Photo credit BEN MARGOT/ASSOCIATED PRESS
As a lifelong, 23-year-old 49ers diehard fan, I’ve had my shares of ups and downs. Their last title came when I was all of 18 months old and I hardly count it since I couldn’t tell you Ronnie Lott from Steve Young, thus making the past runs at title #6 even harder for me to swallow. But what is even harder for me to handle is how far we have fallen from the ranks of the best to a team looking at drafting in the top 5 next year. Bear with my stream of thoughts, starting in 2011 and leading up to the current mess the Red and Gold are in now in 2016.
First off, we had Alex freakin’ Smith lead us to the doorstep of the NFC title, before Kyle Williams decided to literally fumble the game away (twice) like his father (Ken Williams, executive VP of the Chicago White Sox) fumbled allowing children in the clubhouse. That was the year I believe to win it all. Our defense was so damn dominant that all we had to do was hand off to Gore and let him run straight forward and get 17 points on the board and let our D do the rest.
The 49ers then caught a huge break the following year when Alex Smith got hurt and we “had” to start Kap on MNF against the Bears. You know how the story goes. Kap, who becomes the poster boy of the NFL and touchdown celebrations, leads us to a first round bye, then runs for a historic amount against the Packers before surviving the Falcons to make it back to the Super Bowl! After the NFL “assisted” in cutting the power in New Orleans during a blow-out in the Ravens favor, the 49ers still couldn’t punch in the game winning touchdown on 4th and goal and I was devastated.
The next year was more of the same. Great regular season, and then we blow a late lead to the hated Seahawks and Richard Sherman got his money’s worth with his few seconds of TV time with Erin Andrews. After that, the Niners were never the same.
After that mass exodus that began with Harbaugh leaving, the 49ers were a shell of that former NFC powerhouse and it showed. Things have gotten so bad that 49ers brought in a so-called offensive genius in Chip Kelly, yet handed him Blaine Gabbert as the top QB option in the defensively stout NFC West. That’s like giving Jeff Gordon a freakin’ Prius and asking him to win the Indy 500.
Imagine my surprise when the 49ers won their first game! I was forced to swallow so many negative opinions that I had been spewing out and had a sliver of hope that our defense could make us relevant again. Then I realized that the Rams literally ran the most vanilla offense ever and any capable NFL D should be able to stop 2 rushes and a 5 yard pass every dam series. Over the next couple weeks, order was restored to the universe and all of my previous smack-talk about the Niners came true. We got smacked around and punched in the mouth, yet came back with the same game plan and intensity the next week.
Things hit an all-time low this past Thursday when we saw Gabbert continually check down and throw a 2-yard pass on 3rd and long. Are we so pathetic that we can’t go for a 10-yard pass when we freakin’ need 10 yards???? Is Chip Kelly that suppressed by the worst owner in sports that he can’t get creative and get us more than 90% of our possessions ending in punts?
I feel that the special teams on the Niners is the place to get the most action! Why try out for first string WR when it will be non-stop 3 and outs with no passing plays over 4 yards? Instead, try out for 4th string WR and earn your worth on special teams and break a sweat!
To further annoy me this year, fantasy football has no relevance for the 49ers unless you have players playing against the Red and Gold. I hate to say it, but the putrid brand of football being played isn’t entertainment anymore. I have reverted back to the 2003-2010 days of just wishing for a 1-15 season so that we can get a pick so high that our front office can’t absolutely fumble.
See, these damn 6-10 and 5-11 seasons really screw the 49ers because they end up drafting from picks 7-16 and have a helluva time picking talented players that can contribute. Baalke and Jed York (hands down the worst sports duo around) try to outsmart everyone and end up outsmarting themselves. They drafted a punter in the 5th round of the 2015 draft, but no other teams selected a punter the 49ers could’ve signed one after the draft. But wait! This isn’t their first horrible displays of football “smarts.”
What do you do when your team is stacked on DB’s but short on offensive playmakers? Well you draft safety Jimmy Ward out of a small school and plan to use him as a nickel package DB or even better yet, a DB on the slot receiver! How about when you have literally no WR’s, well you draft back to back DE’s from Oregon and hope for the best! Oh boy! Next year’s draft is going to be so much fun that I am actually looking forward to how badly the front office can screw things up.
Finally we restructured Kap’s contract so that an injury won’t screw us over, so perhaps he can start this upcoming week, but it will be against the defensive genius Ryan brothers and the red-hot Bills. After Kap (hypothetically) gets his behind kicked up and down the field and there is another blowout, Kelly will rotate his QB’s for the rest of the season until landing back on Gabbert to end our 4-12 season with the #3 pick overall and the chance for us to draft a franchise player…or for the front office to fumble once again and maybe draft a kicker?
Thank you for letting me release my inner hurt as a Forty-Whiner fan and let’s hope my SF Giants can make history, starting with the game I’m attending tonight!
Shawn Stewart is Host of The Shawn Stewart Show Tues-Thurs 6-8pm est on Sports 4 Fanz Radio.