So Pumped Up and Excited about this one! More thoughts on that later in the week perhaps, but lets show the game notes!
Adam Snyder in for Chilo Rachal this week (yay!) Braylon Edwards still out for us. Michael Vick in for them. Well, so much for all that Kafka material I was working on. Getting the Ron Pitts/Jim Mora Not-Jr. are the broadcast team again.
David Akers in his REVENGE~! game to kick off, as soon as the ball decides to stay on the tee. It's through the back of the end zone. Broadcasters mentioning that the 49ers have lost 5 straight to the Eagles, last beating them in 05. Ugh. First play is a bootleg and a BIG BOMB to DeSean Jackson, fuckin--oh he dropped it. Whew. Fake reverse, no rush and nobody open, Vick runs for 8. Dump pass to the RB (McCoy) and NoVarro Bowman is right there, forcing a punt. Bowman's really good, might have to add MISTER to his name and all-cap it from now on too. Ginn returns it for a few yards, minus the obligatory quota meeting holding call on a return, on Bruce Miller. Here comes Alex Smith and company for the first time. Kendal Hunter (starting for Gore who's ankle is sore) runs left for 7 out of the I formation. Quick hitch pass to Delany Walker is dropped, he tries to scoop up the ball and never controlls it. They call it a lateral and a fumble, which is ridiculous, but Harbaugh is forced to use challenge #1. As the referee addressed the crowd, it's even more ridiculous, as the call is apparently a catch and a fumble.
Head Stooge Mike Pereira even explains how obvious it is. Then tells them "good job" for remembering to re-ask Philadelphia if they want the tripping penalty now. Ugh. Anyway, 2nd and 13, Screen Pass to Kendal Hunter and he runs up the middle and gets 15 and a First Down. GORE out of the I Formation up the middle for 40 yards, wrapping the ball with two hands as he senses the DB closing on him. Maybe if he's healthy he scores on that. Still a great play. Alex feels pressure and spikes the dump off pass at Hunter's feet. Swing pass to Hunter is dropped and he's blasted in the legs by Jarrad Page anyway. 3rd and 10, out of the shotgun, too short pass for Crabtree is dropped anyway, and here comes David Akers for a 43 yarder. Akers shanks it wide left and its not even close, and Harbaugh is hopping mad, literally. Which suggests he's angrier at the officials then his kicker. Maybe he called a time out that they missed, who knows.
Jason Avant leapt off a lineman's back, which is a 15 yard Leverage penalty that should be called and was not. Ah, that's why. Avant catches a pass for 9. McCoy runs up the middle for the first. Deep pass, Vick under pressure from Justin Smith and Parys Haralson, and Carlos Rogers tips and wrests the ball away from DeSean Jackson! Woo! So deep its essentially a punt, and Rogers returns it out to around the 40. Yeah! Two straight weeks with a nice interception from Rogers, Raven Mack will never believe this.
I Formation, Hunter gets 2. I Formation with Walker motioning out of it, Walker gets strung out on a sweep and loses 4. Well, that didn't work. 3rd and 12, and Staley moves about a month early. And Joe is the "best" lineman they have. Colin Kaepernick in at QB? And they have to burn a time out to spare themselves a Delay Of Game. JUGGERNAUT OFFENSE~!
And after all that, an inside handoff to Gore? What's the point of the time out, the broadcasters ask. What's the point of bringing Kaepernick in, I also ask. Andy Lee shanks a punt to the right, broadcasters use DeSean as his excuse/cover, but Lee is ripping his helmet off ANGRILY as we go to break. Just 37 yards. FOX loving all the commercial break opportunities in this game, at least.
Screen pass to Schmidt is good for 11 and a first. Pass over the middle to Maclin crosses midfield and another first down. Vick has an eternity to throw to Harborr for another first down. McCoy off left for 3 yards. Inside handoff to Ronnie Brown gets 15 yards and ANOTHER first down. Bah. Ahmad Brooks comes on the blitz and Ray McDonald MISSES the sack. Vick of course gets the throw off just in time and it hits Harbor who is wide open for the TD. He had both his hands on him, too, so frustrating. Ginn's return from a yard deep is decentish, they'll start at the 24. Alex is back in, throws a pass high to Crabtree right, but he hauls it in and falls down for 11. Short pass over the middle to Delany Walker gets 5. Sopuaga in as the eligible number. Gore gets a couple, and Staley is on his knees. Uh Oh. I hope this doesn't mean Rachal has to come back in now. That'd suck.
Alex Boone (75) is in for Staley for a play. 3rd and 3, slant pass is high but Crabtree reaches up and hauls it in, first down. Play Action pass deep over the middle to Vernon Davis for 26. Yeah! Gore up the middle for 3 with about 39 seconds left, that may end the first quarter. Nope, one more play, and it's an end zone pass to Ginn, overthrown, and that'll end the first quarter.
This has all the signs of bogging down for another field goal attempt now. Which would make Akers' earlier miss even bigger. Yep, Smith is tripped up and sacked for 4. They stink in the red zone. Akers is good from 37. REVENGE~! Okay not really.
Akers kicks high and short to the goal line, and it's returned exactly to the 20. A lot of ado for nothing. Play action deep pass again, no rush again, and this time DeSean Jackson holds onto it for 45 yards. Hell. Vick scrambles left for 12 or so. Play action, again no pressure, end zone pass is incomplete. Smith at least got a hand on Vick that time, pass to McCoy for 7. 3rd and 3, a stop is badly needed. NaVorro Bowman on the blitz gets pressure! The pass in the flat is hurried and incomple, Vick put on his ass and here comes the FG unit. 32 yarder by Henry is good, and they are checking Vick's hand as we FOX.
It's his throwing hand, Justin Smith whacked his fingers on that 2nd down play. Broadcast team credits it to "Alex Smith". Ginn with an ill-advised return from deep in the end zone only gets to the 13 and FOX.
Short hitch to a motioning Kyle Williams for 4. Gore up the middle doesn't quite get back to the line of scrimmage. Fi Fie Fo Fum, I Smell The Blood of a 3 and Out. Alex in the spread, pass is behind Vernon Davis. My nose is depressingly accurate. Andy Lee's angled punt bounces at midfield and out of bounds. FOX
Deep pass again is about a yard too long for Maclin. McCoy up the middle meets MISTER PATRICK WILLIS. 3rd and 9. 49ers show heavy blitz and it draws a false start. Not bad. 3rd and 14. Doesn't matter as Vick runs for 24, getting the edge and around both Willis and Bowman. 3 man rush is not enough. Maybe one day they'll figure that out. Play action (again), Harbor over the middle, first and goal inside the 5. This is grim. 49ers get some pressure and Vick throws across the field and way out of bounds, vaguely intended for Celek. Quick inside handoff to McCoy gets inside the 1. Probably only delaying the inevitable. #79 reports eligible for Philly. Ronnie Brown FUMBLES~! 49ers recover! HELL YEAH~! MISTER NAVORRO BOWMAN recovers the fumble. Parys Haralson made the hit in the backfield and Brown threw the ball, looks like he's trying to lateral, or perhaps even throw the ball away and intentionally ground it. Philly challenges, its a pretty week precedent if they allow that to be considered an incomplete pass or even forward progress stopped. Stooge Pereira says progress was not called so cannot come out of this challenge. He "thinks" its a backward pass and should stay 49er recovery. The ruling stands and the Eagles lose the challenge and a time out. Two men report eligible, 68 and 90, Snyder and Sopuaga, Hunter runs up the gut for 3 or 4. I formation, pass is wide for Davis and incomplete. Nice play by the defense, but the offense will make it all but moot. Nice screen pass to Hunter is bobbled and dropped, he would've gotten the first down. UGH. Lee punts from his end zone. Lee LAUNCHES it, Desean tries to reverse it to Rodgers-Cromartie and they lose even more for it. Andy Lee, offensive MVP again. Sigh. 59 and -4. Vick runs past the 3 man alleged pass rush for 10 yards, Bowman strips the ball too late, he's down. Carlos Rogers comes on a blitz and Vick throws it deep and away from everyone. CB blitz again, pass to Maclin and he runs for the first, 49ers appear to knock the ball out again, but Maclin is ruled down. On replay, probably the right call. Too bad. Play Action Screen to McCoy is dropped. 49ers show blitz, Vick slips out of a leg tackle by Aldon Smith, and is run down for a gain of 5 by MISTER PATRICK WILLIS, crowd boos loudly falsely thinking it was late. Vick runs through ANOTHER sack by McDonald this time and completes to DeSean. McCoy is hurt, he was run over by McDonald on that near miss. McCoy's half block was probably what prevented the sack. Damn. Ronnie Brown back in for them. 1st down at the 14 and they FINALLY get him, Aldon Smith wraps around Vick's leg and forces an in the grasp call. Nice play, Aldon had to fight off the hold (declined). Avant with an 11 yard reception, McDonald was put in an uncalled headlock, blatantly seen in the background on the replay of the catch. Short pass complete for nothing to McCoy as MISTER NAVORRO BOWMAN introduces himself to him again. 2 minute warning.
Kaepernick shown with helmet on and warming up on the sidelines. Hmm. 32 yard Field Goal attempt by Henery is good, 13-3 Eagles. Really could be a lot worse than it is. Feels like the offense is dead and the defense is fighting a doomed battle to keep it close. Short pop up kickoff is taken by Kendal Hunter and returned to the 30. Cagey move by the Eagles, really, keep it away from Ginn, who's probably the best chance for a TD right now. 1:46 left, Alex still out there for now. Alex strip sacked IMMEDIATELY, and there is this year's first appearance of Old Alex. 93 was unblocked and the ball squibbed out before contact. Ball goes right to the Eagles. Fuck. Handoff to McCoy goes inside for 3. Alex had just his throwing hand on it and couldn't hold it. Maybe he was hurt earlier? Pass in the flat to a motioning McCoy gets a first down. Pass to McCoy is broken up by a well timed hit by Goldson. Short over the middle pass to Maclin is tackled immediately by Goldson, Eagles call final time out. Shovel Pass to McCoy is good for a TD. Well this sucks. 20-3 with :38 ticks left in this ugly first half. The offense is hot garbage. Kickoff bounces behind the end zone for a touchback. Alex is coming back out there with 2 time outs. They're in the shotgun spread. Short dumpoff to Gore, and they don't call a time out, why not just kneel if you're not going to call time outs anyway. Pass to Crabtree is dropped. 3rd and 8 with :08 seconds left. Mora calls it into question. Gore runs for a first down and NOW they call a time out with :01 second left. "I'm sure there's a reason behind this, I'm not sure what it is," says Mora. Fittingly long and drawn out end to this SLOW first half, anyway. Screen to Gore gets 9 futile yards, and we go to the half. At least they'll start with the ball.
I just realized now, watching the highlight package as they come back from halftime, that the 49ers are actually WINNING the turnover battle in this game. And they're down 20-3. That's how badly the offense sucks, in a nutshell. Ginn returns the deep kick up to about the 26. Play action pass to a wide open Josh Morgan, and they call roughing the passer on Babbin #93. Yeah, he wrestled him down by the head. Tack on 15 for the best play of the day by the offense by far. Hunter pounds ahead for 3. Gore has the official NFL Parka/Robe on. Hitch to Walker goes for nothing, doesn't matter as they call Anthony Davis for tripping. 49ers are according to Mora "The most penalized offense in the NFL", I believe it. Pass left to Walker gets 11, 3rd and 6. Babbin got away with the old Deacon Jones head slap on that play. Eagles call time out.
49ers BARELY get the playoff and for some reason throw a 2 yard pass to Crabtree. Utterly stupid. 45 yard attempt at Akers is BLOCKED. Fuck This. Play action again, yawn, forever to throw, yawn, DeSean complete again, yawn. Haralson forces an incomplete. McCoy for 4. Short pass to Celek, yawn, here's another field goal. 33 yards is good. How much time is... 9:30 in the third still? FUCK.
Kickoff out the back of the end zone, yawn. FOX. Yawn.
Alex Smith over the middle for a few to Delany Walker. The 49ers do know the field's 100 yards long, right? Alex scrambles away from pressure, Kendal Hunter comes off his block, catches the ball, and he's off! Well this is exciting! Has to slow down to cut around a couple guys, goes to the Eagle 32. Hunter gets the ball again, running up the middle for 2. Quick slant to Josh Morgan and he gets past a guy and goes 30 yards past where the blitzing safety would've been! Where was this all day? Touchdown and it's 23-10 with 7:20 left. Quick slant and run for a TD, a welcome ghostly echo of the past.
Akers kicks off, Lewis returns from a yard deep and is stopped at the 20. Play action again why bother with that gesture when they never hand off? Vick runs for 7 before Brooks wrestles him to the ground. Play action again yawn pass bounces off of Celek's hand, 3rd and 3. Straight drop for once, Vick runs for it and MISTER NAVORRO BOWMAN says Not Today, Sir. Not Today. Excellent Ankle Tackle, and here's the punt. Ginn foolishly runs backwards and is cut for a loss and fumbles the ball to lose even more yards as he has to fall on it. Ted, running backwards like that doesn't work in the NFL.
Deep pass on first down on the left sideline and Crabtree makes the catch against Nmamdi! Got him with the double move! Makes a guy miss and gets 32! Pitch to Kendall Hunter goes right for 12! The Offense has finally left the hotel room and come to the stadium! #90 Dixon shaken up on the play for Philly. Swing pass to Bruce Miller and HE makes a guy miss and runs and dives for another first down at the 12! Sopuaga eligible and in "motion" sorta, as Gore goes straight ahead for 2. Put Hunter back in! Shotgun spread, Vernon Davis catches and POWERS into the end zone, running through one alleged tackler and over another at the goal line! Is this what they call a "comeback", I can't quite remember? Akers XP makes it 23-17 with 2:58 left in the 3rd. The margin is now reduced to the two missed FGs from earlier. Interesting. Akers put ths kickoff through the back of the endzone for a touchback. Vick drops back and a sack! McDonald and Smith. Finally they are rushing more guys and clogging those gaps. Ray McDonald gets Vick on the snap, he barely handed the ball off in time but McCoy is cut down for a loss anyway by Brooks! Yeah! 3rd and 16! Now they back off on the rush, ugh. Vick has forever to throw and hits DeSean Jackson for 61. Fuck. Takes a nice ankle tackle by Terrell Brown to stop a touchdown. McCoy runs into WILLIS for 3. McDonald pressures Vick and draws a trip-hold to back them up a few. 2nd and 17 from the 32, and the Eagles choose to let the clock restart and run, and the 3rd quarter ends.
Smith is held without a call as Rogers blitzes, short pass to Maclin is caught and he is blasted into the air by Reggie Smith. 3rd and 15. 3 man non-rush concedes a pass to Desean Jackson to set up a shorter Field Goal. 39 yarder is way wide to the left (his right). Yeah! Hope shoots a pale, clawed hand out of the grave dirt and into the night air as we FOX.
From the 29, playaction bootleg DEEP to Crabtree, there is bumping and an incomplete pass, both men come up looking for a flag on the other guy. Like the call though. Alex escapes pressure and throws a pass to a kneeling Morgan, right around the sticks, a dubious spot leaves them just short. On replay, upgrade that from "dubious" to "hometown call bad". 3rd and Inches needs to be easily convertable though. I like the sneak in this situation, usually, lets see what they do. Inside handoff to Gore who appears to have it on second effort, they signal first down without a measurement. Nice surge by the line. Alex has to avoid a man not fooled by the bootleg and throws it away somewhere near a diving Crabtree. FUMBLED SNAP but Alex manages to haul it in outside the tackles and throw it far enough down field to avoid intentional grounding. The good news is Alex has saved a play like that twice this year. Bad news is he's had to twice this year. On the next down he is sacked, ah well. Babin got away with hands to the face again on the sack. Lee's punt is a rocket but accellerates on the bounce and into the end zone.
Vick under center quick pass right to Maclin gets 11. MISTER PATRICK WILLIS breaks up a pass to Celek. Blitz arrives too late, Avant catch and run to midfield. Smith is held in a headlock once again unseen, ball bounces to Maclin but they call it a catch anyway, Harbaugh forced to use his 2nd challenge. Looks pretty clear to me, but who knows with this league. FOX.
Stooge Pereira is not consulted on this matter. This is taking a very long time, as if this game isn't slow enough already. Challenge successful! Yay! That earns Jimmy a third challenge later on, that he'll probably have to use on another obvious call missed by this crew. Screen pass to McCoy gets 15. Brooks loses his helmet tackling McCoy at the line of scrimmage. Rogers on the blitz, Vick out runs him but has to throw it away and Vick limps back to the huddle. No pressure on 3rd and 9, Avant catches it for 1st at the 13. Ronnie Brown runs to the 10. McCoy bounces outside and is strung out by Aldon Smith. They call holding for a change. Pass INTERCEPTED AND DROPPED by Reggie Smith. Damn! Aldon Smith flushes Vick who scrambles for a nominal gain, and here comes the FG unit again. Needed that interception, Reggie. 33 yard attempt is MISSED AGAIN! YES! Boobirds are out in force! 6:28 left, come on guys!
Alex completes a pass to Crabtree that makes me very happy for the forward progress rule as he is immediately dragged back for about ten. He gains 3. GORE breaks out with an inside run that gets 25 and gets a nudge into Eagle territory! Short pass to Davis, he takes a hit but holds on and keeps going for another yard, 2nd and 3. Under 5 minutes now. Hunter is stopped in the backfield but draws a 15 yard face mask for an automatic first down! Things looking goodish. Can they kill this clock AND get the winning TD? Alex scrambles and has to throw it away. Pass in the flat to Davis doesn't gain enough, it's 3rd and 7 with the clock running. 4 minutes left, they can't give the ball back, even with all their time outs. Hunter on a sweep and he gets the first down and more! 14 yards! Yeah! 1st and 10 at the 12. Gore up the middle and TOUCHDOWN! 49ers shove the ball down their throats! Or maybe the Eagles figured out that time was more important. Play is automatically reviewed, and they might call him down at the 1, but it will probably stand. 3:00 left exactly. I'm hoping they call him down in a way. 3:00 is a lot of time to prevent another field goal. TD is upheld, we are tied at 23 with the XP pending. Akers hits the XP for the 1 point lead, 21 unanswered 49er points. Akers hammers it into the end zone, just short of the goalposts (wouldn't it be great if they made a kickoff through the goalposts worth a point?) Avante catches a short for 5 and is BLASTED by DeShaun Goldson. Pass to Maclin out of bounds for the first. Pass to Desean out of bounds again, complete for 8 as Brooks gets his offside for the game which is of course declined. Quick short throw to Avante out of bounds for the first down as the blitz is impotent. Not feeling good about this drive. Hitch/WR Screen to Desean Jackson is tipped by Brooks, luckily. Desean's deadly on that play. Aldon Smith sacks Vick but Brooks was offside again, he's not done until he gets one that counts, 2nd and 5, clock stops. Need a turnover, really. Screen pass complete to Maclin for a first but JUSTIN SMITH RUNS HIM DOWN AND STRIPS THE BALL! Goldson recovers! HELL YES! 2:06 left, Eagles have 2 time outs. They need to get a first down, then. Gore gets 5, pretty good, Eagles call time out, 2:02 left. Sopuaga in eligible, Gore bounces outside and GETS THE FIRST! Dives down in bounds as we go to the 2 minute warning! Yes!
1:56 left, first down at the 43. Gore up the middle for 3.5. Final timeout at 1:50. Another first down does it for sure, Gore gets 6, setting up 3rd and 1. 49ers run the playclock down to :01 and call time out to discuss it at 1:04. Gore up the middle for FIVE! FIRST DOWN AND THIS ONE IS OVER (pending not fucking up the victory formation). They're so excited Jim Tomsula has to herd everyone back onto the sideline. Alex kneels on it and Two Road Wins In A Row? A 20 point second half comeback? And perhaps most beautiful of all, the sound of Philadelphia fans bitterly booing, vanquished by San Francisco. Dream of that, Vince Young. WOO! Obviously by the first half of these game notes I didn't think they had this in them. The fact that they do is a VERY good sign.