Article Title: Time to throw someone under the bus.
A combined (11-15) on the road just got that much worse as the 2010 San Francisco 49ers under Mike Singletary suffered yet another heartbreaking loss at the Georgia Dome against the high-flying Atlanta Falcons 16-14 in the last few seconds of the game because of the ever insistent self-mutilating plays that seem to be a never-ending minefield exploding causing ourselves to be the only casualty.
The head coaches seat just began to get warm for Mike Singletary after the Kansas City Chiefs obliterated us in every conceivable way on the field just over a week ago 31-10 and sent us with our tails between our legs back home. Despite the obvious of San Francisco 49er offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye being let go almost simultaneously after this ugly debacle and the new one being named in quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson, the 49ers continue to be self-absorbed into manufacturing their own self-destruction.
Now we are at the bottom of the National Football Conference’s Western Division at a lowly (0-4) and our victorious opponents are still salivating over the satisfying victories that have propelled them into prominence and stature. Not even Mike Johnson could find the relative answer to our endless charade of psychological ineptness and utter ignorance. Just like in so many of the games we came out guns blazing trying to eradicate the ghosts that continue to haunt us into utter defeat.
Within the last six minutes left in the first quarter our offense drove the length of the field to yield a Vernon Davis touchdown to take the first score of the game. And then as the Falcons under Matt Ryan were backed-up within their own end zone a punt was made that was blocked by 49er tight end Delanie Walker that went careening up in the air and was recovered by 49er rookie safety Taylor Mays on his tip toes for the second and last touchdown of the game for the 49ers making it 14-0. It was so electrifying to be once again a 49er fan at that very moment being up against a playoff caliber team on the road who had by the way just beaten the reigning Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints that you just sat there mouth wide-open in disbelief.
That disbelief quickly began to erode as you continued to see the little mental breakdowns take hold and chip away at the very fiber of what makes us a rather unique football team. Mike Singletary’s fire and brawn lectures and his tight hand grasp around his cross that hangs from his neck were not enough to curtail a determined opponent like Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons. I wanted like all of you to believe that our offense could and would turn the corner. Yes Mike Johnson needs more time to adjust and make certain correctional measures because in essence he is really learning right here and right now on the job so to speak. But can he make anything of Alex Smith that Jimmy Raye obviously couldn’t or validate the confidence Mike Singletary professes for this young intellectual of a quarterback? I am beside myself in believing that Alex Smith is the quarterback of the present or future for the San Francisco 49ers. I am convinced that despite all the weapons and improvements we have made to offer him more weapons and more protection that he must deliver and so far he blatantly has not.
Are all of our problems directly related to the quarterback in Alex Smith? Of course not, but we can undeniably point to the inaccuracies of his throws, the timing of his releases as pressure is presented, the overall quarterback rating he is at now and the timeless and costly interceptions he has thrown that have ultimately changed the face of each game played.
Everyone shares blame but the focal point of the offense begins and ends with the performance of your quarterback and your coordinators ability to get the most out of him. We have been short changed the very day we drafted Alex Smith out of the University of Utah in 2005 and we have been paying with losses ever since. Aaron Rodgers was of the same draft and is an icon as the leader of the Green Bay Packers. We are still waiting to see rather Smith is even going to be a viable quarterback period. That is a slap in the face to all the 49er faithful that have waited for almost a decade for us to be in the playoffs.
Typical numbers for Alex Smith like this game he completed 21-of-32 passes for 188 total yards with just one touchdown and two interceptions. His longest completion was for 19 total yards and he ended with a quarterback rating of 65.6% which is just pathetic. We can’t win games with quarterback statistics that look like this week in and week out. New offensive coordinator Mike Johnson must make that evaluation and suggest a change if he is to help this team’s offense turn the corner.
If I was the general manager of this organization I would look at every possibility of bringing in an accomplished seasoned veteran quarterback that knows what the playoffs are like. That would be Jeff Garcia who as of right now is playing for the Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League is looking for a way back into the NFL. From 1999 to 2003 Jeff Garcia served us with an abundance of great victories via astonishing comebacks and even the playoffs. Rumors are flying that Philadelphia wants him back I think we look at him seriously as well.
Think of where we are at folks? (0-4) already on the season, not since 2004 have we gone there and that was in Dennis Erickson’s final year as our head coach. Again the execution of the offense begins and resigns with the performance of our quarterback as he ultimately is the one that gets the ball to the weapons of choice at his disposal. Alex Smith will never be a Steve Young or even a Jeff Garcia and that truth is what hurts me the most in knowing that this once proud dynasty was and is being compromised because it has been reluctant to admit it made a draft day debacle via then head coach Mike Nolan on choosing Alex Smith over the now more than successful Aaron Rodgers.
Look at the game and you’ll see the play of Alex Smith in the second quarter as he made an incomplete pass to Josh Morgan that was off target and almost intercepted. Or then there was a throw to Frank Gore in traffic that the pass was deflected and intercepted. And last but not least another short throw to Josh Morgan in the third quarter and it was intercepted and it was analyzed as a poorly thrown ball that shouldn’t have been thrown. Again this is a typical and reasonable trend we are seeing from Alex Smith who in all reality should be well ahead of the curve by now.
Yes there were miscues on the part of the defense, but they are the ones that kept us in the game because of the turnovers and even created turnovers of their own. Nate Clements made a costly error in not securing the ball and having it punched out for a lost fumble and the secondary was unable to shutdown Atlanta Falcon wide receiver Roddy White as he made crucial catches to put the Falcons within field goal range for the game winning kick. The expectation for the San Francisco 49ers was to win our division not be on the very cellar of the division after just four weeks into the regular season. The self-inflicted wounds we have done to ourselves must be met with some kind of tracking system where a player is evaluated on how many miscues are acceptable and unacceptable. A cost would be to lose your starting status if those trends continue in a negative fashion. If that is Alex Smith maybe that is our most prime example.
Mike Singletary is still the man I support, but his unwavering stance on believing that Alex is constantly getting better with time is eroding my faith in him as an honest evaluator of quarterbacks. I think he should pick up the phone and call a few friends he knows in the league that are real evaluators of quarterbacks and get some insight he is clearly lacking. Doing nothing will result in our constant humiliation and alienate 49er fans all together. Is it time to throw someone under the bus? I say yes.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.