"I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can, watch you weave then breathe your story lines."
And oh, what a story line we were weaving in San Diego. Indeed, THIS was our chance. Led by the "totally different" Alex Smith--cough, cough--we'd destroyed a crummy Seattle team. Now, on the road, against a very strong opponent, this was our chance for that signature win, a win that would likely propel us into the playoffs.
A win that, who knows, might save the coach's job.
"I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can, keep track of visions in my eyes."
Ah, yes, the vision. The vision of an O that could all but tell the D what was coming--a run up the middle, usually--and dominate anyway, by pure strength and will. Recently, the coach had sung the virtues of using "the entire playbook," but he'd never quite lose track of the vision.
Case in point.
It was the second quarter, and we were very much alive. Early on, a jump-ball had gone the Chargers' way, but since then our D had held 'em in check. Now our O was in position to tie. A replay had shown that Smith had come up six inches short--story of his life--and now it was fourth-and-goal. The coach wisely decided to go for it. But with what play?
The D, naturally, would expect a run up the middle.
And the coach, of course, would oblige.
"I felt anytime we're in a situation like that," he'd explain, "our offensive line can get that." This despite our offensive line's proven unreliability. This despite the perfect opportunity for play-action, for using "the entire playbook." This despite just plain common sense.
Virtually untouched, a Charger defender burst through the line, and on fourth-and-goal from six inches away, Anthony Dixon was crushed for a two-yard loss.
Needless to say, reports of the vision's death had been greatly exaggerated.
"I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can, forget my name while you collect your claim."
If there's one thing the coach's name once stood for, it's discipline. Yet once again, at the first sign of trouble, his players' discipline went out the window. On the Chargers' next drive after our goal-line debacle, our D stopped a run to set up a second-and-15 at the Chargers' eight. But Justin Smith lost his head, brainlessly pushing a ref, and was tossed from the game. The next play was a 35-yard pass to a receiver who simply was left alone, and the Chargers went on a scoring drive that consumed 7 minutes, 13 plays, a hundred yards, and the Niners' soul.
After our next drive's last four plays were run, run, pass, punt--HOW MANY TIMES--Ahmad Brooks dropped a pick that an eight-year-old would've caught, Tarell Brown committed a second personal foul, and the Chargers added another score. And to start the second half, Ted Ginn's return for a touchdown was nullified by a THIRD personal foul, and that was basically it.
Another Niners collapse. Another opponent collects.
"I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can, see the light that's right before my eyes."
Indeed, how could the coach NOT see it? The difference between a GOOD team on the one hand, and his on the other, had never been clearer. Sure, there were gaps in the players' talent--at quarterback, among other places--but those were dwarfed by the gaps in the coaches' imagination.
The basic goal of any modern offense is to get the ball to playmakers in space. Of course, a modern defense knows this, so ITS basic goal is to take those playmakers away. This is the so-called "chess match" of football, and it's what makes the game so fascinating.
Here's the thing, though. It takes brains.
Time and again, the Chargers moved their playmakers around and ran 'em through route combinations designed to get 'em open. Facing a tepid rush and mushy coverage, Philip Rivers shot fish in a barrel on the way to a rating of 150. Meanwhile, when the Niners WEREN'T running up the gut, they were sending receivers out almost aimlessly. Though Josh Morgan had a nice game, top playmaker Vernon Davis was sent into coverage on play after play, the Niners having no idea how to get him in space.
Davis caught one ball, for four yards. At the time, the score was 34 to nothing.
The truth was inescapable. The Chargers were playing chess, and the Niners were playing checkers. The coach MUST'VE seen it. It was right before his eyes.
"Don't masquerade with the guy in shades, oh no, I can't believe it."
And so, again, the masquerade was exposed, both of coach and of team. "I really looked for our team, in spite of the setbacks, to really take a step forward," the coach said. "Obviously we did not. We continue to stumble." Indeed, two and a half years into this charade, we continue to stumble, and the coach just now is starting to see why. Oh, sure, he might change quarterbacks again--so much for "the entire playbook"--but a new quarterback's no match for our chronic, systemic failure to prepare. Not that the coach has an answer for THAT, of course. "I just think that maybe we could have done a better job of practice or something like that."
Indeed. SOMETHING like that.
But thank heavens, despite the undeniable proof of his sheer incompetence, there's still the NFC West, that last refuge of the damned. We still could become the first-ever playoff team with a losing record, and don't go thinking the coach won't party like it's 1985. "This team has had its highs and lows," he said. "But if we are fortunate enough to go to the playoffs, I believe that we deserve to go."
No, Coach. You DON'T deserve to go, no matter how fortunate you are. The only thing you deserve is a pinkslip, and I just can't wait 'til you get it.
Oh, and one more thing.
Your shades look ridiculous.
By: Team York
Date: December 28, 2010 at 11:59 AM
Comment: The next problem the Niners have is a huge one. They need a new coach. We knew that for over a year. The problem York has, he needs to hire a GM first. Big Big problem. Should have thought of that three months ago. Now when you have at least four teams in the NFL jumping on HC candidates, you are still looking for a GM to make your HC decision for you. Jed York you are way out of your league. Now that Sing is gone I'm gonna be riding your ass until you pull your head out of there.
Date: December 21, 2010 at 9:33 AM
Comment: A close friend of mine played for the Niners and he has nothing good to say about them. Mind you, he played back when Nolan was HC. Laid back organisation, overrated players, no attention to detail, lack of coaching knowledge. The scary part is: The Niners will draft another QB (just like A Smith) and we will destroy him as well as all other qb's who we have had. The reason being, the 49ers don't have good coaches. It starts at the top. Hire a hardcore GM, let him replace all of the coaching staff and then start building from the bottom.
By: Jeromy Kelsey
Date: December 21, 2010 at 6:48 AM
Comment: Leadership is about humility...it's about listening and considering the opinions of the experts that you have chosen to be on your staff. It's about not being arrogant and refusing to change a plan that doesn't work. Sing is an extremely poor leader. It can be seen in every facet of the team...they are not inspired by him nor do they wish to follow him...I don't even think they believe in him. Proof of his folly was when he said he was looking for leadership at the QB position...looks to me like his QB's are following his leadership example and failing...maybe if sing knew what a good leader looked like he might be able to find one....
Date: December 20, 2010 at 7:35 PM
Comment: Yup much to my dismay Singletary has to go. Is it Harbaugh's turn at the helm? The worst thing that could happen to this team at this point is to make the playoffs. Hope they win their last two games but I am also hoping Seattle wins out.
Date: December 20, 2010 at 6:23 AM
Comment: I agree Coach Singletary playoffs or not deserves a pink slip at the end of the year, we have been embarrassed too many times this year. In San Francisco where the West Coast offense was invented by Bill Walsh our offense has been pathetic, sickening to watch, so very inconsistent and predictable. I cannot stand to watch, maybe I need a pair of singletary shades so I could be blind enough not to see how far we have fallen. Last week's victory over seattle was fool's gold, I'm tired of being fooled by glimpses of greatness, my eyes are wide open and now I see we are not a good team because of the bad coaching. HC OC and DC need to be replaced this offseason, we have some good players but we draft bad, with the exception of VD, Patrick Willis and Crabtree our 1st round picks have been busts, the decision to draft Kentwan Balmer over Desean Jackson and to draft Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers will haunt us for years to come. I remember Mike Nolan would wear those stupid suits to make him look like he was a smart coach, in reality he was a dumb coach with a nice tailor. I guess Mike Singletary shades are like blinders on horses, keeping him focused on his vision for running our franchise into the ground.
By: Noe Longoria
Date: December 19, 2010 at 1:34 PM
Comment: The needs on this team are massive. Coach is a foregone conclusion, but how about a premier scouting team to complement the GM? As I recall, Walsh used to draft players that best suited his system when the best players at each respective position were no longer available. Then he knew how to integrate them based on their strengths for best results. Hopefully the GM or coach or both will have a keen eye for talent. Besides hiring substandard coaches, the team has passed on too many difference makers during the draft. DeSean Jackson comes to mind. This has to stop. Otherwise it won't matter who the coach is.
Date: December 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM
Comment: Well, after reading this article I had to dig into my I-Tunes and groove with Sunglasses At Night. Singletary basically wears the sunglasses so you can't look in his eyes and see incompetence. Before this job, Sing never was a HC, OC, or even college HC. He was NOT qualified to be an NFL Coach, and it's easy to state this after the fact. I hope the Yorks learned their lesson that a cult of personality is no substitute for a sharp mind. Now Jeff, what bothers me even more is the "Vampire Cross" that Dumbletary wears around his neck. Does this guy watch too many "Twilight" movies, or is he trying to imply that his game plan is directed by god? If so, god must be pretty pissed off that the Chargers smacked down his divine game plan.
Date: December 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM
Comment: LOL "Sunglasses At Night" is one of my all-time favorite songs. Thanks for the laugh, even if it is at my team's expense. The way Sing insists on us being a playoff team despite how awful we are makes me think he's approaching this from the perspective of a college coach whose program is a bottom feeder in a BCS power conference. Think about it, the 49ers' plan has been to feast on just enough pushover teams (NFC West, Broncos) to make them "bowl eligible" in a system that rewards mediocrity, whether it be a berth in the Wal-Mart Bowl or hosting a playoff game for winning the NFC West. Has this somehow NOT been the mindset this organization has operated under since the 2009 season ended? I'd be okay with it if it actually worked and we didn't have a Division I-AA loss on our hands (Carolina).
Date: December 18, 2010 at 2:43 PM
Comment: Nobody can blame this loss on the players. It is all coaching and now I have 10 days to relish a loss instead of seven! Lord knows what I am going to do once this season is over. Silver Spoon York better come up with a high profile, talented coaching staff on January 4th at the latest!! As per the 9ers' pattern, there was little creativity in playcalls and scheme to put playmakers in a position to succeed. I am beginning to buy into the "blow it up for the sake of starting over" mentality that I am reading everywhere. Time is up!! I would follow this team blindly and defend their play to anybody but even now I cannot scream at my TV anymore! I just sit speechless and watch every playcall thinking it will get better just watch. And I watch until the end of every game and shut off the TV and shake my head asking why? My questions never seem to get answered. Every week...I repeat if necessary. Side note....If I was a 9er exec, why were they assessed so many questionable penalties and then I believe I saw the umpire chumming it up w/ the SD coaches on the sideline later in the game? If Derek Anderson can be chastized for laughing then why can this ump's activities not be seen as bias?
By: Team York
Date: December 18, 2010 at 1:49 PM
Comment: Coach, I understand. I understand. The shades at night, during the game, I understand. I listened to the press conference three weeks ago when you told us you cry after the team loses. I understand when you wear those shades at games you are crying before your team even kicks the ball. On every kickoff, every punt, you cry. I do too. Please, Coach, this game is killing us. Please quit, I need to smile again. After the first game I kicked my dog. After the Carolina game I kicked my wife. After the San Diego game I kicked my mother. My mother is 74 yrs old, I don't know how many more times I can kick her. Please, Coach, this game is killing us.
By: Team York
Date: December 18, 2010 at 12:49 PM
Comment: After Coach Sing's first game as the Niners HC he dropped his pants to deliver a point. He is all Nuts and no Brains! "I Can Not Win With A Man That Does Not Keep His Pants On, I Can Not Win With A Man That Does Not Keep His Pants On. I Won't Do It, I Can't Do It." I just want to say I have had a lot of fun this season. Dingleberries, can I just ask you to do me one favor? If you get fired after the season ends can you give me that Super Bowl Shuffle while you shimmy out the door.
By: Roy in San Jose
Date: December 18, 2010 at 12:48 PM
Comment: Singletary started Alex Smith at San Diego because Alex understands the entire playbook? Heck, the peanuts guy at the Stadium knows the 49ers' entire playbook. All four of the plays. How difficult would it be for Troy Smith to pick them up? Two Rams wins is what I would like for Christmas, so this charade can come to an end, and we can close the chapter on the Nolan-Singletary-Alex Smith era. This was all Mike Nolan's revenge on the 49ers for forgetting Dick Nolan and celebrating Bill Walsh. Too bad Dr. York swallowed it hook, line and sinker.