The Gold Rush: Week Three Niners Awards: The Roof Is on Fire Edition

Updated: October 2, 2015
San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) tries to escape against Arizona Cardinals' Daryl Washington (58) in the second quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013.  (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

By BLS Columnist, Justin Goldman

I’ve been a 49ers fan since the late ’80s. The Niners fanbase is generally regarded as pretty spoiled, and with some good reason—after all, we had Joe Montana and then Steve Young, who combined for two solid decades of dominant football. But we Niners fans have seen the other side of the equation. We lived through the Erickson/Nolan/Singletary era. Those were some bad teams that had a lot of bad losses—but I don’t think anything we saw back then compares with what happened last weekend. That was the worst game I’ve ever seen a Niners team play, and it’s time to admit that we might be looking at the worst squad in San Francisco history. Let’s broke out the marshmallows and roast them over the burning husk of this football team.

The Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted Award (Best Nervous Breakdown): Colin Kaepernick

I watched the game this weekend at a sports bar in Brooklyn. I walked in just after 4 p.m. and asked the bartender to switch one of the TVs to the Niners game. Not ten seconds later, Colin Kaepernick made a dying quail of a throw out toward the sideline from his own goal line.

As soon as the turd of a throw left his hand, I knew it was a pick-six.


When the inevitable happened, I put my head down on the bar, and everyone around me started laughing.

Just a couple of minutes later, on the Niners’ next possession, Kaep made an even worse throw, a sidearm fling off his back foot, again toward the sideline. Once again, I knew it was a pick-six the moment the ball left his hand.


If anything, the second throw was worse than the first, and as Tyrann Mathieu strolled toward the end zone, I was the one who laughed—the maniacal, hopeless laughter of someone who was watching his house burn down with all his worldly possessions inside. Six minutes into the first quarter, with the score 14-0, the game was over.

I’ve long been a Colin Kaepernick supporter. You can ask any of my friends. When Harbaugh replaced Smith with Kaep, I thought it was the right move. When people doubted Kaep while he struggled at times during the 2013 season, I defended him, saying that I’d rather have him than any of his contemporaries except for Andrew Luck. Even last year, as he was falling apart, I thought he still might be salvageable.

Now? Nope. I know I’m not supposed to overreact to one game, and I know that even the Bradys and Mannings of the world have afwul games from time to time, but I am not exaggerating when I say that say that that was the worst game I’ve ever seen an NFL quarterback play. He threw four picks, and none of them were unlucky. Each one was terrible in its own beautiful, tragic, Yeatsean way. Kaepernick’s incompetence was so perfect, it verged on poetry. A terrible beauty is born, indeed.

Some numbers, for perspective: At one point early in the third quarter, Kaepernick had completed five passes to members of his own team and four passes to members of the Cardinals. He finished the game 9-for-19 for 67 yards. His QBR was 3.2.

And the worst thing isn’t even the performance; it’s the way he and the team reacted to it. Down 21-0 in the second quarter, they called 13 straight running plays. SF clearly lost any faith in Kaep’s ability to throw the ball. And even when he threw, it wasn’t exactly a high-concept offense.


I’m never gonna get tired of using that video, and it’s a good thing, because holy shit, have you seen what our schedule looks like? After the Packers, the next seven games are at N.Y. Giants, Ravens, Seahawks, at Rams, Falcons, at Seahawks, Cardinals. Do you honestly believe the Niners can win any of those games? MAYBE at the Rams, but just thinking about Kaepernick against Aaron Donald and that Rams D-line makes me want to curl up in a ball. There’s a very real chance that the Niners will be 1-10 by the time they get to another winnable game, and even then, our December games against the Bears and Browns are both on the road. This is it, folks. Abandon all hope. We’re fucking toast.