Sunday, November 20, 2011

There Are No Ugly Wins, Except...

V.D. scored career TD #34 today, which passes Brent Jones
and makes him technically the best 49ers Tight End Ever
Also, I couldn't find a still of Goldson trying to box some dude.

So the 49ers beat The Cardinals today, as expected ("beat ____ as expected" is a phrase that still has some novelty in it), by the mark of 23-7, and, even though they're 9-1 this season and have a 5 game division lead with 6 to play, which once upon a time was very much the sort of position from which 49er fans could arrogantly grade the team on style points and complain about not beating one of the NFL's lesser teams by a wide enough margin, they're not quite back to that level yet. I'm still in the mode of the new normal established over the last 8 years of futility and disappointment, taking isolated glee in 100 yard days by Frank Gore, MISTER PATRICK WILLIS blowing some unfortunate dude the fuck up, or, in the thinnest of times, Andy Lee's gigantic Net Yards Per Punt Average. In that mode, a win is a win is a win and none of them can be ugly when there's at most only 6 a season.

But here we are, 23-7 over Arizona and the prevailing thoughts of how the win wasn't pretty. The offense never truly got going outside of about a 5 minute stretch in the 3rd Quarter. The 49ers dominated: 5 to 1 in turnovers forced, 440 to 220 in yards gained, and an amazing 44 minutes in Time Of Possession. And yet with less than 4 minutes to go the Cardinals -- led by the backup to the backup, a guy by the name of Rick Bartel -- had a chance to make this a one score game from the red zone before finally turning it over on downs for the final time.

What went wrong? Or at least "not good enough"?

6 first half possessions all ending in field goal attempts. Normally this would be acceptable, except David Akers missed one field goal and had two more blocked. That totals 3 misses, when he had 2 all year coming in.

A defense that should have had a shut out had a temporary case of the 4th Quarter Shit Yourselves, as the aforementioned WILLIS took a shot at a sliding QB (15 yard personal foul), this coming after Dashon Goldson marred the otherwise stellar day by the secondary by throwing 3 or 4 punches at one of their WRs as the game got chippy towards the end (15 yard personal foul plus an ejection and hopefully not but possibly a suspension for the next game). After finally seeing the replay of the initial contact, Goldson clearly let himself get baited like a dumbass. Unfortunately but rightly this overshadows the awesome diving play he made on a low throw to pick it off just before hitting the ground. John Skelton and Rick The Model Bartel make Rex Grossman and John Beck look like Joe Montana and Steve Young, so the Cardinals had no business even sniffing the scoreboard today, let alone getting that late TD. But they did anyway.

Bruce Miller getting a forearm to the head as he tried to score (no call) that kept him out of the game from then on, meaning he probably got a concussion. There is literally no other fullbacks on the current roster, meaning one of the 17 TEs on the roster had to fill in.

The WRs had some recurring issues with Dropsies (other than second stringer Kyle Williams, who's gotten almost his first action of the season the last two weeks), and when they weren't dropping catchable balls in the endzone, an over-eager Alex Smith was sailing his would be touchdown throws too high.

Fortunately, the Cardinals utterly stink in customary NFC West fashion so it didn't really matter, but the 49ers put up 23 points when they should've had over 40. Freddie P. Soft may not have entered the building, but it seems he did knock on the door and leave a voice mail. This is good enough an effort for a divisional foe, but in the playoffs, to say nothing of next Thursday [note: I don't like it when my team is scheduled for a Thursday game, more on that later in the week], a showing like this threatens to stain an otherwise beautiful season.

But they are 9-1, they've already guaranteed a winning season for the first time since 2002, they didn't clinch the division only because the insolent Seahawks delayed the inevitable when they poached a win by playing the woeful Rams. Now they have two days of practice to work on how to block people on a field goal, and remember that Throwing Punches is Against The Rules, before traveling to Baltimore and facing the onslaught of an entire press corps talking about how "LOL Brother Vs Brother coaching! Thanksgiving Jokes! Family Comes Together HA HA HA" along with the Ravens.

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