49ers 37, Packers 20

The 49ers made it look easy Sunday night, pounding their way to a 27-0 halftime lead and cruising to the finish line. There wasn’t a moment of real anxiety the entire game.

The most laughable and yet telling stat of the game belonged to Jimmy Garoppolo: 6-8 for 77 yards. EIGHT passes thrown the entire evening.

But who needed to pass when Raheem Mostert was doing just fine racking up 220 yards on the ground with four TDs? That’s a 1940s style beat down. If I were a Packers fan, I’d wish I weren’t. Not with a Green Bay headline of MOSTERT OUTDUELS RODGERS staring at me on a cold, dreary Monday morning.

Deebo Samuels led the 49er receivers with two catches for 46 yards. George Kittle had one catch, Emmanuel Sanders none, Kendrick Bourne one. This was all in the beginning of the game, before Kyle Shanahan realized the Packers couldn’t stop the run if they tried all night. Which the Packers did and pretty much didn’t. This was quite similar to the Vikings game a week earlier. The Niners ran over them, too.

So the Niners will be heading to Miami for their seventh visit to the Super Bowl and their second attempt to win their sixth Lombardi trophy. This was not on anyone’s radar when the season began. We had a QB who had never played a full season, a FS who spent more time breaking parts of his body than playing his position, a rookie pass rusher who got hurt in OTAs and again in Training Camp, and a WR group that didn’t scare anybody.

Needless to say, every one of these question marks/problems were resolved favorably for the team. Nick Bosa was a force, Sanders came in a trade, Jimmie Ward finally played an entire year, as did Garoppolo. Even so, a trip to the SB is a wholly unexpected outcome. Most of the credit has to go to the defense, which played lights out all year. And they have their biggest test yet in two weeks when the Niners take on the Chiefs and their redhot QB Patrick Mahomes.

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Gloat Sandwich

The 49ers and Packers had a pretty good rivalry in the late ’90s, albeit a bit one sided. Brett Farve had their number and knocked them out of the playoffs in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The Niners finally beat him in 1998, thanks to an uncalled fumble on Jerry Rice and a last second bullet to Terrell Owens for the winning TD.

The joy was short-lived. The following week, Garrison Hearst busted up his leg early in the NFC Championship game against Atlanta, and the Niners couldn’t overcome it.

They’ve had better luck against Aaron Rodgers, knocking the Packers out of the playoffs in 2012 and 2013. Symmetry demands that we knock them out again this year so we’re all squares with the past.

Actually, the perfect symmetry would have been for the Seahawks to beat Green Bay, then come to Santa Clara and get beat by the Niners when they get an end zone interception off Russell Wilson that seals the victory and causes Dickhead Sherman to rant and spit uncontrollably at his former team. A reverse outcome from the 2013 season.

Denied that scenario, we’ll just have to be content in the knowledge that Wilson and Pete Carroll are home this week, suffering terribly from yet another year of failure, getting up each morning to the awful realization that they are losers, agonizing over the inches of destiny that the football gods will not overturn to save them from the finality of defeat. Six months of offseason hell to live through. Sigh. How delicious.

It’s possible the 49ers will be sad this time next week, too. Not nearly as sad as the Seahawks, but sad is sad, let’s face it. The networks would be sad, too, if the SB ends up Titans vs Packers. The two smallest markets in the league, with not a hint of significant history or glamor for the Tennessee team.

Nope, the world wants to see 49ers vs Chiefs in the SB. Especially after that ugly duckling last year that featured no offense at all. One more win, fellas, one more win.

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49ers 27, Vikings 10

When last we saw the 49ers, they were surviving by an inch after a second half defensive collapse that nearly derailed their season. They had also just finished five  consecutive nail-biter games, going 3-2.

Saturday, however, they mercifully quit pissing around with our delicate fan psyches and tromped all over the Minnesota Vikings in a dominant defensive performance that had us sipping tea and crumpets by the fourth quarter. Thank you, fellas. Keep it up!

Jimmy Garoppolo did not have a particularly good game. He was off target several times and made some poor decisions at others. But the defense was so strong it took the heart out of the Vikings who wilted in the third quarter when the Niners ran the ball down their throats on  eight consecutive plays and 44 yards for the TD that put the game out of reach.

Nothing like having a healthy team. Returning from the hobble factory were Jaquiski TarttDee FordKwon Alexander, and Mike Person. And there was the excellent choice to bring back Earl Mitchell to provide some fresh fat man in the middle that’s been missing since DJ Jones went out for the season. And one last touch, the critical substitution of Emmanuel Moseley for the burnt remains of Ahkello Witherspoon. The net result was a defense that limited the Vikings to 21 yards rushing and 126 yards passing.

So, here we are again after six long years, playing next Sunday for the NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl. We’ll find out today whether the team will be facing the Seahawks or the Packers in this title game. And we can begin to wonder if this year’s 13-3 team will emulate the 2011 13-3 team, which came up short, or the 1981 13-3 team, which most certainly did not.

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Let’s Go Get A Ring

Okay, here we are again. Back in the playoffs, number one seed, and as good a chance as any team to advance to the Super Bowl. Not exactly what any of us envisioned at the start of the season, but what the hey, we’ll take it.

Minnesota just did the 49ers a favor by knocking off the Saints, who looked like their toughest playoff opponent. But the Vikes did that in 1987, too, and that did not pan out too good for the 49ers. That playoff loss remains one of the most disappointing defeats in Niner history.

Fortunately, Jimmy Garoppolo was not even born yet and thus has no memory to be nervous about. Joe Staley was only three and was more concerned about his parents saying things like, “Ethel, this kid’s awful big for his age.”

Kirk Cousins finally won a game that guys making $30 million a year are supposed to win but Cousins never really had. That could be the breakthrough moment for him or just a nice way to head into the offseason after getting beat this Saturday. We’ll choose the latter scenario. Sorry, Kirk, but this is Jimmy’s year.

HC Kyle Shanahan wanted Cousins for his QB here and ended up with Garoppolo. I doubt he’s disappointed with that fortuitous development. Still, he knows Cousins well enough to be wary of his talent, and hopefully well enough to defuse it.

The Viking defense is probably more of a concern. They’re pretty good and have the best record in the league at stuffing tight ends in the passing game. That’s the position occupied by the 49ers’ best player, George Kittle. That might seem to be a big advantage to Minnesota’s efforts to stifle the Niner offense, or it could be a stat that doesn’t mean much because the Vikings played only one team with a super star tight end – Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, who had Matt Moore as his QB that day. Kelce still caught seven passes for sixty-two yards. So, once again, we’ll choose the latter scenario.

And in the Thank God for Small Favors department, win or lose, we will at least not be going to Green Bay for an Ice Bowl game.

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49ers 26, Seahawks 21

Sorry for the tardy game wrap up, guys. I was out of town for the weekend and didn’t get back until late Monday.

The delay did give me a chance to spend quite a bit of time gloating shamelessly. I was almost booted off my plane flight home by airport security for reckless cheerfulness. I kept telling them, “You don’t understand. Giving Russell Wilson two entire sets of downs from the ten yard line to win the game and seeing him FAIL – it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.” Dre Greenlaw!! Our hero!

Adding in the colossal blunder of Seattle HC Pete Carroll to get his team on the field in time to punch it in from the one yard line in a game that would be decided by an inch and you have yourself a double header of HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Two tormentors slain in one epic moment.

Of course, at the time, it was a bit sweaty on our side of the field, to say the least. Blowing a two score lead at the last second for yet another in a long list of Seattle heartbreaks. An unbearable indignity.

Deebo Samuel had another huge game. He’s emerged in the second half of the season as the star WR that has been missing in SF for a very long time. Between him and all-world TE George Kittle the Niners have an offense that is almost impossible to contain.

Kudos also to Jimmy Garoppolo who showed once again that no game is too big for him. Each time Seattle scored and 49er sphincters tightened in horror, there was Jimmy, cooly leading a drive to re-take control of the game. And Nick Bosa. The guy didn’t get any official sacks, but he was all over the field, relentlessly pressuring Wilson and making tackles everywhere. These two are the cornerstones of the team for many years to come.

2011 – 2012, 49ers owned the NFC West. 2013 – 2014, Seahawks. 2015 – 2016, Cardinals. 2017 – 2018, Rams.

The NFC West has been a perfect equal opportunity division this past decade. And Sunday the Niners took their rightful turn in the rotation again. It would be nice if they didn’t cough up the first game of the playoffs, especially if that game is yet another tussle with the Seahawks, but there’s no taking away from the amazing season the team has had.

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2019 Schedule
9-8: W 49ers 31, Buccaneers 17
9-15: W 49ers 41,Bengals 17
9-22: W 49ers 24, Steelers 20
9-29: BYE

10-7: W 49ers 31, Browns 3
10-13: W 49ers 20, Rams 7
10-20: W 49ers 9, Washington 0
10-27: W 49ers 51, Panthers 13
10-31: W 49ers 28, Cardinals 25

11-11: L Seahawks 27, 49ers 24
11-17: W 49ers 36, Cardinals 26
11-24: W 49ers 37, Packers 8

12-1: L Ravens 20, 49ers 17
12-8: W 49ers 48, Saints 46
12-15: L Falcons 29, 49ers 22
12-21: W 49ers 34, Rams 31
12-29: W 49ers 26, Seahawks 21

Playoffs

01-11: W 49ers 27, Vikings 10
01-19: W 49ers 37, Packers 20

2019 Draft Class
1. DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
2. WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
3. WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor
4. P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
5. LB Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
6. TE Kaden Smith, Stanford
6. OT Justin Skule, Vanderbilt
6. DB Tim Harris, Virginia
 
2019 Prognostications

Closest to the Pin:
   Bakkentom: 10-6
   Bullit: 10-6

Grumpy: 9-7
Skeebers: 8-8
Mr Fletch: 7-9
NJ49er: 7-9
Winder: 7-9

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