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

Marvin,

Great analysis as usual.

I agree on Kaep, his nerve is a big part of his play, he has that cool calm confidence that Montana did.

On the defense the whole Niner scheme relies on a strong pass rush from the front four, for the most part. I think the biggest part is Justin Smith's arm and Aldon Smith being tired. The turnovers forced are way down this season because the pass rush hasn't been as strong. I think for 2013 another couple of D line pass rushers will be drafted so there will be more rotation and keeping players fresh. I also would like to see Aldon Smith play a bit less on first down so he is stronger for the pass rush. This really helps the secondary. For the Super Bowl the extra week off should help, there is nothing to hold back on, let it all loose, any injuries will heal up in the off season. I expect a great game and a stronger pass rush in the Super Bowl.

the key to the Super Bowl could come down to Kaep versus a veteran experienced Ravens defense. This should be the most experienced D Kaep has faced. On the one hand kaep could exploit an aging defense with his running ability and all the other assets you mentioned. It could come down to which triumps--Kaeps many talents or a wily veteran defense.
Always look forward to your logical analysis.

You were being conservative: I think he is a superstar right now. Who has it better than him in the whole combination of what makes a great QB? Of course it takes a decade to really define a QB and over that time there could be bad teams, injury, bad coaches, etc. But on the other hand he may be able to create his own ecosystem, to attract star free agents to play with him and so be able to keep up a high standard of play.

Maybe the DBs were not as bad in the first half as most people suppose. Ryan had a long time to throw, tall and in the pocket as he likes. He is very accurate and the receivers are really, really good. He was putting the ball into 6-inch windows and the catches were often remarkable. Of course there were a couple big errors in coverage, but that happens every game to every team.

I told someone that there is no way he can be that good in the second half. And with the laws of averages, a couple of defensive switches, a bit more pressure and sure enough it fell apart on him.

You got it right with Davis. Would be nice to get another good receiver. I would like your analysis of what the receivers are doing. Are they all running their routes, who is open, etc. Of course it is hard to do this off of tv as they don't show downfield.
Was it just me (one viewing so far), or did we have 0 blown timeouts, 1 delay of game, and 0 false starts in this one??
Rewatching some of it now. The play immediately before our first TD, the out-of-bounds non-TD to Crabtree, was still so impressive to me. Crabtree had no chance to get down, but his ball skills were Julio Jones-esque.
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Originally posted by KEGster:
Originally posted by Marvin49:
TOTALLY disagree.

Ya know, those guys on the other team? They get payed too. That was one hell of a play by Robinson. Sometimes you gotta give them their due.
It was 21-24 Falcons at the time. And considering Akers shaky kicking, it should have cost us the game. No way we lose with a 2-0 turnover margin. It was the only time I felt we got out of our comfort zone and no surprise it resulted in the only turnover.

He took a risk that was not needed at all, for his own personal glory. He was trying to stretch like 2 yards. Just stupid.

personal glory? lolwut? i don't know about you but i want my player(s) to do everything in his power to score. that was nothing more than a tremendous play by the DB.
I liked your analysis on Aldon. I too noticed Aldon was often bumped by a TE or WR before he could start his rush. It's not a new concept, so there has to be a way around this. I never bought that his lack of recent production was all due to Justin Smith's absence/injury.
[ Edited by SofaKing on Jan 21, 2013 at 11:20 PM ]
Originally posted by boast:
Originally posted by KEGster:
Originally posted by Marvin49:
TOTALLY disagree.

Ya know, those guys on the other team? They get payed too. That was one hell of a play by Robinson. Sometimes you gotta give them their due.
It was 21-24 Falcons at the time. And considering Akers shaky kicking, it should have cost us the game. No way we lose with a 2-0 turnover margin. It was the only time I felt we got out of our comfort zone and no surprise it resulted in the only turnover.

He took a risk that was not needed at all, for his own personal glory. He was trying to stretch like 2 yards. Just stupid.

personal glory? lolwut? i don't know about you but i want my player(s) to do everything in his power to score. that was nothing more than a tremendous play by the DB.

Yeah when did trying to score a TD to put your team ahead in the NFC championship game a sign of some undesirable selfish streak?
Originally posted by Marvin49:
Originally posted by KEGster:
As soon as he saw the safety coming, he should have taken a knee just like punt/kick returners do.

That's what defenders are instructed to do: stand up receivers and wait for help to come. He's lucky he didn't have his back broken. Not a risk needed with the way we were running. Spinning in front of safeties is asking for trouble





Sorry man..I'm just not going to fault a guy for not taking a knee. This is football. He was trying to score and the DB made a great play. It happens.

No way you can be mad. Crabtree runs hard all year to pick up touchdowns and first downs. Defense made a great play. Keep doing your thang, Crabs!
Originally posted by KEGster:
As soon as he saw the safety coming, he should have taken a knee just like punt/kick returners do.

That's what defenders are instructed to do: stand up receivers and wait for help to come. He's lucky he didn't have his back broken. Not a risk needed with the way we were running. Spinning in front of safeties is asking for trouble



Sorry, but no way does anyone EVER take a knee at the one yard line, in the 4th quarter, down by 3 points, in the Championship game. Ever. This wasn't Crabtree trying to be all selfish and rack up his stats. He was trying to give us the lead. And Crab has a nose for the endzone. He was trying to make a play a cross the goalline before being stood up. Crabtree is a bigger receiver. He's not Megatron size, but normally he has enough power to push for one more yard.

Like Marvin said, that was just one hell of a play by the DB. You have to give props where props are do. The only thing I can possibly fault Crabs for his not having two hands on the ball. But hey, when you're trying to make moves as Crabs normally does, having two hands on the ball slows you down too much.
Originally posted by Young2Rice:
After three consecutive punts to start the game, Lee was never seen again. We went on 6 straight scoring drives:

TD run by James
TD pass to VD
TD run by Gore
FG Missed
Fumble at goaline
TD by Gore

That's how we finished. Amazing. We dominated them for 2.5 quarters and they dominated us for 1.5.
Actually was 2 to start the game. Then one at the end when we killed the clock.
[ Edited by Godsleftsock on Jan 21, 2013 at 11:46 PM ]
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.
Kaepernick is a total stud. He is as smart as any QB in the league, hard worker, fiece competitor, more athletic or as athletic as any QB in the league, he has one of the strongest arms in the nfl, he never rattles (scoring a TD after each interception is a key stat).....and he's 100% confident in his abilities. CONFIDENCE is something Alex doesn't exude. What a great move by Harbaugh to draft him and start him over Alex.

THE BIG QUESTION IS, WOULD ALEX BEEN BENCHED IF HE NEVER GOT HURT? I seem to think he doesn't get benched but Kaep forces his way into the lineup? Either way, Harbaugh made the right move. The team is so much more dangerous with Kaep at the helm.

The running offense is awesome. We wear teams down, and bash them. The pistol works so well and exposes a lot of teams (I would like to play the Ny Giants again with Kaep in the pistol.) The pistol makes Gore and Frank and Kaep equally dangerous. I hope we can expose the age of the ravens.

It was nice to have VD ALL UP IN ATLANTA'S HOUSE. I wonder why they couldn't get that early in the game, but he was open in the second half. I think he's going to shred the ravens. If we can stay balanced, we can beat the ravens.
Definitely one of the best weekly threads going round Marv.

Gonna feel wierd not having one next week. Lol

Also crabs is the go to guy for this O now , it's his job to try and score that TD. He would have been copping it from all of us if he took a knee at the 1. It's the NFL players make great plays
White wasn't even at 5 yds when Bowman hit him. The play was 4th and 4 correct? When contact is made, he is clearly behind the 1st down marker, which was 4 yds. It shouldn't have even been a question whether that was a penalty. If you do simple math, white was hit behind the marker so that puts him around 3yds away from the LOS. Stupid ATL fans claiming that was a blatant penalty makes me frustrated.
[ Edited by ApatheticIAm on Jan 22, 2013 at 2:27 AM ]
Originally posted by ApatheticIAm:
White wasn't even at 5 yds when Bowman hit him. The play was 4th and 4 correct? When contact is made, he is clearly behind the 1st down marker, which was 4 yds. It shouldn't have even been a question whether that was a penalty. If you do simple math, white was hit behind the marker so that puts him around 3yds away from the LOS. Stupid ATL fans claiming that was a blatant penalty makes me frustrated.

It's ok. Most Atlanta fans don't understand the rules of football. I've had to live with it for 5 years now. They aren't used to winning either. It may be another 45 years before they get another home NFCCG.

On another note, great post as usual by Marvin. Glad you pointed out Vernon Davis's contributions during his quiet streak to close the 2nd half of the season. I also love how Davis responded to the questions after the game. "It's bigger than me" and "It's all about the team."
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Offensive Line was solid with the exception of Iupati whom had trouble with Peters! Love Vic Fangio but I was not pleased that the recievers were coming of the line of scrimage without being bumped.

Ahmad Brooks came up big with batted down passes and that hit on Ryan to injure him may have forced him to go over the middle to White rather than take a shot down the field.

Aldon Smith had a better day rushing the Qb, but with the recievers coming of the line without being challenged he was a split second late.

Live in Maryland and have to deal with the Raven fans going to brag for the next two weeks, hopefully our offensive and defensive lines dominate in Super Bowl and I can have the last word.