The Niners were in my backyard this weekend—well, across a couple of rivers and over in New Jersey anyway—but I kinda blew my wad on the whole trip to New Orleans thing, and besides, I’ve never been one to sit out in the cold to watch a football game. So instead of schlepping to the Meadowlands with my fellow NYC Niner fan crew (see video about us here), I curled my lazy ass up in bed and watched it on my laptop. I was warm. Here are a couple of awards.
The Emmitt Smith Award (Most Hated Opponent) and the Adam Walker Award (Player Most Responsible for Defeat): Eli Manning
How the hell did this guy beat us at Candlestick in the NFC Championship Game? (Oh yeah: Kyle Williams.) And how did he beat Tom Brady in two Super Bowls? I’ll never understand it. The doofy looking younger Manning brother has pretty much always sucked, but man, this was the worst he’s ever looked. He threw five interceptions, and while Borland’s two picks could maybe be forgiven (Borland got a great break on the first ball, and the second one was tipped—and also, he’s Chris Borland, which I’ll expand upon in a second), the other three turnovers were all on throws that were among the worst you’ll ever see an NFL QB make. Did each of these terrible passes bring me a level of pleasure that bordered on sexual ecstasy? Um … never mind. Let’s move along.
The Emperor Norton Award (San Francisco Folk Hero): Chris Borland
Emperor Norton was a 19th-century San Francisco resident who declared himself Emperor of the United States and wandered the City making proclamations and stopping race riots in Chinatown. He became so beloved in SF that there is a movement to name the Bay Bridge after him. The point is, if Borland keeps playing like this, we’re going to have to make him emperor or name some shit after him. On Sunday he had 13 more tackles (that’s 48 in the last three weeks), two of those for loss, and had those two interceptions, including one on a crucial fourth down play inside the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter.
I have no explanation for this Borland thing. At this point, if you told me he could turn water into wine, I wouldn’t even question it, I’d just go get glasses. Trade Willis, trade Bowman. Borland will save us all.
(Obviously I’m kidding about trading Willis and Bowman. But not the rest.)
The Al Davis Award (Dysfunctional Football Team): The Santa Clara Raiders
You want some Santa Clara Raiders shit? Let’s talk about the Niners’ first four drives, all of which went deep into Giants territory and ended in, in order: fumble, field goal, field goal, field goal. I can’t … with these stalled drives … I just can’t. Or let’s talk about Michael Crabtree dropping a crucial fourth-quarter third-down pass and almost letting the Giants back in the game. Or let’s talk about Harbaugh challenging two plays only to have them both upheld (at this point, they should just confiscate his red flags).
On second thought, let’s all agree not to talk about any of this.
Overall Rating For This Game (On a scale of Zero to Twelve Anchors, in honor of San Francisco’s favorite beverage): 4 Anchors
And so, in this season of four-Anchor performances, the Niners once again got a classic four-Anchor, play-ugly-but-somehow-win-anyway showing yesterday. They should have blown the Giants out in the first half, but because their offense gets constipated in the red zone, they didn’t cash in their opportunities, and they let the Giants hang around. Frankly, given those missed opportunities and how wide they left the door open for New York, they should have lost this game. Only the greatness of Borland and the abyss of suck that is Eli Manning saved them.
The good news is that the win bumped San Francisco’s record up to 6-4, putting them into a tie with Seattle and back into playoff contention. And with what should be an easy win over the Washington Team That Shall Not Be Named next week, they’re poised to be 7-4 going into the Thanksgiving night home game against the Seabitches.
That game won’t be stressful or anything. (Excuse me while I drawn myself in a pitcher of gravy.)