Wounded but still fighting

Nov 21, 2008 at 11:12 AM

The 2008 San Francisco 49ers will look back on this past Sunday with a realistic grin as they achieved a tender moment in terminating the six consecutive game losing skid they had been on with both Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary. With their season isolated to playing out the rest of their regular season games and looking yet again to the future, the 49ers have been left wounded but still with a lot of fight left.

This was in fact the best game of the entire 2008 NFL season for the 49ers both offensively and defensively. The 49ers manufactured all of their offensive points within the first half with an unexpected and unusual tally of 35-3 in their favor. On five consecutive offensive drives the 49er offense with Shaun Hill as the quarterback scored almost at will.

Not only was the entire team jubilant that Mike Singletary had secured his first victory as the interim head coach but the 49er faithful were as well. The agonizing and depressing synchronicity that the franchise had been performing at was finally pushed to the next level in that both sides of the ball contributed with perfect balance to secure this victory.

The game against the St. Louis Rams inside Candlestick Park started off with ominous signs as on the 49ers very first offensive drive Frank Gore was run down from behind and had the ball knocked out form his grasp resulting in a fumble. The 49er defense came out and sent them back three and out.

Upon the second drive Shaun Hill marched the 49ers down the field to the five-yard line where Frank Gore delivered a blow up the middle for our first touchdown as atonement for his prior sin. Frank Gore would never look back on this day in the negative because he delivered yet another touchdown in the second quarter and had carried the ball 18 times for a total of 106 total yards and 5.9- yards per carry average.

This is how the West Coast Offense is supposed to look like when done with calculated precision and with a systematic approach in maximizing running the ball to help set-up the pass. Frank Gore flourishes when he has the ball in his grasp and is finding loop hole lanes to run through and up the field. In fact one could argue as some sports analysts already have that Frank Gore should see 25-30 carries a game to reach his maximum potential.

There is little question that Mike Singletary has tempered the high-flying aerial circus that offensive coordinator Mike Martz has long been associated with. He believes in a smash-mouth philosophy of winning yards up front and moving the chains the old-fashioned way with pure physical might and a will to get the job done in the red zone.

Mike Martz is seemingly now committed to the run versus the pass. How long he'll continue to do this is yet another question. Still Martz is finding ways to move the ball with Shaun Hill at the controls and is appreciating the progress we have been able to achieve with him at the helm.

Shaun Hill is reminding the 49er faithful of the other quarterback we admired so well and is doing an exceptional job now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hill fits the mold of a Jeff Garcia in that he is unafraid to take on bigger players when it comes to focusing on the ball and leads with his head to pick-up a few more precious yards in order to achieve the first down.

He was on main stage in this game with his jaunt into the end zone for a touchdown that left everyone in awe from one end of the Bay to the next. His ability to successfully manage games and provide a tempo are key elements towards his continued success. He completed 15-of-20 passes for 213 total yards and two touchdowns with one to Vernon Davis and Bryant Johnson in the end zone.

He was sacked twice for a loss of 14 total yards but finished the game with a quarterback rating of near perfection at 142.3. His long bomb of 42 total yards to Bryant Johnson was a sunrise sight to sore eyes. He worked his craft on the field by getting the ball to almost everyone that was declared as an eligible receiver.

Defensively it was about time for reckoning day for a secondary that has been well-paid but underachieving from one game to the next as we recovered a fumble by way of Parys Haralson and had two interceptions courtesy of Walt Harris and Nate Clements. Marc Bulger was sacked three times for a loss of 15 total yards and found himself hurrying as the pressure was dialed-up.

Yet despite all the glory that was the first half, the 49ers found little solace in how they under-performed in the second half by not scoring at all and going on a buffet gorging frenzy of sustaining one penalty after another resulting in us being outscored 13-0. There has to be an ability to put your enemy away and finish the game by playing in unison for a full four quarters, not just a half. Mike Singletary cautioned everyone at securing false hope just because we had come away with a victory, reminding everyone that it was how we finish the game that is the most important phase of the game.

Certainly penalties are the Achilles heel to our offense. Seven of them for a loss of 33 total yards, the most hideous being the three consecutive false start penalties we incurred in the second half that resulted in us punting the ball away as we did the entire second half.

Some are already saying that our victory carries very little significance because it is against the struggling St. Louis Rams that are without their star running back in Steven Jackson? Well that question has some legitimacy to it being that we haven't really beaten anyone of significance except for ourselves all season long.

Turnovers, penalties, lack of execution and focus, lack of protection up front and inability to provide a pass rush are all key elements towards our demise this season. These are the reasons why we are not at the top of our division where we rightfully should be.

Mike Singletary will get us there. I believe in that. The players have bought into that. The coaches that were Mike Nolan's believe in that. The majority of the 49er faithful is starting to believe that. Can we hang with the "big boys," though like the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills?

Those are the real roadblocks that lay ahead for us to encounter. The motivations and tempo of this team has changed for the positive. Now we need to see discipline and accountability. Mike Singletary is the old-school mentalist that will get the job done with each individual player psychologically. The net result is what we are seeing from a physical standpoint out on the field as we watch each Sunday.

Wounded but still fighting is where this team is at right now. Finishing the season on the best possible high has to be the goal of consensus from everyone which also involves us as fans. Mike Singletary is the head of that spear that will take down the ugly mammoth of this season quite like the movie 10,000 BC illustrated to us earlier this year.

Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • No Comments

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers' Nick Bosa believes he is much-improved since 2019, 'still getting better'

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 8

After suffering an ACL injury in a Week 2 victory against the New York Jets in 2020, Nick Bosa has returned to the field, and has arguably looked even better. Bosa, who's accumulated four sacks on the season to go with 14 tackles, 13 pressures, and a forced fumble, has been the driving force on a 49ers defense alongside fellow edge rusher Dee Ford. In fact, just look at this chart. It's time for the first win rate plot of the year!Double-team rate at edge (x) by pass rush win rate at edge (y).(ESPN / NFL Next Gen Stats)

Joe Staley: Jimmy Garoppolo will start, but 49ers are more exciting with Trey Lance

By Marc Adams
Oct 12

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle, Joe Staley, went on KNBR Radio on Monday to discuss the 49ers' loss to the Arizona Cardinals. As expected, the conversation went to the quarterback situation with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, including who Staley believed would be under center in two weeks when the 49ers play the Indianapolis Colts. "I think he made his decision before the season even started," Staley said on the Papa & Lund show. "If Jimmy's healthy, he's going to be our quarterback this year. They want to use it as a red-shirt year, almost, for Trey this season. I was encouraged." That seemed to be the plan in the offseason, to have Lance sit and learn. Even after the game on Sunday, Kyle Shanahan continued to hold his ground that

John Lynch says 49ers believe in Brandon Aiyuk but need more 'urgency' from receiver

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 16

Brandon Aiyuk has been the talk amongst 49ers fans after his slow start to the season. He has only caught eight passes for 90 yards over the team's first six games, despite breaking out as a rookie, having caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns, leading the team in all three of those categories in 2020. Last week, John Lynch spoke about his second-year receiver and stated that Aiyuk "hasn't made the strides [the 49ers] have expected him to," sparking a controversy about whether the team's been misusing him, or if there's really something different about Aiyuk. Still, Lynch, who spoke with NBC's Matt Maiocco, has given his utmost confidence in the 25th


More by Sydney Mayhew

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone