Sports Lounge.eps

A lot of Bay Area football fans, and fans of NFL football in general, have spent a lot of this week trying to figure out what has happened to the San Francisco 49ers following their beatdown at the hands of the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon.

It was their second loss in a row.

It was only seven months ago they were less than 10 minutes away from the organization’s sixth Super Bowl title, which given the year of COVID-19 seems a lifetime ago, and now the team is looking at the distinct possibility of missing the playoffs this season.

A lot of the team’s issues revolve around the fact that there may be no more beat up team in the NFL than the 49ers, who are missing at least seven starters on defense alone.

The last couple of weeks, however, questions have swirled about who is the starting quarterback on this team as all three signal callers have seen time and none have inspired much confidence — Jimmy Garoppolo included.

But if you have watched the games, the main issue has been the play of the offensive line. It, too, is banged up, with starting center Weston Richburg having missed the season so far on the physically-unable-to-perform (PuP) list, but the bigger concern has been just the general lack of execution.

The way the line is playing right now, it doesn’t matter who is under center. The quarterback barely has time to drop back before the defense is on top of him.

The Dolphins defensive line imposed their will against the 49ers’ offensive front, as it seemed all five offensive linemen were simply overwhelmed by their Miami counterparts. There is a reason the 49ers have given up the fourth-most sacks in the NFL this season.

The other issue, as I see it, is an inability for the defense to get off the field on third down. The 49ers defense has regressed to the 2018 season when they simply can’t stop opposing offenses.

Until those issues are shored up, I don’t think it really matters who the starting quarterback is — and it should be Garoppolo, by the way.

***

While the 49ers have been drawing negative attention for their play, the Las Vegas Raiders may have provided a blueprint on how to beat the Kansas City Chiefs — go on the attack.

The general wisdom the last couple of years was for NFL coaches to try and keep the ball away from the Chiefs offense by using a ball-control offense of their own.

What the Raiders showed Sunday in their 40-32 win over Kansas City, the Chiefs’ first loss since Week 10 last year, is that the better plan may be try to beat the Chiefs at their own game with a quick-strike offense.

For once, the Raiders infatuation with speed paid off as the K.C. secondary had trouble keeping up with Raiders’ speedster Henry Ruggs III. He caught only two balls — but combined 118 yards and included a 72-yard scoring strike.

Credit has to go to Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr, who shrugged off his “Captain Checkdown” reputation, for a game at least. Carr, who has never been right since breaking his ankle and a vertebrae in his back a few years ago, threw for 347 yards on 22-of-31 passing. In addition to the long touchdown pass to Ruggs, he also connected on a 59-yard scoring pass to Nelson Agholor.

It’s usually never a good idea to get into a shootout with a team that can score like the Chiefs, but it is a good idea to fight fire with fire.

***

Melissa Schmidt wanted to clear up any misconceptions about the availability of Sequoia High School athletic facilities.

Schmidt, the school’s athletic director, said the running track and the field at the school are open for community use — and have been since June.

There is one caveat: the facilities are available only after school hours, beginning at about 3:30 p.m., and can not be used when school teams are using the facilities.

She said upward of 100 community members use the facilities most every evening and no reservations are required.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117.

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