I cared less about Sunday’s game than I have any Niners game since Jim Tomsula (our presumed coach-in-waiting) last was head coach (the final game of the 2010 season, another meaningless contest that the Niners won). I honestly don’t have much to say about it, but I feel obligated to write something because I was at a party back home in the Bay on Saturday and a bunch of people told me these posts have helped them get through this sucky season. So, this one’s for you guys.
The Frank Gore Award (Best Niners Offensive Player of the Last 15 Years): Frank Gore
My attorney invented this award last week, and I think Gore earned it again in Week Seventeen with a 25 carry, 144 yard performance that put him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season and over the 11,000 yard mark for his career. This was probably Gore’s final game with the Niners, and No. 21 went out with the same sort of warrior-like effort that has earned him a special place in the hearts of Niner fans everywhere. It’s not just fans either: In the locker room after the game, Jim Harbaugh told Gore’s kids “Your dad’s the best.”
I’m looking forward to seeing what Carlos Hyde can do as the starter next year, but today let’s give it up for Frank Gore, the best running back in San Francisco 49ers history. I just wish we had won a Super Bowl with him (which maybe we would have if we’d handed him the fucking ball at the end of the Super Bowl XLVII).
The Jekyll and Hyde Award: Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick did not have a great year. I don’t think we particularly need to rehash the problems he’s had (it’s been done on this blog and by pretty much the entire sports-entertainment-media complex at this point). But today was the sort of effort that gives you hope that he can get his shit together. His numbers weren’t spectacular (15-for-26, 204 yards, 2 TDs), and he ran his way into an insanely stupid sack in the fourth quarter, but for the most part he looked confident, and he ran around (7 carries for 63 yards) and made a bunch of super athletic plays. In short, he looked like Colin freaking Kaepernick. Where was that all season?
I was talking to my attorney during the game today, and he made the point that you don’t fire Harbaugh or cut Kaepernick unless you can find somebody better. If you can get Andrew Luck? Sure, go for it. But I’m pretty sure the Colts aren’t about to give Luck away. And one note for the haters: Kaepernick finished the year with a QBR of 54.1, which ranked 22nd in the league. Not great, but you know who ranked 23rd, with a QBR of 49.4?
That’s right, the guy who managed to get through an entire season without throwing a TD pass to a wide receiver. People who think that the Niners would have been better with Alex Smith this year are idiots.
And let’s be real: Shit could be a lot worse…
The Adam Walker Award (Player Most Responsible for the Loss): Ryan Lindley
Everyone who’s ready to ditch Kaepernick needs to get a little perspective: He could be Ryan Lindley. Lindley’s numbers don’t look all that bad (23-for-39, 316 yards, 2 TDs), but he threw three TERRIBLE picks, and looked awful on many of his throws, despite the fact that the Niners’ defense was composed almost entirely of second- and third-stringers and got almost no pressure on him all day.
I actually feel bad for the Cardinals. They have a really good defense, and they have some good weapons on offense, but they fell apart and lost the division to Seattle, and now they have to go on the road for their first round playoff game, which they’re probably going to lose to the under-.500 Carolina Panthers, all because their quarterbacks were decimated by injuries. All because they got stuck starting Ryan Lindley.
The Ralph Ellison Award (For an Invisible Man): Aldon Smith
The Al Davis Award (For a Dysfunctional Franchise): The Santa Clara Raiders
Yeah, we won the game yesterday. Yeah, we got to 8-8, avoiding a losing record for Harbaugh’s last season. Whoop-de-fuckin’-do. So now we’ll be picking lower in the draft (15th), and oh yeah, we also lost the coach who turned this franchise around four years ago, for the simple reason that the coach, owner, and GM can’t play nice with each other. Ladies and gentlemen, your Santa Clara Raiders!
Overall Rating For This Game (On a scale of Zero to Twelve Anchors, in honor of San Francisco’s favorite beverage): 0 Anchors
Between the Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald sagas, the front office drama, the shitty offensive gameplans, Kaepernick’s regression, the unconscionable second half collapses, and the injuries, this has been the most miserable season ever. I have watched worse Niners teams than this one, but I don’t think I’ve ever hated a Niners team more than I hate this one. For Christmas, my sister handmade a 49ers blanket for me:
It’s a great gift, right? But it only brought me sadness, as I had to tell my sister that I would be using it to swaddle my shivering, huddled form while I watch the Niners underachieve and go 2-14 next year. Congratulations, Jed York: I award you zero Anchors, and may Bumgarner have mercy on your soul.