Okay, I’ve read all the articles, seen all of the excuses, and heard all of the reasons why the 49ers lost the game against the Seattle Seahawks.
I saw the game. I know why we lost. Do I really want to put myself through that anguish again?
I really don’t like to write about losses, nor do I like to read about them. But hey, it is what we do.
As writers we have an obligation to report what we witnessed and interpret what we saw.
As avid fans and readers, we can’t get enough of our team. We would much rather read about a victory, or how much our offensive line will improve with our two number one draft picks, then read about a decidedly lopsided loss.
But when we do lose, we need to be placated. We need to know not only why we lost, but we need to know how the things that caused the loss will be prevented in the future.
Enter the politics of football —the spin doctoring if you will.
I have been a supporter of Alex Smith, and more recently Mike Singletary, for awhile now. But my faith in each of them has been severely eroded by not what happened during the Seattle game, but their ridiculous quotes after the game.
Let’s start with coach.
"Tell Pete Carroll thank you very much for kicking our tails," Singletary said, via the Seattle Times. "It was good medicine, and we're going to take it."
Huh? Did you have any choice in not taking your meds Mike?
Since Singletary has taken over as Head Coach of the 49ers, he has preached ownership, but where was his in all of this mess?
He thanks Pete Carroll for kicking his tail and giving the team a wake-up call?
To refer to the loss as a “wake-up call” is admitting that the team went into Seattle over confident, unprepared, and took the Seahawks way too lightly—and just maybe, “they (the 49ers) were not who they thought they were.”
Those failures rest squarely with the Head Coach. A little dose of Harry S. Truman’s, “The buck stops here”, would have served Singletary much better than his ham-handed “thank you” to Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.
Whether or not this game serves as a wake-up call remains to be seen. However, if we are to believe Singletary, then I would expect to see a much more inspired and innovative game plan against the New Orleans Saints next Monday night.
Proper execution would also be a welcome treat.
Now let’s move on to Mr. Smith.
Smith was complaining afterward about the amount of time it took to get the play in from the coaching staff.
Offensive Coordinator, Jimmy Raye, calls the play from a booth and then phones the play to Quarterbacks Coach, Mike Johnson, who then transmits them to the radio in Smith’s helmet—a convoluted system to say the least.
Smith was also critical of Singletary’s indolent decision making on critical downs as well as the play calling itself.
I am not sure how that translates to Smith missing a wide open Moran Norris, but I digress.
So if the play calling was holding the offense up, why didn't Alex call his own plays?
“That’s why you have a coordinator,” Smith said.
Smith also went on to suggest that he had enough on his plate already.
What…a quarterback that doesn't want to call his own plays?
What happened to the “new and improved” and “super confident” Smith that we have been hearing so much about in the preseason?
As I was watching other games this weekend, I heard on more than one occasion the quarterback barking out the order to, “Kill, kill, kill”. The announcers went on to explain that this meant the quarterback recognized something in the defense that he didn't like and he was checking the play off and calling a new one.
If Smith won’t—or can’t, call his own plays; how in the world can he be trusted to recognize defenses and call audibles?
Granted, the play calling was poor and slow, but in the event of any SNAFU, it is up to the quarterback to make something happen.
Yes, he was running for his life quite a bit, and the offensive line needs to gel (in a hurry), but he was able to buy some time, but then did nothing with it.
Smith’s poor decision making was something the Seahawks recognized and exploited.
"Once we controlled the run ... we put it into his (Smiths’) hands. Vernon Davis (eight catches) is one of his go-to guys, and you take that (away) and you make him make decisions and you saw the outcome." —Lawyer Malloy from the Seattle Times
Ouch. The Seahawks game plan was to stop Gore and force Smith to make decisions? On second thought, maybe it is just as well that Smith isn't calling plays. But I think the point here is far too clear.
In addition to the aforementioned excuses, there are plenty of other reasons the 49ers lost this game.
Michael Crabtree’s awful performance was certainly one.
Nate Clements and Tarell Brown jumping routes was another.
Of course there was the noise to contend with, and the fact that several former 49ers recently acquired by Seattle provided intelligence on their former team.
That said, the finger pointing needs to end, and the Head Coach and the quarterback (and newly appointed Team Captain) need to stand up and take some ownership.
I don’t want to hear any more excuses—just fix the damn problems.
Until that happens, this team is a pretender— not a contender. Not even close.