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Our Two Most-Glaring (but correctable) Flaws

There is a lot of blame to go around. Kap is everybody's favorite whipping boy, Roman is a complete idiot, etc... to me, there are two glaring flaws that stick out:

1. Penalties.

I think this is just bad luck, and that this will balance out eventually. But so far, we've had awful luck with penalties in critical situations.

Scenario: 3rd quarter, 5-0 Seattle lead. 2nd and goal on the 11-yard line.
Play breaks down, Russell Wilson slides down and concedes a sack, setting up 3rd and goal from the 19... Oh, wait, Ahmad Brooks inadvertently grabbed a facemask. First down (this one is definitely bad luck -- under the olds rules, this was a 5-yard penalty).
Outcome: first touchdown of the game, instead of (likely) another field goal.

Scenario: 3rd quarter, 12-3 Seattle lead. 3rd and 28 from around midfield.
Russell Wilson completes a 15-yard pass to the 30 yard line.. Aldon Smith is flagged after the play, first down. Undisciplined? Sure. But also bad luck -- stuff like this was going on all game. Aldon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, I'm not absolving Smith of all blame. It was stupid and boneheaded, but it wasn't in line with say, a sloppy pass interference call or a flagrant roughing the passer -- something that's indisputable and will be called every time. You can not give a team of Seattle's caliber that many attempts in those situations.
Outcome: second touchdown of the game, instead of another field goal.

Scenario: 4th quarter, 13-7 Colts lead. 3rd and 4, ball around the 50 yard line, ~8 minutes in the game.
Incomplete pass... defensive holding call. First down. A couple plays later, Bradshaw breaks a huge run and the floodgates open.
Outcome: a game-sealing touchdown, instead of a punt.

Aside from giving a team more chances, the types of penalties I listed above are devastating, because they are both emotionally demoralizing, and also physically draining. It's deflating to think you've made a stop, only to have it nullified by a penalty. These second-half penalties are also physically exhausting, because an already-tired defense now has to stay out on the field even longer. Ultimately, it is incredibly difficult to overcome them. The levee broke in Indy after that fateful defensive penalty.

In the Harbaugh era, we've out-penalized our opponents at a rate of about 1 penalty per game. In 2013, we're out-penalizing our opponents at a rate of 4.5 per game. To me that's a fluke. The penalties are not going to spiral out of control for an entire season, and some of these calls in critical situations are going to start going our way (or won't be called at all). I'm not going pin this on Harbaugh "losing control of the team". It's an aberration and it will not continue.


2. Time of Possession.

Week 1: Win, vs. Green Bay.
Time of possession: 49ers 38:35, Packers 21:25
Green Bay first half points - 21 (3 TDs)
Green Bay second half points - 10 (1 TD)

Week 2: Loss, at Seattle.
Time of possession: Seahawks 36:43, 49ers 23:17
Seattle first half points - 5 (2 from a safety; 0 TDs)
Seattle second half points - 24 (3 TDs)

Week 3: Loss, vs. Indy
Time of possession: Colts 36:25, 49ers 23:35
Indy first half points - 10 (1 TD)
Indy second half points - 17 (2 TD)

This all stems from us not running more. This has been their bread and butter over the last two years, and yet we've inexplicably gone away from it lately. At least in the Seattle game they stifled our rushing attack, so you can possibly understand why they may have been hesitant to stick with it. But against the Colts, it actually showed very promising signs early on. Why did we abandon it? Outside of the touchdown drive, Hunter, Gore and Dixon combined for 11 total carries. What the hell!?

Over the past 2 games, Hunter/Gore/Dixon have combined for 27 carries. Meanwhile, Kaep has thrown 55 times. Some of this is probably skewed by being forced to pass late in games, but still -- they need to find a more healthy combination of rushing and passing.

It's really just common sense. Rushing more means:
+ better time of possession, which leads to a fresher, and therefore better, defense (no more second-half collapses)
+ a more balanced attack, which keeps the defense honest and offers more options in the passing game


If they correct these two things, we'll be back on track. All facets of our game will benefit (I think Kap and the pedestrian receiving corp will look a lot better with a more balanced offense). The former will correct itself on its own (again, I think it's more bad luck than anything), and the focus on a more balanced offense will inevitably come, which will help fix the ToP issues.

We're only 1-2. The sky is not falling. We'll correct the correctable and be right back on track.

Go Niners!
[ Edited by theduke85 on Sep 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM ]
Why is Dixon even getting the ball ?!?!?!? He has one or two career runs of over 0 yards. The answer is Gore. I haven't rewatched the game but I would bet the Colts didn't stack the box yesterday....leading to covered wr's, incomplete passes, 3 and outs.
Good post! Go 49ers!
I say pin this post to Romans forehead!
Originally posted by theduke85:
There is a lot of blame to go around. Kap is everybody's favorite whipping boy, Roman is a complete idiot, etc... to me, there are two glaring flaws that stick out:

1. Penalties.

I think this is just bad luck, and that this will balance out eventually. But so far, we've had awful luck with penalties in critical situations.

Scenario: 3rd quarter, 5-0 Seattle lead. 2nd and goal on the 11-yard line.
Play breaks down, Russell Wilson slides down and concedes a sack, setting up 3rd and goal from the 19... Oh, wait, Ahmad Brooks inadvertently grabbed a facemask. First down (this one is definitely bad luck -- under the olds rules, this was a 5-yard penalty).
Outcome: first touchdown of the game, instead of (likely) another field goal.

Scenario: 3rd quarter, 12-3 Seattle lead. 3rd and 28 from around midfield.
Russell Wilson completes a 15-yard pass to the 30 yard line.. Aldon Smith is flagged after the play, first down. Undisciplined? Sure. But also bad luck -- stuff like this was going on all game. Aldon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, I'm not absolving Smith of all blame. It was stupid and boneheaded, but it wasn't in line with say, a sloppy pass interference call or a flagrant roughing the passer -- something that's indisputable and will be called every time. You can not give a team of Seattle's caliber that many attempts in those situations.
Outcome: second touchdown of the game, instead of another field goal.

Scenario: 4th quarter, 13-7 Colts lead. 3rd and 4, ball around the 50 yard line, ~8 minutes in the game.
Incomplete pass... defensive holding call. First down. A couple plays later, Bradshaw breaks a huge run and the floodgates open.
Outcome: a game-sealing touchdown, instead of a punt.

Aside from giving a team more chances, the types of penalties I listed above are devastating, because they are both emotionally demoralizing, and also physically draining. It's deflating to think you've made a stop, only to have it nullified by a penalty. These second-half penalties are also physically exhausting, because an already-tired defense now has to stay out on the field even longer. Ultimately, it is incredibly difficult to overcome them. The levee broke in Indy after that fateful defensive penalty.

In the Harbaugh era, we've out-penalized our opponents at a rate of about 1 penalty per game. In 2013, we're out-penalizing our opponents at a rate of 4.5 per game. To me that's a fluke. The penalties are not going to spiral out of control for an entire season, and some of these calls in critical situations are going to start going our way (or won't be called at all). I'm not going pin this on Harbaugh "losing control of the team". It's an aberration and it will not continue.


2. Time of Possession.

Week 1: Win, vs. Green Bay.
Time of possession: 49ers 38:35, Packers 21:25
Green Bay first half points - 21 (3 TDs)
Green Bay second half points - 10 (1 TD)

Week 2: Loss, at Seattle.
Time of possession: Seahawks 36:43, 49ers 23:17
Seattle first half points - 5 (2 from a safety; 0 TDs)
Seattle second half points - 24 (3 TDs)

Week 3: Loss, vs. Indy
Time of possession: Colts 36:25, 49ers 23:35
Indy first half points - 10 (1 TD)
Indy second half points - 17 (2 TD)

This all stems from us not running more. This has been their bread and butter over the last two years, and yet we've inexplicably gone away from it lately. At least in the Seattle game they stifled our rushing attack, so you can possibly understand why they may have been hesitant to stick with it. But against the Colts, it actually showed very promising signs early on. Why did we abandon it? Outside of the touchdown drive, Hunter, Gore and Dixon combined for 11 total carries. What the hell!?

Over the past 2 games, Hunter/Gore/Dixon have combined for 27 carries. Meanwhile, Kaep has thrown 55 times. Some of this is probably skewed by being forced to pass late in games, but still -- they need to find a more healthy combination of rushing and passing.

It's really just common sense. Rushing more means:
+ better time of possession, which leads to a fresher, and therefore better, defense (no more second-half collapses)
+ a more balanced attack, which keeps the defense honest and offers more options in the passing game


If they correct these two things, we'll be back on track. All facets of our game will benefit (I think Kap and the pedestrian receiving corp will look a lot better with a more balanced offense). The former will correct itself on its own (again, I think it's more bad luck than anything), and the focus on a more balanced offense will inevitably come, which will help fix the ToP issues.

We're only 1-2. The sky is not falling. We'll correct the correctable and be right back on track.

Go Niners!


very compelling, and persuasive points
Problem is Kaepernick not checking into the correct play at the LOS. He has the option to check into a run or a pass play at the LOS to take advantage of the defensive personel and formation. Unfortunately, Kaepernick is failing miserably in this regard and seems to think that we can pass on every play and if we need to run, he thinks that he can always just get the 1st down himself. This leads to way too many bad possessions and short rest time for our defense to deal with.
[ Edited by Forkenick on Sep 24, 2013 at 12:18 AM ]
  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 9,547
Originally posted by hofer36:
very compelling, and persuasive points



And it was laid out without insulting anyone.
The referees hates Harbaugh complaining too much about everything, therefore they take it out on the team when they play. So, expect to have bad calls against us all season.
Originally posted by theduke85:
There is a lot of blame to go around. Kap is everybody's favorite whipping boy, Roman is a complete idiot, etc... to me, there are two glaring flaws that stick out:

1. Penalties.

I think this is just bad luck, and that this will balance out eventually. But so far, we've had awful luck with penalties in critical situations.

Scenario: 3rd quarter, 5-0 Seattle lead. 2nd and goal on the 11-yard line.
Play breaks down, Russell Wilson slides down and concedes a sack, setting up 3rd and goal from the 19... Oh, wait, Ahmad Brooks inadvertently grabbed a facemask. First down (this one is definitely bad luck -- under the olds rules, this was a 5-yard penalty).
Outcome: first touchdown of the game, instead of (likely) another field goal.

Scenario: 3rd quarter, 12-3 Seattle lead. 3rd and 28 from around midfield.
Russell Wilson completes a 15-yard pass to the 30 yard line.. Aldon Smith is flagged after the play, first down. Undisciplined? Sure. But also bad luck -- stuff like this was going on all game. Aldon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, I'm not absolving Smith of all blame. It was stupid and boneheaded, but it wasn't in line with say, a sloppy pass interference call or a flagrant roughing the passer -- something that's indisputable and will be called every time. You can not give a team of Seattle's caliber that many attempts in those situations.
Outcome: second touchdown of the game, instead of another field goal.

Scenario: 4th quarter, 13-7 Colts lead. 3rd and 4, ball around the 50 yard line, ~8 minutes in the game.
Incomplete pass... defensive holding call. First down. A couple plays later, Bradshaw breaks a huge run and the floodgates open.
Outcome: a game-sealing touchdown, instead of a punt.

Aside from giving a team more chances, the types of penalties I listed above are devastating, because they are both emotionally demoralizing, and also physically draining. It's deflating to think you've made a stop, only to have it nullified by a penalty. These second-half penalties are also physically exhausting, because an already-tired defense now has to stay out on the field even longer. Ultimately, it is incredibly difficult to overcome them. The levee broke in Indy after that fateful defensive penalty.

In the Harbaugh era, we've out-penalized our opponents at a rate of about 1 penalty per game. In 2013, we're out-penalizing our opponents at a rate of 4.5 per game. To me that's a fluke. The penalties are not going to spiral out of control for an entire season, and some of these calls in critical situations are going to start going our way (or won't be called at all). I'm not going pin this on Harbaugh "losing control of the team". It's an aberration and it will not continue.


2. Time of Possession.

Week 1: Win, vs. Green Bay.
Time of possession: 49ers 38:35, Packers 21:25
Green Bay first half points - 21 (3 TDs)
Green Bay second half points - 10 (1 TD)

Week 2: Loss, at Seattle.
Time of possession: Seahawks 36:43, 49ers 23:17
Seattle first half points - 5 (2 from a safety; 0 TDs)
Seattle second half points - 24 (3 TDs)

Week 3: Loss, vs. Indy
Time of possession: Colts 36:25, 49ers 23:35
Indy first half points - 10 (1 TD)
Indy second half points - 17 (2 TD)

This all stems from us not running more. This has been their bread and butter over the last two years, and yet we've inexplicably gone away from it lately. At least in the Seattle game they stifled our rushing attack, so you can possibly understand why they may have been hesitant to stick with it. But against the Colts, it actually showed very promising signs early on. Why did we abandon it? Outside of the touchdown drive, Hunter, Gore and Dixon combined for 11 total carries. What the hell!?

Over the past 2 games, Hunter/Gore/Dixon have combined for 27 carries. Meanwhile, Kaep has thrown 55 times. Some of this is probably skewed by being forced to pass late in games, but still -- they need to find a more healthy combination of rushing and passing.

It's really just common sense. Rushing more means:
+ better time of possession, which leads to a fresher, and therefore better, defense (no more second-half collapses)
+ a more balanced attack, which keeps the defense honest and offers more options in the passing game


If they correct these two things, we'll be back on track. All facets of our game will benefit (I think Kap and the pedestrian receiving corp will look a lot better with a more balanced offense). The former will correct itself on its own (again, I think it's more bad luck than anything), and the focus on a more balanced offense will inevitably come, which will help fix the ToP issues.

We're only 1-2. The sky is not falling. We'll correct the correctable and be right back on track.

Go Niners!

THANK GOD THERE IS STILL REAL FANS HERE. we need more people with common sense like you. add to that list us not playin to our strengths. we will be fine cause now that wev lost theyl go back to what were best an thats a power running WCO. wel run the ball and have big gain pass plays off that itl be like when we had alex except better since we finally we got a qb who can throw better
We need to start running the ball more and throwing those cut blocks that put Ian Williams on IR, since the NFL deemed them leagal.
Great post! These are huge problems and they are focus and coaching problems, we can and I 110% believe WE WILL! Too talented of a team, even with the injuries. We need to pound the rock in the running game with Gore/Hunter and get LMJ involved in the running and passing game also. Get Baldwin out there to see if he can get open, give Patton a chance etc. Penalties have been a killer, TOP can be fixed by simply running the ball and taking pressure off Kaep.
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 24,073
what is the harm of activating, wright at corner, james and jon b at wide out. now those are three areas of need. can those three do the job better than who is there now? well how the f**k can it be worse? when i said james, i want to see him at kick return and of course throw him a few screen passes. of course in order to throw him screen passes we would have to give roman a lobotomy
Originally posted by cciowa:
what is the harm of activating, wright at corner, james and jon b at wide out. now those are three areas of need. can those three do the job better than who is there now? well how the f**k can it be worse? when i said james, i want to see him at kick return and of course throw him a few screen passes. of course in order to throw him screen passes we would have to give roman a lobotomy

NFL rules prohibit him coming off NFI list until Week 7, since he started the regular season on it.
i think tackling is one. i remember the defense always swarming. with the league becoming a passing league and our nickel defense getting rolled out, you see guys like namdi just kind of giving a half ass effort to make a tackle
Originally posted by kujon11:
i think tackling is one. i remember the defense always swarming. with the league becoming a passing league and our nickel defense getting rolled out, you see guys like namdi just kind of giving a half ass effort to make a tackle

I don't think tackling is that high up there compared to the two listed in this thread. The defense has played well enough for us to be 2-1 at least and I feel we could be 3-0 had the offense showed up in either weeks 2 or 3. They held for 3 quarters until 45 + minutes of three and outs finally broke them. Sure there have been some missed tackles, but you'd have to expect the defense to be either the 2000 Ravens or to start scoring themselves to overcome the lack of offense.