Bret Rumbeck
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Here you'll find reviews of music, discussion of sports, social/political commentary and thoughts on the professional world. 

It's Groundhog Day in October - 49ers vs. Buffalo Review


I’ve seen Groundhog Day a dozen times, and I’ve always liked the scene where Phil is watching the two inept armored truck guards handle two bags of money. Since he’s relived the day so many times, he’s calling out the events before they happen. So, Phil knows exactly when to move in and walk off with a big bag of cash. 

You can easily fill in the dialogue with your typical in-game situations for the 49ers.

Fan: Blown coverage.

[DB forgets his responsibility, receiver is wide open]

Fan:  Missed tackle.

[Three 49ers can’t bring down the running back]

Fan: Cue a fumble.

[Special teams muffs a punt]

Fan: Enter quarterback; two bad throws one short run.

[Offense goes three-and-out]

Fan: Show coach on camera with confused look on his face.

[Coach isn’t sure what to do next]

Fan: Alright Coach, call an inside run.

[Kelly calls an inside run]

Fan: 10, 9, 8, interception…

[Quarterback throws an interception]

Fan: …6, 5 short-of-sticks

[Receiver runs route two yards short of marker]

Fan: … 3, 2…

[Fan puts head on table, curses Jed York and/or Trent Baalke]

Trent Baalke: So, do we need another defensive back with a bum knee?

Jed: I think so. Here’s the cash to sign him. And do it With Class!

It’s getting old. And boring. 

Yes, we know what we see today from the 49ers is the responsibility of Jed’s arrogance and stadium-sized ego. But, Jed doesn’t care. People still buy his product, and we send more money. Jed’s got our dollar in his pocket. He’ll go in front of the cameras after another three win season and run his mouth about accountability and class. Maybe he’ll yell at the press again, or leave a reporter with the French Laundry bill. The cycle starts again.

Baalke’s off-season strategy to build a championship team is a total failure. I’m not sure what he sees in a player with a blown knee, nor do I understand his reluctance to go after quality veteran free agents. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t always fix it – see America’s War on Drugs as an example. But the call for his job right now doesn’t help the 49ers right now. It just makes a group of fans feel good about something tangible, methinks.

Chip Kelly’s proving to the football universe that he’s not an NFL caliber coach. It’s not his offense though, it’s his decision making. There’s nothing he’s called that’s had me out-of-my barstool screaming, “Did you see that?! Amazing!” Worse, I don’t know if he trusts any of his quarterbacks to make decisions at the line of scrimmage.

Example: It’s the 49ers seventh offensive possession of the game. Kelly’s called running back Mike Davis’ number two times in a row. Now, it’s 4th and 1, and Kelly’s got his offense going for a first down. Buffalo lines up with 8 in the box. Kap hands the ball to Davis going up the middle. Davis is stuffed for no gain, and the 49ers turn the ball over on downs.

With 8 men in the box, that means there’s a lot of empty space behind the defensive front. How is a run up the middle the best call for this situation? Why can’t Kap audible into something with a higher success rate?

I’m sure many of you can successfully argue that the lack of NaVarro Bowman is killing our defense. I’m on board with that point. But, I’m still going to rant and point my finger at defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil.

Why? Even though he’s not in Buffalo anymore, the Bills are running Greg Roman’s offense, or at least a close version of it. Yes, that Greg Roman. So, even with Roman two years removed from his office at 4949 Centennial Boulevard, the 49ers couldn’t figure out how to stop their former coordinator’s offense. Did Jed and Trent burn all these playbooks while exorcising the Demons of Jim Harbaugh from the building? O’Neil had the answers in front of him, much like a high school student taking an open-note algebra test, and the Bills still found a way to rack up nearly 500 yards of total offense.

According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers allowed 9.8 yards per carry against Buffalo while in a nickel defense. For the season, they are allowing 6.6 yards per carry while in nickel/dime defenses.

So, one would think the 49ers would avoid these defensive packages or change the scheme prior to Sunday. Indeed, Kelly said the team made changes going into the game against Buffalo. From today’s press conference:

Q: The problem with the run-game defense has been repeated this season. Have you made schematic changes leading up to Sunday?

KELLY: Yeah, I think we changed a little bit going into this game. We kind of simplified the plan going into this game against Buffalo, because you’re playing against a multiple-look team that ran a lot of Wildcat, a team that ran a lot of unbalanced, a team that ran a lot of very different things that we don’t see normally from a lot of teams in the NFL and do it very well.

What changes? To let Shady McCoy gain 22 yards on a 3rd and 21 situation? If your nickel defense gives up 6.6 yards per game,  you should change that. Maybe start there next time, Jim?

Like Phil in Groundhog Day, he had really good day he wished he could relive over and over again.

“I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We at lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over, and over and over…”

The 1990 San Francisco 49ers. Why couldn’t we get that team over, and over, and over…