Reaction To Game
I'm incredibly disappointed. This is the 2nd year in a row the Niners got outplayed and outcoached on the biggest stage. I'll break this down into the Ugly, the Bad, and the Good.
1. Kaepernick's abilities as a quarterback. 2 interceptions, 2 fumbles (1 lost), a horrible delay of game penalty, a dumbass jump throw that should have been intercepted. If Peyton Manning did this, the headlines would be choker. If Alex Smith did this, we'd want to run him out of town.
2. Offensive game plan. Totally devoid of creativity. Our running game was pathetic. Our receivers couldn't get open. How many times do we need to play Seattle to figure out something on those guys? We had all our "weapons" and couldn't do crap. Our touchdowns were on a lucky throw to Boldin that Troy Aikman said on air "I was sure that pass was getting picked off" when it left his hands. And off the big broken play Kaepernick run.
3. Bowman's injury. Makes me not want to watch football.
4. Crabtree has another hugely disappointing big game. This is the guy who held out for more money?!? Guys who get paid big money need to show up in NFC championship games. Against the Giants two years ago, people blamed Alex Smith. This year, who do we blame his disappearing act on? The Seattle secondary? Perhaps. But still, if you want top receiver money, you better play well against the best. I can't tell if Kap threw a bad pass on 3rd and 2 or whether Crabtree just totally bailed out on a play and didn't want to get hit.
5. The secondary on deep balls. Rodgers seemed to be in a good position to make a play on that ridiculous 4th and 7 touchdown, but he missed it. Whitner got out of position on the long pass. This has been a problem for 3 years and gets exposed at the worst times.
6. The refs. They didn't decide the game, but there were several outrageously bad calls. An unsportsman-like on Carlos Rodgers for a little shove at the end of the half was horrible and I thought the Niners could have tried to score there. The hit to the head by Whitner in the first half was insane because the guy moved at the last minute and the contact was inadvertent. Russell Wilson did an obvious intentional grounding that wasn't called. They totally missed a huge fumble recovery on the Bowman injury, although the Seahawks fumbled the subsequent play anyway. Richard Sherman holds on every single play and they only called it once. They totally missed a letter of the law penalty on the roughing-the-kicker. Truly terrible overall game that went against the Niner's at key moments. That said, it wasn't the deciding factor of the game.
1. Frank Gore. He couldn't get anything going.
2. Penalties. Jumping offsides on snap counts twice was killer.
3. The first drive/red zone. Really needed to score there and had horrible play calling.
4. Boldin's drops. Haven't seen him drop two passes all year and he dropped two in the first half.
5. Defensive letdowns at key moments. The 4th and 7 was super annoying. The long Lynch run was one bad play. And that's 14 points and the ballgame. I hate to say anything about the defense because they played so well for so much of the game and it's unfair to expect them to be perfect in order to win. And they needed to be perfect. I thought we got rid of Alex Smith to fix this problem.
6. Deep throws to Davis. What happened to them?
1. Seattle is one of the best teams in the league and we had a chance to win. Let's put it in perspective.
2. Kaepernick as a runner. He was our only effective offensive weapon in the game, in addition to the quarterback who totally blew it. I wouldn't pay this guy 10-20 million a year.
3. Pass pressure. We got to Wilson a lot. It was a good defensive game plan.
4. Goal-line offense. A big 4th down conversion for a TD -- good play calling.
I believe our window is closing rapidly. A lot of our players are due a major raise and I don't know who we should keep. I have HUGE questions about Kaepernick. I even have reservations about Harbaugh. This is the 3rd year in a row we've lost very winnable games at the end of the year. He gets us there, no doubt, but our preparation/game-plan for the Super Bowl last year and this game were not very impressive. Why were we able to bust out clever plays in our first drive against Arizona (a top defense) in a meaningless week 17 game, but not against Seattle in the NFC championship? Why is Crabtree able to get open on Patrick Peterson and not Richard Sherman? Both Harbaugh and Kaepernick are gambling their contracts on post-season performance. Are they due top money? Because here's my question: if we pay Kap, what does the rest of the team look like? Who do we build around? Kap, Crabtree, our O-line, and linebackers? Is that where we spend our money? We'll lose Gore, Justin Smith, and Boldin to retirement or money soon. Can we afford Davis and Crabtree and Kap?
If our team is built around Crabtree, Kap, some new running back, Bowman and Aldon Smith, and then somehow we manage to continue paying Willis and Vernon Davis. I dunno. It doesn't sound like a championship team to me. It sounds worse than our present team unless we pick up some beast to replace Justin Smith in the middle and some amazing cornerback somehow.
I just don't think Kaepernick is the guy. I think he's Mark Sanchez with legs.