Friday, August 3, 2012

Forgive Fumbling 49er Kyle Williams? Hell No



Forgive and forget, sayeth the Lord.. Don't hold grudges. If someone does you wrong, take the high road. Forgive them. Wish them well. Extinguish that flame of hate.

Hogwash. That high-road crap doesn't work.

That's why I can't look at Kyle Williams without my blood boiling. You're probably wondering, who's he? If you're a San Francisco 49er fan, like me, you wouldn't be asking that question.  For Niner fans, Williams is infamous, heading their black lists.

He's the butter-fingered punt-returner who single-handedly ruined the team's chances to get to the Super Bowl last January, derailing an epic comeback season. He made two bone-headed fumbles in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 22 in San Francisco, paving the way for the New York Giants to win in overtime, 20-17, and move on to the Super Bowl.

Blunder #1:  Late in the fourth quarter, with the Niners nursing a 14-10 lead, he let a punt bounce off his knee, giving the Giants the ball on the SF 29. The Giants scored, took a brief lead but the Niners forced overtime. Then Williams struck again.  Blunder #2:  He fumbled a punt at the 49er 24-yard line, setting up an easy, 29-yard field goal, gift-wrapping the 20-17 victory.

What was maddening was that the Niners had been so great at avoiding mistakes. During the season, they tied an NFL record with only 10 giveaways. Even more impressive, there were zero giveaways by special teams. Williams, a 5 ft, 10-inch, 186-pound, second year-man from Arizona State, was a backup who was elevated to No. 1 punt-returner because Ted Ginn Jr. had been injured the previous week in that thrilling win over the New Orleans Saints. Clearly, inexperienced Williams crumbled under pressure. Most likely, the veteran Ginn would have maintained the special-teams' error-free record.

My problem is that I can't look at Williams and not think about those monster mistakes. Arguably, the 49ers were the NFL's best team last season, with a marvelous defense and an opportunistic offense that  scored just enough and avoided killer fumbles and picks. But those formidable units got sabotaged by that special teams' blunderer Kyle Williams.

Will Williams ever get out of my dog house? Could it be that I'll turn into a version of a neighbor I had back when I was a kid in Philadelphia. This young Italian named Rocco--I forget his last name--was a die-hard Brooklyn Dodger fan who went to New York for that famous baseball game against the Giants on Oct. 3, 1951 at the Polo Grounds. In one of the most dramatic moments in the sport's history,  the Giants' Bobby Thomson hit a ninth-inning, walk-off, three-run homer to KO the Dodgers, 5-4, and put the Giants in the World Series. It was Ralph Branca who tossed Thomson that gopher ball. From then on Jerry was haunted by that loss, hated Branca and shared his pain, again and again, with anyone who'd listen.

Am I destined to become another Jerry? I hope not. So, here goes. I forgive you, Kyle.  Forgive and forget, forgive and forget, forgive....

Damn, it's not working.