49ers 23, Rams 13: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are the 49ers’ grades for their 23-13 win over the Rams.

KAEPERNICK: A-. This was the most accurate Kaepernick has thrown the ball since Week 1 against the Packers. Kaepernick completed 68 percent of his passes for 9.8 yards per attempt against the Rams. My only knock on him is he did not play well on third down – the 49ers converted just 4 of 12 third downs. That won’t cut it against better teams.

WIDE RECEIVERS: A-. The Rams gave Anquan Boldin the Packers treatment – mostly leaving him uncovered. And Boldin killed them – 9 catches for 98 yards, 6 of those catches were first downs. The Rams overreacted to Michael Crabtree. The Rams should have consistently double-covered Boldin but they didn’t. Crabtree had a 60-yard catch – the cornerback jumped on the double-move and Crabtree was wide open – but he didn’t play well. He was slow – he got caught from behind on the 60-yard catch and he couldn’t catch up to a deep pass from Kaepernick. Crabtree also committed two penalties – a block in the back and an offensive pass interference. Mario Manningham got zero passes.

TIGHT ENDS: A-. Vernon Davis had a great game, both blocking and catching. He hurdled two defenders, and the second hurdle was the 49ers’ only receiving touchdown. This may have been Davis’ career-best game when it comes to running after the catch. Vance McDonald sprained his ankle and did not receive any passes.

RUNNING BACKS: D. Frank Gore scored a three-yard touchdown, but he also fumbled, and for the third game in a row he rushed for fewer than 49 yards. And for the second game in a row, he averaged fewer than 3 yards per carry. Gore now is averaging a career-worst 4.0 yards per carry and seems to be getting worse every week. You have to wonder how much his injured ankle is affecting him. But Kendall Hunter is even worse – he gained 7 yards on 3 carries and is averaging a disappointing 3.9 yards per carry this season.

OFFENSIVE LINE: C. Mike Iupati didn’t play and Joe Staley left the game early with a knee injury. Considering those losses, this group played admirably, but they didn’t play well. They gave up 4 sacks, got pushed around in the run game for the most part and committed more than a few penalties.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B. They didn’t get much pressure, but they shut down Zac Stacy who had been one of the NFL’s hottest running backs before the past few games. On the other hand, it’s not that hard to stop a running back when the opponent’s passing game is minor league.

LINEBACKERS: A-. NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis were excellent, as usual. Bowman had 11 tackles, and both he and Willis sacked Kellen Clemens once. Ahmad Brooks was in-and-out of the lineup because he suffered a stinger last week against the Redskins.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: C+. They didn’t give up a lot of passing yards, but they were playing one of the worst quarterbacks you’ll ever see. Eric Reid dropped an interception and a few plays later the Rams scored a field goal. Donte Whitner had nine tackles, and Carlos Rogers intercepted a tipped pass in the fourth quarter. Tramaine Brock gave up a touchdown pass to the big Brian Quick at the end of the game on a jump ball in the corner of the end zone.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-. They completely shut down Tavon Austin, who recently had been playing like the second coming of Gayle Sayers. The Niners also pinned the Rams behind their 20 yard line four times. But LaMichael James fumbled a punt, and C.J. Spillman was flagged for unnecessary roughness, and that penalty led to a field goal for the Rams.

COACHING: B. The 49ers dominated the Rams, but couldn’t put them away until the fourth quarter when the Rams ran the most predictable, pathetic fake punt. The series before that, Rams’ wide receiver Chris Givens dropped a deep pass on third down that would have put the Rams near the 49ers’ red zone down by just 10 points. If Givens had made that easy catch, this game may have come down to the very end. This game never should have been that close. It was clear from the very beginning the Rams are not in the 49ers’ class. The 49ers’ conservative play-calling when they were in the Rams’ territory kept this game close. The 49ers’ offensive brain trust cannot be that conservative against better teams.

One more thing: I didn’t keep an official count, but it seemed like the 49ers rolled out Kaepernick more often than they had been rolling him out the past few games. Rolling him out was effective – Kaepernick threw his one and only touchdown pass on a rollout.

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  1. I don’t agree that one receiver having a good day constitutes an A- for the entire receiving corp. Same goes for the TE’s.

  2. Generally I think the grades are accurate.
    Kap, Boldin and Davis were very good.
    The red zone offense was terrible. Try throwing the ball into the end zone, run a slant, a fade anything other than a run up the middle.
    Defense played well, not great. Pass rush was ok, but not great. Backfield was good, but a bit lucky with all the dropped passes. Linebackers were very good.

  3. The 2012 Draft, re: LMJ, will go down as one of the worst, if not the worst,
    in 49ers history. Baalke’s failure to secure both a legitimate receiver and runner in that draft has hurt this team all season.

    As for today, saw little to suggest that this team will be able to take the Seahawks next week.

    8-5 and counting.

    1. Rob regarding the 2012 draft Looney looked excellent in the 2nd half and as to next week Seattle is not good on the road and who knows how many more seahawks will get caught cheating by next sunday.

      1. Not good on the road? Maybe not as good but this lie has to end, they have one loss all season. They cant be that bad on the road.

    2. Rob, i disagree and actually saw plenty of good stuff that would make me feel hopeful for a victory next week. Its interesting to look at things from different perspectives. GO NINERS

  4. Agree with the grades not so much the analysis. Crabtrees presence forced attention away from boldin. If Crabs gets single covered he has same numbers.. looks slower and hesitant but still enough to warrant a gameplan. Also a more Important statistic is his pass completion % on 3rd down. 4 of 12 doesn’t mean anything to me with kap if its 3rd and 2 and the run game couldn’t get it done.

  5. Grant I will have to go back to check but I believe the increase in roll out had more to do with CK rolling away from pressure than called roll outs.

  6. I believe you are right regarding Gores ankle. I noticed him limping off the field last week vs wash and after the first time he limped off they began going to RB by committee. Luckly for the 9ers after this weeks seattle game the team will be able to rest him 2 weeks in a row, which should have him rested and ready for the playoffs.

  7. First live action for a player 6 months removed from a torn Achilles. Crab played just fine. Two catches for 60 yards. And drew the attention away from boldin. Did come out a little too aggressive but that’s fine. Kap had another solid performance. Today was the best he’s looked since GB in my opinion.

    1. Adam….. Crabtree looked a little shaky at times but that’s to be expected. After watching him today I feel pretty confident in his ability to be at or near the top of his game by the playoffs,

    2. Adam, i was actually very impressed to see Crab move the way he did and this was a great start for him to get in the football shape.

    3. Yea I’m not going to knock him for looking rusty or coming out fiery. His final stat line 2 catches 68 yards speaks for itself. Even at 100% I don’t think he takes that one to te house. He’s not a speedster. But he can get open. And the “deep” ones I think grant is referring to were air mailed. Not even Lebron would get those. Lol

    1. Grant is NOT correct on his take of what happened, Crabtree actually out ran the defender but the safety(s) came over and blocked his path and then Crabtree dove another yard. Don’t let a little fact ruin your bashing of Crabtree’s impressive return, Grant

      1. No, he didn’t outrun his defender. He used a straight arm to keep him away, though, and a safety made the tackle. Crabtree never was a speed guy. I thought he played wonderful, considering he’s only six month from an Achilles tear. Will get better week by week.

      2. Pete, i went back and looked at the play and you are correct Crabtree actually outran his defender so there was no issue with his speed. The safety saved the touch down by getting in his path on the side line at that time the defender caught up to him and then Crabtree just decided to go down which was a smart choice. Why risk getting injured in your first game back or fumbling the ball in the red zone.

  8. Can’t knock gore for a bad game running. The 0-line was horrible today. We NEED Staley back next week, iupoti, also.
    Crabtree looked like he just started TC. And STILL got open. That cut on the 60 yard pass he made when he went down showed he doesn’t have the legs yet. He will be fine. And if he improves week after week I can see this offense lighting some teams up. 20-25 points should be plenty for a win. With the way this defense is playing.
    Next week is the season. IMO. If they lose to the seahaks I think they’re done with a superbowl run this year. They HAVE to beat Seattle to prove to themselves they can beat anybody.

    1. Defense is playing like Superbowl contenders.

      Teams are going to begin to really start paying the price for keying against the run game with Crabs, VD, and Boldin firing on all cylinders.

      I thought the pass blocking was good, run blocking not so much. Kaep looked pretty good. If he plays well, we’re the best team in the NFL.

      1. Seattle is down 2 defenders, have a short week, and to be honest, I don’t think they’ll beat New Orleans. Seattle should be 1 and done in the ‘t playoffs. They’ll be beat by the winner of the Carolina Wild Card game. Whether that be Carolina or SF, that teams goes to the super bowl. Crabtree opens a lot of options in the offense. You can’t just double Boldin anymore. MM and Crabtree will make teams play them honest. The oline injuries are going to hurt the running game, but a couple LMJ screens should beat a loaded box.

  9. I would give the coaching a C plus on the offensive side, great with the roll outs and passing game, too many predictable ineffective runs. Would love to see some new blood behind Kaep.

  10. Grant I don’t see how you can knock Crabtree for getting caught. Anyone who thinks Carbtree is supposed to be playing at least years pace is ignorant. Also 4.0/ypc is a 1st down every three carries, I like those odds.

  11. Grant,
    Fair grades all around.
    I agree with your CK assessment. For a game in which I felt we were dominating, the score (especially in the 1st half) did not reflect that.

    I thought that Crabtree’ presence made a difference by opening up more opportunities for Boldin and even VD.
    Crabtree pretty much looked as I expected him to look in his first game back; a little out of sync, overcharged, and yes, somewhat slow.
    But hen again, speed has never been MC’ strength.

    I was somewhat surprised that Manningham did not receive that much action because he seemed to be making good strides since his return.
    But I do like that Harbaugh was intent on showing the defense (and the c-hawks) that Crabtree’ return is not about window dressing.

    I was a little disappointed in LMJ’ efforts today. I’ve felt that he has been on the cusp of breaking one anytime soon. Today was a set back for him.
    Maybe his big breakout game will come next week.

    Big question is what will be the status of Staley and Iupati going forward.
    I hate revolving door cycle of getting players back from injury only to lose other players to injury.
    Kilgore and Looney will really need to step in, and show up if there is any time loss with Staley and Iupati.

    Good game – 23-13 (hit my Sat. prediction).

  12. Did you guys here Alex Boons press after the game! This guy is a true football player and we are lucky to have him as a 49er.

  13. I am not sure any running back could run behind this line, there haven’t been any running lanes in three weeks. Kind of hard to make things happen when you always get the ball and face a wall of defenders. In fact I bet over half the runs this season have resulted in 2 yards of less. The line hasn’t been that great all year long in passing or running. Lets hope some DL doesn’t crush Kaepernick by blowing past one of our backups.

    1. True. But in terms of the passing game, thankfully, they usually keep their best pass blocker — Frank Gore — in the pocket on passing downs.

  14. Today the offense seemed to do a lot less of the pedantic resets and shifts and motions. And btw, CK looked more comfortable and managed the play clock better.

  15. Grant, have you thought of maybe labeling “Running Backs” as, instead, “Running Game” when you dole out your silly “grades”? You seem to consistently ignore the importance of “blocking,” especially “run blocking,” or at least tend to blame the running backs for a lack of such. Hint: if every running back struggles, odds are he’s not getting any room.

      1. I’m responding because Grant is young and not close to half as knowledgeable about his gifted subject area as he thinks he is. I’m trying to provide him with some insight/ideas on improvement, mike. In this case, “running backs need good run blocking.”

    1. your hint is spot on–if gore And hunter avg per carries are down maybe there are other factors in play–one definetely being the inability of the passing game, before this game, to make defenses pay for stacking the box

  16. I know it’s the Rams, but the Niners seemed to play with more confidence today.

    - Kaep looked more comfy, like his first games in 2012. The feistier he is, the better he is.

    - Looney made it…I’ve been dreading the injury that would bring him into the first string lineup, but he held up. He even showed The Feist when he hit a Ram (thankfully without incurring a penalty). Big Boy.

    - LMJ was sick from food poisoning, which explains his few plays. Still think he would be a nice speed weapon against Seattle.

    - I now look for Eric Reid when the D is on the field. Great pick, Trent, thanks. Hoping we can draft a CB with Reid’s mindset next year.

    Given the injuries today, the ones still affecting us, and the ramp-up for Mario and The Crab…not bad. And we still haven’t seen Patton’s talent yet.

  17. Anyone notice that they made a couple of attempts to check down to gore Underneath. Baby steps but it was an effort.

    1. yup and it looked like he went through his progressions on a few plays (though as John Lynch noted, he did put his head down a lot if the 1st read wasn’t there). i know it’s not saying much, but this was easily the most encouraging game from Kaep all season. hope to see him build on this vs Seattle.

      1. 3rd quarter CK looked at the first 2 reads before finaly dumping it off to miller for a nice gain (15 yards i think) even though it was not much it showed improvement that we all here have been screaming for.
        Another thing i loved seeing from CK he saw the D about to blitz and he got the ball o ut to his “hot” read within a second of catching the snap…baby steps

  18. The rivalry with the Rams dates back to 1950, there have been 129 games played, more than against any other NFL opponent…. for the first time in the storied 63 year history, the 49ers have a TWO GAME lead…. 64-62-3….

  19. “Crabtree had a 60-yard catch – the cornerback jumped on the double-move and Crabtree was wide open – but he didn’t play well. He was slow – he got caught from behind on the 60-yard catch and he couldn’t catch up to a deep pass from Kaepernick”

    I love Crab, but he is slow.

    1. Hammer,
      Good call on Miller.
      This guy never seems to disappoint whenever his number is called.
      From the first time he caught that catch/run for a TD from Alex(was it last year or in 2011?), he has been money making those catches out of the backfield.

      I hope that Roman does not shy away from using Miller more often.

    1. Adam,
      I noticed that too. The young man is growing up before our eyes. Makes the struggle worth it. Glad to see there are a few of us that were patient during his growth period.

      1. I’m going to give credit when it is due. Guy has balled the last two weeks. We need to come up huge next week. We need this win.

      2. Bay,
        When CK was bad, he was bad. But I never stopped supporting him based on three things.
        1. He is still a young inexperienced QB who needs to learn the nuances of the game.
        2. He was missing his primary WR.
        3. He had done enough in the past to convince me that he is capable of being one of the best QB’ in the league.

        But you hit on the operative word: Patience
        CK still has much to learn before becoming a 7-10 fixture at QB, but he’s making progress and that’s ok with me.

    2. It seems as if the coaches have made some changes. Kaepernick seems to be more fluid. They probably have him doing less before and during the play which is allowing him to be himself. Let’s hope they don’t outthink themselves this week. I’m flying from Kentucky to Cali Friday to watch them play. I pray we get the win

  20. I love reading this blog when I have the time but the criticality sometimes amazes me. This Rams team is not chopped liver. They have beat some quality opponents including several that gave the niners as much or more than they could handle. It is so easy to get caught up in trashing your own players performance because the tendency is to downgrade the opposition. This is an up and coming team. The niners won. Crabtree played and seems to be fine. Let’s hope the injuries are not serious and be very happy that AZ lost! Kudos to Grant for predicting much of what ultimately transpired.

    1. Greg, our constant state of dissatisfaction is just silly. This team has faced many difficult situations with a very young QB but despite the success I constantly hear negativity! Yes we must do better at every position and CK needs to mature as a true pocket passer but please give me a break with all this comments about the weak opponents! This is the NFL. Rams beat the crap out of a very good colts team and they almost beat the Seahawks! For the past two weeks we have faced two teams with very good rushing attack and this defense stepped up to the challenge! We are not a perfect team right now but our last two losses were only by a total of four points against two of the top playoff seeds and with one play here or there it would have been a different story. My point here is that anything is possible and this team has the ability to beat any other team if we execute and stay healthy! So a little bit of luck would really help as well. Be happy and just imagine if you were a packer, Texan or a Falcon fan right now! :)

      1. Chi
        I admit that I can fall in to the “anti homer” mindset where for fear of being a fanboi I am overly critical of some aspects of my favorite team. The truth is that there is not a single team out there that is perfect and infallible. But since we see every single snap the 9ers take we are more aware of their flaws than we are of some other teams.

        Poll question for the other posters:
        Bigger dissapointment this year Texans or Falcons?

  21. Tony Dungy just said he was impressed with the speed of Crabtree. I haven’t watched it yet but saw highlights. Not bad for 1st game!

    1. According to Grant, he was slow and caught from behind, that’s not what happened, Crabs out ran his defender who dove at his feet and missed.

      1. Crabs ran a pretty average 4.54 forty at his college pro day. I thought he looked close to that today. Obviously it’ll take him time to get used to the suddenness of the game. But the fact that he was out there for so many plays is damn encouraging.

  22. Boone can ball at LT. People tend to forget he was a first round projection at that position. Nice to see Looney get the nod and do well. He’s got a nasty disposition, which I like in an offensive lineman. Impressive performance by Mr. Crabs indeed. Boobie made a great play on special teams. I can’t wait until next Sunday. Bring it on…..

    1. Boone played well today. Love his effort. But Razor, he was never considered a first rounder at LT. His scouting report coming out of college:

      Positives: Tall tackle prospect with good functional strength and long arms. … His size and strength makes it tough to bull rush him … Agile enough to combo down and then move straight ahead to the middle linebacker. … Can lock onto defensive ends and keep them out of the play…

      Negatives: May need to play right tackle in the pros, as he is more of a mauler than an athlete. … Does not move his feet or hands quickly enough to handle explosive speed on the edge. … Also loses his balance when sustaining because he leans too far forward and his hands are not inside the body. … Plays too upright in pass protection. … Lacks great flexibility to adjust to oncoming blitzers.

      1. Did you know that he was protecting against Robert Quinn, who has 13 sacks this year, and didn’t allow one today? I think Boone could be an outstanding tackle, and just hope his replacement at guard can hold up.

      2. Sully
        Boone isn’t the same player or guy that he was in college. He refocused himself in his personal life and has made continued development in his professional skills. He was a back up RT for sf, but became a good football player and deserved a shot at RG. Despite his height being a technique challenge at Guard, he’s been good. He didn’t forget how to play tackle, and since he was Plan A for backup at OT, it seems he’s done some work at it behind the scenes. Remember also that knowing all the assignments lets one play better in coordinated blocking. I’ve been dubious all year whether the strategy of having Boone as Plan A replacement was safe.I’m pleasantly surprised by the result.

  23. Next week predict: 49ers 24 Seahawks 14

    But we need to be AGRESSIVE on offense, pass on first downs, surprise them with the pistol offense in the 3rd quarter …. a little like in Rocky II where Rocky switched suddenly and threw Apollo Creed off his game.

  24. Aside from a little rust ..
    (which is to be expected) Crabs
    certainly “announced” his return, just fine !

    and .. if you take away all those
    PFF stats …. the Niners won anyhoo !

      1. I sure hope this NFL thing takes off and becomes successful. Then maybe they’ll be able to afford another microphone so that we can hear the questions in the press conferences, too.

  25. Grant, Watch the replay again on Crabs 60 yd pass,he didnot get caught from behind, he cut to the left, and the safety was there, and he fell.

  26. I hate the whole “crab is slow” statement. He’s never been fast, but he is quick. He is quick in and out of breaks. And creates separation with his route running. But can out run people when needed. I was thoroughly happy with his performance today.

  27. This is a great win for the 49ers and it’s certainly a move in the right direction in terms of offensive improvement; however, I don’t know that it’ll be enough this year to get us into the Super Bowl. I think Greg Roman could go down as the guy who had a ton of talent on offense and still lost a Super Bowl. I think history will say Greg Roman lost last year’s Super Bowl. I think Greg Roman’s a complete lemon, even though today he took the team in the right direction against an improved Rams team. Here’s a few things Greg needs to do to get his offense, “Super Bowl worthy,” over the next three or four weeks.

    First off, Greg needs to use a lot less of Frank Gore. Football is a lot like pitching in baseball. The outside sets up the inside. Frank Gore isn’t fast enough to run outside the tackles. Frank is a blocking back, a check down or a run up the middle. That’s it. If you try to run Frank on a sweep to the right or to the left, it’s a tackle for a loss….. unless….. unless you can get the safeties back on their heels. That might open up a sweep for the painfully slow Gore. But I don’t think the 49ers have the personnel on offense to get safeties backing up pre-snap. You know who could do that for us last year? Ted Ginn. We don’t have a speed receiver who can take the top off the defense. It’s not Vernon Davis. It’s not Manningham and I don’t think it’s Patton either.

    Last year we saw Frank Gore running off tackle effectively partly because he was younger, we had Ginn, and partly because of the read option – but we don’t have any of those luxuries now. Now, bringing Frank into the game is a blatant tell. You’re saying it’s a run up the gut or he’s a blocking back or check down. And Frank’s also too slow for screens and other gimmick plays, so “frankly,” I’d use less of Frank. I’d use more of Kendal Hunter, and more of LaMicheal James (as a running back, not as a punt returner – Yikes!).

    If it were me, I’d be running 4 or 5 receiver sets, empty backfield a lot, and I’d be working on my hot routes and blitz adjustments from now until the playoffs because that’s what Kaep’s about to see in the playoffs – heavy blitz. I don’t care if the next several teams blitz or not, I’d be working on the blitz, and I’d be doing it without Frank Gore (which I know to some of you sounds insane). But it’s like ole’ John Madden always says, “The more things you can do….” Frank is limited. Next man up.

    Today I was encouraged to see Kaep in the pocket, scanning and then pulling the ball down and running effectively. Tony Dungy said Crabtree opened up a lot of things, and Dungy’s right. Crabtree also open up run lanes for Kaep because the Rams’ D couldn’t have as many guys near the line of scrimmage on pass plays. But aside from us all wanting to see more play action, more spread, more rub routes, more screens, more James, more Kendal, whatever, that key to our offense, and really to any Super Bowl caliber offense, is Kaep being a good to great pocket passer. Running qbs don’t win Super Bowls. You win from the pocket, and Kaep’s quickly learning how to take his drops, scan the field, either pull the trigger or pull it down and run. Today he looked good. But against the blitz? Kaep’s not good, and that’s on Greg Roman. Period. You can blame Kaep all you want, but beating the blitz, with a second year qb, is all about play calling and getting a sense of when the blitz is coming, and Greg Roman has absolutely no feel for that whatsoever, and don’t tell me it’s because Greg didn’t have the weapons. I don’t buy it. What Greg didn’t have, and still doesn’t, is the knowledge of how to beat the blitz and how to install blitz beaters. You know who’s a ready made blitz beater? Kendal Hunter. But Greg doesn’t use him enough. He’s in love with Gore.

    The good thing about today is that teams aren’t going to be able to stack the box anymore against us. After the Green Bay game, Greg and Jim were somewhat ahead of the NFL by going power run and somewhat winning, but Carolina showed the rest of the NFL how to beat us – stack the box. Fortunately for Roman, his next two opponents were Washington and St Louis.

    What did we see today? What’s the one great thing about today besides the Crabtree 60+ yard catch? We saw how deep our O line is. Iupati and Staley go down and Robert Quinn is left with I think zero sacks. That’s a testament to Mike Solari’s skill, but it also shows where Harbaugh wants his “suited up” reserves. Harbaugh and his coaching staff are saying, “If the injury bug hits, we can’t win without good depth at O line. That’s our priority for our reserves.” You can’t have good depth suited up across the board. What’s interesting, however, is that the Crabtree injury shows how little depth we have at wide receiver, and just how close we are to one injury holding the offense’s productivity hostage.

    Two years ago I was calling for the 49ers to draft Alshon Jeffrey. Our boy here, Grant, loved Fleener. Gee, who’s better today? If we had drafted Alshon Jeffrey instead of AJ Jenkins, I’ll tell you what…. this year would be a whole lot different, and people wouldn’t be calling for Kaep’s head (incorrectly). We’d still be a run first team, which I think is a mistake because great coaches coach to their players’ talents, and Kaep is an amazing talent who should be throwing the ball 50 times a game, but we’d be more balanced, and teams wouldn’t be able to stack the box against us because Vernon, McDonald, Alshon, and Boldin would be a dominant force that kept both safeties back. But coulda, shoulda, woulda…. Regardless, Crabtree’s injury highlights Baalke’s huge, AJ Jenkins mistake.

    Next year we need to use our first and second round picks on wide receivers. I know that sounds like a lot, and it may cause the college run game coordinator, Greg Roman’s head to spin off the hizzy, but if Greg can’t coach to his players’ talents, don’t let the door hit ya. The offense is destine to be a passing offense, only because Colin Kaepernick is so good. That said, today’s game gives us a glimmer of hope that the 49ers could make a little noise in the playoffs. After the Panthers’ game, I thought we were dead in the water, and probably going to win only one game in the playoffs (against the Lions). Now I think we can beat the Saints, but we aren’t in Seattle’s league just yet, which reminds me…. we also need to be working on silent counts in games before the playoffs start. Start preparing in-game for the Seattle noise. Break the huddle silently, make adjustments at the line silently, run the plays without words. We all know – the road to the Super Bowl will go through Seattle, and the game is about rings, nothing more.

      1. According to Grant’s dad, the next game is put or shut up time. Overall the Niners’ D is playing exceptionally well. The Rams had beaten two playoff contending teams.
        It’s still a WIP offense. We had no running game and the it’s not like Colin broke 300 yards passing. It just feels less inept.The good news is Colin hit some check downs and was accurate. Bad news is he was only 4-14 on 3rd down.
        It was still a close game into the 3rd quarter, and you knew the Rams couldn’t do anything on Offense.
        We’re not putting teams away.

      2. Fansince77,
        I don’t think it’s about Colin Kaepernick. That’s what I’m getting from this blog, and I honestly think this blog has it wrong. If you gave Colin Kaepernick a better OC, we wouldn’t be having this debate. Greg Roman was a good match with Alex Smith because Greg was Stanford’s running game coordinator. But passing, and teaching a young qb how to pass, aren’t Greg’s strengths. I really feel like Greg is the one who should be getting the criticism, not Kaep. That said, we aren’t putting teams away because Greg’s offense is so predictable. That’s ironic because it’s also complex. Complexity is designed to have an answer for any situation. Complexity is designed into an offense to make the offense more productive. But when your offense is overly complex and the result is predictable, your offensive coordinator is the problem, not the qb. The 49ers have the horses to be a dynamic offense. Unfortunately for all of us, Greg Roman doesn’t know how to use Kendal Hunter, La Micheal James, Vance McDonald, Jon Baldwin or Colin Kaepernick.

      3. Spitblood,
        I think it’s a combination of the two. Colin was not playing well, for a variety of reasons. Even now against mediocre teams, he’s not dominating.
        I do agree that Roman is holding the entire offense back. He’s just not versatile or dynamic. He’s a genius at calling run formations, but other teams have caught on. It’s a chore to watch the niners play offense.

      4. fann77
        “Bad news is he was only 4-14 on 3rd down.”
        First of all, it was 4-12, and secondly, the TEAM was 4-12 on 3rd down, that was not CK’s passing #s on 3rd down.
        And to my eyes, it seems like many of the late game drives were 100% runs, including 3rd down.

      5. @Ex
        I wasn’t counting moral victories. : >)
        The League sure wasn’t either with their lame defense of the refs call. Unfortunately the standings aren’t based on any shoulda’s.
        I don’t go near Wal-Mart, do you? See cuz the Niners, the Saints and the NFL call that a Saints win.
        Ex explained his point. Is yours similar?

    1. Chewie
      I hear you but we cant scream for them to throw the screen and then the first time he calls it kill him for it. I agree tho, terrible call at that time

  28. spit ..

    I hear what yer sayin’ … but .. I’m taking what the players
    say (when asked) … to mean something ..
    It’s all about the next game on the schedule …

    Gotta get past the SeaChickens .. first ..
    That’s all that matters …

    Run Gore to keep the 8-man fronts .. then let
    Boldin, Crabs, and Vernon torch them all day …

    (and maybe … just for general ha-ha’s …
    drag out the “Big Sleeper” .. as an early
    Christmas present for the red headed step kid … !)

    It’s too early to be talkin’ SB …

    One game at a time …

  29. The C for the o-line is overly harsh. They played with 3 players out of position and did well against one of the better d-lines in football. Brockers, Long, and Quinn are really good players. Considering the shuffling on the o-line, the unit deserves at least a B.

    1. Did you see Josh Gordon of the Browns yesterday? If the Niners could have gotten him for a second round pick, Crabtree or not, they shoiuld have pulled the trigger.

      1. I sure saw him on my fantasy team! The cruelty of it is, I’ll likely lose as the other guy trotted out Eric Decker. Boom.

      2. The Browns are a bad team, someone has to get some yards for them. Gordon is like the best player on a bad NBA team who routinely puts up big points but once he goes to a contender disappears.

      3. The rumor was Josh Gordon for a 2nd round pick which is just that, a rumor. I’d be surprised if the Browns weren’t asking for more which is why he wasn’t traded anywhere.

      4. I’m with rocket. Putting aside wishful thinking and uninformed speculation, was there any indication that the Browns actually would have traded Gordon for a mid or late second round pick?

      5. Rob,
        No one is doubting his talent, just his ability to stay clean.

        If he was a one time violator we may have taken a chance on him, but with two strikes on him that is a huge gamble that can hurt the team on many levels.

    2. You’re using a victory against the Lambs as an example of why we didn’t need another WR? If I remember correctly you were in favor of picking up Gordon at the time as well.

      1. With Gordon, they would’ve cut Baldwin and had Manningham playing the 4th receiver. Manningham is not under contract next season. They could’ve drafted a receiver next season because there is no guarantee that Boldin will be back either. I’ll always feel like they should’ve made that trade. I just hope we don’t regret it.

        Gordon is a star. Regardless to how Jack tries to diminish his play. He makes plays. No matter what team he plays for. He’s a playmaker.

      2. Shows how dire our situation is at WR this year. We were banking on MM coming back to save the day and he’s never been more than an average 3rd option his entire career.

      3. I can go looking for it if I get bored but there was a discussion on it and you were asked if you would like him here and your answer was a yes.

      4. Coffee,

        I wasn’t against them trading for Gordon. I said they didn’t need to and wouldn’t based on their offensive style and the impending return of Manningham and Crabtree.

        It didn’t happen and some can’t let it go.

      5. Jack Hammer says:
        December 2, 2013 at 10:19 am
        I wasn’t against them trading for Gordon.
        Which is all I said my friend
        Coffee’s for Closers says:
        December 2, 2013 at 8:56 am
        If I remember correctly you were in favor of picking up Gordon at the time as well.

      6. Not against it is not the same as in favour of it. And rocket is right, the rumour that a 2nd round pick was enough to land him should be seen as exactly that – a rumour. We don’t know what they wanted for him.

        Anyway, I agree with Jack – now that Crab and MM are back this receiving group will be good enough come playoffs time when it really matters.

    3. Jack,

      Yesterday didn’t show any of that. Josh Gordon’s last 2 weeks have been unbelievable. We could’ve used Gordon. We still need him. Our front office fell asleep at the wheel. Next year we’re in the draft gambling with Ballke to find us a wideout.

      So once again, we should’ve pulled the trigger.

      1. 23
        Gordon in a city with 200+ weed dispensaries just across the bridge is not a comfortable nights sleep for the front office. No questions he can ball out but can we afford to rely on him during a long playoff run?

      2. I hate that they test for pot in the NFL. It does NOTHING to enhance performance. I’ve never heard a good explanation as to why they test for it. Other than the obvious that it’s illegal. Maybe that will change as it becomes legalized state to state.

    4. I think what yesterday showed is we need to re sign boldin. And now we don’t HAVE to draft a WR in the 1st. We can grab one in the 2nd.

      1. Adam the only question about Boldin is how much for how long. The 9ers need to front load the contract because once the legs start to go they go fast. I’m not sure the 9ers have the cap room next yr to front load his contract.

  30. This game changes nothing. The 49ers have to beat good teams before things matter. So far, they are either the worst of the good teams, or the best among the bad teams. However you want to look at it. You have to beat the good teams if you want to get past the playoffs.

    1. Mike- Except for their record. If you choose to take that POV, then you should know that is only a perception, not a reality for the team. You can ‘choose’ to look at it however you want. Do you get extra points for beating a ‘good’ team? Of course not. That proves absolutely nothing.
      Beat enough teams on your schedule and you’re in the playoffs. What really matters is beating WHATEVER team is in front of you come playoff time, whether some feel that team is good or not. If you are playing that team, they get your full respect.

  31. The Rams thrashed the Colts and Andrew Luck (who apparently walks on water according to some here) handily a couple of weeks ago. They beat Chicago (another playoff caliber team) last week. The came within a whisker of beating the vaunted the Seahawks. Robert Quinn / Chris Long is right up there with Aldon Smith / Ahmad Brooks as the best pass rush combo in the league. This is a good team.

    Make no mistake about it, this was a solid win against a good team regardless of the naysayers on this blog. The Niners are rounding into form and ready to roll. I see us at 12-4 when all is said and done. I expect Seattle to lose three more games (Saints tonight, Niners next week, and Cardinals) to finish 12-4 as well with the Niners winning the division with a better division record.

    Go Saints (just for tonight)….

    1. I am beginning to think Alex Boone is the MVP of the O-line. He did a very good job against the Rams at left tackle. Boone showed his diversity yesterday switching from right guard to left tackle. I also must say Looney did a good job filling in for Boone at right guard. Depth is so important at this time of year.

      1. You’re a little late to the conversation (see my game comment yesterday), but you’re absolutely right. He can protect the pass and block the run, and he can play any position on the line as well as the starter at that position can. Remember, he was a 1st round talent coming out of college, but teams didn’t take him because he was also a famously prolific drunkard.

      2. I agree with you guys about Boone. As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t know the situation of the contracts, but Boone needs to get paid before Iupati.

  32. Got a big game coming up this coming Sunday. Its just not big for the playoff scenario, but its a measuring stick for the upcoming playoffs. The Niners don’t just have to beat the Hawks they have to beat them up. The Niners need first downs, lots of them. Ball control will be paramount to victory.

  33. Mixed feelings from me on this game. I’m happy with the win, but there are still some issues with this team, mainly on offense.

    They are still settling for FG’s in the Red zone and that is a problem. You have to score TD’s in the Red zone and this team just can’t seem to do it consistently.

    The running game is defunct, mainly because teams are selling out to stop it, but if that’s the case, the Passing game has to force them to pay for it and while Kap had a better day yesterday, it still wasn’t where it needs to be if a team is giving you the pass.

    Injuries are piling up on the Oline and while Boone and Looney did a great job filling in, I don’t think we can sustain anymore, and need Iupati and Staley back asap.

    The defense played extremely well once again especially the run defense as the Rams came in running the ball very well.

    Kap threw the ball very accurately and seemed buoyed with confidence over the return of Crabs.

    As mentioned above, Boone and Looney did a great job in their respective fill in roles which is great to see.

    They didn’t fall for the fake punt this time, or at least didn’t allow it to happen the way it was supposed to and that pretty much ended the game.

    Now the true test begins. Seattle at home next week. Can they beat the consensus best team in the NFL? We’ll see.

    1. They scored 23 points. With the way this defense is playing they can’t be beat with that output alone.
      But I do agree on the redone issue from yesterday. A holding penalty didn’t help them out either. I thought the week before vs Washington was a good sign of things to come in the redone. I don’t like the play calling at all in the redone. And I don’t think it’s going to change.

    2. The “best” team in the NFL is scraping the bottom of the barrel for warm bodies to play the DB position. The suspensions in the defensive backfield are going to catch up with Cheating Pete and his crew tonight and next Sunday.

      Saints 31 Seattle 21
      Niners 28 Seattle 16

  34. I’d pay $1000 bucks to sit in the offensive meetings this week. The key this week believe it or not is to get the ball out of Kaeps hands quickly. Our backs should catch 6-8 balls in the flat. We should also run two reverses with MM. We successfully do that and play some defense, we will win this game.

    We ready to roll out tank yet?

    How is McDonalds ankle? Guess it doesn’t matter, he’s been insignificant anyway.

    How is Patton’s foot?

    Anyone buying in that we pass protect better with Iupati out of the lineup?

    1. +1 on quick passes, they need to make those Seattle DB’s tackle instead of just jam and shadow. Thomas is a stud, but I’m not real impressed with Sherman nor Chancellor tacking in the open field. G Ro needs to have his best game plan of the year [so far] this Sunday.

      1. If the Niners want to mimic one game plan from this year versus Seattle, it’s the Texans in the first three quarters. Their game plan was brilliant.

        They must have hit 10-12 passes to RB and TE’s in the flat. Forced the DB’s to tackle. Sherman was getting man handled that game. He was hurting and trust me, he wasn’t talking trash. I’d say Hunter was the guy to work the flats.

    2. Gotta agree with the short passes. When wathcing the games all I see are wideopen backs either in the flat or right in the middle of the field. I don’t know why Kap is struggling checking it down. He rather take a sack or scramble for negative yards then throw to his backs.

      As for the pass protection, Boone is an absolute beast and needs to be recognized for that. I thought Looney held his own in pass protection. But I can’t agree that our pass protection is better with out Iupati. I can’t stand seeing Snyder out there. I rather see Boone at tackle, Looney at guard, if and when Iupati comes back.

      Luckily Seahwaks aren’t the greatest pass rushers. Should be a good game at home. Finally a neutral field, which is kind of a knock on our fans b/c they’re pretty melow.

    3. Bay,
      On D, the Niners need to attack the Seattle offense – just like they did against Washington. The past two games against Seattle, they’ve stayed back and reacted and we saw what happened.

      1. Nick i may be wrong but i bet we are in for a lot of 3 man rush. I believe they will try force Wilson into throwing from the pocket and not letting him get outside.

      2. Old Coach, that would be a huge mistake. Nick is right, the scheme we used versus Washington would be perfect. The blitzes they dialed up that game were the best I’ve seen all season.

      3. “the scheme we used versus Washington would be perfect. The blitzes they dialed up that game were the best I’ve seen all season.”

        The 49ers blitzed Washington 5 times on 35 drop backs in that game. Coach is on the right track.

      4. Bay i’m not saying i believe its the best decision but the current thought about wilson is he is not nearly as effective in the pocket and knowing Fangio i’m willing to bet we will see 3 and 4 man rush pretty consistently. I believe they used the blitz package vs wash because they did’nt believe that RG3 or Shanahan JR could handle it. Grant i think its a good poll question , are we more likely to see a heavy blitz package or primarily a 3 or 4 man rush? Again i’m not talking about what you would RATHER see but what we are more LIKELY to see.

      5. I don’t see them blitzing much more than usual which is little. They need pressure up the middle and contain on Wilson to be successful. His best plays are made when he escapes pressure and he does that frequently against blitzes. I see them staying mainly with 4 man pressure and spying Wilson with Bowman frequently.

        Don’t forget that the defense actually played pretty well in Seattle in Sept. They don’t need to change much from what they did then with the exception of trying to limit the big runs from Lynch.

      6. Nick:

        Do you know that blitzing is effective against Wilson or are you just assuming it will be?

        I don’t have access to numbers for quarterback performance when blitzed (does PFF track that?), but as of November 13, Wilson was posting a QBR (that’s ESPN’s stat, not the traditional passer rating stat) of 76.9 when bltitzed. Wilson’s QBR for all plays is 64.2, which suggests that blitzing him is not the way to defend against Seattle.

      7. Rushing 4 is one thing. When the 49ers try to get cute and rush 3 dropping a backer in coverage they generally stink it up.

        No one said to blitz all game. The Rams blitzed Seattle effectively and used a array of stunts that had Seattle off balance all afternoon in their last meeting. Wilson got the crapped kicked out of him that game.

      8. In the last 2 meetings the 49ers have blitzed Wilson on 28% of his pass attempts, 15 of 53. On those plays Wilson is 8-12 for 114 yards and 2 TD’s.

        He had a rating of 158.3 (perfect) in the second game last year against the blitz, and a rating of 102.1 in the first game this season.

        In the second game last season he had a rating of 92.8 when not blitzed and a rating of 38.9 in the first game this season when not blitzed.

        Seems to me that blitzing Wilson hasn’t been the best approach.

      9. When the Rams played Seattle earlier this season the Seahawks were dealing with a bunch of injuries across the o line. That isn’t the case any longer.

      10. Jack:

        Thanks for the numbers.

        It seems to me that old coach and rocket are correct. Forcing Wilson to throw from the pocket into 7-8 man coverages should be more effective than blitzing him. Instead of playing to his strengths (elusiveness, making plays on the move), such a strategy takes advantage of a relative weakness (lack of height). The numbers would seem to bear that out.

        Plus, the 49ers’ defense has played that way since Fangio took over the defense, and has done so effectively.

      11. The Rams also didn’t have to blitz to get pressure. Their front four destroyed Seattle’s patchwork Oline in that game.

        They need to play Wilson the same way they did in Seattle earlier this season and hopefully get more from the offense than a bunch of turnovers.

      12. Didn’t want to argue. I just remember the Rams blitzing a ton. Didn’t know it was 60%.

        The Rams also bumped receivers at the line and screwed with Wilson’s timing. They really kicked his butt that game.

      13. Bay,

        I wasn’t trying to say you were wrong. Just that the Rams Dline had their way with Seattle’s Oline in that game anyway.

        I think Seattle has everybody back on the line now so it’ll be a test this week for sure.

    4. We have to make Sherman tackle against our big physical TE and Wide Receivers. I would like to see screen passes to bolden and crab to test the Seahawks cbs. Also we must bring pressure to contain Russell however he is much faster than RGIII since the knee injury.

  35. converting just 4 of 12 third downs knocks the grade down to a B…….and I didn’t see that much designed rollout plays, I saw more of kap rolling himself out…….

    I was glad he got better at going through his read progression…….not sharp but hopefully will get better……definitely not playoff ready.

    We can’t win if he can’t trust his short passing game……GC called more underneath routes yesterday, Kap needs to call those plays himself…..

    I have never seen him audible to a quick short pass play……..

    Must WIN next week.
    We own the division, seahwks are about to go on a 2 game losing streak…..

  36. The Rams defense came into Sunday’s game giving up 5.8 yards per play. The 49ers offense averaged 5.5 yards per play against the Rams.

      1. Through the point that they went up 23-6 the 49ers had averaged 6.35 yards per play. 51-324 yards.

        After that point as they ran the clock they went 11-14 yards.

      2. The Niners packed it in for pretty much the entire 4th quarter Grant, so you can’t look at total plays in this case.

        Great week for College ball including the FS/SJS tilt. Fales looked like the better QB in that game, but it’s all about who’s game better translates to the next level.

      3. Grant i’m going to start calling you Mr. half empty. It seems like no matter how well the 9ers play you see it as their opponents weakness.

      4. Grant,
        Your dad wrote a great article about the game. The Niners were clearly the better team and yet it’s only 13-6 into the 3rd quarter. Same as the Washington game. The offense showed some signs of life but it means nothing until they play a good team and beat them. So bring on Seattle. The D will be fine. It’s all about the offense now.
        Close doesn’t count. Since everyone loves to beat up on Alex Smith, he played a pretty good game yesterday and his receivers dropped a lot of passes and they had a chance to tie at the end, but in the end they didn’t get it done. Hey sports is cruel that way.
        Colin show signs of maturity going through some progressions but he’s still forcing the ball into Boldin at times. That’s two games in a row that Gore was a non factor.

      5. Fansince77,

        Who pissed in your coffee this morning? We won and that’s all that matters. The Rams were riding a two game winning streak and winning in blow out fashion. The Niners put an end to that. There was no point in the game where the outcome was in doubt. The Niners were in control from the start to the end.

        By the way, you mentioned Alex Smith. Dude got 7 points from his special teams, key turnovers from his D, and what did he do? He turned the ball over deep in the red zone and choked away the win. Alex Smith is what he thought he was. An average NFL QB.

      6. He’s a troll Nick what do you expect lol. And for the record Smith did get a special teams TD and you are correct, he threw a pick at the ONE yard line….

        However, if you watch him, he is playing decent ball. His receivers had a ton of drops yesterday. They must be pretty desperate though. A.J. Jenkins is getting a ton of playing time in KC.

      7. Nick,
        We won. No complaints there. Just quoting the Grant’s dad’s article.

        Nick and Bay,
        Do yourself a favor and go listen to ESPN radio and hear what others had to say about the Denver/KC game and Alex’s play. Dude is on another team, why do you still the hate?

        And close don’t count! Is it a moral victory if the Niners barely lose to Seattle, like they barley lost to Carolina and NO? End of the day you gotta make plays when it counts. For three years in a row, regardless of who is at QB, the Niners have not come through with the play to win it. Sad but true.

      8. “The offense showed some signs of life but it means nothing until they play a good team and beat them.”

        Can we stop with this “they haven’t beaten a good team” stuff? Take a look around the NFC and you will find that they are almost all in the same boat. The Seahawks have beaten exactly 3 teams with a winning record, same with New Orleans. Carolina has beaten 2 teams with winning records, and the same would be said for the 49ers had Rodgers not been hurt, they were 5-2 at the time of his injury and had been in every game without him until Thursday.

      9. Carr is a much better prospect than Fales, who is more of a Tim Couch type of guy–weak arm, good at short throws, strong game manager, can’t consistently throw accurate passes downfield.

        Carr actually has a lot less hype on him than Mariotta and Bridgewater, who have both had some really mediocre games for where they’re being mocked.

      10. “Why don’t you like Carr?”

        He has great numbers but it’s a product of that system. On Friday he threw 3 straight passes a total of 6 yards past the line of scrimmage, 2 were behind the line and netted -2 yds and -2 yds, and then he hit a 10 yard out that the receiver turned into a 40 yard gain.

        He followed those up with a screen pass that went for 23, then a completion for 4 and another for -2.

      11. Jack, have you not seen Carr’s phenomenal downfield passing this year? Quick release, strong arm, extremely accurate downfield. Put on some other games. I’m sure you can find issues, but also look for his unique strengths.

      12. Most of Fales’ passes are short, relying on YAC for first downs. Carr is also known as a film-room junkie. Don’t know that Andre Ware was that. But, doesn’t matter much for us Niners fans. Carr will be going #1 overall anyway.

      13. After watching a ton of Bridgewater this year, I think he lacks the juice to go #1. I know everyone and his mother is mocking him there, but I think Carr’s upside will trump him. We shall see…

      14. What does “lacks juice” mean? It means when you watch an entire game out of Bridgewater, it’s a little lifeless. You can’t go by the cutups. You have to watch the whole thing start to finish. Carr is also built stronger than Bridgewater, who has thin arms and narrow shoulders, despite being listed as a big guy. And Carr makes all the pro throws, while Bridgewater does well with the frozen ropes, but lacks great touch when he has to add trajectory. All the draft prep by teams will reveal that. And I could care less about Fresno St or Carr himself, just calling it like I’ve been seeing it.

    1. I’ve heard the Rams D was forcing alot of turn overs. If that’s true I’ll take the 5.5 YPP and only one turn over.

    2. The Rams offense came into the game averaging 23.8 points per game, 31 over the last 3, 2nd highest in the NFL. They scored 13.

      Offense is improving, with all the issues, still #5 in RedZone efficiency. Arrows up!

    1. Makes sense and would allow them to keep Orgeron around too if he wants to stay. Not many better options available now that Peterson pulled his name out of contention.

      1. Orgeron is a bad guy. I don’t care what his record is or how he’s been different than Kiffin. Orgeron has a long history of unethical behavior and he lacks any shred of integrity. The USC program is much better off without a man like Ed Orgeron hanging around.

      2. I know I’m in the minority but character matters to me. In my opinion Carroll, Kiffin, and Orgeron have absolutely no character whatsoever. I would never in a million years let my sons play for those men. I think low moral character eventually comes back to haunt you. Carroll had to vacate a national championship due to cheating and now he has multiple players consistently busted for using PED’s. He creates an organizational culture that condones and promotes cheating. That is a fact.

      3. Houston,

        I don’t know how you decide on a person’s character without knowing and talking to them personally. What I do know is they have been successful recruiters and in the case of Carroll, a very successful HC.

        USC’s problems were not a result of cheating by Carroll; they were a result of Reggie Bush deciding he was bigger than the program and accepting money and benefits while going there.

      4. rocket, you are right. Without personally knowing each man I can not comment directly about them. I do have some personal insight on Orgeron based on his ties and time in Louisiana. I know Pete Carroll created an atmosphere ripe for cheating at USC including allowing Agents and Marketing people basically unfettered access to players. The stories about Kiffin abound for anyone to find. So you can preface my posts on this subject with the words, “In my opinion,”. Other than that, what I wrote is spot on about all 3 men.

      5. I agree, Houston, in principle. I’m not aware of too many details from that regime, but there was an overall stench around the program. Ethics and integrity aren’t relative terms. Without meaning to take a shot at Old Coach, the ‘business as usual’/ ‘inherited’ arguements are without merit. Ethics aren’t about “Everybody’s doing it”. Old Coach wasn’t endorsing it, just noting the existing culture. I’d call that a reason, not an excuse.
        Big Time ($) College Football and Pro ($$&$) Football are already so results driven that there’s an inherent slippery slope. Kids today with 780 College Boards and 3.88 gpa’s are getting rejected by Cal, while athletes with questionable C averages get full rides.
        Good ethics are important in sports, business and life. My favorite college coaches are John Wooden and Pat Summit and Bill Walsh @ Stanford. Their players always want to talk about the stuff they learned about life off the court/field from their mentors.

      6. I’m certainly not naive when it comes to big time college football programs. I know almost all programs have some shenanigans going on – especially around admission of athletes. Having said that, the institutional stench around USC has been nauseating – and I really like the school.

      7. Rocket USC’s problems were part of the Carroll regime. The Ncaa found the problems were institutional, meaning they ran from the top to the bottom and Carroll was in a position to know in fact he should have known. Thats why like a rat deserting a sinking ship he ran to Seattle a year before the NCAA came down with sanctions.

      8. I’m still trying to figure out how the NFL saw fit to suspend Terrelle Pryor 5 games for breaking NCAA rules while he was at Ohio State, but took no action against Carroll or Chip Kelly.

      9. old coach:

        You are correct, but it was the Colts, not the NFL, who suspended Tressel, and they didn’t have much of a choice. Tressel was fired by Ohio State for his involvement in the same violations that earned Pryor his suspension. Not even the NFL-friendly sports media could ignore the hypocrisy of allowing Tressel to work right away while Pryor served a suspension.

        As for possibly hating Ohio State, who could blame them for that?

      10. I don’t know what knowledge Carroll had of the Bush situation, but that was outside the team and involved an individual. USC wasn’t punished for anything other than the Bush benefit case. We can speculate all we want but every major program in the country is pretty much the same as SC under Carroll so I find it a little hypocritical to single them out.

    2. Sarkisian hasn’t done much in Washington (34–29 with a 1-2 record in bowl games). USC will continue to be mediocre for years to come!

      1. Sakisian has one major strength he is an outstanding recruiter and you have to be that at USC. Its important to remember how horrible Wah was before he got there

      2. Nick,

        UW was dead when Sarkisian got there. Takes a long time to resurrect a program especially being up in the Northwest. He went 8-4 this year which is pretty good considering what he had to work with. He’ll get far superior talent to work with at SC.

        Sark knows the SC ways and as Coach said is a very good recruiter, so is Orgeron for that matter so the two of them together could be lethal on the recruiting trail.

  37. Now we’ve seen both regression (from’12) and progress since then in CK. Yesterday looked like progress to me. His game has needed improvement. It still does. I’d point out though that among the factors in CK’s lack of success was Crabs’ absence. Yesterday is just one game but let’s see.
    Luck couldn’t be stopped early season. His QBR has dropped from the 70s to the 40s since Reggie Wayne went down. Some of CK’s distractors might want to take that into consideration. I guess though that that’s a Kaepercuse on this blog.
    CK also had that relaxed, having-fun look yesterday early in the game. Seems like Arrows Up to me.
    Review of highlights also shows that Crabs was not caught from behind, as others have noted. The Safety had an angle & MC tried to cut back underneath him when he slipped. I do think he can improve his quickness and burst even during the remainder of this season.

    1. I agree Brotha. I thought CK was impressive yesterday considering he didn’t get much help from the running game and it was against a good defense. We saw what that defense did to Luck and Wilson.

    2. Kaepernick has had his best 2 game stretch of the season these past couple games. Doing it against Washington is one thing, but the Rams is a different story.

      1. The Redskins D is 30th in the NFL in opponent’s completion percentage allowed – 67.01.
        The Rams D is 31st in the NFL in opponent’s completion percentage allowed – 67.19.

        Two of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

      2. Grant,
        versus the Rams you have to throw out their defensive statistics. It’s a divisional game and they generally match up very well against us.
        Guarantee you this, Seattle doesn’t want to see them again.

      3. Wow! 67.01 & 67.19. That’s just a few points above the opponents completion % against the Cowboys. Redskins and the Rams are almost Superbowl caliber teams. Right Grant?

      4. The Rams have been very good the last month or so, blowing out a couple of teams and almost beating Seattle. This was a good win and they should not have to apologize for it.

        It’s easy to keep saying they haven’t played anybody but it’s misleading. It’s proven every week that anybody can beat another on a given day. The Niners lost by 3 on the road to the perceived second best team in the conference 3 weeks ago and too the hottest team in the league by 1 point the week before that. Every game is it’s own entity and trying to place a value on them based on opposition is ignoring the parity prevalent in the NFL right now.

        Anybody think they’d lose to Indy right now? New Orleans at the Stick? The Niners can beat anybody if they play good defense, can run the ball enough to set up the pass and don’t turn it over. Nothings changed in that regard. Seattle is the one team that has their number right now so that will be a true measuring stick on Sunday.

      5. Grant:

        Two of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

        Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that Kaepernick played exceptionally well against them. In fact, he performed much better against them than did their other opponents.

        Opposing QBs have a 95.5 passer rating against the Rams. Kaepernick’s rating against the Rams was 111.5, 16 points above the league average.

        Opposing QBs have a 101.5 passer rating against the Redskins. Kaepernick’s rating against the Redskins was 134.5, was 33 points above the league average.

    3. +1 .. BT ..
      during the broadcast I saw .. the two guys
      in the booth talked about CK’s “much” improvement
      in the area of him going through his
      progressions .. and
      at one point showed Kaep going from read #1 .. to #2
      to #3 .. and I think he threw it to #2 …

      And .. you’re right … for me .. it was the first time
      in awhile .. it looked like he was havin’ fun !

      Sure hope he has a blast this Sunday …

      and .. never thought I’d say this.. but .. I’ll be
      cheering for Breese …

  38. Question for Jack and Grant and any others who break down all-22:

    Watching the broadcast it seemed to me like a lot less pre-snap motion and shifting (and fewer play clock issues) by the offense. Does that observation hold up?
    CK seemed more fluid and poised and comfortable; I wonder if its related to simplifying the pre-snap routine. We need him comfortable, imo.

      1. Brotha,

        “it seemed to me like a lot less pre-snap motion and shifting by the offense.”

        Haven’t tracked it so not sure if this is more or less, but they had a motion or shift on 26 plays, and none on 44.

        **These numbers include plays called back due to penalties**

      2. Thanks Jack and Rocket. Perhaps what to look at is not just whether there was motion, but was it multiple?
        A shift. A reshift. Then motion and the ‘kill’ call. Those seem to be the problematic ones for time mgt.

    1. BT,

      I haven’t watched a second time yet, but you may be right, especially in regards to the play clock issues. They didn’t seem to be having as much trouble getting the play off on time this week.

  39. bayareafanatic says:
    December 2, 2013 at 9:44 am
    “Shows how dire our situation is at WR this year. We were banking on MM coming back to save the day and he’s never been more than an average 3rd option his entire career.”

    I don’t believe that anyone here was thinking that Manningham was going to save the day with his return. His presence like that of MC’ would be helpful, but certainly not a ‘save the day’ scenario.

    MC and MM will compliment Boldin and VD, and that alone makes us better at the receiving side of the offense.

  40. The play of Jerrod-Eddy seems to be what’s holding up Carradine’s activation. Tank will get his turn. Ray’s return was welcome. Iupati probably back this week.

    1. Jerod-Eddie has been a revelation. Great motor and a guy who seems like he’s getting better the more he plays. Tank isn’t getting on the field and it’s because they have great depth right now. Nice problem to have. Dial wasn’t active this week either.

  41. Grant Cohn says:
    December 2, 2013 at 11:48 am
    The Redskins D is 30th in the NFL in opponent’s completion percentage allowed – 67.01.
    The Rams D is 31st in the NFL in opponent’s completion percentage allowed – 67.19.

    Two of the worst secondaries in the NFL
    I would think with him facing such weak competition as your example suggests that you should have tempered those grades accordingly yet in the past two weeks you given Kaep a B and an A- with nary a mention of the level of competition he faced in either game.

  42. My grades would cluster around B’s here – beating a qb who belongs on the bench is no large feat for a team which aspires to the SB. Nice to see Crabs back and apparently running smoothly (tho that slip at the end of his big run was decidedly un-beastlike) and Kaep hitting downfield targets (but werent a at least a couple throws a full beat late, albeit some caught anyway). Ok perhaps i quibble, and i got what i wanted – a relatively easy win and a largely healthy team after the fact. Unfort will miss a chunk of tonights game due to travel but hoping NO wipes the leer off R Shermans face.

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