Why Things Aren't As Bad As They Seem

Wow, the attitude around here is morose. I can hardly read through a comments section without "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind running through my head.

"I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend" indeed.

Things seem awful right now and there's plenty of reason for that, but there's also plenty of reason to believe it's not as bad as it seems.

For one we're coming off an abysmal loss. Given that we have a full week to reflect on such things, the rhetoric is inevitably going to become exponentially apocalyptic. What seemed like a poorly played and coached game that was still a possible victory at half time quickly becomes the worst game of football ever played by anyone ever in the history of the world.

It's one game. We're 2-2 (about where you'd expect us to be) and we're in first place in the AFC East. Our schedule for the second half of the season is one of the easiest in the league. We very easily could have a winning record or be in the playoffs at the end of the year, even though by talk here you'd assume we just went 1-15 for the season. Try to take the long view and not get as caught up in as awful as things seem right now.

Secondly, that 49ers game was not as bad as it seems. Oh, it was still plenty terrible (I'd even use the term abysmal), but let's not forget just how flukey that game was.

- 3 of our turnovers were fumbles. Fumble recoveries are completely random. Two of the fumbles were extremely flukey.

- As proof of the randomness of fumble recoveries, note that the 49ers fumbled twice, but they recovered their fumbles. Since these things are random, we easily could have recovered two of ours and two of theirs and then it's a very different game without changing the talent dynamic on the field or the sidelines.

- Two of their touchdowns came off of flukey plays: A blocked punt and Santonio Holmes' injury-fumble. How many times is a receiver going to make a catch and then just throw the ball away? So that's 14 completely flukey points. A final score of 20-0 is still tremendously embarrassing, but it's not nearly a thumping that requires us to throw out our whole team.

- Every single time the offense would start to get in rhythm something weird would happen that would wreck it. 2 flukey fumbles, and that interception was weird. Sanchez should have put more velocity on the ball and he should have been aware the path wasn't clear, but I think 90 out of 100 times the ball is just batted down if not more.

Once again, this isn't to say that the team didn't play obnoxiously awful. They did. Every element of the team was bad (bad being an extremely generous word), it just wasn't as bad as it seemed.

We still need to figure out how to stop the run, we still need to work on our tackling, we still can't get any push in the run game, and our receivers are still dropping the ball/not in sync with Sanchez. Sanchez has made lots of mistakes too, but when he does the perfect thing, someone else screws up. I don't think Sanchez is the problem. He may yet prove to be one, but I can't in good conscience heap all of it on him.

He may be a failed experiment, but given the complete and utter failings of the rest of the offense, I don't think it's possible to objectively point out him as the problem.

Most important of all, though, I think what needs to be pointed out is that out team is underachieving. The problem isn't that we lack the players to get the job done. It's that the players simply aren't doing what they are capable of. It seems like every gain on the ground this season, going back to game 1, has come after several hits where the Jets have failed to take their man down. This is something they are capable of doing, they are simply failing to do so.

We don't need to tear up the team. Yes, some large tweaks would be appreciated. There have been a number of suggestions on this board that I quite agree with going forward, but the entire team does not need to be thrown out. Underachieving can be fixed.

I think the Texans game will be a marker of what we can expect from this team. If you can't course correct after being thoroughly embarrassed like we were Sunday, especially when we have an extra day of prep and are going against a team we've been able to beat in recent years, then there are deeper problems like everyone seems to be panicking about.

But I do see reason to believe that we will course correct. I do see reason to believe that we aren't as bad as this past Sunday would suggest. I do see reason to believe that we could beat the Texans (certainly if Keller and Hill are back). I just think all the panic is a bit overstated and a bit premature.

We'll see. Maybe I'm wrong. But there's still a lot of talent on this team. We're in a good position going forward. We just need to play to our ability to be at the top end of the league. Things aren't as bad as they seem.

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