Here are five quick-hit observations from the Rams’ huge 25-17 victory over the 49ers on Sunday.
1. There’s no way Mike Singletary can retain his job.
This was a massive win for the Rams but I have to talk about Mike Singletary first. This man continues to prove that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a head coach at this point in his career. Once again, he got into another shouting match with his starting quarterback when he and Troy Smith went at it in the third quarter. Right before the altercation, Smith had thrown an interception and Singletary told Alex Smith to start warming up. That must have angered Smith, who had been brutal but the Niners were only trailing 22-14 at the time. Singletary decided to put Troy Smith back into the game, but benched wound up benching him for the fourth quarter. Singletary clearly doesn’t know how to manage NFL quarterbacks and if I’m the 49ers’ brass, I wouldn’t wait a millisecond before firing him at the conclusion of the season. He benched Troy Smith in favor of Alex Smith a couple of weeks ago, even though Troy Smith had posted a winning record in his five starts. Then, with the team’s season on the line this weekend in St. Louis, Singletary again makes a switch, only to bench Troy Smith in the fourth quarter anyway. Granted, it doesn’t matter. The 49ers weren’t going to make the playoffs and Troy Smith was awful. But this is the NFL. This isn’t a video game where you jostle between quarterbacks every quarter in attempt to strike lightening in a bottle. Too much preparation and planning goes into a game the week before for Singletary to keep going back-and-forth between quarterbacks. It’s freaking idiotic and seeing as how this wasn’t the first time one of his players has yelled at him on the sidelines, it’s also apparent that he doesn’t have control of his team. I wouldn’t trust him to run my car at this point, let alone my football team.
2. The Niners should call Chucky.
Once San Francisco cans Singletary, the first call the front office needs to make is to Jon Gruden. Assuming he wouldn’t mind leaving the booth and coming down to the sidelines again, Gruden would be a perfect fit for the Niners. After the debacle that is Mike Singletary, San Fran will need a head coach that knows how to manage quarterbacks. Chucky won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson and won a division title with Jeff Garcia, so clearly the man knows how to do just that. Whether or not they stick with Alex Smith or Troy Smith is irrelevant. Gruden can figure that out once he comes aboard but the key is that the Niners need to hire an established coach that can help restore the order that has been lost under Singletary. The players need someone that they can follow and who they trust, not some windbag who likes to here himself talk but who doesn’t have the faintest idea about the X’s and O’s of the game.
3. Again, big win for the Rams.
Okay, now that I’m done ranting…that was a huge win for the Rams. The victory has rendered the game between the Seahawks and Bucs (which is currently in the third quarter) meaningless. Whoever wins next Sunday when the Seahawks host the Rams in Seattle will win the feeble NFC West. At this point, it would almost be a shame if the Seahawks won the division and causal fans don’t get to see Sam Bradford host his first-ever playoff game. Both teams will likely get waxed by the fifth seed (which will most likely be the Saints) anyway, so bring on the rookie.
4. The NFL needs to re-seed for the playoffs.
While we’re on the topic of the NFC West, the NFL really needs to implement re-seeding when it comes to the playoffs. It’s a shame that a team like the Giants (or Packers) will be left out of the playoffs when an 8-8 or 7-9 team from the NFC West gets in. It’s even more of a shame that the 8-8/7-9 team will get to host a playoff game when a 10 or 11-win Saints team will have to go on the road. Does a scenario likes this happen often? No. But the fact that it’s happening at all should be enough for the league to step in. I don’t have a problem with having the four division winners make the playoffs. But the Rams or Seahawks have proved this year that just because you win your division doesn’t mean you have the right to host a playoff game. (And I’ll still feel that way even if the Rams or Seahawks pull off an upset in the Wildcard Round.)
5. Bradford helps Rams shrug off recent offensive woes.
After the Rams’ offense had gone cold over the past couple of weeks, Bradford helped revive them on Sunday. He completed 28-of-37 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown to finish with a 107.0 QB Rating but more importantly, he was accurate and flashed some of his athletic ability. On a pivotal touchdown pass to receiver Laruent Robinson in the second half, Bradford scrambled to his right and threw back across his body to Robinson in the end zone. Granted, that’s usually a cardinal sin for quarterbacks but the Rams needed a big play at the time and Bradford delivered. As previously noted, it would be fun to watch the rookie play in the postseason, so here’s hoping the Rams can finish off the Seahawks next week.