SAN FRANCISCO – Jim Harbaugh sold out the class and integrity of the 49ers by playing Aldon Smith against the Colts on Sunday. He played Smith, arrested Friday for driving dead drunk into a tree, because, according to Harbaugh, "It was a decision we made."
He didn't say who "we" are or who made the decision or why. It doesn't matter. It was a horrible decision, an unacceptable decision by a desperate man. Harbaugh sold out the team, sold out the glorious history of this legendary franchise because he was desperate to win a game. And he didn't win it, anyway. If he cared about Smith — he says he does — he should have put him in treatment on Friday.
This is the low point of Harbaugh's coaching career in San Francisco, getting murdered by the Colts 27-7. After only three games, you wonder, "How low can Harbaugh go?"
The last time Harbaugh had a losing record as a coach was 2008 — he went 5-8 at Stanford with a rebuilding team — these 49ers hardly are a rebuilding team. He has a losing record now, a paltry 1-2 and the 49ers are tied for last place in the NFC West.
He now has lost two games in a row, the first time he's accomplished that as the Niners' coach since he took over with such fanfare and promise. In the past two games, his offense, regarded as the standard of the NFL just a few weeks ago, has scored 10 points. That's an average of five points a game.
Just about everybody assumed the 49ers would beat the Colts. It's not that the Niners are a better team. They clearly are not. Lots of teams may be better than the Niners at this point. People ceded this game to the 49ers because of Harbaugh, because he's supposed to be special, although his specialness in the NFL was based on a limited sample size.
The 49ers would win because Harbaugh never loses two in a row and, get this, he knows how to motivate a team for darn sure. He always gets his team ready because they are blue collar and they work harder than everyone else. Harbaugh is God's gift to motivators. Well, that's a myth.
How good was Harbaugh's motivation on Sunday?
Aldon Smith prepped for the game by getting drunk. Harbaugh didn't seem to motivate Smith. Harbaugh didn't seem to reach Smith in the least. And Harbaugh certainly didn't motivate his offense, currently among the worst in the NFL.
This may seem harsh, but answer this. Just what is Harbaugh bringing to the 49ers these days?
He sure hasn't provided the offense with adequate receivers. Go ahead and say tight end Vernon Davis didn't play and that's why the Niners lost. Please.
Harbaugh, who respects certain parts of the football code, refused to cop the injury excuse after the game. Praise him for that.
Here's the hard truth and it's not about injuries. Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke were deficient in getting receivers when they had the chance. Aside from Anquan Boldin and Davis, when he plays, the 49ers do not have a single pass catcher who frightens the league. The 49ers had no weapons to beat the Colts, a fairly good team.