Roman, for all his creativeness with the run game and pistol formation, absolutely sucks donkey nuts with RZ playcalling. He sucked last year and He sucked this year. As a team, we went 2-6 in the RZ yesterday...obviously, we needed only one more TD to win the game. That's unacceptable. The OL dominated the 4th quarter, and Gore had about 60 yards on just 2 carries alone. We have the much ballyhooed jumbo package...the Ravens are on their heels, old-ass Ray is gasping for air and their without their biggest run defender. f**king motherf**king f**k!!!! Ngata even actually said he was surprised they didn't run there.
I was so confident we were going in for the TD. We had them on their heels, all the mo', everything. Gore was working it and the OL was mauling everyone. We have CK7, the most dynamic running QB in the league. I was even OK with the first down play because we gained 2 yards from the 7. Do that 3 more times and you win the f**king bowl Roman. Can you do simple f**king math? We're at the 7. The chances they stop us in the backfield with the jubmo or read option is minimal. Get 2 yards/play 4 times and you win. 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 from the 7 = a f**king TD. And remember, running runs down the clock and/or forces them to use TOs so they have less of a shot to get down the field and kick a FG. Everything in that situation indicated that running was the best option. Regardless, it was time for Kaep to become legendary, by leading a late and potentially SB winning drive just like the one, only, real Joe Cool (it makes me sick to see Flacco being compared with Montana for all-time great postseason and stealing his nickname to boot)
Instead, Roman's playcalling will go down in infamy (and Harbs isn't without blame either). His play calls on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th down were literally the worst possible play call for the game and time situation. Even if we had somehow come down the the fade route, BAL would have had just under 2 minutes left and I believe all 3 of their TOs--more than enough time to kick the tie or winning FG based on how well they'd moved the ball all game long.
But let's start with 2nd down. Prior to the play, I believed we were going into the endzone. We been killing them in the 4th quarter and gotten all the way down to the five yard line in 6 plays. Then we call a semi sprint option that effectively eliminates an entire half of the field. You don't do that in the RZ. In already close quarters you only limit your playing area more. I understand giving Kap the opportunity to run, and it did look like he would have at least gained positive yardage had he decided to do so. As it was, he ended up having a one WR route to the front corner of the endzone with defenders everywhere--not a high percentage play.
After seeing what Roman had called, I had the all-too-familiar feeling to yet another RZ f**k up--we've seen his RZ ineptitude so many times. And what's so frustrating is he called a fantastic counter play to Gore for a TD. He's got these plays in his pocket, but he went full retard in the biggest moment. I don't necessarily buy that they decided to go pass-pass-pass to make Kaep the star and prove a point, but he outsmarted himself by trying to counter what he thought the D would be doing.
That said, the original 3rd down play probably would have worked...it was designed QB run around the tackle, like the AS play. Unfortunately, as we've seen time and again we were unable to get it off in time. Now, Harbs should not have called his TO. As I saw the clock running down, I felt like it might actually be a positive thing since we gained more area to work with and would open up more space for Kaep to scramble should his WRs/TEs be covered. Instead, Jim panicked and called a TO, effectively ending the game in the event we were unable to score, which ultimately came to pass. For me, the 3rd down play was the worst of the bunch. A quick out route to Crab tree several yards short of the goalline. It really had no chance, as you know defenders will be crashing down on the play. What's frustrating is watching the replays, we see an open VD across the middle and a running opportunity for Kaep around the edge. It was, without question, the worst of the bunch. An odd formation we haven't used very much, Kaep under center, split backs...I knew it had no chance the moment they lined up.
Fourth down and it all comes down to this. I don't know if we had an original play called and audibled to the fade route or what, but at that point the D knows its a passing situation since we didn't run on the prior two plays. It's a tough situation to be in in any game, let alone the SB, and Roman/Harbs and them alone put us in it with terrible playcalling/game management on 2nd and 3rd downs. Gore, who's usually so reliable in pass protection, went the wrong way (which has to do with the communciation issues and I think the newness of the pistol scheme as we've seen people go the wrong way a couple of times) and Kaep had to make a desperation heave for Crabs. There was obvious holding, and we should have had the ball at the one, but it's an incredibly low percentage throw...A 50/50 play.
Making matters all the more frustrating is that, even having decided to go pass/pass/pass, we never once looked for VD, Moss, or Walker--all great weapons who (VD and Walker) had played a fantastic game up until that point. I understand Crabs was beasting late and has become an absolute monster the last half of the season, but we have other legitimate, highly skilled weapons as well. Davis and Moss are both they type of huge bodied guys that teams look for in the RZ. Rather, Roman called 2 pass plays (2nd and 4th downs) that were effectively one WR routes and on 3rd down a poor route combination out of a near formation look when Kaep is obviously more comfortable out of the gun or pistol--and which allows him more time/space to read the defense and tuck and run if need be. There was no chance for a goalline play action--which tend to be quite effective--because we showed no inclination of running. Everything was panicked and hurried on those final 3 plays--much like how the Ravens were last year when they missed the kick against NE.
Sorry for the freaking book guys. I'm glad to be here on the zone commiserating with all of you, as bad as that sounds. We're all true fans and truly know how crushing this loss feels. Unlike last year's loss, I'm not angry, just very, very down. I'll get over it, and I know I shouldn't be as emotionally invested in the team as I am, but the Niners are a huge component of my life. I, like you, have stuck with this team through thick and thin and yesterday really, really sucks. Other than the 87/88 Browns (the drive and the fumble) you'd be hard pressed to find another NFL fan base that has suffered more crushing consecutive postseason defeats than us. Hopefully we get in done next year, and we'll be a perennial contender as long as we have Harbs and Kaep but, once again, we choked away a golden opportunity for a championship.
[ Edited by merm49 on Feb 4, 2013 at 4:45 PM ]