Article Title: "Act Of Frustration."
At the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey the San Francisco 49ers incurred their fourth straight humiliating loss to the new and reinvented New York Giants that look like an emerging defensive juggernaut in the NFL. Veteran star 49er running back Frank Gore spoke not only for himself following this game but also for all San Francisco 49er fans when he called out the coaches and players on the consistent failures and lack of direction that had resulted in yet another defeat 33-15 in which everything is starting to look like a train-wreck of a season.
This San Francisco 49er team under Mike Nolan looked no better than the Dennis Erickson teams of yesterday, in that every conceivable thing that could happen continues to happen on a weekly basis for this team. We are our own worst enemy as Mike Nolan referred to at his post-game news conference. But like the other four straight losses he continues to sound like a broken record in saying: ďthat these types of problems lack of execution and a hurricane of penalties are correctable.Ē
How many times have we heard this before? And how many times is he going to say it again? As several sports writers and analysts have said: ďtalented players of this type of caliber simply donít make these types of mistakes.Ē Mike Nolan had no real explanation of this and continues to dodge the inevitable truth that this team especially offensively is near death and maybe too late to be resurrected despite his assurances that it will be.
In reference to the (2-4) record that the San Francisco 49ers are now at, Nolan admitted it wasnít where he expected them to be either. Maybe at (3-3) or even (4-2), but the truth is starting to show its ugly head in that the players we all thought were going to take us to the promise land are now proving to be incapable of redeeming themselves in any shape form or matter that we care to think of. As Frank Gore said trust seems to be a core matter that the players donít have for one another or for the man that runs this offense in Jim Hostler.
Mike Nolan termed Frank Goreís comments as an ďact of frustration,Ē and that it was typical for players his caliber to feel the way he did following another devastating loss that has now endangered any hopes that this team will be a viable contender in this division come December of this year. Well I am here to tell you on behalf of all die-hard 49er faithful fans we are all ďcollectively frustrated by this team and are certainly ready for some immediate and drastic changes to incur now rather than later.Ē
First of all we were in this game at one point within the second quarter when the score read 7-6. It was the first and only time we would see that as we crashed and burned as quickly as it takes a gasoline tank to feel the heat of a flame impaling it from the sudden impact. We gave up 24 total points just on turnovers by ourselves alone and we put our trust into a wise and veteran old Super Bowl quarterback that looked every bit of a Ryan Leaf type of performance in his complete inability to sustain this offense.
Trent Dilfer is and will never be the quarterback that can come in and carry this offense with Alex Smith sidelined since Week Four against the Seattle Seahawks where he incurred an earth shattering shoulder injury that he is now ready to finally comeback from. Not a moment too soon either in all our collective minds. Trent Dilfer in all his 14 years of experience was completely incapable of executing any sort of offensive spark when the chips were down on this offense.
He completed 23-of-38 passes for 209 yards but was sacked six times for a loss of 45 yards. He also threw two interceptions and two touchdowns and came out with a quarterback rating of 71.1. His most damaging play was not recognizing Osi Umenyiora coming completely unblocked to sack him and force a fumble that he recovered and ran with 75 total yards into the end zone for a touchdown. It was one of the most disgusting plays Iíve ever witnessed in that Trent Dilfer knew that he had to get rid of the football on a precise three-step drop and didnít.
In fact from most of all his starts since Alex went down he has had a well renown tendency to hold on to the football far too long for any offensive drive to survive, relegating some of the blame from the offensive line on to him as an individual of vast experience that should surely know better. For someone that looked so promising in pre-season games to look so inept when the games really count is beyond pure frustration in my mind and I am sure in all of yours as well.
Frank Gore who had only 14 carries for 88 total yards but averaging 6.3 yards per carry had a right to say what he did regarding this team and its present state. Rather Mike Nolan is taken aback by his comments or not they were sincere and legitimate in my mind and spoke volumes of where this team is at right now. It is on the playerís heads that we registered 13 total penalties for 82 total yards and for turning the ball over four times within this game.
Jim Hostler the offensive coordinator was not responsible for these errors and mistakes that sucked the living life out of this offense as a whole. We did surpass the 200 mark on total net yards offensively by registering 267 but we destroyed ourselves like an insane person determined to commit suicide in that we shot ourselves in every conceivable body part imaginable when we took the field. Are these problems that have existed since the start of this season really correctable as Mike Nolan illustrates them to be?
Everyone has a portion of the blame in this predicament that we are now in. It starts with coaching and the game plan. It then carries over to the players that execute that game plan. A plan is only as good as the players that conceivably carry it out. Mistakes seem to be made on both sides in that offensive coordinator Jim Hostler is still trying to adjust to his new role as the chief operating officer of this offense. Sitting upstairs in the box that overlooks the field didnít assist him in anything within this game?
He cannot seem to stand in the shadow of his predecessor in Norv Turner and the collective calls for his beheading and removal seem to be growing louder and louder. But the roots of this problem go well beyond him in that we have individual players not playing up to expectations as Frank Gore eloquently referred to in his statements following this loss. The offensive line expected to be a team strength this season has turned out to be an amusement park event we witness from one game to the next. This time left tackle Jonas Jennings and right tackle Joe Staley were fed to the lions, as they were both burned on numerous occasions.
The quarterback situation with veteran Trent Dilfer is even more compelling when you want to rely on someone that has as many years experience as he does to carry the team offensively. Alex Smith returning will not be able to fix the overall problems with this offense as they will still exist if each player doesnít recognize and correct their individual flaws and play efficiently as a collective unit like they are supposed to be doing.
New York Giant quarterback Eli Manning and his offensive line was a clear distinction and contradiction from what we have in that they executed and operated collectively together to sustain each drive and get the job done in the end. They were very efficient in everything they did allowing only one sack to get through and once again like so many other offensive lines dominated at the line of scrimmage against our defense.
Our defense did not play up to standard either this time in this game as they allowed the New York Giant offense to win time of possession and convert on 54% of their third down opportunities within this game. Each time the Giant offense entered the red zone they scored all but once and they put 140 rushing yards down on the ground against us all at the same time.
Our wide receivers cannot gain separation from their defensive cohorts and are abysmal in their route running and actually being able to hold on to a thrown ball? Time and time again as referenced to tight end Vernon Davis we see dropped balls and as experienced as Darrell Jackson is he seems to be crashing on the downside of his career. Ashley Lelie needs to see the starting lineup more often and it seems like we all need to get on the prayer line for rookie Jason Hill to make it on to the field from a nagging hamstring injury that has sidelined him all season.
We simply donít have a wide receiver that is fast enough or agile enough to stretch the field vertically and break free of defenders on a consistent basis the way Terrell Owens did when he was the idol of success as a San Francisco 49er before turning sour with his personal antics. I am beginning to even question rather Vernon Davis is the enigma we all thought him to be in that Eric Johnson is even more missed than imagined with productivity here a real question mark that awaits an answer.
I am a Mike Nolan fan. I still believe he can rectify some of these problems but I am starting to wonder and question rather he is dragging his feet on some matters and not making an example out of others? Four straight losses are an indication of something and we all are growing anxious and nervous about the season at hand. I canít help but wonder likes all of you that the season is lost? It very well could be.
I donít have the answers just opinions. Iím not sure if Alex Smith will make a distinct difference once in there again at quarterback if the offensive line doesnít show any improvement. Frank Gore was the centerpiece of this team offensively last season and hasnít made any kind of progress behind a line that has serious flaws in it from one end to the next. With all the money we have invested in that line one would expect and demand much better results, because they are being overwhelmed time and time again because in actuality no one fears our passing game so they bring everything and the kitchen sink each and every time.
It is really sad when the only positive that you can put your finger on within this team is the outstanding play of your punter in Andy Lee. Once again he proved worthy of resigning and saving him from being a Pittsburgh Steeler. What can we hang our hat on when we constantly hang ourselves with mental mistakes and the inability physically to dominate at the line of scrimmage to allow our running back a lane or two or time for our quarterback to make a read on a route or just anything?
Mike Nolan needs to find a solution rather than entertain questions and turn his explanations into what are becoming real symptoms of a team gone badly or are in revolt of something. Jim Hostler has to show us some risk and turn one game over to be a success so we have something anything once again to believe in. Our patience is wearing as thin as it gets. Accountability starts at the top. Yet everyone is so responsible for our present predicament in need of a miracle to dispel the evil that is present within.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.