Well, the good thing is that we won. Six games in a row is quite a feat, and somehow the Dolphins are in the playoff hunt again. Our offense scored its most points of the year, and the defense had a couple of nice turnovers. But, man! That’s about all the positives I can point out at this point, and that makes it scary.
First of all, as I pointed out all week, the 49ers are among the worst teams in NFL history. There’s not a single player on either side of the ball who you want on your fantasy team, and certainly not a single player who will be anywhere near the Pro Bowl this year. They truly are that bad. And yet, they took us to the brink of defeat. For several unforgivable reasons (see below), we could not put this ragtag j.v. team away.
For the third straight week, the Dolphins fell behind early. We opened with Gase’s typical pass-run-pass-punt opening, like he tries every week as if it’s a Russian chess match and we have to calculate the same opening every single game. Three and out to start the game. Zero enthusiasm. Zero umph. Zero passion. Three and out. Next came another shitty punt by Matt Darr (it is seriously time to bring in someone to push this guy or better yet, take his job. He averaged just over 40 yards per punt again today). Colin Kaepernick took the field, and the Dolphin fans showed far more hatred of Colin than the Dolphin defenders did. Miami couldn’t and didn’t stop him once. I’ll give him credit for running gorgeous read-option keepers that fooled me and the cameramen all day long. The Dolphins had no answers as Kaeprnick ran at will for over 100 yards.
A quarterback. Rushing the ball. 100+ yards. Disgusting. But that’s what happens when an intelligent playcaller like Chip Kelly calls rushing plays for his quarterback. (hint hint, Mr., Gase).
We finally got it going when Gase decided to mix up his playcalling. He kept the 49ers off balance and the offense played well. But the defense was never confident, all day long. San Fran drove back down and was poised to tie the score again, but the tight end fumbled, and we got the ball back. The Niners made a huge mistake at the perfect time that we needed it.
By the 4th quarter, we were up 17 points, and this game had the feel of a laugher. But Adam Gase wanted to keep it close apparently. Instead of pounding the ball down their throats to run down the clock on our 3 separate 4th-quarter possessions, Gase kept calling medium-range pass plays. Each one failed. And each one stopped the clock. I don’t mind a conservative pass to ice the game, but at least roll out Tannehill and try that flat route to Dominique Gray. It was working all day long, but Gase abandoned it.
Instead, he called looping fade routes that we’re not good at. They were terrible calls. Fox Sports sent their D-team to cover the game, and even those bottom-of-the-barrel misfits were saying that Gase was making poor play calls in the fourth quarter.
These same no-names were smart enough to point out that you do NOT ask Cameron Wake to drop back into coverage as a cornerback when it’s 4th and 11 with the game on the line. It was among the worst defensive play calls we’ve seen all year.
On the final play of the game, Suh dragged down Kaepernick by his facemask, and by some miracle, none of the refs saw it. If they did call it, we probably lose the game in overtime. Or if Celek didn’t fumble the ball, we would have lost in regulation. It was that close. That close, against an awful team.
Onto DeVante Parker, who has the worst fundamentals and technique of any WR I’ve studied in years. He is a liability, and this was made evident when he was injured: his replacement came in and immediately caught a touchdown pass. Last week in the Ram game, Parker caused Tannehill’s interception by jumping for a ball 3 yards too soon instead of running under it. Today, he did the same thing at least twice that I saw, maybe more.
Then there were his two “catches” that were easily overturned. In BOTH cases, he went up and grabbed the ball…but that’s only half the battle. BOTH times, as he was falling, he allowed his hand to hit out of bounds before this feet/knee/butt came down. All he had to do was raise his hand, and he makes both catches. He was too worried about landing too hard and trying to brace himself with his hand. Give up your damn body, man! Land on your feet or drag a knee. Don’t worry about softening the blow with your precious little hand.
On the third-to-last play of the game, the 49er receiver showed Parker how it was done, originally called out of bounds, it was reversed to become a clean catch, which was the right call. The sad part is that Byron Maxwell was all over that WR and gave him a friendly tap, THINKING that he was gonna land out of bounds. Maxwell should have shoved him out while he was in mid air. It really was an atrocious play by Maxwell on a day when he otherwise played good ball.
Right before Kenny Stills caught his 43-yard TD pass, he was signalling to Tannehill to throw it to him. Here is the play in question:
I don’t remember seeing such great QB-WR communication since the Marino days. I loved it.
Congrats to Leonte Caroo for his first-ever reception and touchdown. It was great to watch. I called it as soon as he entered the game for Parker. He was about to show Parker how it’s done, and he did!
Also congrats to our three substitute offensive linemen. They did great under pressure, and it certainly wasn’t their fault that the 49ers creeped back into the game (ahem, Mr. Gase).
Kiko Alonso should be in the Pro Bowl mix. He’s playing so damn well. At the same time, unfortunately, Jelani Jenkins can’t do anything right. His coverage is slow and his run support is weak. He is constantly out of place or missing tackles. Can we please start to initiate Mike Hull and Zach Vigil into the rotation? Can they be any worse than Jenkins?
Darren Rizzi’s troops continue to scare the hell out of us. When we knew an onside kick was coming, we were entirely unprepared. Kenyan Drake muffed the ball that was right in his hands. Luckily, Damien Williams (who is no genius himself when it comes to kick returns) had to dive on the ball. A disaster was averted, but boy! The Niners came close. Then there was the time that Walt Aiken and Bobby McCain decided to crash into each other and not down a punt inside the 5 yard line. Doesn’t Rizzi practice with these guys?
So we beat 6 teams in a row, and that is great news. The bad part is that all 6 are mediocre at best, and some are borderline awful. We got no help at all when the Jets (who led New England virtually all game long) decided to choke in the last 2 minutes. Next up is first-place Baltimore, and they are a lot better team than San Fran and the Rams combined. It’s a winnable game, for sure, but it won’t be easy. Then again, no Dolphin win ever is.