So what’s the matter with me? I love it when a baseball game ends with a low score and a low winning margin. Pitcher’s duels are a feast for my baseball eyes. But show me an NFL game that ends 10-9 like the Niners’ loss today to the Carolina Panthers, and I’m bored to tears.
Never mind that my team lost; the Panthers’ defense was obviously much better coached and prepared than the Niners’ offense. In fact, I’m beginning to worry about the Niners’ ability to sustain a championship run with an offense that is dead last in the NFL in passing. I thought Colin Kaepernick was supposed to be a gun. Maybe a Derringer?
But I digress.
The game today was just dead for me. To many turnovers, too many sacks, too much offensive futility, and far too little scoring. I think that my sense is that when a baseball game ends 2-1 or 1-0 or 3-2, there’s dynamic tension and strategy at work. But when an NFL game ends that way, it generally means, as it seemed to me today, that the offenses were just sputtering. It comes off as ineptitude. I’m not saying the teams in today’s game were not good teams; they clearly both are. But they’re not exciting teams, at least not the way they played each other today.
I expected a track meet, a high-scoring shootout. Both teams were on long winning streaks, both had scored 30+ points per game in their last several outings in dominating opponents. Instead — and I was obviously in a minority in my expectation because most other observers seemed to expect what we got — we got brutish, smash-mouth, in-your-face defensive football. Which I just don’t enjoy.
FWIW, I no longer expect the Niners to make a run at the Super Bowl this year. They may not even make the playoffs but if they do, they’re not going very far. Kaepernick has proven to be a weak (that is, inaccurate and sketchy) passer and once the defenses in the NFL caught on to the college-style offense the Niners tried to get away with behind Kaep, the team has relied on running and defense to win. That formula won’t carry the day, as they learned painfully today.
But I don’t care if they make the playoffs or not; I just hope they find a way to win and lose future games in a bit more exciting fashion than they did today in their first real test against a good defense since the Seahawks clobbered them.
If not, it’s going to be a long five weeks to the end of the season.