Alex Smith

49ers and Raiders prove NFL life isn’t fair

The Raiders are now 6-7 after a tough loss against in Jacksonville, in a game where they challenged a Jags touchdown in hopes that Rashad Jennings ran out of bounds (he didn’t), which led to Tom Cable deciding not to challenge a touchdown catch by Mike Sims-Walker for landing out of bounds (he did).

So even though the Chargers defeated the Matt Cassell-less Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders find themselves still two games behind in the AFC West, with their playoff hopes looking decidedly dim with only three games remaining.

Contrast that with the 49ers, who after this afternoon’s romp over the Seahawks, could be considered the favorites to win their awful division. Yes, that’s right, the inept, confused, boring, uncreative, inconsistent 49ers are a road win in St. Louis and a home win in Arizona away from hosting a playoff game. And like Larry Baer always says, once you get into the playoffs it’s a crapshoot.

It’s ridiculous, especially for 49ers fans who’s effectively given up on this team already. LOTS of orange seats visible in Candlestick Park today, but most of them will probably be filled if the Niners have a legitimate shot at the playoffs with a win against Arizona in Week 17. The Raiders, the team who probably needs a playoff berth more than any other team in the league to fill seats in future years, are now in third place in the NFL’s slightly better Western Division. Of course, they’d be in a lot better shape if they would have beaten the 0-5 49ers in a sloppy game at the Stick a couple months ago.

Did I leave Killzone 2 on again?

— Fox sunk to yet another new low today in sports broadcasting, as they experimented with “dramatic” music between plays and after scores. And not just occasionally, we’re talking about 50 times during the game where generic music came on. The result: a “professional” (and yes, an NFC West divisional game means we’re using that term loosely) football game sounded like a videogame when you’re waiting for the next screen to load. Embarrassing.

— Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick were apparently told during the second half to explain Fox’s thinking, as they mentioned the music and how it’s supposed to add “drama” and “anticipation” to the game, like a movie score. Then Billick compared the anticipation to “my love life after 35 years of marriage.”

— Hopefully Billick’s comment alone was enough to kill this little “experiment.” But knowing Fox and their dedication to driving me crazy with their sports coverage and news channel, I’m not holding my breath.

— While it drove me and everyone watching the game crazy, I guess if Fox felt like they had to try out this absolute failure of an idea, it made sense to experiment during an NFC West game with the crowd at 2/3 capacity.

— Alex Smith looked pretty good today, other than the 10 or so passes he threw nowhere near open receivers. Pretty sad that Shaun Hill is the most accurate passer this team has had over the last five seasons.

— Patrick Willis has to be hurt, because he was terrible in Green Bay and got trucked by Marshawn Lynch.

— Sorry to trend so negative. Here’s the good things that came out of this game (besides staying in playoff contention): Brian Westbrook made everyone wonder why they haven’t used him like this all season; ditto with Josh Morgan; Nate Clements and Dashon Goldson played perhaps their best games of the season; Jeff Reed doesn’t have the biggest leg in the world but at least he keeps his FG attempts straight; Takeo Spikes is playing some of the best football of his career right now; Travis La Boy made the best defensive play of the season when he sacked Matt Hasselbeck (who like my buddy Carp texted me today, is in the middle of his swan song), stripped the ball and recovered the fumble.

— Darren McFadden is making NFL teams look like Ole Miss right now.

— Rough for 49ers fans to see Jason Hill catch a 48-yd TD against the Raiders. Almost as rough as watching Michael Crabtree drop or deflect every pass where he fears getting hit from behind.

— The longer this season goes, it seems like there’s 25 mediocre/garbage teams that could all beat each other on any given week, and then there’s the Patriots, Falcons, Steelers, Eagles, Saints, Giants and Ravens.

— If the Steelers face the Eagles in the Super Bowl, which QB do you root for?

— It’s questions like the previous one that kind of make you feel silly worrying about Cam Newton and his dad.

— The remaining schedule actually helps out the 49ers, who can lose on Thursday against San Diego but conceivably win the division with wins in their last two games. Winning on the road after a short week against the Chargers is a tough task, but they’ll enjoy the extra time between playing in San Diego and playing in St. Louis.

— Who’s hoping for Matt Cassell to come back healthy more than the 49ers? St. Louis hosts Kansas City next Sunday.

— It’s going to take a miracle for Seattle to make the playoffs now. They host Atlanta next weekend, travel to Tampa Bay the next, and after losing to the 49ers have lost the divisional tiebreaker advantage they had going into today’s symphony game.

— The Seahawks have given up 30+ points in five of their last seven games, even with the great Kentwan Balmer.

— The chances just got a lot better that the NFC West champions will have a 7-9 record. Oscillating fan, prepare to get hit with something nasty.

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