It’s been a month since my first NINERS game in the Bay Area. The season has brought mixed feelings as we sit at .500 about to play the Texans, smarting after their loss to the Seahawks, who along with the Colts, crushed us.
A month ago, I did what any diehard NINERS fan would do coming into a city he loves watching the team he loves. With my cable not working, clearly not happy, I went to the nearest Outback Steakhouse, right down the hill from where I live to watch the game by myself. And by halftime, I was literally by myself. The first half I was joined by the geriatric crew, everyone sitting at the bar where the pungent odor of the bloomin’ onion permeated the air, were at least 60 years old, if not 65. Of course, at this point in my life, that does not seem so old and definitely not far away. The second half, it was just me and the staff.
Our running game was virtually non-existent, except for one good run by Kendall Hunter late in the fourth that put us in scoring range. Also a valiant effort by Gore with one strong run and then a touchdown following Hunter, it wasn’t his fault. Generally one of our biggest strengths, our offensive line could not open up holes against the three hulks on the Packers defensive line including Raji & Jolly. (Their names alone signify they like to eat. A lot.)
Boldin is a monster. Both he and Vernon were two difference makers for us on offense. Kap’s passes – especially to Boldin – for the most part not crisp, not in the best of spots to be caught, and the timing was off a little. My expectations must be unreasonably high if I’m saying a man with over 400 yards passing and 3 TDs has played a mediocre game. It’s just that Kap is capable of everything; the sky literally is the limit. Even more concerning were all the bad penalties at the line in the first half, including delay of games and false starts.
Aaron Rodgers is sick, still steaming that the NINERS drafted Alex Smith (who I’m a huge fan of, and had a good game in his debut with the Chiefs) #1 and not him. (Speaking of, the NINERS had two future hall of fame quarterbacks – Rodgers and Tom Brady – that wanted to play for them and we had the chance to draft over the past ten plus years – Brady several times – but didn’t.)
Our defense didn’t play badly, but was not dominant either. If not for two picks, which were both luck, we would have graded even worse. The culprit was mostly Nmandi, who continually gave up big plays to Jordy Nelson. A bright spot is our rookie Reid, with a pick and generally all over the field from the secondary, and was key to a defensive stop forcing a punt with 5 minutes to go in the fourth.
Near the end of the game now. Gutsy call to go for it on 4 and two. Of course, it’s Boldin who makes the key catch.
With 26 sec left, SF up by six I should feel fine, but now Aaron Rodgers has the ball. Of course he completes a 40 yard pass, but the NINERS are able to keep Cobb in bounds. Rodgers last play is a notched shovel pass.
Whew! This ought to be an interesting year. The sky’s the limit; and yet we are also primed for a huge fall.
My favourite part of the day may have been (well- aside from the actual game of course), when I was shopping at Target for a tie rack (which believe it or not, is not easy to find and after 30 some miles of driving from store to store, I still have not found one), a woman, noticing that I had my 49ers hat asked me, “Did we win?” I smiled with a reply “we sure did!” After all these years watching football, I was finally part of a “we”.
- Boldin’s Bold Debut Lift’s Niners To 34-28 Victory Over Packers (ninernoise.com)