Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 14)

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The Battle of the Bay has not been the usual close battle that many fans have hoped for time and time again. A big part of that is the evolution of the 49ers into one of the elite teams of the NFL. They have been close multiple times in the last few years to winning a Super Bowl but have fallen just short. Despite their inability to win the big game the Niners have remained one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL and have consistently been the better team in their matchups with Oakland. This year seemed the same although it still looked as though the Niners were the better team. The Raiders had only won one game all year and were clearly the worst team in the league, even if they had won only recently. The Niners were not the team they used to be but were still the more talented team with a quarterback that had the ability to carve up a defence. The game was expected to be a usual San Francisco win but that is not what happened at all. Colin Kaepernick struggled to find a groove in the game and his two interceptions sunk the Niners. The loss was a low point for the Niners this year as they dropped a game not only to the worst team in the NFL but to their biggest rival from across the bay. It has only added to a season that has exposed a lot about the 49ers and a team that has all of the talent in the world and yet can’t find a way to win. After years of success they are beginning to split and the cracks are beginning to show. A lot can be hidden when a team is winning because everything is going great. The coach is doing a great job, the players are playing well, and the general manager did his job in adding the right pieces. When all of that winning goes away though, the things that they have been doing the entire time come under scrutiny. That has come true in San Francisco and the target of all of the criticism seems to be falling on the head coach. Jim Harbaugh is an easy target after all, his sideline demeanor makes him a coach that you either love or hate. When he is winning there are a lot more people willing to forgive his screaming and yelling and his tantrums on the sideline, because quite simply it’s working. When he starts to lose that demeanor becomes the reason they are losing. Neither one is really true but that type of attitude on the sidelines and potentially in the locker room can wear on a team as it becomes all intensity all the time. It can be a draining experience playing for a coach who yells at everything and that could be what the Niners are now experience. Then again there is always the other theory, one that doesn’t involve the coach. The Niners have been an older team for much of their recent success with a few young stars mixed in. With older teams it is always a dangerous prospect when they come so close to the championship but can’t win it. There is a window for teams when all of their players are coming together at the right time and starting to play their best football. When that happens for a team they have a few years to win a Super Bowl and if they can’t get it work needs to be done. They need to get younger and replace older players no matter how popular they are. That is the only way they stay relevant. If they don’t do that those older players are going to start to decline and the window will close fast. The Niners had that window in the last three years but faced off with three very good teams that eliminated them from the playoffs. The Niners could now be seeing that decline as they have not replaced some of their veterans with good young players. Instead they chose to stay the course and keep the aging players in hopes that they still had enough to win the Super Bowl. Whether it is the players or the coach there is no doubt that the Niners are very close to falling out of the playoffs and if that happens there are sure to be plenty of changes coming, chief among the already rumoured head coaching change. If they can’t turn things around in the last few weeks it will all be over for the Niners and they will be forced to wonder if that precious window has closed and if they can get back to the Super Bowl or if a major reconstruction is required this off-season.

 

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on Week 14 in the NFL)

Sending a message
The St. Louis Rams took on Washington this week and sent a message right from the start as head coach Jeff Fisher decide to send out the players that were traded to draft Robert Griffin III to the coin toss

Johnny Football Time in Cleveland
Brian Hoyer had another tough performance in Week 14 as it seems sure that the Johnny Manziel era is ready to begin as Johnny Football will start for the Browns in Week 15

RGIII not the same QB
Robert Griffin III was one of the most exciting players in football when he came out of College but after knee problems derailed his rookie year he has not been able to get back to that exciting player and Washington seems ready to give up on him

 

standings-week-14

 

Key Scores:
St. Louis Rams 24 – 0 Washington
– The tone was set from the start thanks to Jeff Fisher who sent out the players traded for Robert Griffin to the coin toss and the Rams continued to intimidate with a relentless pass rush that led to a shutout win for the Rams

Indianapolis Colts 25 – 24 Cleveland Browns
– The Browns are trying to hold on to their thin playoffs hopes after a great start to their season but they couldn’t do much in this game with the offence sputtering and the defence coming up just short of getting the Browns the win

Seattle Seahawks 24 – 14 Philadelphia Eagles
– The Seahawks had been a strange team all year and many thought that the Seahawks might have trouble against the fast moving Eagles offence but they clearly had no issues as the Seahawks made a statement once again saying they are not done yet

Oakland Raiders 24 – 13 San Francisco 49ers
– The Niners continue to struggle this year as Colin Kaepernick could not get the offence in any rhythm and the Raiders took full advantage getting only their second win of the season against a team most thought was going to be a contender

 

Next Week:
Washington vs. New York Giants (Sunday December 14th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Washington fans began chanting the name of the RGIII but that didn’t help in their last game as Washington looks to figure out their QB situation with Griffin seeming like he is the best answer but the coaching staff thinking otherwise as they head into New York

Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday December 14th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Raiders are rising fast after two wins in their season and they are trying to act as spoilers the rest of the way taking on the Chiefs who have had their moments this year looking like they could be a great team or a mediocre team

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday December 14th; 4:25 pm ET)
– The Seahawks and Niners have both been embroiled in controversies off of the field and they face-off again trying to get back on track and head towards the playoffs in another matchup between these two division rivals

Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday December 14th; 8:30 pm ET)
– The Cowboys and Eagles faced off only a few weeks ago and that time around the Eagles easily got past the Cowboys with an offence that visibly tired out the Cowboys defence and kept them on their heels the entire game

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