“Culture is huge. That’s the difference between a championship-caliber team and a championship team,” York says. “You look at the Golden State Warriors. They were the dumbest team in the NBA for letting Mark Jackson go, who won the most games in the franchise’s history. How could you be so dumb? They bring in Steve Kerr, who has been around the game for a long period of time but has never coached before. Kerr changes the culture, comes in with a different perspective, and look what happens.” — Jed York
Jim Tomsula was fired after today’s 19-16 win.
York admitted via prepared statement at 6:58 pm that he made a grave error in promoting “Jimmy” to head coach (and he called him “Jimmy” at his intro press conference, and that should’ve given us a few clues as to how this season would progress). Now we get to see what talking points he’ll come up with for tomorrow. That should be a lot more interesting than today’s game, although we shouldn’t expect more graceful execution than we saw at a very empty-looking Levi’s Stadium.
It took a lot longer than any of us hoped, but this dreadful season mercifully came to an end in overtime. Unfortunately for Trent Baalke — if he’s still in charge in May — the game ended on a short Phil Dawson field goal that pushed the 49ers’ record to 5-11, causing them to fall two spots in the 2016 NFL Draft.
That still puts the 49ers at No. 7 overall, which is a great spot from which to trade down and draft a safety from a small school, Phil Dawson’s replacement, and a long-armed defensive lineman with a recently torn ACL.
I don’t blame anyone who roots for the 49ers for getting tired of my constant negativity about the team this year. I know that for some, it doesn’t make watching the sport any easier to have someone constantly harping on what this team has done wrong.
So please forgive me for writing about the latter part of the fourth quarter.
It’s not like the 49ers were always great while they played at Kezar Stadium or Candlestick Park. Far from it. The mid-2000s were awful. I missed the mid-to-late-’70s, but that’s the era when the term “faithful” truly meant something. But football hasn’t been the same for me since they moved to Levi’s Stadium, and I know something changed for a lot of fans of the team after they realized that things weren’t guaranteed to get better in a new home.
And football died a bit today in that fourth quarter.
Meaningless NFL games aren’t that plentiful, because most years are filled with parity and the seasons are relatively short. But they’re incredibly difficult to watch (especially in Week 17, when fantasy football is no longer in session), and this game — despite its closeness — provided several reasons to take a nap or a walk, play with our kids or video games, read a book or a magazine, make a fancier dinner than what was initially planned …
The game itself was a blore. A boring blur. I might have slipped in and out of consciousness a few times, only to be jerked awake when Jim Tomsula broke his own record for Tomsulery.
- Score: 16-16
- Down and distance: 4th-and-4
- Time: 1:39 left in regulation
- Location: St. Louis 37-yard line
- Decision: punt
- Result: touchback and a net of 17 yards
There was a lot about this game that showed Tomsula’s true motivation. In a way, it’s tough to blame him. He faced questions about his own firing before the game. Heck, before the front office apparently expressed their views on his future with the team (if we’re to believe what he told reporters before and after the game). His resume as a defensive line coach would go unchanged regardless of what happened today against the Rams — the only thing he had to worry about was his all-time record as a head coach. And dang it, he was going to go out on his terms. No Jarryd Hayne, thank you very much. And no crazy decisions that tacitly admitted where the 49ers sit in the standings.
Then the 49ers got the ball back on their own 2-yard line with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and what did they do? They kneeled! Then they kneeled again, and almost gave up a safety in the process! I figured they might have been covertly tanking, but no. Tomsula was living out his fantasy. Blaine Gabbert, holding a football and inching forward.
Tomsula is a defensive coach, and coaches who are more comfortable on that side are known for playing the field position game. But he might be one of those guys who gets off on doing the most conservative thing possible. I have no idea what he drives, but I’m guessing the brand is American, the style is sedan or pickup truck, and there are no fancy options. Like power locks or windows.
Then again, the 49ers did win. The overtime period was filled with more bad football, and eventually Gabbert completed a few passes and suddenly the 49ers were on their way to 5-11 with a 23-yard field goal. In the end, a win was the best middle finger Tomsula could give an organization that gave him the break he couldn’t get anywhere else, on one condition: he’d serve as Baalke’s whipping boy during a “reloading” period that was nothing more than a full-fledged Harbaugh/roster housecleaning.
— I’ve got nothing but silly Vines here.
Ahmad Brooks is an idiot (this was after his personal foul), and I probably should’ve found a way to dub that “You’ve Had a Bad Day” song here for sadsack Tomsula.
Quinton Patton was a big part of this game, and this season, and that alone tells us all we need to know about how bad this team was.
The Vine doesn’t do it justice, but Gabbert threw a hell of a mallard here. It’s impressive that he avoided the sack and completed the pass, but the guns in the holsters? Really? The fourth quarter punt I wrote about occurred four plays later, by the way.
The quarterback of the future, right here: