The locker room was emptying quickly, but Darnell Dockett was still smudged with eye black and in his football pants, talking to wave after wave of media questions. No one – at least publicly – has more bile for the 49ers. But after the way the Niners controlled Sunday’s game, even Dockett relented.
“It’s hard for me to sit here and not admit they are a good team,” Dockett said. “There is a reason they are 9-1. I usually don’t give credit to no one, especially in the division.”
When you cover a singular team, you always evaluate through the prism of that team. Sometimes, what the other team is doing gets lost a little bit, and as Dockett said, there is a reason the Niners have won so many games and are going to win the NFC West.
Of course, my prism – the prism of this blog – is about the Cardinals. So, in the wake of the 23-7 loss:
— There isn’t a good reason to go on too long about the play of quarterback John Skelton. Obviously, he didn’t play well. He said that plainly on Twitter just a little while ago – “I cost my team a win with my poor play today. We’ll bounce back and so will the #birdgang” – and the part that hurt Sunday wasn’t that he had an off game, because that happens. But it can’t be that off. It can’t be two first downs in the first half, or 23 total yards on the first six possessions of the game.
I don’t know right now if Kevin Kolb is going to be ready this week. Coach Ken Whisenhunt emphasized he didn’t want to evaluate Skelton just on what happen at Candlestick. But if there was any doubt that Kolb will be going back into the lineup, those should have been put to rest Sunday.
— Defensively, while the Cards’ numbers aren’t going to be great, the unit showed. Defensive end Calais Campbell said he thought the defense could have played better, and he’s right. For instance, with the score 9-0, the Cards can’t allow a seven-plus-minute drive to start the third quarter. But the 49ers had the ball for more than 44 minutes (simply mind-boggling) because the Cards’ offense couldn’t hold on to the ball.
“They were on the field forever,” Whisenhunt said. “That they were able to stay out there against a power team like they are and they try to wear you down … The effort they gave, it’s pretty important.”
— I thought Dan Williams was having a pretty good game Sunday. He was in on a handful of plays, including some he had to chase down. Terrible that he broke his arm. David Carter, you’re up.
— Beanie Wells was running hard on the few chances he did get. He had 33 yards on eight carries. Whiz was asked about running more to protect Skelton. He acknowledged he could have, but also said there were plays to be made that weren’t. I’ve said this before, but – while some plays might have been called better – I still don’t think playcalling is one of the major issues.
— Here was one piece of good news: running back Chester Taylor made a 34-yard run in the fourth quarter, the longest run against the stingy 49ers defense all season.
— On the play where Patrick Peterson fumbled the punt, what I couldn’t figure out is how Hamza Abdullah didn’t block the punt. Abdullah broke clean in on Andy Lee yet missed it. Abdullah admitted he can’t believe he missed it either – he said he actually got in too fast, basically passing the ball.
— Peterson had some issues at cornerback. He got a pass interference and he gave up a few early catches. But he didn’t lose confidence. “I felt like I was in good position,” he said. “I felt like I didn’t take a step back but there is room for improvement.”
I guess the story this week will be the quarterback. If Kolb can’t go, Skelton will start against the Rams. And we’ll see if the position – no matter who is in there – can find a way to have a consistent performance.
Tags: 49ers, Beanie Wells, Chester Taylor, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Hamza Abdullah, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, Patrick Peterson
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