If you owned a Ferrari, would you restrict yourself to only driving in first and second gear? If you had an AMEX black card, would you do all your shopping at Wal-Mart?
Jimmy Raye would. Correction: Mike Singletary would. He’s got a new toy the likes of which the 49ers haven’t seen since the mid-1990’s in Michael Crabtree (I’m not including Terrell Owens because his legendary stonehands were more of a limitation during his career than anyone would ever let on publicly, even at the height of his powers), and instead of letting out the clutch on the Autobahn Singletary is content to putter around on surface streets.
To steal from the Mad Dog, throw the ball deep! One time! One lousy goddamned time!!!!!
Clearly, the Colts are the best defense the 49ers have faced this season. But it was also clear that Frank Gore has nothing wrong with him. Forget his long TD run, when he caught the ball on short swing passes he was juking like it was 2006 again. But the reason they even threw the ball to Gore at all was because with 15 men in the box on defense, Gore had no running room whatsoever after the Niners took the early lead.
Every other team in the NFL tries to throw deep from time to time. You don’t throw into triple-coverage, but if you have Crabtree on the outside with man coverage, there’s at least a 50% chance if you throw deep to him (and by deep I don’t mean a 22-yard pass, I’m talking 40 yards in the air) four times you’ll get at least one pass interference call.
Not only that, but (gasp) the defense may not go balls-out trying to stop the run. You know why Isaac Bruce is open more often than not? First, he’s got that veteran savvy that only Brian Sabean could truly appreciate. Second, opposing teams don’t worry about Bruce breaking a tackle and taking it to the house.
They’re obviously worried about Crabtree, which is why the 49ers are hesitant to risk an interception. But here’s the other thing: the Niners already punt 22 times per game, so what’s the difference between a 50-yard punt with a 5 yard return and a 45-yard pass that’s intercepted? Is Crabtree physically unable to tackle people?
Actually, he does hang out with Deion, so maybe.
Delay of game penalties are bad, getting knocked out of field goal range due to sacks is worse and fielding punts on the 1-yard-line is the worst. Still, it’s hard not to imagine the 49ers having a little more luck offensively if they were willing to gamble. Perhaps they’re waiting until they lose their 8th game to take the governor off their Ferrari. Hopefully they’ll do it sooner.