You've gotta do something. Now.

I know you weren't expecting this. Not even two months ago, you were right where you wanted to be. Three-and-one and atop your division. You'd promised the playoffs, and some said you'd already clinched 'em. And your coach, your first hire, already was Coach of the Year.

Sure, some of us were nervous. Too often we'd seen strong starts go up in smoke. In 2008 we went two-and-one, and then we lost six in a row. In 2007, two-and-oh and then eight in a row. Nervous as we were, though, something just felt different now. Yeah, we had more talent. But mainly it was that coach. His will, his drive, his knack for wringing every drop of effort out of every last player. There'd be no collapse, not this time. He simply wouldn't allow it.

Yet here we are again. After three-and-one, we lost four in a row, and now we've lost five out of six. Our playoff hopes are virtually dead, which means your promise is all but broken.

In two short months, your season's been ruined. And your coach, Mike Singletary, is the guy who's ruined it.

Scot McCloughan hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but we've got enough talent to win. We went into Minny and lost by three; the Vikings are nine-and-one. We went into Indy and lost by four; the Colts are 10-and-oh. In recent years, the talent gap between us and the league's elite was so mammoth that we'd simply be flattened. Now we've stood toe to toe, to the very end. So say what you want about our deficits at quarterback, offensive line, and outside linebacker, to name a few. We've got the talent to compete with anyone, and that means we've got enough talent to win.

That's why this collapse is the worst of them all. Mike Nolan was certainly not a good coach, but no one could win with a roster like his. Sure, the losses hurt. But only a few years out from the Donahue purge, we knew we were simply outgunned. The coaching didn't help, of course, but you need talent first. We didn't have nearly enough.

This year, not so. We've got talent. And Singletary, his magic already gone, has stubbornly, stupidly thrown it away.

Let me take you back a few weeks, to the game in Houston. We were three-and-two, still in first place, and coming off our bye. Despite that extra time to prepare, our offense was woefully flat. In the first half, Singletary's precious run-first scheme made three first-downs and 50 yards. Down 21-zip at halftime, Singletary showed he could make an adjustment. Operating out of the spread, Alex Smith threw for 206 yards and three scores, before we fell just one score short.

Fast forward to Sunday's Packer game. We were four-and-five, lucky we weren't three-and-six, and coming off our "mini-bye." Despite that extra time to prepare, our offense was woefully flat. In the first half, Singletary's precious run-first scheme made one first-down and 57 yards. Down 23-3 at halftime, Singletary showed he could make an adjustment. Operating out of the spread, Alex Smith threw for 222 yards and three scores, before we fell just one score short.

Surely, Jed, you see the insanity.

After that Houston game, every rational observer asked the same question: what would happen if we made the spread our primary offense? A month later, with the season lost, we still don't know. As Singletary put it, "How good we are, I don't know because we haven't given ourselves a chance to find out." He was trying to put the blame on his players, as coaches do when they're feeling the heat. But really—and rightly—his words put the blame on himself. It's true. We don't know how good we are, because our coach is simply unwilling to give his players the chance to prove it. A coach's job is to give his players the best chance to succeed, and Singletary's simply not doing his job.

And now, predictably, the players are starting to grouse. Wisely, Smith won't bite the hand that's given him his second chance. But his primary weapons? No such hesitation. Vernon Davis, a captain: "We've just got to come out from the beginning and take advantage of things we can take advantage of, and if that means spread the ball, maybe we need to do that. But that's not up to me; that's up to our offensive coordinator [Jimmy Raye, Singletary's puppet]." And Michael Crabtree, a rookie: "That would be good. [But] that's out of my range. All I can do is [run] the plays. ... I really can do something in that spread. When I was in college, that was all we ran." The same, of course, can be said of Smith.

But naturally, Singletary simply will not give in, and his excuses only get worse and worse. He dismisses all the success of the spread, saying the defense is merely relaxing; of course, if the defense is "relaxing," it's only because, thanks to our incompetent run-first scheme, the defense is sitting on a comfortable lead. He even suggests "if you were in the basic two-back set, I think you'd probably get the same results," a suggestion that's preposterous on its face. And finally, there's this doozy: "I think one of the worst things that we could do right now is to put Alex Smith in shotgun and say, 'OK. Let's go get it guys. Here's what it is.' ... I think the smartest thing for us to do continuing to go forward is not to take all of training camp, not to take all of what we have gone into this season and just throw it out and say we're going to go to shotgun."

And there you have it, Jed. We're gonna stick with what we've practiced, even though it clearly sucks. And no matter how great we are at the spread—just think how great we'd be with some practice!—well, we certainly won't be saying "Let's go get it guys." Nope. Going and getting it? That'd be one of the worst things we could do.

Jed, you've gotta put an end to this. It's not your fault you were captivated by Singletary's spell; we all were. But the spell's been broken, along with your promise. He's lost the season, he's losing his team, and he seems as well to be losing his mind. And the clock is ticking, pounding even. Gruden's taken himself off the market. The Bills and Redskins are sniffing around Shanahan. And Holmgren is shopping in Seattle and Cleveland. You can't wait. You've gotta move.

I know you weren't expecting this. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. But if you want us to believe in you, to believe you're really different, to believe indeed you "won't rest until we reestablish a championship culture," you simply can't just stand there.

You've gotta do something. Now.