Look at all the threads here saying - start Alex - wait'll Crabtree - here comes Frank - etc.
I say - wha?
I say - watch the game against Atlanta. How many points were scored by Atlanta? Does Brett Favre come in here and match that - Joe in his prime - Steve running for 1st downs?
Let's face the problem head-on. It's the - DEFENSE!
Sure one can talk Chilo, or Frank's return, what will Crabtree do, those low-lying shotput tosses of Hill's, Morgan celebrating, Bruce dropping, all of that. But this offense is still trying to put it together, and with an O-line that's not letting them. Even so, they're putting up points.
Defense wins games. And look how many points were scored by Atlanta. Clements goes for the ball - and there's no support. Bly gives it right back after clowning around - for which he had to offer a long, public apology today.
You could say lack of a pass rush allowed that TD off the pick. You could say Clements should have knocked it down. A shutdown corner would. But next drive, again, no pressure. Much as one can criticize Clements, a lack of a pass rush makes even a Bailey or anyone look bad. A Ryan-type will find his receivers.
At that point, it caused me to wonder that people talk about coming up with a nickname for our 'top-rated' defense - WHAT DEFENSE?
It was right then, as I posted, that Coach Sing called his infamous 'rally round' timeout. Without that timeout in the 'bank', he has nothing to use when the refs blew Walker's call.
All 'pepped up', STILL time to throw next play - AND . . td. 14-0 looked bad at that point, mostly because it all looked too easy for Atlanta to move down the field, AND score.
Oakland Niner suggested - it's all Crabtree's fault. It was meant in jest. It wasn't till the end of the game when some posters offered that as a serious excuse for the loss.
Next series Willis looked great. Smith got some pressure later in the drive. Refs gave a 'generous' spot to Atlanta. But then came the Atlanta penalty on 2nd down. Accept put them back 20. Decline - 3rd and 9. We remember what Sing did. And Atlanta threw just far enough to get the 9. Burned. And still no consistent pass rush. Still, 49ers held.
Overall, it was a frightening first quarter. It wasn't a low 14 points. It was how easily they put those up.
And it was actually ironic that the 49ers had closed to FG range after D forced a turnover - but then where a THREE man rush put us back out of Nedney's increasingly questionable range.
Then of course - Clements goes for the pick, White spins around down the sideline, no support for Clements.
Clements having a real bad game, sure. But the 49ers offense put up 10 - really should have been 14. This was 21. 21-10, just 11 points. 49ers are in it. Bad defensive day, but still their game to win or lose.
And we come to the key play, perhaps. Walker's fumble. Now Coach Sing didn't have even one timeout. The refs blew the call. Atlanta now ready to go up to 28. Not too much for the 49ers. But much more? that would put it away for ATL.
Many on the board were ready to give up. "Carl" said - all on Crabtree," but had no smiley to go with it (anticipating end of game excuses).
28 wasn't too much. Again they'd gone right through a porous D. "Chief" had it - "35-10 halftime gameover. 28-17 halftime managable." I agreed.
Mod "49erWill" had it - "they can basically do whatever they want to our D."
And then, of course. They got their 35.
I said, then - this game is over. Done! I wanted to believe otherwise and continued to watch through the third quarter.
But 49ers were done. 35 points. To me - it was the D that stood out. The offense did struggle to put up 10, after all.