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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Party Ruins it For All

Just 2 yards. The San Francisco 49ers needed 2 stinkin yards to pull off an upset over the Arizona Cardinals, and completely change the landscape of the NFC West. They had a 21-13 lead at halftime, threw it all away with careless mistakes, including Shaun Hill flipping the ball to Adrian Wilson of the Cardinals in the red zone. However, the Cardinals did everything they could to give the game right back to SF. Twice they were called for offsides on interception returns for touchdowns, they failed to convert a 3rd and 2 late in the game when a 1st down could've wrapped it up. Dirk Johnson had a terrible punt and Allen Rossum was in Cardinals territory.

Two yards. The 49ers were right there ready to get a big win for coach Mike Singletary on national television. Shaun Hill found Jason Hill, who stumbled his way to the 2 yard line when he could've scored had he kept his balance. Just two yards away, 55 seconds to go, they had this game won and the NFC West was wide open. Then the 49ers coaching staff pulled off the worst clock management in team history, taking 35 seconds to spike the ball, because they wanted to spike it with their goal line package!

Just 20 seconds, no timeouts, but still 2 yards thanks to the heroics of Shaun Hill, going 3-3 on the drive that started a little bit past midfield in Cardinals territory. He utilized his weapons, kept his cool, redeemed himself for stupid errors that cost this team dearly, and he was going to give Mike Singletary something to cheer about.

In steps Mike Martz, a pass-first co-ordinator who had Hill pass it 40 times, and he inexplicably runs the football with Frank Gore, who thought he had a TD that would've won the game, but the NFL thinks the slightest of touches means "down by contact", a tackle on the play, and Gore was ruled for no gain.

Every play has consequences, and running the football with no timeouts is just suicide as long as you don't have an LT or a Brandon Jacobs. Try telling Mike Martz that, because after the booth review, the 49ers still had 4 seconds and it was 3rd and goal. Enough time to get a spike right? Martz wasn't thinking, he just handed it off again to MICHAEL ROBINSON, a Penn State QB, he got gobbled up and it was over. Two yards. Big failure. Another loss.

Martz said he saw something open up the middle, instead it was a bunch of Cardinals players ready to eat Robinson and that joke of an offensive line alive. Instead of doing what was working he went with the play that had the biggest risk yardage wise and time wise. He specifically told Hill to spike the ball, but it took 35 seconds.

Arizona has won the NFC West barring a collapse, if they can beat the Giants 2 weeks from now we're talking about a possible #1 seed. They did not deserve to win this game, they played less than stellar football on a national stage, but a win is a win. Had they lost this game, these would've been the standings:

1. Arizona (5-4)
2. San Francisco (3-6)
3. Seattle (2-7)
4. St. Louis (2-7)

As poorly as the 49ers and Seahawks have played, they would both be in contention for the NFC West (the Rams are 0-2 in the division, including to Arizona, they are done, sorry guys).

I say this because the Rams travel to San Francisco, and the Cardinals travel to Seattle, where they have been soundly beaten for the last 3 seasons. A Seattle and San Francisco win would mean the Cardinals lead would shrink to 1 game, Seattle would be within 2, at the same time Arizona gets into the meat of their schedule with the Giants and Eagles and Patriots in the next 5 weeks.

Instead, the Cardinals are 4 games ahead of everyone else in the division, and likely can clinch it with a win in Seattle.

All because the 49ers couldn't score from 2 yards out. They've ruined it for themselves and everyone else trailing Arizona in the putrid NFC West.

Enjoy years of dominance Arizona, Seattle took advantage of mediocrity, but you get to take advantage of outright incompetency.

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