Colin Kaepernick and Co. took baby steps Monday, which meant the 49ers organization moved forward for the first time in a long time.
It wasn’t close to perfect offense, but it was way overdue, they knew it, and they acknowledged it in all the overt and subtle ways the 49ers communicate things these days.
Yard by yard, pass by pass, point by point, tackle by tackle, the 49ers dominated woeful Washington on the way to a 27-6 victory at FedEx Field.
And then afterward, some of the 49ers’ statements and gestures were as telling as almost anything on the field.
“By any means necessary, you know?” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Our guys, they rose up to the challenge and got it done. Needed it and got it.”
The 49ers defense was dominant against Washington and Robert Griffin III, but the 49ers defense has been dominant quite consistently this season.
What the 49ers desperately needed was for their offense to reawaken after failing to gain 200 yards in either of the last two games — both defeats — and drawing more exasperation and frustration than at any point of the Harbaugh era.
–Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News
The NFL (Nauseatingly Friendly League?) is wussy and candy-butt. The suits are stripping the manliness out of the game, mostly to protect the precious, pretty quarterbacks.
So say critics – players, fans and media – in reaction to recent changes in rules and reffing.
“We want our violence back,” they whine.
The game is “watered down,” says 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks, whose hit on Drew Brees has been analyzed and debated more intensely than the Zapruder film.
Please shut up, fellas, I’m trying to watch some football here. Take your whining to the sandbox.
You say the NFL might as well be flag football? I have some expertise in that area. I played flag football in college. Though it certainly was a manly pursuit, we hardly ever had to drag, carry or helicopter injured guys off the field.
The whiners might benefit from a history lesson. The manliest pro football wasn’t played in the gory glory days you remember, the closing decades of the last century. Back in the ’30s and ’40s, players wore cardboard (OK, leather) helmets, no face masks, and, true fact, some of them tucked phone books in their pants as pads.
Head slaps, clotheslines, horse collars, leg whips, helmet spears – players did all that stuff and more. And that was just during warm-ups.
–Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle
Before kickoff for the 116th Big Game on Saturday, some Cal tailgaters wore shirts that read, “We’re gonna be so good next year,” while nearby, Stanford tailgaters set up two satellite dishes to transmit other college football games being played at the same time.
Both groups appeared to see a home team win as a virtual foregone conclusion.
“The theme this year is, we will win the party,” joked Eddy Kleinhans, the Cal public address announcer and tailgate organizer. “Better food, better booze, better people.”
Ten-year-old Stanford fan John Quinlin bet his father that their team would beat the rivals — who had won one game this entire season — by 20 points. Stanford was favored to win by 32 points and the host Cardinal surpassed that total with the highest margin and most points scored in Big Game history, 63-13.
“Incredible,” John said while waiting for Cardinal players to sign a football postgame. “We won by 50!”
At the annual Guardsmen Big Game Luncheon held at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel on Wednesday — which Stanford head Coach David Shaw and the band did not attend — Cal football announcer Joe Starkey said the teams’ records “have an impact on how big of a deal it is each year.”
“The sizzle is much lower this year because of Cal’s bad year,” said Starkey, who has called games since 1975. “Traditionally there’s a big rush for tickets and it’s usually 60-40 with more attendees for the home team.”
Golden Bear fans occupied only a few sections near the end zone at Stanford Stadium, where there were plenty of empty seats although the game was announced as a sellout. During halftime, the Stanford band ended their performance with formations spelling “ODDS” followed by “FAVOR,” in case fans needed a reminder.
–Jessica Kwong, San Francisco Examiner