(This is not exactly a recap of the game against the Bucs. It is more or less how I feel about the team after today’s loss. I still remain optimistic for this season, but I am also a realist. More and more, it is looking like we will miss the playoffs and continue this run of mediocrity.)
Just when I thought the 49ers were starting to turn their season around, they brought back shades of their old selves, laying a goose egg against the young Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coming into the game, the 49ers had a legitimate shot of being just a game back of leading the division. All they had to do was to secure a win, and pray that the Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals would lose to their opponents. All three would lose, but the Niners did not do what they had to do in this game, and their loss today might come back to haunt them down the road.
All hope is not lost however. I noted a few weeks back when the Niners were 2-6 that in order to make the playoffs, they would have had to win the remaining 5 games in their division and win at least one of the games against the Bucs, Packers, and Chargers. Their chances have taken a hit after this loss but they still can make things right.
Now, the 49ers have taken a step backward. Many will be calling for the removal of Mike Singletary. Others will bring up the incompetence of the front office. Some may even say that Alex Smith should get his starting job back. I will say this though; the 49ers cannot afford to fire Singletary at this point in the season. They have nothing to gain by doing so. Even though I know the players have stopped playing for Singletary, I do not think anyone on the coaching staff can light a fire under them and get them to play lights out. I cannot stand Singletary as a coach but as long as we remain in the conversation for the playoffs (yes, we’re still able to make it), the team can’t fire him. As fans, we can complain all we want about the front office but they can’t make any move at the moment that will help the team. Right now, the only thing to do is to sit back and see what happens next.
If the 49ers lose next week to the Arizona Cardinals, the rest of the season will become an audition for the players on the roster. Singletary will also have to start looking for his next job. However, we have not reached that point yet so I’ll just focus on the situation at hand. The play-calling is way too conservative and the offense needs a spark. This team has way too many playmakers and they have no excuse to be this bad. So, it starts with the coaching. In my opinion, Singletary is trying to make this team like the ’85 Bears and it’s simply not going to work in today’s NFL. Singletary has to allow Troy Smith to get loose. Smith has not shown that he is a pocket passer, so let him roll out on play-action and do some damage. I do not claim to know it all but until Singletary understands this, this offense will sputter.
The defense is not to blame. The offense couldn’t get anything thus the defense spent plenty of time on the field. The Bucs held the ball for over 36 minutes and did pretty much whatever they wanted against a tired defense. All considered, it would be a shame if somehow the defense was made to be the scapegoat for this loss.
I feel dumb for believing in the 49ers after they won two in a row. I don’t know what I was thinking. The truth is, I’ve seen all of this before. The worst part of it all is that things will more likely remain the same and I’ll fall for it again.