49ers 34, Falcons 24: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers. They almost blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, but ended up beating the Falcons 34-24.

KAEPERNICK: B. His passer rating was 108.6 and he ran for 51 yards and a touchdown against a terrible defense. He also completed just 13 passes, and only a few of his completions actually hit his intended receiver in stride. All night, receivers had to adjust to poorly thrown passes from Kaepernick. It will be interesting to count exactly how many receivers Kaepernick actually hit in stride when I re-watch the game. Kaepernick almost never sets his feet properly when the throws. How can he consistently throw accurate passes when he doesn’t consistently set his feet? How can Jim Harbaugh and Geep Chryst allow such poor footwork? Don’t they coach that?

RUNNING BACKS: A-. Frank Gore averaged 4.6 yards per carry against a defense that gives up 4.6 yards per carry. Kendall Hunter did very little until the fourth quarter when he had a 45-yard run. Anthony Dixon and Will Tukuafu both did a good job filling in for Bruce Miller as the 49ers’ lead blocker.

TIGHT ENDS: F+. Vernon Davis dropped three catchable passes, and Vance McDonald dropped two catchable passes, although all five of those passes were not well-thrown. McDonald made the key block on Anquan Boldin’s touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: A-. Anquan Boldin was terrific running after the catch on screen passes. He also caught a 22-yard pass downfield. Michael Crabtree had 5 catches for 102 yards, including a 47-yarder. He also was flagged for an offensive pass interference. Kassim Osgood got one pass and caught it for a 17-yard gain. Quinton Patton got no passes.

OFFENSIVE LINE: A. They created huge holes in the run game. Most of the time, it seemed Frank Gore didn’t get touched until he was a few yards past the line of scrimmage. The offensive line gave up three sacks, but those came when Kaepernick decided to tuck the ball and scramble.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B. They helped limit the Falcons to just 3.1 yards per carry, but they got very little pressure on Matt Ryan. Justin Smith got the only sack of the game. Aldon Smith pushed around the Falcons’ left tackle but could not get any sacks.

LINEBACKERS: A+. Patrick Willis had 18 tackles, and NaVorro Bowman may have saved the 49ers’ season. The Falcons were in field goal position with a minute left down three points, and Bowman intercepted Matt Ryan and returned the interception 89 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

SECONDARY: D. When the 49ers don’t get a strong pass rush, this group looks mediocre at best. They allowed Matt Ryan to complete 77 percent of his passes. Carlos Rogers dropped an interception and gave up a 59-yard catch to Drew Davis. Donte Whitner was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit and for unsportsmanlike contact on the same play. Tarell Brown left the game with an injury. Eric Reid and Tramaine Brock gave up a 39-yard touchdown to Roddy White. But Brock redeemed himself, hitting Harry Douglas and allowing Bowman to intercept Ryan in the fourth quarter. And Brock intercepted a Ryan Hail Mary on the last play of the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Phil Dawson was perfect again, but this group almost blew the game. NaVorro Bowman whiffed trying to recover an onside kick and the Falcons recovered at the 49ers’ 30.

COACHING: B. Bowman won this game. If he hadn’t intercepted Ryan and scored a touchdown, the Falcons probably would have won or the game would have gone into overtime. The Falcons were in field goal range with 1:30 left.

The game shouldn’t have been that close. The 49ers are far superior to the Falcons. But when the 49ers scored only a field goal on their first drive of the game, you just the 49ers would let the Falcons hang around. Greg Roman was extra cute in the first half, calling a strange shot play on third-and-1 which failed and killed what could have been a big drive. But Roman and the rest of the offensive coaches made good adjustments at halftime and handled the Falcons’ terrible defense in the second half as they should have handled them all game.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  1. 2 years in a row Bo killed the dirty birds. Speaking of dirty, the refs seemed hell bent on making the game next week a play-in game. They really shafted Whitner on the hit and the holding call against Gonzalez

    1. Did you ignore the 2nd half & game total and win? Every NFL game has ebb and flow, Matt Ryan went off in the 2nd half too. The defense struggled to stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons in the fourth quarter but made a great play to end it. Do you knock them for the 2nd half surge from the Falcon offense?

      1. Did you ignore the five dropped passes. If not dropped Kaep goes 18-22 and about 250 yards. Completing 82% of your passes is amazing… even if they aren’t perfectly in stride.

      2. The grade is about right for Kaep. He wasn’t great last night but he did make plays in the second half that helped win the game. The 9er organization definitely should be concerned if CK is the franchise QB they need or not. He goes through stretches where he disappears and then stretches where he’s great. I seem to remember the knock on him coming out of college was that he was very streaky. I strongly believe that if he doesn’t fix his footwork he will be loaded with potential that is never realized. He constantly throws off his backfoot or, as Grant says, he doesn’t set his feet which impacts his accuracy. CK needs to get to George Whitfield or one of the other QB gurus and practice footwork drills about 10 million times in the offseason.

  2. A much more insightful analysis from SI:

    “Kaepernick found it tough sledding in the first half, as Atlanta defensive coordinator and former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan threw a dizzying array of blitzes and disguised coverages at the third-year quarterback. He completed just six of 11 passes for 69 yards in the first half, but adapted to Atlanta’s defensive strategy by waiting for longer routes to develop, and working in effective running from Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.”

      1. Grant’s focus was all on how bad Kap was, esp. footwork. His “expert” analysis made no mention of Nolan’s blitz and coverage schemes [something Gruden highlighted a few times]. He also did not analyze/explain what changed in the second half. The SI article did both of those things.

      2. Sunshine i agree. If Grant would consider your suggestion by covering the whole picture his blog would be on a completely different level.

    1. The SI review may be more comprehensive, and more positive, but I’m not sure it’s more insightful. Those are three very different qualities. The point about Kap’s adjustment: waiting for routes to develop in the second half, is a good point. But Grant also nailed the footwork critique and there’s nothing wrong with focusing your analysis on a key point. The SI piece also suffers because it’s a paragraph of just two run on sentences (zzzz…). Grant writes very well here: he paints a picture of Kap’s footwork. So I don’t agree that it’s more insightful. You said it yourself it. You take issue with Grant’s piece because it’s negative. You mentioned that twice. But positivity isn’t insight.

      1. If Grant wasn’t making the same comments about footwork and taking veiled shots at Harbaugh every chance he gets, perhaps this might be seen as more insightful. However, because it follows the same line of thinking that spoils the overall coverage, I don’t know that I’d give it that extra credit. Is he right about the footwork? Yes. It’s been an issue. The petulant pot shot at Chryst and Harbaugh at the end, though, suggests that wasn’t really the point of pointing it out, though.

      2. Not sure you know what a run-on sentence is, as there isn’t one in that SI paragraph. Perhaps the second sentence is simply a bit long for your taste.

  3. Hats off to Atlanta for the game plan. Dinks and dunks just killed us. Hopefully they put forth that effort next week. When we did get to Ryan, he seemed to pull a Houdini act every time!
    That onside kick took a pretty tricky bounce! I’ll let him slide on that one. Just surprised there weren’t more hands type people out there. Great game!

  4. Adding a thought:

    Given what Nolan threw at Kap in the first half, he did well to complete 6 of 11, with no picks. That’s 6+ YPA. Not great, but not too shabby either.

    Grant’s comments re Kap are beginning to really grate with me for their one-sidedness.

  5. How can Jim Harbaugh and Geep Chryst allow such poor footwork? Don’t they coach that?
    ——————-
    No, they’re NFL coaches because they don’t know what they’re doing. As far as Kaepernick’s footwork, you can only lead a horse to water. Gruden correctly pointed out tonight that Kaepernick is seeing ghosts and needs to STAND in the pocket and look for his receivers. Not looking for pass rushers that aren’t there will help him keep his feet in place.

    1. CFC, the good news here is the fact we got the W and despite the Nolans defensive scheme Colin produced when we needed him in the third Qtr. Also, this experience should only help him down the road by learning to play against another defensive variation.

  6. Frank Gore averaged 4.6 yards per carry against a defense that gives up 4.6 yards per carry.
    ———————–
    Another back handed compliment about Frank Gore, what a shocker. Can’t imagine why people think you don’t like the guy.

    1. Don’t know why he doesn’t like Gore either, but it’s probably because at the start of the year Grant was writing that Gore had lost it and was done – and then Gore has the nerve to have another 1000 yard season and make Grant look dumb. Hard to forgive.

      1. Grant suffers from the same thing most of us do; not wanting to admit being wrong. Instead the goal is to find ways to doctor information to make your opinion seem more legit. We’ve all done it.

  7. We got lucky tonight. The sideline camera caught Kap with a huge grin on his face during the pick six. I attribute 75% of the smile to the win and 25% to the fact that he didn’t have to attempt to drive down the field with 47seconds to go and score a TD. Has Kap ever effectively run a two minute drill with the game on the line? Vance Mac looks like a bust. A second round draft pick needs to do more than block. Should have traded up for Keenan Allen. Ryan picked us apart in the 4th. I am not a defensive expert but I kept saying to myself -ill bet ryan will keep passing to Roddy until the 9ers demonstrate they can cover him. Thank GOD Julio wasn’t playing. Anyway it looks like the most likely scenario is a road game in Chicago. Sweet, they have two big athletic receivers who are a tough to cover. On the bright side their qb aint so good.

    Go niners.

    1. I know one thing! I can’t predict none of this stuff and don’t know too many that can. What’s likely isn’t what happened at all this weekend so I’ll just wait and see!

  8. Grant, you crack me up! your grade for CK was right on however did you forget to count all the dropped passes by the TEs! If VD and Vance just caught 3 of the passes CK would have had over 300 yards passing! He was not sharp tonight in the first half but the dropped passes really impacted the offense as a whole.

    Also, did you forget the most important play of the game by Brock for sealing the W! that alone should bring the grade up to a C for the dbs, average performance tonight. By the way any secondary without pressure would be mediocre in the NFL. This is not high school, right!

  9. I’m ok with the grades. Not pretty game from the 49ers, but Falcons came to play and not to join in the Candlestick goodbye celebration. Wins in the NFL are hard to come by. Look how the Rams destroyed the Saints. Virtually every team has the ability to beat you.

    As far as Kaepernick goes, I think running is just in his DNA. It looks like when the coaches tell him to stay put, he is not in his comfort zone. Hopefully in the playoffs, they just let Kap be Kap and let the chips fall where they may.

  10. Grant my grades would be pretty close to your other than CK would get a B+. The D line would get a C because of the lack of pass rush and the DB’s would get a C instead of a D because of the lack of a pass rush. I was worried before the game that the D might have a let down after being so excellent since Indy. Also I would give Rombaugh a D we should have run the ball 50 times and would have won by 21 or more.

    1. Sir, you are the most balanced and fair. GO Niners, all the way, i was awake til 5a.m . Here . Buon Natale e felice Anno nuovo a tutti

  11. A Tale of two Kaps (halfs)……..

    Colin Kaepernick 1st Half Stats:
    3 carries for 16 yards rushing
    69 yards passing with no TD’s no INT’s for a 73.7 QB Rating

    Colin Kaepernick 2nd Half Stats:
    3 carries for 35 yards rushing & 1 rushing TD
    128 yards passing with 1 passing TD for a total 108.6 QB Rating

    Great magical win by the 49ers. Props to Gore & also to Kap for finding his groove in the 2nd half and attacking the defense with his arm & legs, and Bowman for the memorable game and playoff clincher on defense! We need to start faster on offense with Kap and Vance has to start catching the ball and not fall down on routes.

    1. vance has no confidence and you can tell by just looking at his face! His dropped pass since Carolina has really hurt his mojo and the coaches must keep him in practice working with the jug machine and with Ck. He needs to gain confidence or this season is over for him.

      1. jack really did you see his body language after each dropped pass. You are not going to make friends with the QB for not performing! His dropped pass against the panthers cost us the game most likely even thou that was a great play by the backer.

        Also, what was up with Vernon tonight! did he get hurt or poked in the eye!

      2. Keep in mind it was McDonald’s first game back after missing the past few weeks with the ankle injury. He’s a young guy who might have let the moment get to him a bit with all the hype surrounding a final Monday night game closing out the Stick, and this being a win and in scenario for the Niners.

        I think McDonald has it all physically, he’s just got to catch up mentally.

  12. I thought CK played well tonight. He had command of the huddle, and made the right audibles. The run game helped him out but none of his tightends did. Maybe Vernon’s worst game and V.Macdonald has been terrible all year. For a 2nd round pick he has to be better. Overall not a style type victory but at this time of year the wins are all huge no matter how it happens!

    1. Note that most rookies aren’t very good their first year… and hence why the 49ers draft for 2-3 years down the road. VMac has been rusty and stiff this year, but he has the tools to be really good. His tape in college was real solid. Remember when Vernon had stonehands? Not anymore – he’s a true pro who put in extra hours on the jugs gun. VMac will do the same, and he’ll be a beast with the skills to match.

  13. The problem in the first half was their inability to gain yards on 1st down. Kaepernick was only 1-5 for 6 yards in the half. This put them in 2nd and long and Roman was using a lot of 11 personnel. Unfortunately Kaepernick was really unsettled for the most part with this group in the first half.

    In the second half Kaepernick was 4-6 for 39 yards and a TD on 1st down. They ran the ball more, Kaepernick hit a few big throws and they were a completely different offense.

    Success on 1st down is big for all offenses, but especially this one.

      1. Here you go:

        11:
        4 runs for 12 yards and 1 TD
        10 passes, 4-6 for 107 yards, 2 scrambles for 14 yards and 2 sacks

        12:
        6 runs for 32 yards
        6 passes, 4-6 for 37 yards and 1 TD

        21:
        9 runs for 56 yards
        3 passes, 1-3 for 10 yards

        22:
        7 runs for 65 yards
        2 passes 1-2 for 10 yards

        13:
        No runs
        3 passes, 2-2 for 23 yards, 1 scramble for 22 yards

        23:
        2 runs for 2 yards and 1 TD
        1 pass, sack

        1st down play calling:
        14 runs for 119 yards
        11 passes, 5-11 for 40 yards and 1 TD

        The 49ers averaged 6.52 yards per play on 1st down for the game. They averaged 3.1 ypp on 1st down in the first half and 8.4 ypp on 1st down in the second half.

      2. 22:
        7 runs for 65 yards
        2 passes 1-2 for 10 yards
        —————————–
        Clearly they still get plenty of production out of it but it’s so obvious they are going to run out of this formation that I have to wonder for how much longer will they be able to get away with it.

  14. 13-21 197 passing..51 rushing.. 2 total Tds, NO TOs 11-4 record man Kap sucks so bad allllllll the time ( Sarcasm) this guy has played big and won big in the NFL for 2 straight years! Give it a break! He’s pretty good!

  15. Kap makes more big plays in less attemtps then any other QB in the league aside from maybe Russell Wilson! Everybody else throws 35 to 55 times a game! He’s not that kind of QB!

    1. I don’t think it has anything to with Kap as a QB. It’s the way Harbaugh likes to play it. Walsh or Parcells would have him throwing ten more times a game.

  16. Agreed on the great. With Kap it was the tale of two halves again. He was bad in the first half. Making bad reads and throws and just could not get in to a rhythm. Then came out on fire in the 3rd quarter and was getting the ball to his play makers. Plus I liked the quick decisive runs he did. Especially the long gainer. B/B- overall.
    Crabtree and Boldin are dominant. They both played great games. Crab seems to be excelling as the weeks go on which of course is just what I wanna see.
    The run game was stellar all night. O line blocked their tails off and opened some great holes. And gore was very patient as always. And loved the burst hunter gave us.
    The secondary was pissin me off all night. Consistently bad tonight. Luckily we were able to pull this one out. Overall this falcon team still has some threats on offense so this isn’t going to discourage me.
    Time to focus on the cardinals next week and keep this winning streak into the playoffs. Niners!!

  17. Re Roman “…calling a strange shot play on third-and-1 which failed…”

    Atlanta’s front 7 was unusually loose for a 3rd and 1. Its as if they expected pass. I’m more surprised Kaepernick didn’t audible to a run.

    1. Bowman was in the right place at the right time, it was the defender on Douglas(Brock?) that deserves the credit.

      1. Really bad call by the officials. They are so focused on the head shots they call them even when they don’t happen. If they are going to call hits like that then the game is not football anymore.

      2. That was a treble call period. He hit him with his shoulders and right into his chest thats why the ball poped and it would have been a fumble.

      3. Ha at the typo! Chicago49ers, I think were right the first time as well when you said a “treble call ” because it was probably as much the sound of the hit that drew the flag. Horrible call either way.

      4. It was a bad call, but that’s on the NFL. They’re telling the refs to throw the flags if it’s even close. It was a perfect hit, but it was close. The only way to prevent these potentially game deciding errors is to allow challenges on penalties.

  18. Thrilled about the win. A bit worried there will be a new “book” on the 49ers Defense… namely, isolate a big WR against Brock or Brown. Throw quick hitter passes to frustrate the Smith Bros. Longer passes later in the game as the pass rush starts to fade and the safeties start to cheat up.

    Gotta give it to Atlanta’s coaching staff for making such a good game of it with such a depleted roster.

    1. I think it’s more the case of the defense going conservative in Zone than the opposing offense figuring out a formula Brodie. The Falcons offense was held in check for most of the game until blowing up in the 4th quarter. This teams mentality for better or worse is to go conservative on both sides of the ball with a lead and though it drives me nuts, I also can’t complain with the results because they usually win doing it this way.

    2. Just to add to that point Brodie, Ryan threw for almost 200 yards in the 4th quarter. That isn’t some epiphany the offense had and started to exploit; it’s the defensive mindset changing with a lead.

  19. I actually would have given CK a C+ for the game. He seemed one step slow and was not accurate on many of his throws. If he is changing plays at the line of scrimmage he needs to get better at it.
    But obviously, CK’ learning curve is still a work in progress and as long he and the team find ways to win my patience level is more bearable.

    I felt that the defense (especially the DB’) were playing extremely soft and at times out of position. Our pass rush has been a no-show for the last two games and should be embarrassed for allowing Ryan to throw at will.

    The Falcons may have played their best game of the season against us and were in position to upset us on such an iconic night. If not for an exceptional defensive play at the end of the game this could have turned out to be one of the most disappointing losses in the Harbaugh era.

    All in all, fair grades Grant.

    1. I’ve been pretty tough on Kaep but I would give him a B-. First half was the bad Kaep, all his flaws on display. Even Gruden called him out. 2nd Half he settled down. and the Niners ran more. When the put the game plan on him, he seems anxious.
      I was listening to Steve Young on KNBR and he described Kaep the best — I think. He compared Kaep to a young Ben Rothlesberger. When the first read is not there, he starts to move his feet and try to make something happen. That’s just who he is, and we should accept it.
      I was thinking that after the 3rd quarter. He’s not going to be a Brady, Brees or Manning who can kill you with with the 3rd read, which is the dink and dunk pass that moves chains. Kaep is going to fire it to Boldin or Crabs. There is no slot guy he’s going to through to.

      It was a crazy game. I think that’s the way send close the stick. I rather the Niners hit the road and get 6 the hard way. It took some Candlestick magic to win tonight. She’s tapped out.

      Thanks for the memories!

      1. Wasted Lines. Now a win is a win, back it wasn’t for Alex bashers. You should stop this and compare Two diffrent teams systems and coaches philosophy. Seems fan never mentioned #11 , so why reply this way? We say “coda di paglia” hay-Tailandia

      2. Double poster, confirmed Alex hater? Lol. Nope not even close. Just won’t tolerate posters like you and him that post consistent rubbish with your ulterior motives.

      3. Alex is history and i could care less about him and his monkey. Our QB right now is Colin the Freak Kaepernick and he has all my support. GO NINERS

      4. Lott,
        If u r not a double poster, then u r a close cousin to 23 Jordan.
        I’m just saying what a lot of other people have said. I was listening to Kevin lynch on knbr and he is saying that Colin has to do more for the niners to win, he didn’t mention Alex smith And neither did it.
        Like 23 Jordan, you don’t offer a rebuttal behind the normal Alex bashing.

  20. I am in awe by what I saw …

    Could anyone have predicted the ending ?
    Dramatic .. to say the least …

    What a way to send off our old friend … !!
    (with a “W”)

    My grade = A+

    NaVorro Bowman ?? … Pay da Man !

    1. MW, i am still shocked!!! My wife ran down to my man cave fearing something was really wrong and was ready to call the police, LOL!!!

      Whats funny she knows how excited i get with my Niners and still got worried.

  21. Nolan did indeed have a good game plan for Kap, and it worked quite well, considering the mediocre quality of the personnel he had to work with. Nolan is a very good DC.

    I was a little troubled by the lack of sustained pressure by D line on Ryan. Aldon seemed to lack both speed/quickness and strength coming off the snap. He was not double-teamed quite a few times, and against a lowly-rated O line, I had expected a couple of sacks from him.

    Anyway, it seemed that some of the players were a little distracted by the event, but the team leaders stepped in and rescued the team. So glad to see Gore get a touchdown to close out his Candlestick career. Wish he had gotten 3 more yards.

    Hopefully, the Niners will close out the regular season with an assertive win in Phoenix, and keep NFL’s current longest winning streak alive.

    1. “Aldon seemed to lack both speed/quickness and strength coming off the snap.”

      They either chipped him or had the back on his side almost all night long.

      1. OK, I’ll take the Singletarian fifth, and will go back and watch the film. You are probably right but it felt to me that Aldon was not succeeding on his first move on the tackle.

      2. Mood
        The falcons had a “nudger” as gruden kept calling him all night. The slot WR or TE would give whoever was using an outside rush move a little bump/nudge before releasing in to the pattern. Ussualy a back chips on his way out of the backfield but ATL kept using the tight formations and after a while it discouraged Aldon wrom using the speed rush. Not to mention he allways semed to come up a split second short of making the play on Ryan although he did pressure and hit him all night

      3. OK, but have no other offenses tried to chip him because it clearly works and I’d expect that he’ll see plenty more of it going forward.

      4. Jack, Falcons used a great strategy by hitting both ends Smith and Brooks to slow down the pass rush. Also, Matt Ryan did a great job by using quick passes for most of the game except for the play action pass for the TD

      5. Another think to remember this was the same Matt Ryan last year that was being considered as the MVP and played a great game last night by moving around in the pocket.

  22. I hope the sky is falling crowd around here does’nt read too much into tonights defensive performance. Ryan was outstanding in the pocket avoiding pressure and forcing the 9er DB’s into covering that extra few seconds that kill you. The 9er D has been phenominal since the Indy game and I believe that tonights performance was just one of those nights that happen every now and then and when they do great D’s still find a way to win. My only concern was the crappy play calling by Rombaugh. I believe if we had pounded the ball all night we would have had at least 5 8:00 min drives 275 yds on the ground and won the game by a minimum of 21. It was if they were listening to some of the yahoos on this blog and thought they needed to pass more to drive up fantasy points.

    1. OC,
      We called a good game. Made excellent adjustments at half. Our TE’s killed us tonight. VMac has zero confidence as a receiver.

      Fangio listen closely. Tampa gave the league a blue print on how to attack our d. No huddle. We allowed Ryan to get into a rhythm by giving huge cushion on the outside. Fangio, mix things up and occasionally go man press. Occasionally blitz off man press. Do that versus the no huddle and we will be ok.

      Frank Gore I love you buddy. Harbaugh get Hunter a couple more carries hommie.

      1. Bay, Vance M’s confidence is in the toilet. I do not believe his lack of production is a skill issue, he is just a rookie that has been under performing in some key situations. I hope coaches and players such as VD take this guy aside and have a long chat with him. Colin must spend more time with him after practice as well.

        Also, i agree with you about the defense. I am very concern about how we play a fast pace offense. Fangio must be ready now by starting next week with Palmer or it will be long day for the defense.

    2. Well, Rombaugh would have heard from us fans if he had gotten Gore really banged up with another 10 carries. I thought that the problem was more execution of pass plays, esp. in first half.

    3. >>pounded the ball.

      I don’t know OC, the game plan looks like it was drawn up to take advantage of one of the Falcons glaring weaknesses – the inexperienced and seriousness overmatched secondary. And it’s not like we threw for 400 yards.

      That final TD drive – all runs – was a thing of beauty. The second half our offense was driving at will, in the air and on the ground.

  23. I’ve kind of stopped reading Grants’s posts. I’ll read a few, to see what the posters think. But Grant feels that being against Kap or Willis or Crab somehow makes him important. Or Baalke or Harbaugh or Mangini. He feels being opinionated is what matters. All writers can be opinionated. No talent needed there! Being insightful, and inside-knowlegeable – that’s what counts! Lowell gave him a golden opportunity to become a first-ranked sports columnist.

    Grant, work every hour of your day to perfect your trade. Off-line, write and re-write and then re-write your articles and posts. Proof read them – this puts you ahead of Maiocco, who never bothers to proof read anything. Honestly, you can get ahead of Maiocco by simply writing good, well-considered English. You’ve got a long way to go. Just criticizing these highly skilled coaches and players doesn’t cut it. The fact that you assign grades is laughable, embarassing to you. You’re not at their talent level to really assess their play/coaching. Write within your means, and write well – it will pay off in the long run. You often have good, insightful ideas. Don’t go beyond those boundaries. Highlight those, write only on those.

    1. Bah, humbug, Hedges.
      Grade away Grant! It’s fun…and then we get to argue about what we think the grades should be.

      1. ^^^^^^What Angus said. It is stimulating to our Mosh Pit to react to the grades and read different takes on them. Besides, occasionally Grant’s writing is quite excellent.

  24. Damn the Press Democrat should have Jack Hammer as the main writer on this blog. Your superb analysis and insight is always appreciated, and far more objective and enriching than Grant’s spiteful rushed-mediocre pieces…

    1. Yes he was, VD got poked in the eye and had to come out but nobody mentioned anything until after the game when the press interviewed VD.

  25. I thought Kaepernick played very well yet again. I have a feeling he will be even better come playoff time. Brock has been really impressive this year. Vance McDonald has been awful, but I fully expect him to turn it around and be a huge impact player for us in the future. Oh, and I freakin love Navorro Bowman. I’ll be proudly wearing my #53 jersey tomorrow, thats for sure.

  26. How did the 49ers get their offense un-tracked in the third quarter? It seemed to me that Kaepernick stopped doing his typical hard snap count to try to draw the D offsides, he stopped changing the plays, stopped running down the play clock, and stopped killing plays at the line of scrimmage. The offense had more flow, the Falcon D got tired and the Niners finally were able to score. Of course Roman put a stop to it in the fourth quarter.

  27. Does anybody here subscribe to the theory that some teams just have another teams number? Now, I don’t have the stats or numbers (Jack?), but if this old brain of mine memory is correct; the D-Birds have given us some real battle royals over the years. Does Billy”White Shoes” Johnson ring a bell? Anyway, a win is a win and we are very fortunate to be on the right side of this game. One more win and we complete a flawed but incredibly successful 12-4 season! Congrats men, lets put the Bears into an early hibernation! May we all be blessed with the opportunity to beat down that other team of imaginary aviary origin from the Pathetic Northwest. If this was in fact the last game in The City; I will truly miss my REAL San Francisco Forty Niners! Good grades Grant, however, maybe a touch high due to the fact that the D-Birds have such bad run and pass “defense.” Here’s to the little red birds laying a big fat egg next week. Merry Christmas gentlemen and Prime. Tech-no-brats, the ball is in your court now, please enjoy Gavin’s gift, honor the San Francisco Forty Niner history and continue the tradition of our hard fought winning ways!

  28. Grant, the Niner coaches earned a ‘B’….?
    The moment anyone uses the word ‘lucky’
    …as several have done in these threads…
    we know that the team won the game in spite of
    Coach Harbaw and company…not because of them.
    NaVorro Bowman and Frank (paying the price) Gore
    carried the entire organization on their back.
    Good luck…bad luck. The pendulum is gonna swing.
    Soon. That’s why Denver & Seattle & New Orleans
    are glad to ‘learn their lessons’ now… and not later, hmm.

    1. You’ve been saying that all year, idiot. Week after week the same old weak b.s. Every week you jump on the next opponents bandwagon without ever offering a lucid thought. Not ever. Kap’s going to get beat up and throw 11 picks, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Harbaw’s a drunk, blah, blah, blah. Kindergarten tantrums.

      1. Ha! I’ll bet you just about puked when Bowman ran back that pick. Hahaha, that just brightened my day, knowing how much that must have chapped your hide!

    2. Hello Anonymous Poster,
      You are engaging in anti-social behavior, probably as a result of some sort of chaos in your life or upbringing. In a young man, such behavior can be expected at times, but your manner indicates that you are an older person, and if bad life experience has brought you to this state, then I am sorry. These are some treatments that might help, they are available from any licensed therapist:
      Cognitive behavioural therapy
      Cognitive bias modification
      Empathy training

    3. Alex

      You might want to take it easy since resentment is not very good for your health. Just take it easy man, life is too short and football is just an entertainment game after all. By the way you might also want to consider the following:

      increase your intake of high fiber diet
      Exercise regularly and i do not meant typing on the keyboard
      Adequate fluids, in your case lots of liquor and some more
      Consider laxatives and medications such as Prucalopride a 5-HT-4
      agonists to ease your constipation.

      oh and lubricants. Peace out, would slim shady please stand up.

  29. I’m glad I’m saying this in a win an not a loss, but atl showed up an played their butts off. Yes the 49ers are superior,but it’s Monday night and don’t think the falcons didn’t remember last year and wanted to spoil the 49ers night. This game made me nervous coming in. I just think the falcons match up well with our personnel. With that being said it was a good win in a 5th straight game we’ve struggled with all season. I haven’t watched the game on TV yet, but it looked like a lot of dropped balls were happening, and VD was invisible. I can’t understand why the pick six defensive call on jumping the route wasn’t used a couple of times before. You could see those quick hit plays by ATL developing over and over again. Why our cb’s continued to be 10 yards off is a mystery to me.

    What a way to potentially end the candlestick era. Some folks are calling it, “the return” I like to think of it as the “candlepick finale” :-)

    Oh and that hit by Whitner was what football is about, the sad thing is, it’s not football anymore. That play killed any momentum the defense could have had. They probably would have had to settle for a FG if not for that call.

    GO Rams, and Go Niners!
    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeew!

    1. MD
      Whats worse on the whitner hit is that the refs compounded a bad call by doubling down and calling an “unsportsmanlike conduct” on DW for arguing an horrible incorect call. so rather than punt u give them automatic first down and an extra 30 yards smh

      1. They were in FG position already if I remember correctly. They have GOT to put the college rule in. You should review a hit like that to clearly see if its a dirty hit.

      2. MD, very well said my friend and i was very worried about this game. So many people lost faith in Atlanta but they still have some very good coaches and players.

        As far as the call on Whitner, this is a shame and NFL must take action to correct it right away. Defense must have the license to hit as long as its a clean hit and the refs should not change the outcome of the game by flagging all hard hits. I believe NFL has put a bounty on Whitner!

  30. Great finish to what probably ends up being the final game at Candlestick. Off to the farm to meet up with the family after work today so just want to send out a Merry Christmas to all on here and go Niners!

  31. I noticed Kap has happy feet last night. Which is good as far as staying active in the pocket until it’s time to throw the ball. He threw off his back foot a lot. The positive is the arm strength he has to get the ball to the receiver. I would like for him to set his feet and deliver. I think the biggest concern for me was his inability to maneuver in the pocket and/or throw the ball away. Matt Ryan create a lot of time for himself by just stepping to the side. Kap never throws the ball away. He took a couple sacks instead of throwing the ball away. But at the end of the day, I do realize regardless of how we won, we won. Match up wise, the falcons are a tough opponent for us. Regardless of how bad their record is. We’re in the playoffs, let’s just get through next week healthy.

    1. Jon Gruden, Greg Cosell, and Steve Young all say the same thing, “Colin has a long way to go as a pocket passer.” He see has happy feet, drops his eyes to look at the rush, and bails out on plays before they develop.
      Don’t call me a hater, just an observer.
      We’ll have to see what happens in the play-offs.
      He’s not going to develop now, so we have to hope that Greg Roman has been holding back.

      1. Fan77,
        I’m not calling you a hater, but I will say that you do spend more time looking at CK’ negatives than you do at the positives, so call any way you want.

        When was the last time you repeated some of the positive comments about CK made by others?

        What was your take on Harbaugh’ comment last week when he said that CK made some throws on the run that he has never seen before?

        Fan, you’re not a CK hater, but you do have to admit that you are not a big fan of his.
        You may not want to admit it, but your prose bears it out.

      2. AES,
        I guess I’m not sold on him yet. I sees the potential. Here are the positives: He’s physically gifted, he has a good attitude despite what the media perceives.
        He’s an upgrade over Smith in the long run.
        Short term, I may be in the minority that think that Smith can do enough to win the SB. He may not make the exciting, thrilling highlight, but before he got hurt it seemed like he was putting it together.
        Of course Smith drove me crazy on in 2011 during the NFCCG too, and I would have traded for Peyton Manning without question!
        Alot of analysts, not me, see Colin’s short-comings, Alex had a ton too, so I’ve said many times he’s the X-Factor.
        Some may not see it, but as a Fan of the team first, I think winning the Super Bowl will come down to making a smart play or read of the D, not that Colin can make amazing throws on the run.
        I think Steve Young stated it best for me yesterday, he said Colin was lot like Ben Rothlesberger, if the first read isn’t there, he’ll start moving his feet and try to make a play. Ben did win two SB that way.
        Steve was also wants to see Colin become a pocket QB, but at the end of the day, that’s who he is right now and we just have to accept it.
        So that’s my take. It is who he is, just have to hope for the best.

    2. Fan,

      There’s no doubt Kap has footwork issues at times, but with that arm he’s able to overcome it quite often. I agree that it’s something he needs to work on but it hasn’t hindered him that much overall and he’s made some of his best throws on the move.

      1. Happy feet or not he is what he is right now in his third season. I would like for the coaching staff to work with him in the off season.

      2. Rocket
        While Ck’s strong arm might allow him to make up velocity issues due to poor footwork, his accuracy definitley suffers when his feet arn’t set. We have seen many instances this year where the ball is slightly off the mark due to him not being set. If i remember corectly AS had an issue of “locking his front leg” causing his throws to sail and he saw a QB guru throwing specialist in the offseason to correct that issue. I havnt seen him enough this year to say whether or not that issue has been rectified.

        Id love to see Kaep work with a george whitfield, tom martinez, marinovich or any other so called guru to improve his footwork and throwing mechanics this offseason. scale down in the weightroom and focus on fundamentals instead. Id rather CK has sound footwork that an extra 20lbs on the benchpress

      3. No argument that Kap needs to work on his footwork and fundamentals in the offseason. Just saying his arm gets him out of it at times and that is getting him through right now.

  32. Atlanta played the best game they have played all year IMO,Matt Ryan is a good QB,Roddy White is a great WR,Tony G is a great TE.It isn’t like they don’t have any talent,and they really wanted payback for last year. Few wins are just handed to you,at least it was a win,and not an upset. Laughing at Seattle.

    1. Agreed Drty49,
      Atlanta will be back in the playoff picture next year. The Falcons had a bad rash of injuries to key players throughout the season and have a patch-up offensive line made up of young inexperienced players.

      Getting healthy along with good drafting will place them back to respectability.

    1. That’s a good call Claude. To me it looked like the defensive version of the Garrison Heart run against the Jets on that opening day. Finished in the same area of the field too.

      1. I still have that game on VHS. Loved that play & loved it even more that it was done to Bill Parcells. Hated him ever since he started with the Giants.

      2. Lott…..lol I also have both games on VHS. I looked back last week at the Owens catch I have and you can totally see the quality difference on that play from it being rewinded so much. The auto tracking on my little tv goes nuts.
        Claude good call. I instantly became a fan of Plummer after that play.

      3. >>My favorite part of the play was Hearst arrogantly dismissing the Jet DB at the 20 with a vicious stiff-arm.

        Close second – TO taking out two defenders near the goal line.

    2. That was a great play. I have a bunch of those games on tape too. Might have to pull them out at some point and have a 49er retro day. Not sure I have a VCR anymore though.

  33. Claude …
    Why that Gary Plummer hit didn’t make the list
    of Candlestick Park memories .. is beyond me ..

    Thanx for remembering it

  34. I still say Kaep is dealing with some kind of foot/ankle/achillies issue, maybe plantar fascia? Kawakami recently made another cryptic comment about Kaep’s health situation. It is so odd to watch, as Kaep will look slow or fast from play to play. Sometimes it looks like he is stuck in concrete on his first couple of steps. Also those sailing throws. You saw that with RG3 this year, you saw it with Buster Posey the first half of his MVP season: unnacountably sailing throws usually indicate a foot/leg injury.

    1. Didn’t Harbaugh say in a press conference a while back that he was fighting a “hang nail”? You may be on to something. He looks plenty quick going forward but slower laterally?

    1. Though I enjoy the enthusiasm after last nights win, this team has a ways to go offensively if they’re gonna make a run at the Big Game….you simply can’t win it with defense and field goals alone…red zone production has to improve in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and then in the playoffs…field goals ain’t gonna make it..

      1. Jack:

        OK, I’ll bite. What are the other two?

        I don’t know if it qualifies as a myth, but the idea that Fangio isn’t scheming or calling plays properly is equally unsupported by the facts. The 49ers’ defense is ranked 3rd in the league in the following categories:

        points/game allowed
        yards/game allowed
        passer rating against

      2. Claude,

        They are this red zone offense thing, play clock issues, and Gore being unable to run outside.

        The Fangio one you bring up would make a good 4th.

      3. The play clock issue is not a myth. They’ve led the league in delay of game penalties since Harbaugh arrived and have routinely had to call TO’s as the clock expired.

        Overall they’ve been good in the Redzone but in some games they haven’t been, including Seattle two weeks ago.

        The stuff that is said about Gore is ridiculous and always has been.

      4. CB,

        The one complaint I have about the defense is the soft zone they tend to play with a lead too often. We see teams move the ball down the field when they play this way but they keep doing it and it almost cost them last night.

        Not much to complain about with the way the defense has played overall this season though.

      5. “The play clock issue is not a myth. They’ve led the league in delay of game penalties since Harbaugh arrived”

        How many offensive delay of game penalties do they have this season?

      6. How many offensive delay of game penalties do they have this season?

        8 which ties them for second in the league in that category. Previous two years they led the league.

        This has been an ongoing issue and one they admitted they had to work on earlier in the season. They blow so many TO’s simply because they can’t get to the LOS with enough time on the clock.

      7. Harbaugh can try and sugar coat it all he wants but the bottom line is he’d rather have those timeouts then be using them to prevent a penalty. I’m sure the problem is multifaceted(GRO calls too many plays in the huddle, Colin is too slow calling the plays and reading the defense pre-snap, he changes the play too often) and isn’t fixed by simply addressing one single issue but it does need to get better.

        Using time outs to prevent penalties is never considered a good use and to be at the bottom of that stat for multiple years suggests it is in fact an issue that needs to be taken care of or at the least minimized.

      8. Jack,

        I know what I’ve watched and the facts back it up. This team has issues with play clock management and have since day one. They’ve led the league in Delay of game penalties and acknowledged they needed to do something about it earlier this year. It is an ongoing problem and was a key reason they didn’t win the SB last year. If you think differently, that’s your prerogative.

      9. Jack
        Forgive my ignorance but how can an “offensive delay of game penalty” be on anyone else besides the offense?
        Unless you mean the coaching staff in which case “play clock issues” still apply to them.
        Quick poll. While watching last night how many times did u yell at the TV “snap the frockin ball already” as the clock wound down? I had at least 3

      10. Jack,

        I know what I see every week and what I’ve seen for the past 3 years. You may not see taking TO’s in the first half as a problem, but I do. There is no excuse for having to rush or take TO’s because you are not leaving yourself enough time on the play clock. The Niners have issues with play clock management. It’s not a myth.

      11. Rocket i agree with you but i am seeing improvement. I do’nt believe your seeing the TO’s or delay of game penalties but you are seeing CK rushing his calls and barely getting plays off in time. I believe when teams are rushed in their shifts they are more likely to make mistakes. I would like to see CK getting plays off with 5 seconds remaining on the play clock instead of 1 or 2.

      12. old coach,

        I agree it isn’t as bad as earlier in the season or previous seasons, but as you mentioned there is still the frenzy of trying to line up and get the play off far too often. They rarely have time to recover if somebody is lined up wrong because they are getting out of the huddle so late. It shouldn’t be happening 3 years into the same offensive system.

        The funny thing is Harbaugh has acknowledged problems with it as he did after the GB game to start the season, and yet they still have the same issues. Harbaugh was blowing smoke about how it’s part of strategy, and I get that it’s better to blow a TO than take a DOG penalty, but they shouldn’t be in that position so often to begin with.

  35. I really don’t want to read too much into this close game. I think the Falcons came out determined and motivated to play the spoiler against the team that took them out last year. I think we may have got caughten up in all the hype. Probably a good thing so we can get back on track mentally.

    I will say this, its great to have Crabtree look like his old self. The guy was a beast and he’ll have one more game to knock out what left of that rust. Also Vance sucks really bad. My expectations were so much higher for this guy. Our offense could be so much better if he could just get it together. Man I miss Walker.

    1. 1. Thumbs up on your Crabtree comment. They really, really need him. I hope they can resign him, otherwise . . .
      2. Right on about Vance. Something seems to be missing above the neck.

  36. After further review, the coaching deserves a C IMO. While our Secondary was BAD last night, I think Fangio failed to make adjustments to answer the no huddle. By not making a tactical adjustment, teams can now game plan us with no huddle.
    Oh and Rogers is bad lol.

    1. “I think Fangio failed to make adjustments to answer the no huddle”

      Interesting thought considering the play that finished off the game was a big blitz.

      Before going to the “blueprint” card take a look at the game situation.

      1. Jack it was a good call at the right moment. However if you look at the game in its entirety one good play call doesn’t eliminate the fact that we have been terrible versus the no huddle.

        Our lack of making adjustments to the no huddle had us in a position to have to come up with a very lucky play.

      2. “Our lack of making adjustments to the no huddle had us in a position to have to come up with a very lucky play.”

        Actually it was their inability to field an onside kick.

        As I said, look at the situation of the game. The Falcons did nothing in the second half until the 49ers were up by 10 and went into a looser coverage.

      3. The Falcons did nothing in the second half until the 49ers were up by 10 and went into a looser coverage.

        Correct and I hate it when they do that. I kind of understand it in that they are guarding against the big play, but teams have shown they can move the ball downfield pretty quickly against it. No drama needed if the Niners cover the onside kick though.

    2. If we are splitting staffs grade this game. If have to say the offensive side gets a better grade this time. It’s not to often but it happened last night.

  37. Seattle presses and trusts their Db’s not to get beaten over the top. Fangio needs to occasionally show the same stones. Mixing that in ruins an offenses timing.
    Had we done that last night Ryan wouldn’t have picked us apart for 350. But what do I know….

    1. I’m sure if we had Seattles DBs he would, but Rogers is definately no Sherman….

      Our front 7 was very disappointing last night as far as creating pressure…I expected Aldon to be breathing down Ryan’s neck all game.

      1. Give some credit to Matt Ryan and his pocket presence and quick release. Atlanta still had pride & talent and would not go down easy.

      2. Leo if you are gonna post, know what you are talking about. During the no huddle we rushed three and four mostly.

        Seattle has second and third stringers playing db and pressing for them. They trust that the blitz will get there and they trust the system.

        Like it or not we are susceptible to the no huddle. Tampa thrashed us with it and so did Atlanta. Like it or not Brady and Manning will KILL US with it.

      3. And that’s why Philly scares me. Even in 2010 we weren’t very good vs the fast paced offensive scheme. I’m surprised teams haven’t used it against us more often.

      4. “Like it or not Brady and Manning will KILL US with it.”

        We can all hope that this is something to actually worry about this season. ; )

      5. It’s all based on preparation. If they have to play Philly, they’ll prepare for the fast pace. I also don’t think it’s the pace of the offense that gets them as much as it is soft coverage the Niners go to in end of half situations or when they have a lead.

      6. Leo, you give too much credit to the Sea Chickens individual players or DBS. Sherman is over rated. The only very good DB in that system is Thomas # 29. He is a very good DB but the reason they have tremendous success is due to their defensive system as a whole. They can bring pressure and the DBs jam the WR knowing that the QB will be under stress due to the pass rush. We had no pass rush last night and mostly it was do to Fangios strategy. Except on the last play when he brought the whole kitchen sink and forced Ryan to throw the pass.

  38. The crazy sloppy and then that candle stick magic

    My wife was angry with me because I was so angry at the Niners through most of that game. Then I found out that she had had a lot more glasses of wine than I.
    Then I found out that Jed York, who never throws even a water bottle out of frustration, this time tossed a chair through the wall in his stadium box. I am sure if our house was soon to be imploded I would have done the same thing.

  39. Then the candlestick magic moment
    Correction Grant:
    Three players redeemed themselves in that magic moment. Reid on the blitz got to Ryan to rush the pass to a not so open Douglas. Brock made his great play and then Bowman, instinctively and intuitively, pulling out of his blitz went to the ball instead and the rest is Candlestick magic.

    1. What a great camera angle. From the hit on Ryan to the pick. Watch it again and only look at the sidelines. Great reactions.

    2. This is really a well done video, more of you guys here really need to see this. It totally captures the moment perfectly from the blitz by Reid on Ryan, to the breakup by Brock that leads to the pick six by Bowman, and the 89 yard sideline reaction of all the faces with the 49ers.

  40. Really feel Brock deserves waaaaay more credit on that play & should be immortalized with it, he battled that ball loose. He has been a huge gem on this defense all year. Vance has been such a letdown, Walsh would have benched that guy but I guess we need his blocking.

    1. Awesome play by Brock and excellent hustle by Bowman running to the ball in action. Brock has definitely been a revelation this season and made a great play & also got a cheap INT at the end of that hail mary to pad his stats. How many picks is that now for Brock this year?

  41. Coaching should be an easy F. Harbaugh didn’t have them ready for that onsides and as a result they probably should have lost the game.

      1. Im having fun with it but truth is it could have gone either way. I’m glad it was a close game, I hate winning or losing because a couple players don’t show up and at one point we were only separated by .3 points last night.

        I’ll take the 3 point win but if that game had gone on another quarter it could have ended up the other way.

        Great season, had fun.

      1. Jack, thanks. One more, though. Has Dobbs played any offensive snaps this season at TE? I don’t recall any, but sometimes I miss a play here and there when my 49er crew get a bit raucous.

  42. Crazy game and more evidence that the more you think you know the NFL, the more you realize you don’t.

    This truly is an any given day league and it almost happened last night. Atlanta came to play, while the Niners came out shaky and trying to be a pass first team which of course doesn’t work them. This team is successful when they run the ball and pass off of it. Every time they try to stray from that formula they struggle. As soon as they started running the ball more in the second half, the struggles disappeared, momentum got started and they looked like a pretty good offense. Now if they can just start a little faster and more consistent earlier in games, they might have something.

    Defense was up and down in this one. Only gave up one TD drive in the first half and dominated in the 3rd quarter, but then got shredded in the 4th due to playing a soft zone with the lead. I think Fangio overthinks it sometimes and changes things that aren’t broken. The pass rush wasn’t very effective, but Atlanta had to go max power regularly and had RB’s and TE’s chipping the pass rushers so they didn’t have a lot of receivers out in the pattern sometimes which is an ok trade off as long as you can cover the receivers that are out there. No way they should have been letting Roddy White continue to run through zone coverage making plays. In that situation you have to put somebody on him in press and keep the Safety in a bracket coverage. If they take White out the way they should have, this would have been a blowout.

    The bottom line is they won, they are in the playoffs and now anything is possible. Time to start preparing for a playoff run starting with beating the Cardinals in AZ this week.

  43. 1. Roddy White always gives use fits.
    2. Terrible call on Whitner! Is the NFL now the National Flagfootball league? No hitting allowed!
    Should have been a fumble and Niners ball.
    3. Love Tony G. as a fellow Bear; but is there some rule which allows him to push off of Dbacks? On that touchdown he shoved Whitner away from him.
    4. I think Vance will be ok. He has good hands; just look at his college career. A lot of rookies are thinking too much and not just playing the game. Way too early to give up on him.
    5. Saw my first Niner game at Kezar, saw games at the Stick and am looking forward to seeing games at the new stadium.
    6. Merry Christmas to all Niner fans and their families.

  44. Grant i read your Dad’s column this morn. He wrote that the 9ers are the obvious pick to be the NFC champions. Are you lock step with your Pops or are you telling him he is full of beans and as the new sheriff in town you will be the one doing the anointing in this family. In other words do you agree or disagree with him?

    1. Saw it. Thought it was stupid. Could have been called but it had no effect on the play as Bowman would have mad it to the end zone no matter what.

  45. As to the questionable personal foul blow to the head call there is a very easy solution and hopefully it will be in place by next year. Replay all personal foul blow to the head calls. Like all replays there will still be some disagreement but at least you can eliminate the ridiculous calls like the one on Whitner last night. The game moves to fast and all officials are calling now is the head snap.

    1. old coach,

      The head snap is the problem and they’ve been told to err on the side of caution so every hit even remotely close is getting called. I agree the only way is to allow challenges on penalties as well. I know they are worried about dragging the game out, but if they go to a centralized replay review system like has been floated recently, I think that alone will speed things up.

      1. Rocket instead of a challenge it should be automatic on the contact to the head call. They already do it in college not for the penalty but to see if the player gets thrown out of the game. The only change the NFL would have to make is to review the call. How many of those calls do you see I would guess it averages out to less then one per game.

      2. Coach,

        I think they need to move the reviews upstairs. My impression is it would speed up the process and allow more things to be reviewed.

      3. I could see that Coach and it makes sense, but there is going to be an issue with stopping the game so many times in the minds of the league office so that is why I think everything will ultimately be reviewed from the offices in New York as has been rumored.

        If you have a 3rd party dealing with replay only, it should speed up the reviews simply by not having to wait for the on field official to be notified, get over to the camera and then have to piece everything together. I don’t think it’s a matter of if, but more so when.

      4. Jack I absolutely agree that’s why it works so much better and faster in college. My concern is the NFL owners don’t want to cut into their billions in profits so they wouldn’t hire an extra official

    2. When replay was first proposed, I assumed it was to prevent the game changing horrible PI calls (like the one on Lott vs Dallas that later in the game made “The Catch” necessary). To my surprise they confined replay to the errors that tend to even out during the game.

      To me the fundamental change in officiating. Refs no longer call what they see. They call what they think happened based on the force of collision or sound.

      Any long time bay area fan knows vaguely defined penalties favor eastern establishment teams. The refs aren’t consciously cheating, but most of them grew up in culture that defines San Francisco outside of “real America.”

      Remember the “booted” calls that robbed Seattle of a Super Bowl win vs Pittsburgh? Or the Holding call on Lott that gifted a Super Bowl to Washington in 83? Its those calls that need to be reviewed the most.

  46. Grant 0 Think Roman called the 3rd and 1 shot play at the 49 yard line (I think) knowing full well they were going to go for it on 4th and 1…until Kap took a sack on 3rd down. He needs to get throw the ball away there. Like the call by Roman. Poor execution by a still young QB.

  47. The penalty that led to the successful onside kick……a blow to the head of the Qb…..and the Whitner hit…..ticky -tacky . But Kap rolled out, reversed direction…right into a defender that hits him Hard! Helmet to helmet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But no flag!!!!!!!!!!!!! If Drew Brees gets closed lined in the chest……….. and Whitner gets flagged for every highlight reel hit……………and all the B.S calls involving the QB…….but our guy gets slamed helmet to helmet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????? if this were 2004-2010 when the niners were irrelevant…………….id be done with the NFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. If Gore had only called the last three plays in the Super Bowl, we’d be talking about going back to back for a seventh……

      1. No, I missed it….

        This wasn’t the first episode of VD getting poked in the eye during a game. He might want to go to an eye shield.

  49. This Christmas Eve around The Bay
    To Niner Fans I’d like to say
    It hasn’t been an easy year
    But there’s been enough to cheer
    Let’s hope they take it all the way.

    Enjoy the holidays with family and good cheer.
    PS: The Daily Beast has a funny article about novel ways to steer the family conversation away from the inevitably unwelcome topics. It’s more about what you’d like to say, but probably won’t.

  50. Does the idea of resting players for the final game come into consideration? Does it affect our playoff seeding whatsoever if we win or lose?

    1. No it doesn’t Prime. They need to play to win. A win and Seahawks loss gives them the division. A win and Seahawks win gives them the 5 seed. A loss and Saints win gives them the 6 seed.

  51. There has been lots of complaints throughout the season about the coaching/ play calling. I think that can be a tad misguided at times – we are lucky to have such a talented coaching staff. The only real complaint I have is they can too often be guilty of playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Happened again yesterday.

    1. The only real complaint I have is they can too often be guilty of playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Happened again yesterday.

      Agree 100% Scooter. It’s the lack of foot on throat mentality that gets me. They go conservative on both sides of the ball with a lead, which is fine late in a game, but not so good with over a quarter left.

      1. Myth #4 in the book of Jack which includes other flawed takes like no problems with play clock management.

        Honestly Jack, I don’t care if you disagree with me, but leave the condescension at the door. If you feel differently explain why instead of posting that it’s a myth.

      2. That wasn’t meant to be condescending rocket. I wish I had remembered that one for my post earlier today is all.

        Since you asked though, please show me one example where the 49ers have lost a game over the last 3 years by having a “lack of foot on throat mentality”.

        Maybe the Cowboys game from week 2 in 2011?

      3. Jack,

        That Cowboy game was a good example, but I don’t believe Scooter said anything about them losing because of that mentality and neither did I. What I said was they lack the foot on throat mentality, meaning they play cautiously with a lead instead of trying to put the opponent away. It doesn’t often cost them a game but it makes things a lot closer than they need to be and last night was a prime example.

      4. The concern is when you play that way you don’t leave much margin for error Jack. Last night they won, but it took a monumental effort from the defense with a minute left in the game to do so, when in reality they should have been playing backups in the 4th quarter getting ready for AZ. They had shut down the Falcons for virtually 3 quarters and had a 10 point lead twice. There is no excuse for allowing a team with nothing to play for to continue coming back in the 4th quarter and getting into a position where they could have won the game if not for Bowman’s pick 6.

        The game is about winning, but there are ways to improve your chances of winning and the Niners just seem to put it on cruise whenever they have a lead. Sure it’s worked more often than not, but I don’t want to see it happen ever and it’s been very close a number of times.

      5. “but it took a monumental effort from the defense with a minute left in the game to do so, when in reality they should have been playing backups in the 4th quarter getting ready for AZ.”

        This is the NFL. Teams don’t pull starters for backups often, and in reality the offense did get most of the 4th quarter off since they were only on the field for 3:30 and 6 plays of it.

      6. Giants – Lions game this last weekend another classic example of a team that got it’s @ss bit when *not* playing “not to lose”. Lions Up by a TD late in the 4th. Stafford heaves a pick six (why weren’t they running, killing the clock?) Lions lose in OT. Lions eliminated. Way to “not lose”, Schwartz.

      7. Rib
        while what u site is an example of when non “playing not to lose” its a bit misleading because stafford is so careless with the ball. No one is saying throw on every down (not the 9ers or CK’s strenght by the way) but dont try to bleed the clock with 20 min left in the game. There are safe throws that can be made or even the strategy because if u run twice up the middle and then do a draw on 3rd and long only about 2 minutes run off the clock and the D is out there again.
        Its like in basketball when a team is up 7 with 2 min to play and they dribble down the shot clock and take a poor shot just to bleed the clock instead of attacking aggresivly and doing things that got them the lead in the first place

    2. “There has been lots of complaints throughout the season about the coaching/ play calling.”

      Yep, and here they sit with the same number of wins as last season. I may be looking too far to the bright side, but if this team plays to it’s ability level watch out.

      1. To be honest my comment was more about the first half than second. They left points on the field and stalled drives through some head scratchingly conservative play calling. Could have been up at half time. Not the first time this season that happened

  52. Grant:

    Is there any way for the media to question the referees after an NFL game or does the league allow the refs to go and hide after making a pure garbage call. I have read every news story on the game and have not found a single comment from the ref as to why he called a personal foul on the Whitner hit.

    In this case the bogus call did not cost the Niners the game, but it may well have cost us a playoff spot. I think NFL has to make its officials more transparent and accountable to the media if it wants to maintain any credibility with the public.

  53. Here’s volume 3 of the weekly “Archive Jive”….This post was in response to Grant giving Niners an F for their A.J. Jenkins pick at No. 30 in the first round of 2012 Draft.

    Scooter_McG says:

    April 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I really like Jenkins – he’s one of the WRs I’ve been keen on the 49ers drafting for a while. Is the 1st round earlier than I expected? Sure – but he’s a legit threat at all levels of the field including downfield and that shows up on tape, not just running in underwear.

    The film I’ve watched of him he shows very good body control. He has great hands and plucks the ball out of the air over either shoulder. He maintains his speed into and out of breaks, much like Isaac Bruce used to. I think he’ll turn out to be a good WR for the 49ers, and will really help stretch the defense in the same way Lloyd and Wallace do.

    Reminder: You can catch “Archive Jive” every Tuesday.

    1. Yeah, keep them coming Crabs.
      To me, Scooter is one of the best amateur scouts on this blog. He independently seems to have seen some of the same things as Trent. Not a science. Brady round#6. Unitas undrafted. AJ Jenkins. Druckenmiller. Balmer. Willis. Bowman. VD. Staley.

    2. Holy crap Crabs I hold my breath every week when you do your archive jive because I know I’ve said a lot of stupid stuff here. In fact after going back and looking at film on Jenkins after the 9ers drafted him I became a big defender of him at least for the first year. Now no offense intended but you remind me a little of my ex she loved bringing up stuff I said years ago and rubbing my nose in it. Well at least I won’t have to pay you alimony.

      1. Coach – Lol….. nobody is safe when it comes to the “Archive Jive” segment, including myself. Don’t worry old coach. I’ll get you sooner or later. :-)

    3. Crabs15,
      Your Tuesday “Archive Jive” section is starting to scare me boss, because I think my number will come up one of these Tuesday’s (lol).
      Truth is, I also gave the 49ers high marks for drafting A.J.
      I believe my description of A.J. at the time of his being drafted was that to me, his playing style and body type closely resembled Anthony Carter (former Minn. Vikings WR).
      I really whiffed on that one.

      1. AES – It’s all in fun bro….I thought Singletary was a good hire at the time. Lol…..we all need to laugh at ourselves once in a while.

      2. I think I described The Taylor Mays pick as a “decent value” in the second round. I guess depreciation is a b____! Haha. I guess if I were a Talent Scout working on commission I’d starve.

      3. I will invoke a “Festivus” grievance moment against myself for my own bad calls this season:
        1. Saying A.J. would be our starter by the end of pre-season – ouch!
        2. Saying that Crabtree would likely be out all season – thanks MC for proving me wrong!
        3. Saying that CK would hugely better than last season – still a work in progress on this one.
        4. Saying that VMac would be the big surprise of this season – he has not made his mark at all.
        5. Saying that Nnamdi would help the team – shanked that one.

        Crabs, I’m sure I have a few more, but these certainly come to mind at the moment.
        That being said, I throw myself at the mercy of the “Archive Jive” court (lol).

  54. Happy Holidays to everyone. There are some great debates at times on here and those differences in opinion are what make it so much fun and keep it interesting.

  55. “Kaepernick sides with Gore over Harbaugh on TD play call”……

    this has been my problem with JH’s ego this season – didn’t he think Gore deserved a touchdown at the last game at the stick.

    the lack of respect for 49er tradition is why JH will never win a SB as a niner coach.

    we have lost games because they refuse to run plays for Gore or run plays we are successful with…..JH continues to want to be the reason we are winning, someone needs to remind him the players win games not the coaches….

    I didn’t pay much attention to Grant criticism “How can Jim Harbaugh and Geep Chryst allow such poor footwork?”………from my evaluation this year, its clear JH is not focused on the right things…….he is more focused on things that make him look good.

    I mean cmon how many times his he going to argue with the refs – its becoming a sideshow…..anyone recall any game JH didn’t go off on the refs….

    maybe its because his contract is coming up, I am now starting to believe he wants more of baalke power……

    1. comments from others….

      “Sometimes I believe the 49ers win in spite of harbaugh. Guy doesnt know half the rules of the game and just flips the F out on the sidelines on every flag it seems. Save it for college where u belong jim.”

      Also two things to remember about Gore.

      1: He practiced against the same scheme for the first 3.5 seasons in the league so he probably knew the tendencies enough to relay that to Kaep.

      2: When Nolan was HC he was quoted on a few occasions as saying that he would always listen when Gore gave input because he had a really good perspective of how certain plays can go.

  56. Merry Christmas to everyone, let’s enjoy the last great play at the Stick! Loved seeing all the Niner gear on everyone today in the City and around the Bay.

  57. oneniner sez:
    “….I mean cmon how many times his he going to argue with the refs …”

    Well .. a lot of those times .. I felt the Harbs was justified ..
    take, for example, the “PI” call on Donte ..
    in years past .. that hit would have been featured on
    “Jacked up !”

    What do we have now in its place ?

    “C’mon Man !” ??

  58. oneniner says:
    December 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm
    “Kaepernick sides with Gore over Harbaugh on TD play call”……

    this has been my problem with JH’s ego this season – didn’t he think Gore deserved a touchdown at the last game at the stick.

    the lack of respect for 49er tradition is why JH will never win a SB as a niner coach.
    ——————translation——————-

    Harbaugh will never win a championship here because he got rid of Alex Smith. His ego destroyed my dreams of #11 winning a title and shutting up all the haters out there. He broke tradition by getting rid of qb’s that weren’t producing championships and gave the team the best chance to win. He has forced my hand at making the Chiefs my primary team and the 49ers my secondary team. Because every true fan has more than one team. Harbaugh is simply the Grinch and Andy Reid is the greatest coach ever who will FINALLY win it all with #11 by his side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>