September 23, 2013
Many people know I’m a huge fan of the San Francisco 49ers. So I probably don’t have to tell anyone I’m less than pleased with what I have seen from my favorite team in the last two weeks. After taking a 29-3 thumping at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in the pacific northwest last week, the 49ers followed that dismal performance up with a with one just as bad. On Sunday afternoon, the 49ers looked lethargic and out-of-sync in losing 27-7 at home to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco has a record of 1-2, putting them under .500 for the first time since Jim Harbaugh became the team’s head coach before the start of the 2011 season. With a game against the St. Louis Rams on the road coming up Thursday night, the ‘Niners don’t have a lot of time to get their problems corrected. As far as those problems go, there’s a lot that needs to be fixed, but some of those issues can be attributed to getting manhandled physically. The 49ers have developed a personality for being one of the most physical teams in the National Football League (NFL). In the last two weeks, the 49ers have been the ones getting pushed around. After giving up 172 yards rushing to the Seahawks last week, the 49ers gave up 179 yards to the Colts, who aren’t really known for their physicality. These numbers are staggering when you consider the fact San Francisco has been among the best in the league against the run the last two years. While teams have been able to have success running the ball, San Fran hasn’t been able to generate too much out of their own running game. Running back Frank Gore has 142 yards in the three games combined. To put this into proper context, Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy had 158 yards in last Thursday night’s game with against the Kansas City Chiefs. These stats show the 49ers have decided to abandon the running game in favor of quarterback Colin Kaepernick throwing the football all over the place. There are two problems with this approach right now. One, even though Kaepernick has proven he he’s capable of throwing the football, it’s not the identity the ‘Niners have worked so hard to develop. If they’re going to get back on track, they have to get back to establishing the run. Two, it’s hard to throw the ball when you can’t get much protection and you don’t have any receivers to throw to. Besides wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the rest of the weapons are on the shelf. Tight end Vernon Davis sat out the Colts game to nurse a hamstring injury, and fellow receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are out at least for another month with injuries. With the injuries to the receiving core, one would think that would be more of a reason to lean on the running game to until reinforcements come later on. With all of this being said, it’s still early in the season, and the ‘Niners are more than capable of turning things around. I do believe the 49ers will turn things around, starting in St. Louis on Thursday. After that game, they will have 10 days to get some rest and get a little bit healthier. Harbaugh is too good of a coach not to get the team back on track. Hopefully, it can happen before the Seahawks start to run away with the NFC West crown. Seattle is sitting at 3-0 to start the season and show no signs of slowing down. Right now, the 49ers can’t be worried about trying to catch the Seahawks. They have their own problems to tend to before they can worry about anybody else.
By Charles Taylor