49ers will keep it close vs. Arizona, but can they win?

This is my Saturday column.

Forget the 49ers’ blowout loss to the Steelers last week. That has no bearing on this week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

I expect the Niners will hold their own against the Cardinals, a team that’s better than the Steelers. Arizona is flat-out elite — good offense, good defense, good coaching staff. This team has won 15 of their past 17 games with Carson Palmer at quarterback, and they scored 48 points last week on the road against the Bears.

Palmer still hasn’t gotten sacked this season. I expect that to change on Sunday. I expect the Niners will rough him up. I’m talking seven, eight hits. Big ones. And a few will be sacks. Each hit –—even the ones that aren’t sacks — will take its toll.

Palmer gets injured frequently and easily, and he’s 35. Breathe on him, and he goes down. Or he throws the ball to other team. I expect Palmer will throw a few balls to the 49ers on Sunday.

And I expect he’ll get outplayed by Colin Kaepernick, who always plays well against the Cardinals. In five games against them, his passer rating is 106.2.

I expect this will be a close game. But I expect the 49ers will lose.

Reason No. 1.

The Cardinals will shut down Carlos Hyde, like the Steelers did last week. Pittsburgh held him to 43 yards on 13 carries — 3.3 yards per carry.

Even though Hyde is a big, powerful running back, his best runs occur outside the tackles. That’s where he gained 114 of his 168 rushing yards against the Vikings Week 1.

Why could he run successfully around the outside Week 1 but not Week 2?

Because Week 1, he faced a 4-3 defense, and Week 2 he faced a 3-4 defense.

A 4-3 defense has four down linemen and three linebackers grouped together in the middle of the field, ready to stuff runs up the middle. But the linebackers are vulnerable against runs outside the tackles. Once the offense blocks the defensive end, the only other defender the offense has to worry about is a cornerback. In game 1 against the Vikings, the 49ers were able to outflank Minnesota’s defense.

A 3-4 defense has three down lineman and four linebackers. The two outside linebackers line up on the line of scrimmage next to the defensive ends. So, when a back tries to run outside the tackles, the offense has to block a defensive end AND an outside linebacker, which is difficult. It is hard to outflank a 3-4 defense.

“A little bit more challenging against a 3-4,” Joe Staley said at his locker Friday afternoon. “There are different challenges because the angles aren’t the exact same against a 4-3.”

I predict the Niners will give up on their running game early against the Cardinals.

Reason No. 2.

The 49ers’ offense is too methodical.

Opposing defenses do not fear the 49ers’ deep passing game. That’s because it doesn’t exist. Through two games, Kaepernick has thrown only four passes that traveled at least 20 yards downfield. As opposed to Palmer, who has thrown 12 passes at least 20 yards downfield.

This is not a knock on Kaepernick — he doesn’t call the plays. This is a knock on Geep Chryst, the offensive coordiator. He has done good things this season, but his offense has no quick-strike element. It’s all dinks and dunks.

When those dinks and dunks work, the 49ers string together drives of 17 or 18 plays. And they’re impressive drives, but ultimately hard to sustain. Too many bad things can happen during long drives, bad things like penalties, dropped passes and sacks.

I expect drives to break down. I expect the 49ers to go for field goals more often than they’d like. I expect Kaepernick will get sacked four or five times.

Reason No. 3.

The red-zone offense still stinks.

San Francisco has scored just three touchdowns in nine trips to the red zone this season – 33 percent. That ranks 29th in the NFL, one spot behind the Jaguars.

It gets worse.

Through two games, the Niners have run a whopping 45 plays inside the opponent’s 25-yard line, and scored just three touchdowns and two field goals. They’re stuck in neutral.

Red-zone play design has been a 49ers weakness since Mike Singletary was the head coach. Whoever runs the Niners’ offense seems to have no clue how to score in the red zone. You almost never see the 49ers call passes for tight ends, the biggest and best red-zone targets on the field. No, the Niners run the ball, throw quick, three-yard passes to wide receivers and then kick field goals.

I expect the Niners will score mostly field goals against the Cardinals.

Of course, I could be wrong. I don’t expect to be wrong, but I was wrong Week 1 when I picked the 49ers to lose to the Vikings. I hope I’m wrong again.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

This article has 125 Comments

  1. I believe the 49ers will lose big because the Cardinals have a multifaceted offense capable of handling the constant 3-outs the 49ers offense will hand them on Sunday.
    It’s like giving a pro baseball team 4 outs everytime. Against an elite offense, that’s asking to lose big time.
    Also, I don’t believe the current coaching staff know how to function in the environment they are about to walk into…You think the terrible towel was bad, this Cards stadium is like Seattle’s 12th man.


  2. So long as the D doesn’t get torched again, you are likely right this will be a close game. I think the Cards will take this one too, but I’ve been wrong on both games so far!

  3. Good article Grant– I concur. I see the Hawks experiencing redzone issues of their own. Hope we get that fixed. Good news — Kam Chancellor has been reactivated.

    1. No one but you and that lonely self care about the Seabawks!
      I told you long time ago Marty, you are just a rash on here!

      1. Prime: If no one cares? Why do you follow me around? Here’s the deal I’m going to give you and the others who are acting like “bad” children some power. So the decision is in your hands how I behave. When you bug me I’ll post a Seahawk article from Fieldgulls or a Seahawk video.

        If you want to be disrespectful, I’ll treat you the same. Nevermind I’ll just start posting them. We’re in the same div. — you s/b knowledgeable about the Seahawks. Have a great day. :)


        1. If you think any right minded 49er fan wants to read Seahawks news, you are more demented than I thought.
          In fact, scratch that. I think you are seriously ill. To think it’s okay to needle other teams fans on their blogs, just goes to show how sorry you really are.
          Let’s make another deal Marty. You post what you want as many times as you want. My part will be to to tell you how foolish you look every time. Deal?

          1. Then don’t you old fool — but any remarks and I post stuff. And that is the way it will be Now leeave me alone.

            1. Wow, that is really scary. You are going to post things in the comment section on the internet and it is up to us whether to click on it or not. Intimidating stuff.

              BTW, sorry to hear about your debilitating head injury.

          1. Too small. Throwing his body around he won’t last more than 3 more years. He’s already had surgery on a shoulder. Not good!
            Marty your window is closing as dis the Niners after losing in the SB. Get use to it. Would not want you to stay in bed for 2 days after a loss. Pathetic!

          2. Don’t cry Mary, this is the big leagues. If you can’t stand the situation, tough. If you can then let’s go!

              1. You are big on chances today. Vegas odds and such. Let me ask you Marty, who was favoured in last years SB? I believe the Seahawks and what happened? Whoops, 2 days in bed crying and then not showing your face on here till the new year balking 49er insults while your team is 0-2. You are one classy lady!

              2. Mary until the Rams and Cards get to a NFC championship game, maybe they are ahead of us.
                As for you clowns, the window is closing ever so quickly. You sound worried. I hope you are not basing their winning with being able to function as a human being? The last thing a needler needs is to be home sick in bed, for 2 days. I’m worried about you girlfriend.

          3. Hi, Mary. I enjoy your comments and am glad you feel comfortable enough to join us now and then with your thoughts on our team – and yours. We used to have another woman poster on this site, and like you she was an avid, knowledgeable, and articulate fan – only of the 49ers, not the Seahawks :-) You remind me of her also because she, too, only grew harsh in reply to troll-like nasty, petty, and provincial remarks. She posted under the handle “49erGirl.” Anyhow, as another 49er booster once said, here’s lookin’ at you kid – welcome to Inside the 49ers.

            1. Thanks Max for the kind words and the compliments. I too liked 49erGirl and thought she was very knowledgeable and articulate also. A real bright light in here. It’s too bad she didn’t feel comfortable enough to stay or that no women feels safe here.

              I remember when 49erGirl left this group it was when McDonald was arrested for domestic violence. I was on PFBTalk & a poster said a woman friend of his had lived with McDonald for 10 mo. and he had beat her and it was just a matter of time b/4 he did it to someone else.

              Well I remember 49erGirl told her personal story about how the father of her child had beat her up and the group was sympathetic sort of. And I remember MidDy from Kansas City saying well men suffer emotional abuse and that’s like getting your teeth and face rearranged right. She and I felt MacDonald s/b cut. Well 6 mo. later he beat her up again and the 49ers cut him.

              49erGirl left soon thereafter. That’s what I remember.

              1. Seb,

                I’ve been following this conversation and others on these matters. I believe Mary knows you somewhat better than me having caught the nickname of “Sap” she labeled you wilth.
                Perhaps I will not go this far, but in the future I reserve the right to refer to you as such since I respect Mary’s debating professionalism over your’s….Sorry, but an instructor does notice when some in the class are a bit slower than others.

          4. Wait? Is this site now Inside the SeaSqwaks? Who gives a flying F what some -12th man (or girl) thinks of that pathetic team.

            GTFO. Go hang out with your other pastyface northwesterners.

            1. Trade for RGIII is my only advice to this fake49er team with. Is my hair messed up Colin as quarterback! Move this team to the CFL as it can’t play in the NFL!

          1. I love Pete Carroll and what he’s done for the Seahawks. Now drag your sorry ass back to the 49ers and pray they can win this game so you can finish in 3rd place in this division again.

            1. Peter’s rah rah is getting old. Just like Harbaughs mighty men slogan. Like every fiery coach, they all have a shelf life. Carrolls is coming soon!

              1. Prime I think not. If you listen to Earl’s vid. you might learn something. Listen to what Earl says about winning this year. It’s that winning mentality that team has and yours does not.

              2. The day I listen to anything Seahawks is the day I go on a Seahawks blog and pretend I know something. You ever get that feeling Mary?
                See I’m not that kinda rash or hemorrhoid!

              3. Words are just words.

                Players on any team, with any chance, will say more or less the same thing.

                Should the team a certain player is on win, then such meaning is then placed on future words, when the truth is, it’s the only the on field performance that matters.

    2. What do the Hawks have to do with the niners game against cardinals? Isn’t there a site you can go to where it has some relevance? Seriously, it’s pathetic you hang out here. Please find another hobby. Btw: if you were a niner fan trolling around hawk sites, I would say same thing…get a job or get a life.

  4. If the pass rush is as good as you say it will be, the 49ers should win. I don’t think it’ll be that good though. I expect a close loss as well.

  5. It’s a must win. I know it’s early in the season but tomorrow will determine wether if indeed it’s a rebuild. A loss, a bad loss will solidify this.
    I’m picking the Niners: 23-16

    1. I agree. I think CK an CH gors off ontje Cards. I also see the Seahawks losing a close one. This team is just as disorganized as the Niners. Look forHyde to go crazy.

  6. The 49ers can win. I’m not predicting they will, but there are a few reasons they might.

    – The 49ers still have gap scheme inside runs in the playbook. If AZ charges the edges, the 49ers can hit them inside. Mike Davis should be good in this role.

    – If VMac can play it will help with the wide runs. He’s really good at blocking DBs in space, which should help vs AZ’s 3 and 4 safety schemes.

    – In Pittsburgh Hyde got dinged early. 2 TEs got hurt too. The real running game (3 TEs + fresh Hyde) should emerge. Probably not the major YPC they have vs the Vikings, but still pretty good.

    What can sink the 49ers?

    – If we can’t get a good pass rush with just 4 guys. A clean jersey on Palmer would be catastrophic.

    – If the TEs aren’t all healthy.

    – If the right side pass pro fails to improve

    – Drops

  7. The Niners are 6.5 point underdogs in this contest, and most NFL observers expect the Cards to win this game handily….understandable, after the debacle last week at Pittsburgh.

    If the Niners can abstain from indulging in the general sloppiness that seems to be the norm since the 2014 season i.e. starting slow, penalties, missed blocks, red zone goofiness and play sound fundamental football, there is no reason they cannot stay in this game.
    The pressure is on the Cardinals, they are supposed to be the contenders…the Niners are no longer the hunted.

    On another note, looks like preparations are underway to install Geep Chryst as the next blog whipping boy, a prestigious post, previously held by Greg Roman. If the Niners don’t yet have a downfield passing game or struggle with the pass in the redzone….is it possible that Geep is limited by what he has to work with?

    1. Offensive coordinator= whipping boy. It’s in the job description. No fan base likes their OC and everybody and Marshawn Lynch’s mom is a better play caller.

    2. Skeptic

      Beware…you are getting close to the ‘shout down’ range of some on here who are satisfied with 8-8

      1. Speaking for myself, I’m not satisfied with an 8-8 season, but it’s not the end of the world, either.

  8. I don’t judge the 2011 49ers by the Thanksgiving Harbowl. That was a scheduling joke, the first time a team has ever flown 3K miles for a Thursday game.

    I won’t judge the 2015 49ers by the scheduling joke last Sunday either. A Monday game starting at 7:20pm, followed by flying 3K miles for a 10am game?

    Its clear before the 2011 and 2015 seasons, the NFL designated the 49ers a throwaway team that can be used to resolve scheduling binds.

    Little Jed building a frying pan stadium that requires night games in September doesn’t help either.

    1. Skeptic:

      ou named all the ailments that were present in Harbaugh’s teunure and have carried over into the Chryst staff: 1. Starting slow, 2. penalties, 3. missed blocks, 4. Redzone futility, 5.Kap’s inaccuracies, all add up to drive killers.
      I mentioned these would plague this staff, but all scoffed, and said this is a different regime.

  9. If we win we will be tied for first plac. CARDS are the best team in the division. This could really catapult the Niners into a wildcard position.

  10. Film review; Flotsam and jetsam from the first two games.

    This isn’t your father’s 4-3 under. Mangina has the boys lining up in as plain-jane 3-4 garb as you can get on first and second downs. Williams lines up either straight up on the nose or just slightly shaded to either side with both ends lining up on the 4 straight across from the tackles. The 2 OLB’s flank either end standing up. Brooks is garbage on the right side. He has no acceleration and is taking plays offs regularly. With that said the defense appears to be far more effective when lining up in it’s base 3-4 in terms of getting into the backfield. On passing downs they are getting too cute at the line of scrimmage trying to disguise who’s coming and the result is that the player who often is is too busy dancing around the line of scrimmage trying to fool the QB rather then be in the best position to launch and make a play at the snap. There is no explosion from the defense on passing plays and the offensive line has plenty of time to react and reset their stance and hands.

    Carlos Hyde is not only better then I said he was but better then the first two games suggest, even the first. Hard to believe but he actually left quite a few yards on the field in the first game. However and I expect to take a lot of flak on this but the offensive line was not as bad a originally touted in the run game against the Steelers. Carlos was not being patient and at times was even trying to hard to replicate game 1 by spinning out of and changing direction when he should have just waited for the line to do it’s job. There were more opportunities for positive yards in the first part of that game then what we saw and I’m putting a big part of that on Carlos not being patient and not sticking to being a n/s runner like he needs to be. Don’t get cute Carlos, there were plenty of holes in the beginning of that game that you either didn’t see or changed direction before they opened up. Be patient. This was Gore’s greatest asset.

    Pears has to go, period. No one that plays that bad should still be employed in the NFL, I just can’t imagine that there aren’t at least 20 other un-drafted college players sitting at home that could have come in practiced for a week and still had a better performance then Pears did. Too add insult to injury Devey was at times blocking people with his forearms rather then reaching out with his hands, WTF is up with that? I know I wont be the only one to see that and I hope that’s either intentional on a level I don’t understand or something they fix right away because every time he did it he got tossed aside like a rag doll.

    1. I really liked those shaded fronts. They allowed interior linemen to be a little more aggressive, a little less predicable.

      The only thing that can derail Hyde is injuries. Hyde was hurt last year when he struggled for an extra inch when his legs were tangled in the pile. Extra inches are great when you are about to move the sticks or score. Not so essential with 5 yards to go and LBs or safeties bearing down on you.

      In last years injury, the defender (I think Seattle) seemed to deliberately hit him at an angle that would stress his ankle/knee while Hyde’s legs were trapped in the pile.

      I’ve seen Seattle’s defense do this before (including last week vs the Packers). If they see an opposing players legs caught up, they will hit at an angle that has less to do with stopping forward momentum, and more to do with breaking lower extremities.

    2. Something else that stuck out between the two games is that in the first game a good number if not in fact the majority of Kaepernick’s passes involved play action where he then rolls counter to the direction of the run to hit a receiver running back across the formation. He was mostly successful doing this on the day as well. The first pass they tried against the Steelers was the same type and it was clear the linebackers were ready for it as they had one waiting for Kaepernick as he peeled away from the play action. They spent the rest of the game doing straight drop back passes for the most part. In the second half they tried once again and although the LB was ready again this time Kaep made the right play and dumped the pass off to the TE just behind the LB. However it wasn’t a clean looking play and they decided not to try it again for the rest of the afternoon. That’s too bad because when run correctly it still produced an 8 yard gain. I don’t expect the offense to be a rinse wash repeat of what worked the week before but I think they gave up on that play too soon in week #2.

    3. I want Brooks to watch from the side lines until he learns to stay on side and stop jumping off side. He has cost a game before, and he will cost them a game in the future.
      Maybe Lynch on the left and Lemonier on the right, with Brooks and Harold as subs.
      Pears and Devey are the weak links. The Niners should try Staley, Thomas, Easton, Martin and Boone as the O lineup, or go bold and go Staley, Thomas or Martin, Easton, Boone and Brown.

      1. He’s never going to learn, Seb. He’s been like that his entire career. He’s always looked to guess the snap to get on top of the OL.

        My main problem is that its no longer effective for him. Even when he guesses correctly he’s not bringing much pressure. He really looks like a guy that has lost a step.

      2. If this week turns out to be a 5 sack week I might be willing to take those 20 players off the street CFC was talking about. At some point Grimey’s right with Devey and Pears playing so badly what could it hurt to try some other guys in there. I know they did during the preseason and it looked bad. If we’re that weak in talent it says something about our GM. Its a bummer Davis retired. Who knew we might actually miss Iupati?

        1. Personally, I like what we have in ouir offensive line with Pears, Devey, Brown and Easton working to build chemistry together…Staley and Boone are solid on the left. Look, you’re not going to immediatly have an Upshaw/ Schell combination just fall in your lap…they have to work together. The knee-jerk substitutions only elongate the battle. Make them interchangeable, and Play them

        2. Davis didn’t retire. Exercising that option would’ve given his team time to prepare. Davis QUIT. This should be factored into the team’s current situation. This needed to be said but nobody is saying it.

  11. Last week the test was the defense and the Niners failed, this week the test is on the offense, Cards are the first team with a stout defense.

    Here is why I think they are going to win.

    1. They wont be able to contain Hyde.
    2. CK is going to go off both with his arm and his legs.
    3. Bush is going to break one, on a screen.
    4. The defense is going to pressure Palmer into interceptions.

    Oh my solution for the Red Zone problems is to deactivate Dawson and do not use Pinion to replace him. You either get a touchdown or nothing.
    Two point extra point only. Take away the crutch and make them perform.

          1. The producer at Starbucks gave me the inside scoop of Kaep on what coaches really think of him. I’ll just keep my mouth and play nice for now.

            1. I was merely pointing out that its cool that you got to be around NFL royalty.

              You can’t help yourself and find a way to work Kap into every conversation.

  12. To have a chance at beating Arizona, we’re absolutely, positively going to have to get to Carson Palmer – and get to him fast. If we can do that, at the same time we limit the Cardinals’ deep threat (there won’t be enough time for it) and increase the chances for a hurried pass and thus an interception. Offensively, first play of the game, I’d like to see Colin attempt a play action pass to a receiver or tight end along the sideline; then, on the second play, I’d have the receiver and tight end run the same route as on the last play – only this time Colin fakes a handoff to Carlos inside and takes the ball off-tackle or around the corner himself on a designed QB run play. These two plays would move the sticks. We then give Carlos the ball on 1st down – and next play let ‘er rip to Anquan or Torrey for big yards or a touchdown . . . Anybody wanna bet? :-)

    1. Max: I was thinking it might not be a bad thing if the 49ers beat the Cards make a bad situation more manageable?

      1. I’ve been thinking it might not be a bad thing, too! LOL! But we’re going to need near perfect play-calling and execution on both sides of the ball to bring it off. I’m not sure what you mean by “make a bad situation more manageable.” Oh, unless you’re referring to what the standings would look like after a ‘Niner win. So, your Seahawks win and are at 1-2, Cards lose and are at 2-1, Rams win and are at 2-1, ‘Niners win and are at 2-1 . . . Somebody in our division has GOT to make it to the Superbowl! LOL! (And if it’s your Seahawks, playing for it in OUR stadium – well, I have to admit I’m laughing at the thought of this tragic irony already! Can’t imagine what antics your “Ricky” would get up to in that catastrophic event. And don’t you know he’s already probably savoring the possibility of it LOL!)

        1. Max,

          The only way Seattle makes it back to the SB this year, is if they have perfect health AND get some help. If they don’t have home field throughout the playoffs, they don’t have much of a chance.

          The Seahawks have no depth at DB, LB, QB, RB, WR and OL. I’m not talking about a small step down if the Seahawk reserves need to play, the “talent” drops off a cliff.

          1. Hey, exgolfer. No doubt you’re right – or, at any rate, I hope you are! I was just pondering the improbable – but not the impossible – and chuckling at how supremely annoyed we’d all be if the improbable happened. (Of course, our Pacific Northwest friend would be in seventh heaven LOL!) Looks to be a good game today. See ya ’round the fifty-yard line!

            1. MaxMax? Holy Moses! Look what happens to my avatar with one extra touch to a key! Anyhow, s/b Max, with a smile, not MaxMax . . .

        2. Max: of course, standings. 6 games in will really give the clear picture. Can Chip Kelly pull his team together. I think Romo might be out when we play Dallas. Yeah Football!

          1. With regard to the ‘Niners I think it’ll take eight games to get a clear picture, reason being our tough away games and at -home game over weeks 2-4. ‘Course, if we win the next 3 or 4, then, yes, clearly we’re on our way if not quite yet “in like Flynn” . . . Have a great day!

            1. That seems reasonable. Today’s game isn’t must win, IMO. A win would be better, but as long as they compete and show improvement, I’ll be encouraged.

        3. Max: I’m still shocked at how sloppy some of these teams are playing including Seahawks. So probably expect penalties. . .

  13. The cardinals elite?! When they have played the bears and saints lol both those teams are joke, neither have an semblance of a defensive backfield or pass rush. There’s no WR that even comes close to Antonio Brown, Steelers max protected all game and ran Brown ever where we couldn’t keep up. Az is good, but so are we.

    1. I totally agree it’s hard to know just how good the Cardinals are because they’ve played 2 of the worst teams in the NFL so far. That being said if I had to bet my house on this one I would go with Az, mostly because the game will be at their house.

    2. You know its the NFL hype machine putting too much stock in 2 games. The Cardinals are very good but I want to see them against elite competition first. Lets see how they fair against the Steelers and GB or even the Ravens defense. The same NFL hype machine that has started to discount the Eagles, Colts and Seahawks. All those teams could end up in the playoffs. The Bears and Saints are both closer to Top 10 draft picks than the playoffs but who knows?

    3. Ski:p: John Clayton goes around to all the training camps and he thinks they are a very good team and the ” real ” deal. They were obviously good last year and just improved.

  14. fyi…I am not “Max” nor am I “Prime”….so all of you having this arguement and dialog with Mary ( and it is Mary not Marty 4F’sSake) just relax..we got football tomorrow!

        1. Cancer vibes?? Just my opinion Mary, but you a a pretty pathetic human being.

          But I guess any attention is good, as long as they spell your name correctly. Right?

          1. gnossos23: the rituals are much more complicated than “vibes” but I thought I would keep the language understandable for everyone, if you get my drift.

          2. This is a well worn trench. Many have been sucked in and its a one way ticket of futility with her. We should all move on. She can post we don’t have to respond or read.

            1. Words of wisdom which I will heed.
              Her “explanation” was even more disconnected than the original statement.

        2. I was not going to post before the game, but this requires a response. Mary, you obviously have never had a loved one die in your arms because of cancer.
          Try it sometime, then think about your cancer insult.

          1. Sep, Sap whatever your name is: take your biplor medication for obsessive compulsive behavior and try to keep your posts to a minimum of 50 a day a day as it makes this site sluggish.

            P.S.: I don’t really care what you think — you got a lot probs–worry about yourself.

        3. You’re a joke. Yes please curse me. Wait no!!! I actually believe you have powers that can give people cancer. I can’t afford scooby do and crew to fight you off. But it’s nice to know what kind of “human” being you are. Hell will definitely enjoy you! Curse on!

          1. It’s folks her who have no friends in life and come to the Internet to make everyone as miserable as her. May she get hit by a train.

            1. MD: Take your limp d*ck and go cry to someone else. God, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. You dish it out but can’t take it. Coward!

  15. Back to football, I hope Coach Tomsula considers time outs to be precious and saved for legitimate challenges and the last 2 minutes of each half. Those challenges were very iffy, so there was little chance of them being overturned. Not only was a time out wasted, the Niners could not challenge again for the rest of the half.
    With the score 3-29, the Niners sure could have used those lost time outs to stop the clock.
    Therefore, only challenges that show clear uncontroverted definitive proof should be used, and if there is doubt, save the challenge and save the time out.

  16. I predict a blow out loss for SF. It appears those are the games they win, so I’m going to try it again.
    Az last year had a hurt Fitzgerald. Their QB was out too. SF still lost. This time, Az has everything working and healthy. I think it is ludicrous to think SF keeps it close.
    Look for more garbage time scoring, but I think this one is over in the first quarter. Boy do I hope I miss this one completely.

  17. Last post before the game. The Niners will win if Kaep can hit those quick passes underneath the coverage like Patton was open on. Kaep should invite the blitz, then burn them with a screen or quick outlet pass to the RB. I hope they use all their weapons, including Hayne.
    I DO NOT think they should be blitz happy. Keep those safeties deep. I hope Kaep plays quick, Tomsula coaches soundly, and the team plays Niner Football.
    GO NINERS !!!!!!

  18. I’m not thinking it will be a close game. It won’t be a close season either I don’t think. As a lifelong fan, I hate to say that I think Tomsula is better suited to run a laundromat. He has never been a coordinator on any level, his biggest attribute is that he’s extremely likable (apparently this counts much more than wins – see: Harbaugh, Jim), and his staff is full of retreads working their way back down the NFL coaching ladder against their will. The only exception is Geep Chryst, who was about the 5th choice for coordinator, but the niners pretended like he was the guy they coveted all along. The biggest problem we have is our owner, who is a well intentioned idiot who hasn’t run a candy store, and is now running a multi-billion dollar operation.

      1. @Exgolfer, my source is a pretty damn good prediction of the massacre that just happened against the Cardinals today, something not even Grant saw coming. I’m a fan, but I’m not a fanatic. The writing is clear: we lose the best coach we’ve had in decades and have replaced him and his staff with retreads who have no better choice but to accept demotions, Geep Chryst notwithstanding, who is totally over his head as a OC, just as Tomsula is over his head as a HC. He is a line coach and we’re not even doing that well.

  19. Grant,

    Any given Sunday !!!

    The Steelers were “lucky” in hitting all those long shots at the “3rd and long”s last week. Who is current DC in Chicago ? Did he order the “B”s ? Not his style, right !

    With the current DC of the 49ers, it can win big or lose big because of the risks that they are taking. Palmer is no Brady or Rogers. He needs time to deliver his shots. Big “B” may humble him, IMHO.

    Don’t forget the “any given Sunday”.

  20. It’s worth noting that the Cardinals two victories came against the 30th and 32nd ranked teams according to ESPN Power Rankings. Yes those are imperfect measurements, yes losing to the Cardinals is one of the reasons those teams are low in the power rankings, and yes those same power rankings have the Cardinals as a top 3 team. All I’m saying is they haven’t beat a good team yet. In the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, “so you’re telling me there’s a chance!?”

    1. By week 11 the story line will be which 1-0 team from week one finishes last place. Sf or Tennessee?
      The cardinals might not have beat a real team yet, but that real team is not SF.

  21. In remembrance of one of my favorite football players and MNF announcers, Frank Gifford, this is one of his many memorable quotes: “Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors.” That would make a great tattoo.

  22. Remember no matter how bad things get we can always fall back on the knowledge that at least we aren’t Raider fans;

    “Raiders haven’t won in the Eastern time zone since Week 13, 2009 at Pittsburgh. Bruce Gradkowski was the Raiders starting QB.” tweeted from @andrewsiciliano

  23. Bad on the right side offensive line. Long on young DB’s. Short on chemistry. The ‘niners are rebuilding. Sad but exciting. Other teams have risen from catastrophic change, so can the 49ers. It is just too bad the $billion stadium looks like a Tinkertoy set…

  24. I think the 49ers can win today. In the game against Pittsburgh there were missed opportunities as well as a seemingly overt attempt to not try the things that worked so well in the first game. They should use the three tight ends bunched up on the left side a few more times this week then they did last. When they ran this play against the Vikings they would rotate the positions of the TE, the first time they ran it it was Celek in motion and the next it was Vernon. It was the success with these plays that helped set up the play action counter rolls that were also working in the passing game. As I said before I’m not looking for them to try and repeat exactly what they did in one game to another but don’t be afraid to revisit things that have worked.

    The team needs to also not be afraid to keep trying the screen passes. Last week Colin didn’t pull the defenders deep enough into the back field before dumping off the screen allowing them to still be close enough to make a play on the ball.

    Defenses have bad games and last week was certainly one of them. I think part of the solution for the pass rush is to simplify and to multiply. The more successful blitzes against Minnesota were overloads, where the team sends everyone including Judy in PR after the QB and leaves a safety holding his jock in the backfield praying they get the sob. Veteran QB’s like Ben and Carson can kill you with those kinds of blitzes but frankly I don’t see any other choice for them at this point. They aren’t getting the pressure through individual performances so simply give them more then they have to block it with, and be quick. Against Carson they should focus their blitzes up the middle, old immobile QB’s are easier to bring down when you come straight at them, when you come from the side it’s easier for them to either start running the direction they are facing or spin and run. Straight at them and they have to think which direction to turn and it’s a slower process. The base 3-4 has shown to be more effective at getting pressure in the back field and the team needs to work out of it more often on third down. Stop dancing around the line of scrimmage trying to then throw your safeties or linebackers back into coverage at the snap. It’s not putting them in their best position to do their jobs. Simplify Eric, we know you’re smart dude but you’ve got to recognize that your players just aren’t at the same level as your game plan at this point. Keep it simple so they can just go out and use let their natural abilities take over. The defense looks like it’s thinking way to much out there when they need to just be playing.

    Anyway, long story short the team can win today if they simplify and stick with what’s working. Let their players play and stop forcing them to think so much on the field, that’s what practice is for.

    27-23 49ers win.

  25. The Colts could stamp their ticket to the SB if they were willing to fire Pagano and hand an open check to Dungy to come back.

  26. Let’s go over the 49er check list:
    Hire clown, check
    Hire a bad QB, check
    Have 49er fans say what CK did in throwing for 69 yards makes him player of the week, check
    Give a bad press conference, check as Jim Tomsula is very bad at this
    Have CK stinking up the joint, check
    Don’t put in Blaine Gabbert when you lose 47 to 7, check and that makes Tomsula look like the buffoon that he is.
    Fire Jim tomsula by Superbowl, hopefully if the team finishes 4 and 12 or 5 and 11
    And for God’s sake, draft GOff and dump Kaepernick in the worse way. Even a high school kid can pass better!
    Oh yeah, and I did think Arizona was going to score 40 on the 49ers, just like I said Big Ben would throw nearly 400 yards, double check!

    Once again, I the 49ers fan am right in what I say. I think Green Bay will score 35 on the 49ers and Aaron will have 350 passing.

  27. Grant while hindsight may be 20-20 your foresight is obviously 20-2000. Can;t wait for your sunny prediction about the green bay game.

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