to come!

      3. Lets make one thing clear, the noise level is NOT over exaggerated. I was in New Orleans where the decibel rating his 117. The players could not hear the QB. My buddy who was six rows over from me could not hear me yelling at him.
        The Clink is even louder. The good news is that we have played in New Orleans and battled the noise. We have played at the Clink this year and battled the noise. We should be pretty good at this point in terms of universally being in synch with hand signals.
        What is most important in this game is to start fast and for Roman to call a good game. No turnovers, no special teams blunders. Our best against their best. Seattles offense broke down at the wrong time. Without Lynch they have NOTHNG as demonstrated by Wilson’s 100 yard effort last week to open their playoff run.
        I am confident that we will contain Wilson in the pocket, I am confident that we will significantly slow Lynch’s roll. My concern lies with our DB’s. Wilson has been extremely luck chucking the ball up and having his receivers make plays. Even on dead duck throws. Our DB’s need to heavily practice getting their heads around this week and locating balls. Drill this over and over. Take away Wilson’s lucky prayer throws and we win easily unless the refs from Green Bay show up and allow similar crimes to be committed in the secondary.
        Niners are the hot team. We are better across the board at all the skill positions. QB, WR, TE and a push at RB. That is why I pick the Niners to win 23-20.

      4. your right bay! Wilson throws “jump balls” and the WR’s do a good job of going up and getting the ball at the high point. I was under the impression that he gets 1 or 2 lucky plays like this a game, but its clear they do this by design and practice it often.
        Just read a clip from Barrows, an interview with some cardinals ( they beat seattle at home 1 week before playing us to end the season) they said what i already know : the key to beating Seattle is to stop Lynch and make Wilson beat you from the pocket!!!!!

      5. I agree the noise factor is over exaggerated. This is the playoffs, loud noise and screaming fans won’t deter the 49ers. They have battled everything from travel to bad weather to poor officiating all year.
        The thing about the noise is the management of getting the plays in and in and out of the huddle is most critical. I think they will be able to handle that as it has improved.
        The best way to shut up a crowd is running the ball, turnovers and everyone being on the same page. I can’t see loud noise stumping the Niners.

  50. 1 beat the weather conditions
    2 snapped a losing streak vs a team and the time difference
    3 We are beating the noise next!

    The 49ers are battle tested and road ready. They haven’t come this far to lose now. Talent is a huge thing in top of that experience is just as huge.
    Seattle knows what’s coming and they won’t stop it.

    1. NinerMd alias 23Jordan, if you’re so confident that the 49ers are so great and battle tested in your opinion. And you said that the Seahawks couldn’t stop what’s coming to them in Seattle, why don’t we make a friendly monetary wager? Anyway, you’re predicting that the 49ers are going to win in Seattle against the much easier opponent Seahawks. To make it an easy bet for you, I’ll even give you whatever is the plus points, as the 49ers are 4 points underdog in Las Vegas morning line, but that’s subject to change during the week….

      1. Ribico,
        The limited number of tickets available for Sunday’s NFC Championship game was sold out in minutes Monday morning. Season ticket holders had purchased most of the available tickets.

    1. Happy birthday grant….

      Mine was last weekend, just turned 27. Getting closer to 30…lol….no offense to anyone here over 30.

      Have a good one.

      1. I know Im late to the party but Happy Birthday Grant. Congratulations you have now entered your physical/athletic prime. Enjoy, for the time moves much quicker than anyone can imagine

    2. Happy Birthday, young Mr. Cohn. I hope you have a great evening. I will have to say dinner with girlfriend and Mother is problematic. Learn about Worlds Colliding from one of the great philosophers of all time… George Costanza

      “If Relationship George walks through that door, he will kill Independent George! A George divided against itself, cannot stand!”

    3. Happy birthday, Grant! Older and wiser. Leave behind that Cowboys fixation of your youth and give the blog a present – a pick for the Niners to win!

  51. RW’s numbers have been abysmal for over a month now. I wonder if that’s due to how the games have flowed. I know Lynch has returned to form after slowing down mid-season.

    I haven’t really watched too many hawks games. Any one have any thoughts on why russells numbers have been so low?

    1. Leo, RW must be contained in the pocket with pressure. If we can slow down the running game and contain Russell Wilson in the Pocket then we can slow down their offense. Also we need to score on defense in this game. Russell W has the tendency to throw to the Running back, TE and to the WR by the sideline when he is under pressure so we should spy the Back dropping behind the DL. Also, our LB can press the TE to impact their timing. Hopefully Fangio will continue to rotate the front seven to keep them fresh for the entire game in order to put pressure on RW. Go Niners

  52. As all of you must know by now, Seattle is trying to cheat again by not selling game tickets to anyone living in California, can you beat that? This has got to be illegal, a civil rights violation, and it shows these Banksters will stop at nothing to win. Someone here previously posted a Wall Street Journal article on how Seattle relies on “rampant interference” to win.
    If Seattle wins the SB, it will be one hell-of-a-disgrace. The League MUST PUT A STOP TO THIS! And I wonder if, on Sunday, we will see the refs call one defensive penalty after another. If I were Goodell, that’s how I would deal with it. The League MUST deal with cheating, and this is cheating on a grand scale.

      1. I don’t see how. We would have heard of lawsuits. Some Niner lawyer fan is going to get a San Francisco Federal just to put a stop to this, or so I hope.

    1. One other thought: The refs started calling defensive penalties in the Carolina game, and they also called that penalty against Skuta, poor a call as it was. Against Green Bay, they just “let them play.” Maybe, just maybe, the word has come down from on high.

      1. The roughing the passer on Skuta was just a total Joke!!! Even Joe and Troy mentioned the call was a ridicules. How can you hit the QB specially if the QB is in the act of escaping the pocket!

    2. I don’t have a problem with it, frankly I wish we did it because I can’t tell you how many Dallas and Green Bay games I’ve gone to and seen waaaaaay to much Green/Gold and Silver/Blue at those games.

    3. I read an article that said this isn’t the first time a professional team has done this. It mentioned the Nashville predators doing it to the Chicago Blackhawks. Fans can still get tickets from stub hub.

    4. It’s just a PR stunt imo. If you are an out of state fan that has the means of attending that game then you certainly have the mans of circumventing these minimal restrictions on finding available tickets. So all of this is just for the media and their own fans.

      1. Hammer,
        Like the 49ers fans, Boston fans also travel well.

        I don’t recall this issue ever taking place before. Are local teams Orgs using this as window dressing to pacify their fan base, or using this as a ploy to ensure opposing teams fans don’t have any type of edge in their stadiums?

        I always thought that money talks in America (lol).

      2. The teams can control where their tickets are sold for face value. If fans want to travel they can get their tickets from resellers, etc. but after looking at stubhub last night I won’t pay $461 to sit in the top of the endzone.

        Fortunately I have family in Oregon, and we are going to try and circumvent the system. LOL ; )

    5. I don’t see the problem. Get resourceful if you want to buy tickets. Its another reason why having the best record is important.

    6. “civil rights violations”, “Banksters”…

      Are you kidding me? George, are you related to Oliver Stone? You should change your name to Truther. Teams can limit sales of their product in any way they want. It’s completely their choice how they want to limit their business as long as they don’t discriminate specifically on a protected class. In some places, they actually call that — freedom.

      1. But Houston, The League MUST PUT A STOP TO THIS!

        That sentence notwithstanding, I was disappointed by the paucity of all caps and exclamation points in the comment.

        If you’re going to come unhinged, you have to go all in. Don’t choose half measures when you should go all the way.

      2. Totally agree Claude. If you’re going all caps in a rant it probably should be all caps for the entire post. He should have also linked to a petition and a request to boycott Microsoft and all other Paul Allen invested entities along with an onsite picket line and rally organized by Al Sharpton’s Political Action Network.

  53. Grant, when the season is finally over and we’re basking in the glow of our 6th Lombardi how about a season review article for the blog. It would be fun to look back at some of the things said before the season started, some of the predictions and thoughts and see how the season played out in comparison. It’s not about what you were right or wrong about but an objective look back at how you thought it would play out versus how it actually did. This could be for the entire league as well or just for our team.

    Anyway, it’s something I would enjoy reading maybe others would as well.

  54. Stopping Newton at what he had done best all year was amazing. Red zone and short yardage quarterback keepers was his specialty, and the Panthers rode him in those situations to great success this year….

  55. Happy Birthday Grant. Now that you’re old enough to buy a beer, get your old Pop a decent Amador County Zin. And a sweater that isn’t the color of tree moss! Now is the time to start a family. Lowell needs some grandkids. Best get on it… ;- )


    1. I’ll bite – certain people prefer Alex Smith over Colin Kaepernick cuz he’s white and has no discernible tattoos. Discuss amongst yourselves…..

      1. Still too peacefull, lets inject some religion in to this…….still nothing……..Bush did a bang up job, and Obamacare is awesome……there that ought to do it

  56. On Patton’s 23 yard reception on 3rd and 10, I’m pretty sure that he was the second or third option. Kaep was scanning the middle of the field before he threw to him. And yes, Kaep’s footwork was excellent, he stepped into the throw.

    1. chewie, this was the best i have seen from Colin with regards to footwork, goring through his progression and staying in the pocket. Its nice to see the improvement. I can not wait until he puts all of it together with consistency.

  57. BTW,
    Happy Birthday Grant. I love my mid 20′s. It’s the one time in your life where you feel balanced as a man. Youthfully strong and confident in your growing wisdom. Cheers.
    Also want to congratulate Jim Harbaugh for being the first NFL coach in NFL history to make it to the NFC Championship three years in a row.

    1. That’s for sure. But the oldest I’ve ever felt in my 68 years was when I was 28. Seeing that decade wind down made me feel ancient…

      1. Ghost ..
        hitting the big “three-oh” was the most
        traumatic for me … and each successive
        decade since has been less and less so ..

        I’m at the point in life, now where I
        hesitate to buy green bananas !

        Happy B-Day, Grant …
        hope you can celebrate with a nice
        California wine with no sulfides !

    1. Steve Smith did exactly what I thought he’d do. Effective early, but as the fluid built up in that knee….not so much.

      The confidence and redemption of handling the Panthers number one defensive front, bodes well for this offensive line in their upcoming war with Seattle.

  58. Bayarea Harbaugh is’nt the first coach to reach the NFC championship 3 consecutive times, in fact i believe A. Reid did it 4 or 5 times in a row. Harbaugh is the first to do it in his first three yrs as a HC

  59. Houston 9er says:
    January 13, 2014 at 11:20 am
    “It’s clear that all Alex Smith supporters are Republicans and all Colin Kaepernick supporters are Democrats.”

    Don’t count me in the demographic Houston (lol).
    I’m a huge CK fan (since his high school days in Turlock), but I’m also a Rep. That’s not to say I have been very happy with my party over the years, but I’m sticking it out for now.

    1. I agreed with tutomate. Way too much congeniality and niceness today. We need to go get kicked out of a TGI Friday or something. I decided to go for the low hanging fruit and mix politics and sports.

  60. Harbaugh’s 3 step recovery program is right on schedule. One more rung on the ladder of success!

    Get to but lose NFC Championship
    Get to and win NFC Championship-Lose SB
    Get to and win NFC Championship-Win SB

  61. Grant mentioned that Cam outplayed CK in the first half
    citing his “perfect” pass to Smith .. and his stats …

    Kaep’s TD pass to Vernon was no less “perfect”
    than Cam’s … In fact, it was so good .. it fooled the
    zebra into thinking it was out of bounds ..
    but we all know what happened after the review …

    That pass was … (imo) .. more “pin-point” accurate
    than Cam’s

    Point being … you can have all the stats you want,
    (during the game) .. but there’s only one stat that
    will actually tell you .. which was the better team..
    and in this case … that stat was the 23-10 ..

    And the talk about CK throwing two “almost”
    pick-sixes in the last couple of games ..?

    I don’t think so .. and here’s why …

    Wasn’t it Bolden who got his finger dislocated after
    trying to catch one of CK’s passes ?

    Our guys are used to Kaep’s bullets ..
    other guys ..? … not so much

    1. The almost pick 6 argument is a funny one. Did fans go on and on about Montana almost throwing an interception a couple of plays before hitting Taylor to win Super Bowl XXIII?

      1. jack i laugh every time someone mentions CK almost threw INTs. That happens in so many games even to some of the best QBs.

  62. If you take away all of Gore’s carries, he had ZERO yards.. I guess you were right, Gore’s “dead legs” will fail us.

  63. Winning a game across the country against that defense, in a place that team had only lost one game all year is very impressive.

    Slow start offensively and the defense gave up a lot of yards in the first half, but from the last drive of the first half through to the end of the game, the Niners dominated the game on both sides of the ball.

    The key going into this game was winning the battles at the LOS especially the Oline, and they did that convincingly. One sack on Kap and great protection for most of the afternoon. If the lines play like that in Seattle the Niners have a great chance to reverse their fortunes in that stadium.

  64. ‘And he was inaccurate because he didn’t consistently set his feet and step into his throws’

    I pray the coaches read this blog so they can discover why Kaep is ‘innacurate’ . the football coach writing this blog is all over it. Oh wait a minute….thats right, he doesnt know a thing about it….

    1. Colin Kaepernick has terrible footwork. He gets away with it because he’s a great athlete. For him to become a great QB instead of a great athlete playing QB he needs to fix his footwork. It is a statement of fact.

      1. You can have Andrew Luck and his perfect footwork and his 4 picks. I’ll take the athlete winner witht he terrible footwork that got ‘out played’

      2. Kaep would also have some picks against his record because of his footwork, but the opposing secondary has dropped them.

      3. I see…on top of everything else he’s just luckier than the other QBs

        There’s no need to make inflammatory statements in a blog. The other professional journalists that cover this team manage to point out Kaep’s misfires w out the additional commentary

      4. Guys, I have to side with AZ49erfan on this. I will take Colin over Alex Smith or a few of the other super stars despite his work in progress footwork.

        If you go back and take a good look at the film from the Panthers game you will see Colin had one of his best games by moving in the pocket rather than running out, setting his foot and throwing. His pump fake led to the 45 yard completion to Boldin. He will get better with more experience and coaching.

        By the way the comments about dropped INTS is just purely silly!!! have you counted all the dropped INTs by Brady, Rogers, Brees or Luck? would of or should of does not count or we would have another trophy last year. Go Niners

  65. I’ve been obsessed with keeping snap counts low since the days when Defensive Coordinator George Seifert rotated nine linemen in a single game. Fresh legs at games/seasons end are crucial.

    Yesterday the defense played a reasonable 56 snaps. Info gleamed from Matt Maiocco…

    56 — FS Eric Reid, SS Donte Whitner, LB Patrick Willis
    55 — LB NaVorro Bowman
    53 — LB Ahmad Brooks
    52 — CB Tramaine Brock, CB Tarell Brown
    47 — OLB Aldon Smith
    38 — DL Ray McDonald
    37 — DL Justin Smith
    36 — DL Glenn Dorsey
    22 — DL Tony Jerod-Eddie
    20 — CB Perrish Cox
    17 — DL Demarcus Dobbs
    9 — LB Dan Skuta
    6 — S C.J. Spillman
    3 — DE Corey Lemonier
    1 — CB Darryl Morris

    I’m loving the nice, low snap counts for Justin Smith and Ray McDonald.

  66. Hi guys,
    I read this blog everyday.
    I’m italian and I support the niners since superbowl xxiii against the bengals.
    I’m going Crazy with yesterday win, I want you to know that there are so many people rooting for red & gold on the other side of the ocean

    1. Italian Niner cheers to you and your beautiful country. I was in Milano for two months for business last year and loved the city!!! wow some of the most beautiful girls i have ever seen in Europe. GO NINERS

  67. Congratulation to the San Francisco 49ers and to their fans. By beating the Panthers, the 49ers get to play the Hawks for the NFCC title game next Sunday at Seattle… The long awaited game between the Seahawks and the 49ers finally a reality. May the best team win the NFCC Title?

      1. Max,
        Aloha Braddah! Congratulation on the win over the Panthers. The best teams in the NFL are playing each other in the NFCC Title game, it’s going to be a great game between this two quality teams with great defense… May the best team wins.

      2. Capeman,

        Ni hao, wo de pengyou! Thanks for the congrats. Yes, my friend, we are going to have a lot of fun come Sunday regardless of the outcome. Some folks are calling our teams’ match-up “the SuperBowl before the Superbowl.” At least for us, it will certainly be close to that. Yes, may the best team win!

  68. I have some grades too.
    For the Cohns coverage of the Niners this year….

    Old man Cohn: F
    Pimple face Cohn: D

    Family grade: FAIL

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