Niners weaknesses revealed |

Niners weaknesses revealed

Steve Yingling

If the 49ers’ record spate of hanky panky against Buffalo on Sunday revealed anything, it’s that they aren’t as good as their once-unbeaten record reflected.

The aging Bills uncovered some old Niners weaknesses and a new, more problematic one.

If the Niners can eliminate their self-destruction of 22 penalties for 178 yards, of utmost concern is their protection of concussion-susceptible Steve Young. The offensive line shouldn’t bear all of the blame for surrendering five sacks since Buffalo’s 20-0 lead forced Young to throw almost every down. But the Niners were playing a fading team in the Buffalo Bills. What will happen when that line goes up against the Packers, Buccaneers or Broncos?

Remember, San Francisco’s first three wins came against the Jets, Redskins and Falcons.

Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the Niners field one of the worst defenses in the NFL right now. One of the league’s most inept offenses generated 352 total yards against the Niners. The 49ers can’t stop the run and they play too soft on pass coverage.

Unless the Niners solve some of these problems, they’ll lose in the conference semifinals or finals again.

Furthermore, they’ll have their hands full this Sunday in New Orleans. Mike Ditka either has the Saints playing well because they’re scared or they finally have the talent again. Although the Niners are masters of bouncing back from losses, they might have to keep Young on the field well into the fourth quarter.

Complicating matters for the Niners is the dissension among their receiving unit.

Jerry Rice’s sideline tantrum several weeks back stemmed from what he felt were a lack of passes directed his way. Young also has potential all-pros J.J. Stokes and Terrell Owens to throw to, so obviously Rice has to understand that he’s not the go-to guy any longer.

Can you believe animal-rights supporters got bent out of shape over the TV commercial showing Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle John Randle chasing a chicken wearing a Brett Favre jersey around a barnyard.

The commercial opens with Randle sewing a Favre jersey on the chicken and concludes with Randle grilling the poultry.

Pretty funny, huh? But not too amusing to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has protested the commercial.

Lighten up. The Favre chicken is probably eating better than we are?

Outside of the coaches, no one takes a Viking football loss harder than tight end/linebacker Corey Martin. Martin, who rarely comes off the field, should have been on it at halftime as well during homecoming Saturday at South Tahoe High.

Martin, who is being recruited by several NCAA Division I schools, was voted homecoming king. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, however, would have preferred someone else on the homecoming court.

“I don’t even know why that’s me. I’m not a dance-go-out-and-party kind of guy. I’m a tight end and linebacker. I like to go home and sleep after the game,” Martin said. “Quarterbacks are supposed to get that kind of thing. I like to wear my sweat pants and get dirty.”

They did it again. STHS’s football coaching staff again showed the aptitude to switch the Vikings’ offense when it was languishing.

After using a spread offense, featuring a wide-open passing attack for five games, the Vikings switched to the Wing-T against Hug on Saturday. It paid off as the Vikings rushed for 168 yards in the first half and 216 overall in a 24-21 loss to the Hawks.

Offensive coordinator Todd McIntyre and coach Tim Jaureguito switched to the Wing-T to emphasize the complementary running of bruising fullback Bryan “Moose” Marino and shifty speed burner John Giannoni.

In their previous two games, the Vikings only lit the scoreboard for a combined 13 points.

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