If you watched the entire broadcast Monday Night between the Seahawks and 49ers, then I commend you. I'm impressed with your love for the game, the sport and blah, blah, blah. That game was awful. Just, awful. And while I was watching, I did think, "alright, will we get to see what this Alex Smith is all about?" It's not like Seattle ran away with it. After scoring their 17th point midway through the second quarter, the Seahawks went punt, missed field goal, fumble, interception and punt before D.J. Hackett caught a 10-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to conclude the scoring at 24-0 in the fourth. With 11:36 left in the third quarter, Nate Clements returned an interception to the Seattle 23-yard line with a 17-0 lead. After Frank Gore -- the only offensive skill player to show up Monday -- banged out 11 yards on the first play, the 49ers went incomplete, 2-yard Gore run then seven-yard Arnaz Battle -- how many passes did he drop? -- reception setting up a fourth-and-goal at the Seattle two-yard line.
After calling a timeout to think whether or not to go for it, the 49ers run Gore up the middle. Stuffed, change of possession, flight leaves at midnight (9pm local time). You can question this until you're blue in the face -- personally, I agreed with the call. Seattle was just better. My only suggestion is: make sure that you have your mind made up, playing out scenarios so when the time comes to decide, you don't have to burn a timeout (take note, Marvin). You're down 17-0 with half the third quarter and all the fourth. You have time to stage a comeback. Keep your timeouts and decide now. Of course, the fourth-and-three at the Seattle 23-yard line did make me scratch my head. At that point, there's eight minutes left in the quarter and you still need three possessions. A field goal reduces that to two possessions. At that point, you start putting pressure on Seattle. And we know their consistency is always in question. As Chris Berman says, "Come on, Seattle."
A quick recap of the 49ers offense. First five drives went three and out. The sixth was a 45-yard incomplete called complete. For the game, the 49ers went punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt, fumble, incomplete called complete, punt, downs, downs, punt, punt and downs.
But several issues arose from that game.
First, Tony Kornheiser was shouting about the possibility that Mike Holmgren would retire. Tony thought it was the story of the night. After watching the game, in hindsight, I agreed. The story surely wasn't the game.
Second, Alex Smith. I think it's abundantly clear that Smith is on the "hot seat" -- so to speak -- about whether or not he'll hold spot as the future of San Francisco. No, nothing was said. But no one comes back to you and says, "man, I got to see that Alex Smith." Sure, he's young and all that having to deal with three different offensive coordinators -- thus, three systems. But after watching Monday's game, I wasn't convinced that any of us should set aside some time to check out Smith.
With all that said, Paul Daugherty wrote an interesting piece saying that NFL's parity is creating a mediocre product.
And yet watching that game, you had to be struck by how absolutely mediocre and uninspiring the product has become. It was just lousy football. With a few notable exceptions - the occasional Patriots-Colts or Dallas-Green Bay match - lots of games are that way. Heaven help you if you watched Buffalo and Miami.
Parity means mediocrity means boredom.
I think there's truth to that. The competition between NFL teams is widening. You have the elite teams -- Patriots, Colts, Cowboys and Packers. After that, you have what's called the fat-middle -- not the elites but better than Miami. Of the 14 games played in week 10, eight had a point-differential of nine points or more. Seven games had that separation in week nine and eight. Furthermore, you see the level of talent fluctuate with more quarterbacks starting this season than in recent memory. But I wonder if the separation from middle of the road and elite teams is the open floodgates of young and new head coaches?
Five years? Bill Parcells has been saying the past few weeks that the average career of a running back is four seasons. Here's the top-ten rushing leaders in 2002 and where they're at today.
|Ricky Williams||1,853||Out of the NFL serving suspension.|
|LaDainian Tomlinson||1,683||Thirty total touchdowns in '06 -- arguably one of the best seasons for an NFL running back. On pace for 1,303 yards in '07.|
|Priest Holmes||1,615||Had first rush attempt on October, 21 2007 since injury on October 30, 2005.|
|Clinton Portis||1,508||Except for 2006, Portis has rushed for over 1,300 yards in each season of his career. On pace for 1,361 yards this season.|
|Travis Henry||1,438||2002 was Henry's most productive season to date. Injuries have sidelined him in three of the past four seasons -- including this season.|
|Deuce McAllister||1,388||Has missed significant time in two of the past three seasons. 2002 wasn't McAllister's best yardage season, but he did set a career high with 16 total touchdowns -- 13 rushing.|
|Tiki Barber||1,387||Retired and pissing off New York Giants.|
|Jamal Lewis||1,327||Since 2,066-yard effort in 2003, Lewis has been a shell of his former-self.|
|Fred Taylor||1,314||Taylor has survived the test of time for running backs playing in his 10th season having amassed over 10,000 yards rushing.|