Here is my column previewing the 49ers-Cardinals game. The full text runs below:
One old football coach used to tell his players after a loss, “You feel sorry for yourselves, get out of here. You think the league feels sorry for you? No one feels sorry for you. You want to complain, talk to someone who gives a (expletive).”
The old coach might have been talking to the 49ers. They went into Pittsburgh and got murdered 43-18. They got beat up. Players had to leave the field. To which I say, “Talk to someone who cares, 49ers.”
The league doesn’t care. The Arizona Cardinals sure don’t care. The Cardinals don’t feel sorry for you. They want your liver.
What are you going to do about it?
Film exists on the 49ers. The Steelers watched the film of the 49ers’ first game — against the Vikings. The Steelers watched and learned. They understood you prevent Carlos Hyde from running all over the place, you give the Niners problems.
The Steelers understood other things. The 49ers can’t stop the run and they can’t stop the pass. That’s a bad combination.
So, I’m asking the 49ers: Can you stop the Cardinals passing attack? Can you stop the run? Can you complete your own passes when the game is still a game, not when it’s garbage time?
I’m asking basic questions. Not rude questions. Basic questions. The questions Arizona will ask very soon. Arizona will demand answers. What can you do, 49ers? If you think it’s unfair you have to face the Cardinals on the road — that’s two road games in a row, boohoo — no one cares. If you think it’s unfair you get the Packers right after the Cardinals, no one cares.
What are you going to do about all this? What do you have? Show us.
Time to be brutally honest with you, 49ers. You came out flat against the Steelers. No energy. No passion. Flat as Chris Mullin’s crew cut. I mean, you had won your first game — big deal — and then you played like the walking dead. You know what that means?
Bad coaching. Ineffective coaching. Soft coaching. The coach in question — Jim Tomsula — is in charge of getting his team up for games. Jim Harbaugh sure got his teams up for games. Hell to pay if his players didn’t play hard. Not so with Tomsula. There he was after the Steelers travesty soothing his players’ fragile egos. Making them feel better. Telling them he appreciated their effort.
No one cares about your team’s ego, coach. No one cares you didn’t prepare the Niners. You had one win — and good for you — and you went into Pittsburgh like you already had accomplished something. Had made some kind of statement. What a laugh.
I’ve been reading the media reports all week, hearing the players’ chatter. If I hadn’t been in Pittsburgh and saw what I saw, I’d have thought the Niners beat the Steelers. Mauled them. That was the tone this week. The Niners lost but they really won.
Just a few things to work out. Mere tweaks. Tweakage.
Get that offensive line in sync and Colin Kaepernick won’t get sacked five times. Tweakage. Make sure the defense doesn’t blast Hyde out of the game. Tweakage.
Oh, and one other thing, Kaepernick is great. Came into his own in Pittsburgh. That was the message from 49ers Central all week. Tomsula, who could not get his team ready for Pittsburgh, figured out how to use Kaepernick. Forget pocket passing. So passé. So Joe Montana and so Steve Young. Phooey. Let Kaepernick run.
Run, Colin, run. Run like the wind.
Let Kaepernick roll to the right and throw. Take all thinking out of his game. Simplify. Simplify.
It’s like Tomsula discovered the magic bullet. And maybe he did. Except I’m looking at the official stats sheet from the Steelers game. Says right here Kaepernick threw for 61 yards in the first half. Sixty-one yards before the game turned into a joke. Sixty-one yards? You’ve got to be kidding. The week before against Minnesota he threw for 78 yards in the first half.
Pick up the tempo, Colin.
The 49ers need to understand they didn’t win in Pittsburgh. Sorry to be the one to break the news. It was a very bad loss. What are the Niners going to do about it? Because there’s stuff they can do.
Arizona is undefeated. Arizona is a good team. Arizona is the team to beat in the NFC West. Yes, it is. You assume the 49ers can get up for this game against a division rival. If they can’t, call a felony on the coach.
The 49ers generally play the Cardinals tough. They beat the Cardinals the last time they met — 20-17 in December 2014. Arizona won’t mount a killer pass rush against Kaepernick. The new and improved Kaepernick probably will have time in the pocket or on the move — more time than he had in Pittsburgh.
And remember this. The Cardinals quarterback is Carson Palmer. No Ben Roethlisberger that man. Palmer is slow, can’t escape. He is what Bill Walsh used to call “a moving platform.”
You can wreck that platform. You can make Palmer throw picks.
I’m saying the 49ers can beat the Cardinals. And if they do, the Niners will be the team to beat in the division. Imagine that. It’s all there, waiting for them in that hot desert, Harbaugh’s proverbial low-hanging fruit.
Can you do it, 49ers?
Do you dare?
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