Some Thoughts on Divisional Sunday

Kaepernick Trolls
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

1. Going for it on fourth down. The first big decision in the game came at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers had the ball fourth-and-goal with only a yard to go for the touchdown. Trailing the 49ers 6-0 at that point, to go or not to go was the question. At least, some people thought it was a question.

I didn’t think there was a question there. You absolutely go for it. The best case scenario is you take the lead. The worst case scenario is you back your opponent deep in their end of the field.

As they changed sides for the second quarter the Panthers ran a quarterback sneak, a shit play call I thought, and Cam Newton was held out of the end zone. The 49ers still led 6-0.

No, because what happens next happens because they went for it on fourth-and-goal. The 49ers gained only two yards on their drive including a third-down throw that was nearly intercepted for a touchdown. San Francisco punted from their own end zone, and Panthers returner Ted Ginn ran the punt from the Carolina 45-yard line to San Francisco’s 31-yard line.

The first Panthers play was a long 31-yard Cam Newton throw to Steve Smith in the end zone for a touchdown. With the extra point the Panthers take the 7-6 lead.

Sure the Panthers might have taken the 10-6 lead had they went for the field goal in that critical play. But what if the 49ers scored on their drive? What if the Panthers got the ball back but deeper in their own side of the field? The variables and possibilities multiply from there.

2. Not going for it on fourth down. Later in the second quarter the Panthers were faced with the same exact decision. This time they had the 7-6 lead, and they seemed to have all of the momentum after proving they were “in it to win it” or something like that.

I thought it was a perfect time to go for a play-action pass on fourth down since each time there had a goal-to-go down they tried to either go for a power run or a quarterback sneak. A little deception would be good in that instance, maybe sneak a tight end behind the linebacker, or something. Anything.

Instead Carolina went for the field goal, and it seemed that the fire they had after going for it the first time around was extinguished here. San Francisco took the ball and scored a touchdown leaving only five seconds left on the clock in the first half with a 13-10 lead.

Carolina would never see the lead again in the game. After taking the points here are the drives from both teams:

Carolina: Punt, punt, interception.
San Francisco: Touchdown, end of half, touchdown, field goal, downs.

With the 49ers 23-10 win, we get an all-NFC West NFC Championship Game.

3. Vlade Divac would be proud. Here is what is perhaps the flop of the year:

Cam Flops
h/t Deadspin

4. Silly queen thinks he has a personality. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great troll job by Colin Kaepernick, but that doesn’t make him any less a silly queen.

Kaepernick Trolls
h/t Deadspin

5. Redundant idiocy. Even casual football viewers should know the yellow tabby things indicate how many timeouts a team has remaining. Then why do these broadcasts insist on tacking on an additional timeout graphic?

CBS Screengrab

6. What a fucking miserable game. Peyton Manning. Omaha. Offsides. Phillip Rivers going redface on his team. That’s about all I took away from the Chargers-Broncos game.

What made this game unwatchable was the Chargers offense being a no-show for 45 minutes. Through three quarters they gained 81 yards. Sure, the Charger defense did a good job holding the Broncos to only 17 points for those three quarters, but if you’re not going to score points why even bother?

Well they finally showed up in the fourth quarter scoring 17 points including nabbing an on-side kick which made things interesting down the stretch. But Manning got the first downs in the final drive to get the 24-17 victory.

Also can someone turn Peyton Manning’s mic off? I don’t get what the fascination is with all of his audibles.

7. Peyton Manning can’t win. If the Broncos lost the game, Peyton Manning once again can’t win in the playoffs. But now that they won, oh well he was supposed to win. It’s clear that for the public it’s Super Bowl or bust for Peyton. How can he be great if his bum of a brother Eli has more rings than him?

I find those sorts of arguments trite and short-sighted. They’re on the same level as the supposed feminization of sports and other nonsense. Besides, it discounts the contributions of every other player on the field.

8. Who will Jim Nantz cheer for next week? It’s Manning v. Brady. Broncos v. Patriots. We might witness Nantz explode in the booth next week.