1) Kap: Yes, it was encouraging. No, it wasn't a "yeah, he's back" moment. The entire offense still seems disjointed. Just not smooth. There were several things I saw from Kap tho that I liked.
He's starting to understand how to throw to Anquan Boldin. Even in the losses, there has been an increasing number of "back shoulder/throw to him even when covered" type throws. Anquan lives off those passes and Kap is starting to find him on those and learning where to place the ball to give Anquan a chance. I saw him check down a few times and I liked seing him find McDonald along the sideline instead of forcing it to Vernon down the seam. He may have been able to get that throw in there, but McDonald was a better option with the safety in the middle of the field. I liked the way he worked back to Anquan on Anquans second TD...but I have to admit, my heart stopped for a second when I saw him throw across his body and into a crowd.
He did make some mistakes tho. On the near pic 6, the RB was wide open. He never got his head all the way around to see him. I wanted to yell at him through my TV to look out in the flat, but my 3 year old was already wondering why I was talking to the TV. Kap's gotta work on that. He knows it tho. He's getting better.
2) "He doesn't have his weapons": OK, Trent Dilfer is getting on my nerves. LOL. I've liked him in the past, but he's starting to annoy me. John Gruden did the exact same thing last night. They say stuff like "what do you mean he has no weapons!?! They have Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis! They have Manningham". Yes genius, I can read a roster sheet too. I'm aware of who they have. The question this year though is why isn't Kap playing like he did LAST year. The difference is that the guys that they have either can't stay healthy in the big games (Vernon), don't match the type of offensive football they played last year (Boldin, McDonald...more on that later), JUST got back from injury (Manningham), or simply can't play (everyone else).
The 49ers feasted on teams last year by threatening in the the run game and then living off play action. That worked GREAT because they had vertical threats all over the place, just not at classic positions...IE, not necesarily from the WRs. They could go to a strong run formation and still throw deep (and is a big reason Kaps average per attept last year was 8.3, highest in the NFL). If teams stacked the box, they ran the risk of a TE running right past them. They ran the risk of Crab breaking open.
This year, that risk no longer exists. Teams are stacking the box in unprecidented ways and the Niners just can't make them pay for it. Vernon gets hammered and doubled. Boldin gets eliminated by single coverage by decent man corners. When Vernon is out, Boldin is doubled. McDonald isn't getting vertical the way Delanie did. Say what you want about Delanie, but he caught SEVEN of Kaps 19 completions last year of over 20 yards. He led the team in yards per reception with over 16. YES, the 49ers have weapons in the passing game. They do NOT however completely match what the 49ers are built to do. Boldin was never supposed to be the teams #1 WR. He was brought in to be a complimentary player to Crab. Crab coming back can be HUGE. I don't expect him to suddenly light up the stat sheet. I don't expect Kap to start throwing for 400 yards a game. I expect teams to be forced to ACCOUNT for Crab the way they haven't all year. I expect him to make critical 3rd down catches. I expect him to force teams to not stack the box quite so much.
3) Roman: All of the above is why I am not so critical of Roman. Yes, I see it too....2TE, 1 WR and 2 RBs. Plays where there are only 1 or 2 viable targets in the passing game and the rest are decoys. I get it. BTW, don't think there aren't other teams who run plays with only 1 or 2 viable targets. The reason I am not so down on him tho is that THIS OFFENSE WORKED. WELL. Have defenses countered some of what they do? Yes. Should he adapt back with the personnel he has now? Yes. I believe tho that this offense is viable and will work when defenses have something to fear if they stack the box. Kap needs to play better and learn how to get through his reads faster. The receivers need to be better and Roman needs to adapt better. Everyone has a hand in this.
4) Whitner: Ya know what? I was very critical of Goldson when he was here. In those comments I would usually say tho that Whitner is no better. This year tho? I might have to back off that a bit. He's playing really well. He's been doing it all year but I kept expecting it to stop. I keep waiting to see him get exposed in the passing game. It's not happening. I think he deserves his due...he's played well this year.
5) Brooks: Dude needs to make the Pro Bowl. The forgotten member of the LB corps is having himself a hell of a season.
6) Aldon: Heeeeeee's baaaaaaaaaack! :) He looked a bit sluggish in his first week, no better last week (illness may have been the problem), and at the beginning of the game I was wondering if he was gonna be the same guy again this year...and then came that first sack. WOW. He looked lik he was shot out of a cannon. I dunno if he'd seen something on film or what, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a guy not named Jadeveon Clowney get into the backfield that fast. He also played the run very well and wasn't buying any of the play action from RGIII.
7) Willis-Bowman: Wow.
8) LaMichael James: Glad to see him on the active roster. Just as Washingtons D sucks, so do their coverage units. Still tho, this is 2 weeks where he's had a bit of a spark on returns. Its an adventure sometimes because he's still clearly learning, but it's not like we didn't hold our breath every time Kyle was back there. I also like that him suiting up on gameday gives them the option to play on offense a bit. I still really like the kid and think he has a future.
9) Lattimore: This actually has nothing to do with the game itself, but more just about seeing Marcus Lattimore on the sideline. I dunno if the kid will ever make it all the way back, but seeing pic of him practicing for the first time was just awesome. I have no idea what to expect from him next year. Maybe he becomes a perennial All-Pro. Maybe he doesn't make the team next year. Who knows. I just know that I love he's getting a shot and that it's in SF.
10) Playoffs: These last 5 weeks have gotten interesting. Who would have thought before the season that the Monday night game vs Atlanta would look like the EASIEST game left on the schedule with 5 games remaining. The Rams are on a bit of a roll. The Seahawks are the Seahawks. The Bucs have just ripped off 3 straight. The Cards are 7-4 (how did THAT happen. LOL). It may not be an easy road, but I think the Niners get in with that 6th seed. I think they end up playing Detroit in Detroit and then go to Seattle. While I would much rather play them at the 'stick...there is some small part of me that would just love to go into Seattle and tear their fans hearts out. ;-) Winning that game would likely send them into New Orleans. Detroit, Seattle, New Orleans. All on the road. None set in stone obviously, but thats what we might be looking at.
Sounds like fun. :-)
EDIT: Oh yeah...one more thing I wanted to mention on Kap. Dude...if it's 3rd and 2 and you are scrambling out of the pocket, you don't ALWAYS need to keep your eyes downfield. Just go get the thing. You don't need to wait till the last possible second when the LB has closed the gap and made it impossible for you to run for the first down. Small thing...but seeing it alot lately.
[ Edited by Marvin49 on Nov 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM ]