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Monday Night Observations
That game went about as well as I could have hoped with the exception of my Cardinals +8 in my home picking pool. I needed George Kittle to outproduce the 49ers defense and Elijah Mitchell, check. I had Brandon Aiyuk going in two leagues where points were important, check. And I had the 49ers defense in two leagues, so I didn’t want them to get a zero, check. After a brutal Week 11, I needed a good Monday night game.
My Primetime team is now back to second in points and first in record. I suffered some hits on my lower-stakes leagues, but it could have been a lot worse.
The 49ers have more weapons than any team I can remember, maybe in league history. The 1980s Chargers had Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson/Wes Chandler, Chuck Muncie and James Brooks with a Hall of Fame QB, and maybe adjusted-for-era, that’s as good. But Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk and even Elijah Mitchell is up there.
Before garbage time the big five got 19 of 20 carries and 26 of 29 targets. The Niners only ran 49 plays all game, in part because they got three long touchdowns and often started with short fields.
For some reason, Mitchell barely played in the first half, though he led the team in carries with nine. Both he and McCaffrey are tough, slippery runners, always fighting for extra yards.
Samuel is a superstar, though his rugged style makes him more injury prone than the average receiver. It’s probably good for his long-term health that the team has so many options, but he’ll never see the 150-plus targets he deserves.
Kittle is like Samuel, a superstar that gets hurt too much in part because of his uber-physical style. But when he’s healthy, he’s like Travis Kelce, only a better blocker and tackle breaker.
Colt McCoy is an adequate backup. That’s not an insult.
DeAndre Hopkins (12-9-91-0) is still more or less the player he was a few years ago. Last year was ruined by injuries, but he makes the plays no matter who the quarterback is.
Greg Dortsch (10-9-103-0) had a nice game, though Marquise Brown’s return should reduce his role.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan have no excuses in a watered down NFC. Both have come up small when the stakes are highest, but if Nick Foles and Doug Pederson can win a Super Bowl, so can they.