I think we all knew it wasn’t going to be easy watching this team this season. But after three games, it is turning out to be very, very hard.
Maybe hard isn’t the right word. Taxing certainly is. You feel good about Beanie Wells coming back and watching him average 5.4 yards a carry, you worry about Derek Anderson completing less than 50 percent of his passes. You feel good that the defense held up in the red zone, but understand the Raiders were able to move the ball quite a bit. You feel good the Cardinals win, but realize the other kicker isn’t missing a 32-yarder very often.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt joked about the “torture” a lot of these games will be. Whiz is right, of course. If the Cards win, it’s by any means necessary. But jeezum …
— The win was not pretty. But I’d guess the 49ers – now 0-3 – would kill to be an ugly 2-1 right now.
— If Beanie can run like that, the Cards will be in great shape. He and Tim Hightower can make some things happen. Is it enough to offset Anderson’s issues? Hopefully. “Obviously, I expect myself to play better the first three weeks,” Anderson said. “I’m doing everything I can. The coach says, ‘Hey, don’t put so much pressure on yourself’ but I want to be perfect.” Anderson completed only 12 of 26 passes for 122 yards (although it’s fair to point out his throws drew three pass interference penalties that accounted for an extra 74 yards).
— For the record, Whisenhunt was asked if there was consideration to put backup QB Max Hall in. “No, we didn’t think about that,” Whiz said.
— Larry Fitzgerald’s thoughts on the offense? “You know it could be worse, honestly,” Fitzgerald said. “I mean, if we were sitting 0-3, I’d probably be pulling my hair out.” Fitz had just two catches (out of seven targets). He was being covered by Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha, but still. If the Cards were 0-3, I’m guessing Fitz would want to do much more than just pull his hair out. He wants to win, but he’s like any of those elite receivers – he wants the ball. This is got to be killing him.
— Whisenhunt said the most impressive part of the Cards’ defensive showing was their goal-line stand, and that’s true. But it may be the defense’s fourth-quarter showing period. The Raiders had possession for 12:19 of the final 15 minutes. The Cards ran exactly seven offensive plays in the final quarter for 12 yards. The Raiders ran 26 plays in the quarter. Sure, the Raiders missed two field goals in the period, but the fact the Cards held up means a lot. The Raiders ran another 70 offensive plays. This defense has been on the field a lot in three games.
— Cornerback Greg Toler is getting picked on unmercifully, but he’s holding up pretty well. That has to be a good sign for that secondary.
— Everybody did a solid job of springing LaRod Stephens-Howling on his 102-yard kickoff return but safety Rashad Johnson made sure he went all the way down the field to give the Hyphen his final block to get free. Johnson had a decent day defensively, too.
— Rookie Andre Roberts’ first game as a punt returner probably isn’t going in the scrapbook. He only returned two for six total yards, and one of those he fielded inside his own 5-yard line (returning it only to the 5), a definite no-no. Two other punts he could field before they hit the ground, and the ball bounced off teammates for turnovers. The second punt actually might have been kicked a little short and Roberts did apparently tried to signal his teammates — DRC heard/saw it, but when he stopped, the ball bounced and hit him – but it didn’t look like Roberts made the signal clear enough on the first. Those are turnovers the Cards absolutely can’t afford.
Big picture, it’s been a rough two games for Roberts and Max Komar as rookie punt return men. The Cards don’t want Steve Breaston returning punts but he definitely makes coaches feel more comfortable.
— Safety Kerry Rhodes had an excellent game. In on a ton of tackles, making a handful of pass breakups, blitzing the quarterback and getting pressure. If Rhodes plays like that, no one is going to worry about the departed Antrel Rolle. The Cards’ defense will be pretty well off too. Same if linebacker Paris Lenon – a sack, an interception – can play like that too.
Time to go to bed. Time to try and recover.
Tags: 49ers, Andre Roberts, Antrel Rolle, Beanie Wells, Derek Anderson, DRC, Greg Toler, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Max Hall, Nnamdi Adomugha, Paris Lenon, Raiders, Rashad Johnson, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower
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