Sunday, December 25, 2011

Unfantasy Football

Taste The Muthafuckin' Rainbow!
(Also, why is it when fans pick replica jerseys to buy and wear, you invariably
end up with the fat white fan guy rocking the skinny black WR guy's jersey?)

Well, once again, the 49ers handled business, sorta. Field Goal-Spamming their way to withstanding an ankle-biting attempt from within their own division, the NFC LOL West, the 49ers are now 12-3 and back in position to claim the #2 seed in the conference. 1 more win or 1 more New Orleans loss will do it, since the 49ers have the tiebreaker edge on the Saints thanks to that bizarre loss to the Rams a couple months ago. LOL West, indeed.

Anyway, the 49ers survived a short week (4 day turn around from Monday to Saturday). They survived a road game against the loudest crowd in the division (possibly the conference). They survived the offense continuing to be not quite as good as they should be, as they went to 5-2 over a bizarre 7 game streak in which they have failed to score a 1st Half Touchdown. They survived a blocked punt in the 4th quarter, and if you read the score ticker at the bottom of the above picture, you'll notice they also survived Seattle ruining the two streaks that were a point of 49er defensive pride: 36 games without a 100 yard rusher, and 0 rushing TDs allowed this season. Almost makes me kinda wish they'd not bothered recovering the blocked punt and let Seattle take that in directly. But I'm a fan worrying too much about STATZ, and the 2011 49ers season is, among other things, a repudiation of concern about STATZ that fall outside the rubric of W-L.

After all, Alex Smith has spent the year playing with the Scarlet Letter G for "Game Manager" stitched to his jersey. Game Manager being the slur Fantasy Football players use to tarbrush QBs who don't rack up the passing STATZ conducive to being a good fantasy pickups. I doubt Alex gives a shit. After all, it's a drop of rain in the ocean compared to the abuse we The Faithful have heaped on him for six years of his constant sins of Not Being Joe Montana Reincarnate, and Not Being As Good As His Draft Brother Aaron Rodgers, neither of which Alex will ever be. But for now, he continues to Avoid The Big Fuck-Up. And technically, he did lead a come-from-behind-to-win drive late in the 4th Quarter, which makes him 2 for 2 in such situations this year; when he absolutely has to hit those throws, it seems like he does. It helps that Michael Crabtree has finally figured out that Practice Is Good. Alex also has been demonstrating a good sense of when to tuck it up and run for the 1st down, and he's actually got some speed. No one will ever mistake him for Michael Vick, but he can make some plays with his legs.

Ultimately, this team is about defense and rushing. The "Physical With An F" type of bruiser that Mike Singletary wanted to turn the team into but never really could because he ultimately was better at the Scream And Yell At People part of coaching than he was at the actual Coach People And Teach Them How To Get Better At Playing Football part of coaching. This is an archaic approach to professional football; the rulebook has been leading teams away from it for several years, fantasy players don't understand it because There Are No Offensive Linemen and There Is No Field Position in Fantasy Football, and I like to think Roger Goodell is angrily chomping down on an ice cube or two over it, because all the lovely corporations buying ad space on NFL network and during game broadcasts aren't going to want to have to hire Andy Lee to sell cars or insurance or beer while he rattles off puns that revolve around punting.

Field Position. Time Of Possession. Winning The Turnover Battle. Special Teams and Defense.
PUNTERS~! LONG SNAPPERS~! Guys You've Never Heard Of.
Take That, Fantasy Football Players,
and remember Miller Lite has more taste and Ford Trucks make your penis bigger.

They're an ensemble cast that is more than the sum of their parts. They've barely even missed a beat in the absence of their one true star on defense, MISTER PATRICK WILLIS. That's his replacement you see above, next man up Larry Grant, enjoying a little mockery of the opposition via Skittles after forcing the game winning fumble, running down Tavaris Jackson from behind and timing his ball-slap to coincide with Jackson swinging his ball carrying arm back as he ran.

David Akers also set the single season NFL record for most field goals today, going 4/5 to got to 41 on the year. He passed Jerry Rice for the team single season scoring record Monday Night, which is kinda funny if you think about it. This is good, in that he is so accurate and even 50 yarders ain't no thang to Akers, and he's as close to automatic as a kicker can get. It is also bad in that the 49ers really need to score more TDs, especially when they get so many 1st and Goal situations. They've only broken the 30 point barrier twice this season. One was against Tampa, who turned out to be shit, and the other game against Seattle, where it only happened because Ted Ginn got two return TDs in 1 minute of play. These can thus rightly be dismissed as statistical outliers.

The 49ers don't score a lot, and I'm used to it by now. So far it has mostly been enough. Eventually [read: Green Bay or New Orleans], it will most likely not be, but who knows? Detroit has an explosive offense too, and the 49er Defense managed to hold them under 20. They can't win a shootout against any of these teams, but they haven't had to play a shootout once this season, either, because guys like David Akers and Andy Lee and Aldon Smith and Donte Whitner and NAVORRO BOWMAN make each game be about whose gun makes a better club or has a sharper bayonette on it once all the bullets are gone. They have cast their lot as the Immovable Object. The Irresistible Forces lay in wait, in the uncharted territory and alien environment that is January/Playoff Football.

1 comment:

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