Well, fuck. The previous article's title was as prophetic as I feared it might be.
ACLB 2012 WEEK 3 GAME NOTES
Moment of silence for Steve Sabol.
Akers to kickoff, Harvin returns to the 18, Culliver tackles and comes up shoving. Illegal block in the back on the kicking team? How is that even physically possible. WILLIS already in a ref's face, Jim Harbaugh is already coming out on the field. They eventually pick the flag up due to how obviously stupid this is. Peterson right for 4, swing to Harvin gets a first down. Peterson thrown for nothing by Ahmad Brooks. TE wide open at midfield. Peterson up the middle for 3, WR Screen to Harvin gets nothing but Culliver gets 15 for grabbing the earhole of the helmet. Ugh. Far better opening drive than I'm used to seeing. Peterson up the middle for 3, PA screen to TE sets up 3rd and 1, Peterson picks it up, and they play that stupid horn sound effect again. Finally some pass rush forces an incompletion. Ponder misfires on the quick slant. Turns out Bill Musgrave, former 49er 3rd or 4th string QB way back in the good old days, is their OC. The TE, Rudolph, sticks the ball out for just enough to get first and goal. Fuck. Peterson up the middle almost scores. 2nd and goal from the 2, he's stopped for no gain. Peterson tries again on 3rd down but WILLIS AND BOWMAN are there, you can not get running TDs on this team. Crowd cheers as they go for it on 4th and goal, Play action and Kyle Rudolph is wide open in the back of the end zone. Fuck. Goldson's blitz is not quick enough. 16 plays, 82 yards, 7:20 left in the 1st, 7-0 Vikings. I check my calendar to see if its Opposite Day.
Hunter returns the kick from the goal line to the 20.
Bootleg PA to Crabtree for 6. Similar play caught by Delany Walker for a loss of a yard. Vernon Davis catch and run converts. Toss left to Gore for a few. PA pass too high and off the fingers of a leaping, wide open Randy Moss. Smith rolling right again and again, takes a sack. Already sick of that stupid horn. Lee's punt is fair caught at the 20.
This pass to Rudolph is incomplete and WILLIS gives him a light shove that bowls him over like he was shot. Harvin catches a wheel route on the sideline for 24, ugh. Peterson loses 1 up the middle as he meets PATRICK WILLIS. Peterson on a draw starts out looking dangerous but Aldon Smith spins him around and holds him to 3. 3rd and 8, Aldon Smith comes clean and hits Ponder as he throws and forces a punt. The Iconic Chris Kluwe punts and Kyle Williams gets a pretty good return to about the 35.
Manningham short pass for 6. Pass too high for Moss under pressure, Crabtree catches a pass in the flat for just enough to convert as the broadcasters mention what I was just about to check: only one running play so far for SF. Huh. Toss to Gore, right on cue, left for 5. WR Screen to Manningham converts. Smith stumbles as he starts to scramble and "runs" for no gain. Gore cuts and gets 11 and a first as the quarter ends, Alex Boone pretty flagrantly shoved him forward at one point, luckily for the 49ers they haven't called that penalty since the 80s. And they barely called it then.
Hunter catch for a minimal gain, Moss in the flat with "great" field awareness steps out 1 yard short of the sticks. Oh wait they give it to him, I retract my sarcasm, one of these days I will get better at watching the ball instead of the feet on those plays. Gore up the middle for 2, end zone pass for Moss too high AGAIN, 3rd down pass to Kyle Williams is too short even after the stretch, and after some hesitation here comes the field goal unit. Akers from 29 is as certain as the sunrise. 7-3. This is the first time the 49ers have trailed all year.
Akers crushes the kickoff to the back of the endzone, and we FOX.
Ahmad Brooks chases down a scrambling Ponder, knocking him forward for a run of 1 rather than a sack. Aldon Smith just misses a sack, and Christian Ponder tucks and runs and gets the first. Peterson still contained for 1. Peterson picks up the first on a 12 yard catch and run. Ponder finally faces some pressure and he STILL completes one for just enough for a first down. Peterson up the middle and this time he gets 7. Peterson picks up the rest on the next carry. Peterson falls down trying to run right instead of up the middle as per usual. Toby Gerhardt from Stanford in, Harvin stumbles on a WR screen, BOWMAN falls on him, 3rd and 11. Again, the pass is easily complete, what has happened to the secondary today? Ponder takes off and... What. The. Fuck. there is nothing but wide open field in front of him, and he dives for a rushing touchdown. 14-3, and it's starting to look like I gravely underestimated Christian Ponder. And that I'm not the only one. Well, let's find out how the 49ers are at playing from behind.
Kendall Hunter tries to make something happen by returning it from deep. He doesn't really. Down at the 24.
Gore up the middle for 3. Smith's pass batted down at the line. Crabtree saves face for the offense by picking up the first on a pass over the middle. Misdirection toss to Hunter looks like Tecmo Bowl with how thoroughly it is blown up. Smith has to tuck and run, outpacing Jared Allen but only getting it to 3rd and 5. Vernon Davis bumps into Crabtree on his route but still converts, and the clock runs down to the two minute warning before they can run another play.
Gore up the middle for 7, Crabtree picks up the first and they burn time out #1.
Too high for a wide open Moss, but he makes a leaping catch on it this time and he gets shoved out for 7 yards. Alex runs into Jared Allen, who grips his ankle, but Alex stays standing and throws it away. Allen got away with a leg trip after the ball was thrown. Pass to Walker is too short, and the Vikings call time out. Which reminds me: only one penalty called so far in this game. Hmm. 43 yarder by Akers is BLOCKED. I fucking hate that stupid fucking horn. Back to making Ponder look like an All-Pro. Short pass in the flat, out of bounds for 8. Pass off the hands of Gerhardt. Second try at the same play, Gerhardt holds it this time, Minnesota takes another time out. Rush misses a sack and Ponder throws it away. Long pass on the right sideline falls incomplete, first kinda deep pass attempt of the game for either team. Ponder flushed and somehow Gerhardt is wide open for the first, though BOWMAN at least keeps him in bounds to force timeout #3 with :15 left. Ponder deep, overthrown and through Culliver's hands. 49ers call a time out. Harvin wide open and he gets out of bounds at the 35 with :04 left. 52 yard attempt by Blair Walsh and it knuckles just in to put the a la mode on this Dingleberry Pie of a first half. 17-3 Vikings. At least they get the ball to start.
Kyle Williams takes it at the very back of the end zone and finds a seam around the 20! Gets past the kicker and almost all the way, has to slow down to cut back deep in VIking territory, this drive will start at the 14! Hunter runs left for 3, Gore gets 4 more up the gut. Smith rolls right and there is nothing there. After all that, just a field goal. Well that was discouraging. No, wait, they're going for it! Then again, maybe not, 49ers wait and take a delay of game. Now the field goal unit comes out. 29 yarder is right down the middle. 17-6, and while normally I'm used to the 49ers racking up field goals and gradually getting there, this one feels rather deflating.
Kickoff returned to the 27. Lets see what they've come up with to stop Christian Ponder. Peterson for 4. Peterson again, stood up by BOWMAN after another 4. Pass rush doesn't quite get there but Ponder throws it away, finally a three and out. Lets see what Kyle can do again on this punt return. Williams calls for a fair catch despite nobody being near him, and he seems upset with himself after. I would be if he didn't have those famous fumbled punts last year, just holding the ball on a punt is still a win for him.
Nice montage of old NFL Films shots of famous old 49ers and Vikings with the music to come back from break. From their own 14 this time, rollout pass to Crabtree gets 9. Gore picks up the rest and plus over left tackle. Pass out of the Eligible Lineman formation, Moss catches for 12 and takes a hit that almost buckled his knee. Gore just misses being sprung for a big gain, possibly even TD, as the second tackler holds on just enogh to slow him down, and it's just 12 and a first. Manningham wide open for 17 and another first down. Hey, it's the play selection they should've started the game with instead of that "try to surprise them with being pass heavy" nonsense. Kyle Williams catches in the right flight and sticks the ball out as he steps out, 9 more yards. JUMBO PACKAGE with Kilgore and Tupuafu does just enough to work as Gore gets 1.1 on 2nd and 1. Corner route to Vernon Davis and he hauls it in! Out at the 1 yard line. Here we go. Jumbo Package again, Daniel Kilgore started to lean forward as he came in motion and might have gotten away with the false start, Play Action pass to a wide open Vernon Davis for a touchdown, Akers converts easily and its 17-13 as we go to break with 6:17 left. Much better looking in the second half so far. Alex Smith 6/6 for 68 in a 9 play 86 yard drive.
Deep kick, Harvin returns and gets WHACKED at the 14 by Larry Grant. Another drive starting exactly at the 14. How odd.
Ponder rolls out and dives forward for 4 as Goldson hits him on the way down. Lateral swing pass to Harvin and he splits two tacklers to get just enough for the first. That's a play the 49ers haven't had an answer for yet. Coverage gives time for pressure and the pass to Peterson falls incomplete. Peterson runs forward and a late fumble moves the ball forward even more, the Vikings probably recovered, and flag comes out in the scrum afterward. They don't specify the player, just genearlly calling a personal foul on "San Francisco." Pretty weak. Another flag as Peterson runs, as though the scabs realize they are behind quota. Holding on Minnesota, and the broadcasters are killing them for not announcing numbers on the penalties. Ponder has forever to throw and Harvin is finally open. 2nd and 7 after all that. The Harvin screen works AGAIN, first down. Fuck. Peterson ankle tackled by WILLIS. Peterson catches and runs through enough of Whitner's tackle to get another first down. Ponder throws deep and incomplete, and the refs decide to help the Vikings out with a horrible Roughing Call on Goldson for a minor hit. Vikings deep in the red zone now. Bollocks. Ponder throws underneath for a minimal game and the 49ers get ANOTHER bullshit defensive holding call on Carlos Rogers for chucking Harvin well within the five yards, Harvin was behind the line even. This is crap. Broadcasters point out this is the same shitty crew that worked Denver @ Atlanta Monday night. Peterson stuffed for nothing. Holding them for 3 after all this would be huge. Time runs out in the 3rd quarter.
Peterson cannot get in, 3rd and Goal from the 2. Rudolph flagrantly pushes off, of course its not called. Utter homer horse shit from the referees. 24-13.
Williams with another good return that I mostly missed because I'm still worked up over that last series of one-sidedness by the scabs.
First Down, and Gore fumbles. Called down by contact, Vikings challenge, and it's an obvious win for them. Fuck this. Well, now they can blame this instead of the officiating. I guess.
They picked a fine time to actually start getting stuff right. Minnesota ball, Peterson makes a great effort to bounce around for 8. Deep to Harvin, Goldson puts the hit on him to break it up. Surprisingly not called this time, despite the legitimacy of the hit. Pressure and the pass falls incomplete as the crowd howls for defensive holding on BOWMAN in vain. Worth a try with these shits. The punt eventually gets into the end zone for a touchback.
13:09 left, that's still time I guess. Gore left for 2. Smith tuck and run for the first down. Short route to Crabtree for 4. Release Route to Gore gets the first. Hunter goes right just before the play clock expires and is thrown for a loss. Hunter gets it back next play, but it's 3rd and 10 now. Smith under pressure, Vikes get away with holding Kyle Wililams and they're forced to punt, downed at the 2. 9 minutes left, they are in dire need of a turnover.
Peterson out to the 5. Sopoaga does not get up. Uh oh.
Harbaugh out to help Sopoaga walk off the field personally. Peterson finally breaks one and gets out past the 20. Ugh. PA bootleg to Harvin is low and incomplete. Peterson for 2, 3rd and 8, BLITZ, pass is intercepted and DROPPED by Donte Whitner. Damn, so close. Refs miss another one as the Vikings gunner stays out of bounds forever, 49ers flagged for a face mask and 15. Lets see what kind of explosiveness they have. Short pass to Manningham for 5 is not an inspiring start. Davis drops one that was too short anyway. 3rd down pass falls incomplete. WEAK 3 and Out. Well, they're not going to win now, obviously. Peterson for a few, then Gerhardt adds insult to injury and picks up the first. Vikings bleed the clock some more and Harvin gets a clutch 3rd down catch when I thought the Vikes were done throwing. Timeouts start now. Gerhardt for nothing, time out #2. Only a fumble and then some can save them now. Game is delayed because I think the referees cannot count to three because the 49ers appear to be out of time outs despite only calling two.
This is taking FOR EVER. He may be challenging for a fumble. Which he can't do if he's used all three timeouts, the broadcasters point out. But he should still have one. Fumble? 49ers ruled to have recovered, after this long ass delay. The broadcasters can't count either, without their fancy FOX graphics, and get pissy. I'm way behind right now with how confusing all this is. I'm not doing justice to how odd this past sequence has been. Smith runs, pass to Davis, pass to Crabs knocked away, theyr'e not getting out of bounds. An interception ends the competitive phase of this game, Alex's first in 249 attempts. Overthrown on Crabtree. Crowd BOOS as they 49ers call one final time out at 2:14. Gerhardt runs, time out NO. Another Challenge by Harbaugh, Gerhardt clearly fumbles on the replay, recovery is in question, crowd cleverly BOOOS the the final time out. Harbaugh actively trolling the refs and Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston, who still are pissy over the concept that their FOX counter graphic was wrong and he DOES have this time out left. Lets have another long ass delay to stretch this game out. This paragraph has taken over 20 minutes of real time. Gerhardt recoverd, and that's it on challenges. It's all over but the unprofessional pissiness of Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston as they continue to harp on this, two minute warning.
Gerhardt fumbles AGAIN, so obviously that no challenge is necessary, Carlos Rogers recovers and runs for a little bit of yards. Pass to Manningham for 22. Alex sacked and fumbled, he hasn't looked like this in a long time. And I think this game is finally over. Fittingly, Jarhead Allen makes the play. Vikings kneel down and, even I'm ready for this sequence to end. 49ers suffer their first loss, and they just did not look very good in doing so. 24-13 Vikings, and the 49ers never led and were only briefly in it. 49ers will stay over in Youngstown, Ohio as they did early last year on their road trip, and begin to prepare for the Jets. Lets just say no more and move on from this debacle.
Okay, one last thought. Much as I would love to kill the refs for that one shitty drive, the 49ers clearly were not ready for Christan Ponder to bring it as much as he turned out to be able to bring it. And they did not have an answer for Percy Harvin as a RB catching laterals and catching swing passes, as that play worked over and over again for first downs. They can be out-played, after all.