Coach Singletary, you asked for smashmouth football...and you got it.
After watching 8 games with Mike Martz at the helm of the offense, you had enough. You had the guts to bench J.T. O'Sullivan halfway through the Seattle game. Your first executive decision as a head coach. And then, you did the unthinkable Coach Sing. You told Martz that you wanted to run a more traditional smashmouth offense. An offense that settles around a power running attack and a short passing game...HUH!? Boooooring...at least from Coach Martz's perspective.
OK, I'm stretching a bit. After all, I just want the 49ers to start winning some football games. I like that you manned up and told Martz to run an offense that was a better fit for the personnel on offense. Let's see...the 49ers have an Pro Bowl caliber RB in Frank Gore. The offensive line is loaded with run blocking linemen. Your new(old) QB, Shaun Hill, is a conservative passer who won't make the big plays, but will emphasize ball security and manage the game better. Coach Sing, you've started the transformation that Nolan should've implemented at the beginning of the season. I applaude you for that, really I do! I can find excitement in the power running game. I can also find excitement in the short 5 yard pass that go for first down on a 3rd and 4. This is an offense that sustains drives to rest the defense.
Now it's game time! On the first field goal attempt, you were met by some resistance from Coach Martz. I like how you stood your ground and elected to kick the field goal. Your call Coach Sing. You also made some gutsy challenges that were not successful. That's OK. Those weren't the bone-headed Nolan-esqe challenges we Niner fans are accustomed to seeing.
Fast forward to the final 40 seconds. I commend Mike Martz for calling plays to get the offense to the 1 yard line. But this is where it gets a little fuzzy. It took a good 20 seconds to get lined up to spike the ball. Who's call was it to shift personnel at this most inopportune time? History would indicate that this was a Martz Mixup, but who knows? Then there was the final 2 run plays with 20 seconds left. This is how it went down...
2-1-goal - Frank Gore to the left tackle for no gain. Play was reviewed for runner down by contact. After review, the officials spotted the ball back at the 2 yard line for a 1 yard loss and reset the clock to 4 seconds.
3-1-goal - Michael Robinson up the middle for 1 yard. Game over.
Interesting set of play calls. I would have thought that with 20 seconds left that we would attempt some kind of pass play as not to run the clock down. Call it a hunch, but if Martz was still Martz, I believe he would've called pass plays on both plays regardless of success or failure. It's the Martz style. I am under the belief that because Martz was told to play "smashmouth" football, he was more conservative. Coach Sing, you called Martz out on this. You basically threw him under the bus. You said the decision to run was Martz's...and you didn't back him up on it. I'm going against the grain because most critics are calling Martz out on that call. But was it really Martz's call? He was just running smashmouth plays that you demanded and the offense didn't "finish".
I like that the team showed more physicality than in the past. I like the smashmouth approach. But Coach Sing, I must say that if this is what you want out of your offensive coordinator, then this is what you get. At any time during the game, you could've superceded Coach Martz's playcalling. That is your right as a head coach. You admitted that the team didn't finish. The bottom line is that if the play suceeded, then the coaching staff would be heroes. But it failed and you are just as accountable as Martz.
I like you Coach Sing. You showed a lot of promise on Monday. You changed many elements on this team to take advantage of the strengths and limit the weaknesses. You are growing into this role Coach Sing, and I applaude you for that. There is still a long way to go, but progress was made. Let's not fall into the same trap as Nolan. Players need to "finish", but coaches need to "finish" too. It's time to be accountable for the coaching as well.