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NFC Championship Game: Thoughts after rewatching the game...

your right great time to be a niner fan.
I just watched the replay awhile ago. The Falcon's receivers were pushing off all game long. It was never called. Also, I noticed at the end of the game there were a few Atlanta players beaten up. They were physically hurting and probably still hurt today.
Originally posted by SunDevilNiner79:
Anyone see Frank Gore yelling at Harbaugh do give him the ball? I loved it, I was screaming the same thing.

I thought Frank Gore was so key in that game.

And then Kaep cursing Gore out when they got the delay of game at the end because Gore had lined up in the wrong spot.
Originally posted by Marvin49:
First off...sorry for the delay in this post. I was out of town and have only just now had a chance to rewatch and post.

1) Kaepernick: OK...Since I've gotten so much flack from peeps for making the comparison, I won't do it again here. I too believe that the case has been closed for a long time, but there are still others lurking in the grass who disagree. I'll take you guys at your word that this isn't the case and will expect not to see them spring up should the Niners lose on Feb 3rd. (yeah....right).

Having said that....this kid just has "it". You can see it in the reactions from Vernon and Frank...the guys that were here when it was DARK. One of the biggest compliments you can get is Frank Gore calling you a "Football Player". Thats Frank-ese for "You are one bad mother f*****".

I'll say it again here as I have been since I saw his first start in Chicago. I love the legs. I love the arm. I love his intelligence. I love his work ethic. None of those tho are his best attribute. Its his NERVE.

He doesn't flinch. Ever. NFC Championship Game. Down 17 pts. On the road and the crowd is deafening. Just march down and score. Execute perfectly. No "rocket balls" as Holmgren would refer to Favre when he got amped up. First start on Monday Night against the vaunted Bears D? No Prob. Hottest team in the NFL in their loud house (Saints)? No biggy. Go to New England in Primetime in December? No worries. First playoff game? I'll just set an NFL record. You can just keep lining up these tests and he'll just keep knocking them out of the park.

You need to look no further than #2 on the other sideline to see what I'm talking about. Matt Ryan had a fantastic game, but folded when it counted. He's done it every year he's been in the playoffs.

Kaep was in just his 9th NFL start and you'd think he was a 10 year vet. You can't teach that. Its an attribute that the good ones don't have. Only the GREAT ones do. Mind you, the great ones usually don't have all the physical tools Kaep has.

As I've said before, I'm typically not one to give into hyperbole. I don't usually buy into the hype. This guys tho? I'm baught in. 100%. I don't think he'll be a star. I think he'll be a superstar. Anyone who has talked to me on these boards knows that I'm not given to big statements like that. I honestly believe that tho. Its a great time toi be a Niner fan.

2) Crabtree: I have to give him points for showing up ready to play after the week he had. My hope and expectation is that this is just a learning experience and nothing more. If is real tho and he's guilty of what he was accused of, I'll never be able to root for him. I happen to think tho that he was setup. Some will say they are upset with his fumble at the one. I'm not one of them. Sometimes the defender just makes a good play and I think that's what happened. GREAT play by the DB. I'm just happy that he didn't become the next Earnest Byner.

3) Frank: Ya gotta love that this is all happening before Frank was done. I love that Harbaugh has turned this around in time for Frank to experience this. He's been here for a long time and seen some rough years. He's earned this. You can see it in his face and in his eyes. You can see it in his runs. The best part? He's healthy. He's fresh. He got to this point by being spelled by Hunter and James and he'll be at full strength in 2 weeks. Speaking of James, he's turning into quite a weapon. So quick. So fast. I'm interested to find out what happens next year when Hunter comes back.

4) The "Pattern": I have to be honest...that thing had me spooked. This was the best possible way to break it. I thought the Niners should win, but there was a big part of me that was telling me they wouldn't. Too many people were picking them to win. Too many people were discounting the Falcons. Too many times this season we had been burned just when it looked like the Niners were the best team in the NFL. No more. The Pattern is dead.

5) Goldson/Whitner: It can't all be good. LOL. Poor play in the secondary on multiple occasions. Out of position too many times and broken coverages resulting in points. We can't have that. They have 2 weeks to figure it out though and i trust that they can. It does make me nervous though.

6) Aldon: one thing I'm noticing that I don't like...teams are scheming him out of the pass rush by playing formations that force him to at least bumop a TE or reciever at the line. That greatly delays his rush. I don't know exactly what the thinking is there to have him out there, but I think thats one of the reasons for his drop in production.

7) Read-Option: I was really skeptical in preseason when I first saw Kaep running that stuff. Count me as one of those old school guys that thought the thing would never work in the pros. I was wrong in a big way. Same goes for the Pistol. ALOT of credit has to go to Harbaugh, Roman, and Baalke for seeing this a few years ago. Roman was still at Stanford when he visited Chris Ault at Nevada. I'm sure at some point someone will find the best way to defense it, but I don't think there is any one way that will shut it down completely. I think it's here to stay. Why? It's here to stay because it's viable. You can run multiple runs AND passes from it. This isn't the Wildcat which is pretty much just a run formation. Expect to see the Pistol all over the NFL next year and teams with an even remotely mobile QB will be running that option.

8) "The Cowboy": I just read something that made me real nervous. It was a report that Justin Smith wasn't planning on retiring after this season and that he might want to go 1 more year. Until I read that it had never crossed my mind that he would retire anytime soon. Say it ain't so Justin. I hope you are around for at least 3 or 4 more years.

9) Vernon: I was going to say that Vernon really showed up in this game, but I think thats actually inaccurate. I think he shows up in EVERY game, just not always as a receiver. All those deep passes that Kaep throws? Very often he's back there in protection while Delanie gets to run the route. He also often eats up coverage from the LBs and Safeties creating space for Crabtree and the other WRs. Bottom Line...he never went anywhere. This is pick your poison time. If Vernon isn't being doubled or is covered by a LB, Kaep will find him. Count on it.

10) Here we are agian: Ahhhhhh. ;-) All is right with the world. Playing for the prize again. Relevant again. I was too young to be a fan of the Niners in the 70's or even the early 80's. By the time I became a 49er fan they were already a few SBs into their run. I enjoyed watching them and the SB in '94 was my favorite. I got to see the transition to Steve and got to see that team grow into the team it became.

This is something completely different. This is even sweeter. This is watching every single member of the team get drafted. Watching them develop. Watching them struggle. This is going through coach after coach looking for the next guy to take this team to the mountaintop.

This ride leading up to now and in particular the last 2 years has been the most fun I've ever had as a 49er fan.

Now lets get it. Lets get that 6th Lombardi.

EDIT: It just occurs to me I forgot something important.

11) Defense: HUGE at the end there. Got manhandled early and made the plays they needed to when it counted. Brooks? HUGE plays down the stratch twice patting the ball down. Bowman? That was an incredible play on 4th and 4 at the end. BTW, that was NOT illegal contact. I've watched it 6 times now and it's right at 5 yards. Thats LEGAL. Also when Harry Douglas didn't make the catch that he was credited for? He grabbed Rogers by the collar and pulled him down. Thats how he got open. GREAT stand at the end. I couldn't NOT say that.

MODS PLEASE MAKE THIS OFFICIAL. THANX MUCH.

Once again, great post Bro. And I saw the same about Alson as well. Teams are really focusing on him. The Falcons cut him so much I thought his knee caps were gonna fall. Plus, they really schemed our T-E stunts as well. (But our blitz really affected them.) I honestly think the coaching staff expected this and is kind of just letting him learn how to deal with it. Next season he's really gonna be a beast. I do think he needs to use his strength more and bull-rush more earlier in the game to set up the rest of his game. But I wouldn't worry too much about the secondary though. They do start slow with communication issues but they always get it together. As I'm sure you've pointed out in the past teams tend to gve up on the run early and turn to passing the ball 30, 40, 50, and even 60 times. This secondary has seen the NFL most dangerous offenses and best QB's. They'll be fine.
Great read as usual Marvin...thanks for doing these reviews. A couple of comments after some reflection--

1) Agree with Warner that the most surprising thing about Kaepernick has been the huge jump in reading defenses and making the right throw. We knew he could run and had a great arm but his touch and decision making is really getting to be first rate. I still worry about him getting tagged a few times and how that might impact his play, but he seems to be quick enough to avoid most hits and fast enough to elude even fast defenders. He may surpass all the young QBs and become the new state of the art QB for the NFL.

2) Crabtree played OK and I really don't/won't criticize him for the fumble. A DB put his hand behind the ball and pulled it out. As tight as MC was holding the ball it was a very good defensive play.

3) I wanted Gore, Alex Smith and Vernon to share in this super bowl journey together but no one deserves it more than Gore, so I'm happy for the guy. Has been a work horse and team leader sense his rookie year...he was bouncing off the walls after the game, interrupted CKs presser and just couldn't contain himself. Nice to see!

4) Pattern--never believed in it...just happened and no reason to believe it would continue.

5) Safeties--I am always torn between the missed assignments and the enforcer quality of these guys. It does seem that receivers start the games full of enthusiasm but end the game looking over their shoulders. Hard to put a value on hard hitting...as Ronnie Lott demonstrated years ago.

6) Aldon--I read that Justin Smith could bull rush and move the pocket with his injured arm but he was not able to move people laterally. That seems to be a key to Aldon's reduced stats. He and Justin can't stunt as they had been because the latter is limited in being able to help hold the edge or watch the flat. I would like to see them move Aldon around more flipping with Brooks and even lining him up at MLB with Willis moving over the right side. They need to change things up to confuse the offenses until Justin is totally healthy.

7) Still not sure how valuable the read option is except that CK plays it well, makes good fakes and is able to run when needed. As an element of the offense I like it.

8) See number 6. Justin will likely play at least another three years but I don't see him playing every down. They need to bring someone in to take some pressure off the guy.

9) I love Vernon Davis...even when I want to cut him for doing dumb things (personal penalties in playoff games last year).

10) Super Bowl--Been a fan of this team for more than 50 years and this year is as exciting as any. The first Super Bowl year was so unexpected that it sneaked up on me and I was much younger...would actually yell out loud at the TV. LOL! Now I will watch without yelling but with enormous satisfaction that the team is relevant again. Love the way these guys have been coached to play as a team.

11) The defense is really trying to find itself right now with J Smith playing with one arm. It really changes the aggression from the line, even though he can still crash forward and move the pocket. The amount of time Ryan had to pass was driving me crazy! The DBs seem to be playing up the the level of their coaches...or put another way, they are only playing as well as they are because they really have great coaching. That relieves my mind a bit when looking at the possibility of losing FAs next year. I have faith in Donatell and Fangio to have the same success with other DBs.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Jan 22, 2013 at 10:39 PM ]
I watched the game again last night and I most of those read options I feel Kapp could have gotten away with taking it and running himself. I just wonder if the game plan was to just keep feeding his RBs so they would be one step ahead of who ever they were going to meet up with in the SB where Kapp would take more chances in taking it himself.
The pistol read option works.. And I am happy we are going to the super bowl. it really messes with the defense
Great job as always Marvin 49!
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