Here is a link to my Friday column about the dead-as-doornails 49ers. The full text runs below:
SANTA CLARA — The 49ers are dead. Season over.
That is the storyline and that is the fact. Don’t get lost griping or wondering about quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He is not the answer. He is not even the question. He is irrelevant because the 49ers’ issue is way beyond his level of incompetence. His scared, inept, mediocre play.
His play was so mediocre he constantly threw passes over his receivers’ heads and out of bounds. One time, he hit some Niners equipment guy in the noggin. Another time, he almost conked a cheerleader. I mean, this guy is dangerous.
Another time, he had Anquan Boldin wide open and threw a four-seam fastball over his head. A searing fastball. Outta here. And please don’t give him an excuse. His offensive line is no good. Sure, it isn’t, but he isn’t any good, either. They belong together.
And the issue is way beyond head coach Jim Tomsula. Sure, he doesn’t have a clue. Sure, no team in its right mind would appoint him head coach. Are the Niners in their right minds? Sure, he could not motivate his team with everything on the line — with the season on the line — could not motivate his team against a division opponent, against the hated rival Seattle Seahawks, the Seahawks who came to Levi’s Stadium with a losing record and in complete disarray.
He came to the postgame interview looking sweaty. He is the wettest man alive. You get the feeling he lives underwater with the eels and rays. I mentioned his team has lost five of seven games and asked if he’s giving up on the postseason. He gave me his intense, take-no-crap look and said, “We’re going to fight like crazy to get to the playoffs.”
Please, coach. Just come off it. Those are tough words. All you’ve got are tough words. As a coach, you don’t have a clue. As a coach, no one takes you seriously. And no one feels sorry for you. You lobbied hard for this job. You got it. You’re going down.
And this is not about offensive coordinator Geep Chryst whose team scored three points — zero in the first half. Chryst is a puzzle. Or is it void of ideas? For some unknown reason, he called three straight run plays to start the second half even though the Niners were down 17-zip. Of course, the 49ers went three and out and punted. But Chryst was the best offensive coordinator Tomsula could get because no serious coach in the NFL wanted to be a coordinator for Tomsula.
And this is not about defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, whose guys could not cover the middle on passes. Throw the ball, Russell Wilson, and watch the Niners looking around like loiterers at a bus stop. Who me? Mangini was the best defensive coordinator Tomsula could get because no serious coach in the NFL wanted to be a coordinator for Tomsula.
But everything I’ve mentioned falls short of the truth. The 49ers are dead. Say a prayer over their corpse.
To achieve a modest 9-7 record, which might or might not make the playoffs, the 2-5 49ers would have to go 7-2 the rest of the way. Impossible. A joke. As hard as climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard. For them.
Rest in peace, 49ers. You never really were alive. Dead from the start.
So, who gets the blame? That goes to two men. I’ll call this minor blame and major blame.
First, the minor blame. It goes to general manager Trent Baalke. I don’t mean to say his blame is in any way minor. But it’s minor compared to the second guy I’ll discuss in a moment. Call Baalke’s blame minor-major.
The 49ers are trying to transition from an old veteran team to a younger home-grown team. A team with a legit chance for the postseason. Cue the laugh track here. Baalke had a million draft picks. He handpicked the young players.
We saw what he did. Almost none of his young players have worked out. Sure, Carlos Hyde is good, but what about Corey Lemonier, Vance McDonald, Jimmie Ward, Tank Caradine, A.J. Jenkins (remember him?), LaMichael James? At this moment, not one of Baalke’s first-round picks matters. Rotten drafting. Rotten vision. Rotten GM.
But the major blame — call it the major-major blame — goes to team owner, or whatever he is, Jed York. He has shown arrogance in the extreme. Foolishness in the extreme. Pettiness in the extreme. There is no excuse for this man. He ran off Jim Harbaugh, one of America’s elite coaches. And replaced him with the Butcher.
I call Tomsula the Butcher. You see him in the white blood-smeared apron with the big cleaver in his right hand. He can cut you up a pork chop. Or prime rib. Or pig snout. But don’t ask him for a game plan.
If Harbaugh were still the Niners coach, the record would not be ludicrous. And the season would not be over. And Jed would not look like a fool. Would not have ruined a good team in less than a year. Would not have broken the unwritten contract with the fans. They expected a competitive team and he gave them this thing. This thing is what Jed deserves. He worked hard for it. He earned it.
The 49ers are dead. Throw dirt on them and cover up the hole.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.