Monday, November 7, 2011

Bruce Miller Appreciation Day (also, they won again)

If I did some "Game Ball" or "Player Of The Game" type shit every week, this week would probably go to MISTER PATRICK WILLIS for the two forced fumbles. Most weeks would go to WILLIS, honestly; he's consistently fantastic and he'd make a Player Of The Week Post pretty repetitive and dull. The "C" on his jersey denoting him as Defensive Captain is almost a hilarious understatement. So I don't do that. There's only so many pictures of WILLIS chasing down ball carries like doomed gazelles on the National Geographic channel that Google Image Search can turn up, you know? David Akers would be another candidate; he's been absolutely nails on kickoffs and field goals and if a placekicker can be the best free agent pick up in the league, he is.

But THIS dude scored his first career touchdown, so he gets to be the lead photo this week. Plus he wears #49 for the 49ers, and whenever that player scores a touchdown, it stokes old warm fuzzy feelings for the 49er Faithful.

OF COURSE I'm going to show this. It's even more iconic than the catch.
You'd expect this to come up #1-A when you g.i.s. "Earl Cooper 49ers" but somehow it doesn't

Anyway, WILLIS forced fumble #1 of 2 led directly to Bruce Miller Career Touchdown #1. The ball won't be ever going to Canton, of course, but even if Canton wanted it, that's apparently impossible. According to the local paper, Running Backs Coach Tom Rathman had told Miller to "act like you've been there before" once he finally scored, to which Miller's eventual response was "I did. I gave the ball to the official." Miller's a draft pick out of UCF, where he played defensive line, so converting him to fullback has been Rathman's pet project this season. Frank Gore's stuck Miller with the nickname of "mini-Rathman" so Miller has a nice start now on becoming an underground cult favorite for 49er fans. But we tend to do that with whoever wears #49 anyway.

Miller's 30 yard catch and run was the only 49er Touchdown against Washington, and for 59 minutes it was the only TD in the game, period. Washington's got a lot of really good players on Defense, and so while Frank Gore running and Washington's own woeful quarterback play constantly putting them back on the field eventually wore them down they never quite broke. The 49er offense also didn't play especially well. They flirted with Delay of Game repeatedly over the course of the game, as they seemed confused by their own complex shifting and personnel shifts and their bringing in Linemen to play Tight End & Fullback. They burned time outs twice in the second half to avoid the penalty, and one early drive was killed by an actual Delay Of Game that turned 3rd and inches into 3rd and 6. Harbaugh probably tried to call time out or thought one of his players did, because he seriously was still jawing with the side judge about it 4 commercial breaks later. [You know, if you told me Jim Harbaugh is still contesting a traffic ticket from 1983 in the Court System of Appeals, I'd believe you. Dude's COMPETITIVE with EVERYTHING.]

But the nadir for the offense was late in the game, in run out the clock time, when Vernon Davis got stood up and stripped (this led to Washington's late TD), which is bad enough when you're trying to sit on the ball and bleed the clock and end the game quickly. But the truly disappointing thing was that he was stood up and stripped by DeAngelo Hall, who, in addition to being only slightly more than half VD's size, is also... you know, DeAngelo Hall. Pretty shameful. Davis eventually atoned by catching the onside kick cleanly and thus cinching up the win, but up until that he didn't have a good game.

Really though, he got stood up and stripped by DeAngelo Hall. I'm not even kidding. Swear to God. Swear to Odin. Swear to Quetzalcotl. It really happened.

Still, Alex Smith continued to Avoid The Big Fuck-Up, which bears mentioning because one of Washington's young defensive standouts, rookie Ryan Kerrigan, blasted the shit out of him to force a punt to end the first possession (the one screwed up by that delay of game penalty). Alex seriously deserves props just for holding onto the ball. Kerrigan had speed and crushed him, if you haven't seen it, try to find it on youtube or the NFL's official site or something, because, um, DAMN. But in the end, the 49ers survived a game against a really tough defense that was hamstrung by its woeful offense, it in turn hamstrung by a poor quarterback. Although their receivers had a contagious case of the dropsies, even when wide open, so I can't attribute all of it to the glory that is PATRICK WILLIS and NAVORRO BOWMAN wielding the twin scythes of Pain and Destruction in the middle of the field, or even the surprisingly pretty good 49er secondary.

Next up, the 49ers close out their in-conference but out-of-division schedule with a home game against the Giants.


Raven Mack said...

that sack briefly convinced me we were destined to win. john beck quickly brought me back to reality. also bruce miller is listed as a defensive player on most fantasy leagues, so he's a good pick-up on defense to squeeze bonus points. AND THAT'S YOUR NERD COMMENTARY OF THE DAY! OVER AND OUT!
also, having watched the game, it's impossible to watch Harbaugh and not think he's a complete dickhead. impossible. I'm sure being he's your coach he's just a gritty, no nonsense dude. but being on the other sideline - straight dickhead.

Whiouxsie said...

Oh no, he is a dickhead. I remember watching him as a player and listening to him in post game interviews and even as a little kid I was all "man, he's a dickhead."

The difference now is that he's OUR dickhead. And he actually has managed to translate his hypercompetitive dickheadery into a language the team not only understands but is eagerly emulating. Or in other words, the "Physical with an F! Our Gameplan is We Go Out There And Hit Them In The Mouth!" stuff that Singletary talked about bringing to the team has finally actually started to arrive.

Also the more I think about it, Alex Smith's best play of the day was not fumbling when Kerrigan smashed him. That was more important than the touchdown pass, really. GAME MANAGER~!

Raven Mack said...

yeah it was huge really. that was one of those "OH SHIT" hits where you expect the ball to roll backwards out of a crippled QB. to the Skins credit, Kerrigan and Orakpo get like one of those hits every other game.