IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: 49ers, Raiders wrap dismal campaigns
January 4, 2019
IT'S OVER: Not the season that was expected as the San Francisco 49ers go 4-12 following their 48-32 final game loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Three turnovers in the first quarter followed by a Pick-6 to start the second. A strong fourth quarter is not enough. The highlight: George Kittle shatters the NFL single season mark for reception yards by a tight end. Dismal campaign for San Francisco.
OAKLAND'S SAD FAREWELL: Two fumbles and two interceptions in the first 23 minutes, the Oakland Raiders get one field goal in this 35-3 finale. They will flee Oakland as soon as possible, and this time there is no coming back. They are pleased to get out of the worst sports city and stadium in America.
ALABAMA/CLEMSON: Oklahoma pushes favored Alabama, but the Tide prevail 45-34. Alabama goes up 28-0 early and holds on for the win. Notre Dame did not play well enough to compete in their 30-3 loss to Clemson. Going into the fourth it was 306 yards to 141 yards in favor of Clemson. Trevor Lawrence shines with 27-for-39, 327 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Monday's clash in Santa Clara will decide it all. My pick: Alabama by 10.
ROSE BOWL: Folsom's Jake Browning turns in a good effort, but Washington falls short in the 28-23 defeat vs. No. 6 Ohio State. The Huskies were 0-for-18 on drives for a touchdown before scoring in the fourth quarter. It is Urban Meyer's swan song to Ohio State football. He says, "I don't believe I am going to coach again."
SUN BOWL: This is one that the Stanford Cardinal stole. Everything was dominated by Pitt except the score. It is a 14-13 shocker for Stanford. The Cardinal had zero third-down conversions through three quarters. They had a hard time moving the ball. K.J. Costello had perhaps his weakest performance of the season. It was a dismal performance that they turned into a win.
REDBOX BOWL: Poor Michigan State and Oregon. They had to play at deplorable Levi Stadium. It should have been called the PENALTY BOX BOWL. Have you ever seen a football game played on an ice rink? Traction was horrible. The field was shredded. Oregon could only come up with 208 yards offense in a 7-6 winning effort. Are you ready for the National Championship game in Santa Clara? Good luck!
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THE NEED TO CLOSE-OUT: The Kings are much improved. They sit at 19-19, but it could be better. In games vs. Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers simply cannot finish the game. Relatively close losses which they should have won. In Thursday's game vs. the Denver Nuggets, they play an inspired first half, leading by double-digits. However, Denver mounts the comeback and seals it in the fourth. Even with great progress, this is a mountain they must climb.
COUSINS TO THE RESCUE?: The Golden State Warriors are struggling through their most challenging season in five years. They go 10-5 in December and open up January with an OT loss against the Rockets. Is DeMarcus Cousins really the answer? We will soon find out. In the meantime, even with the firepower they possess, they are playing ordinary basketball.
SHARKS MUST DEFEND BETTER: San Jose is 20th in the NHL defensively. The goaltending has not been up to par as evidenced in their 8-5 loss in Calgary. However, with a high octane offense, they need to get it right-sized. Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic must find a way to clean it up for a team that continues to surge.
CANADA OUSTED: The International Hockey Federation Juniors Tournament is being held in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia this year. Team Canada, the host and one of the favorites, is bested in overtime by an opportunistic Fin team. Great heartbreak north of the border. Canadian fans will be left to root for the Russians as the play the United States in the semifinals. You see, they dislike Team USA so much that they would rather see Russia prevail. Sour Canadians got what they deserved.
UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE: Andre Iguodala throws the ball wildly into the stands at the end of the first half on Saturday. He is ejected for a "Hostile Act." In the Switzerland/Russia game in the IHF Juniors tournament, a Swiss player is tripped on a breakaway. He gets up and is tripped again before getting off his shot. It results in two penalty shots on the same play. Just when you think you have seen everything, you realize how much more there is to learn.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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