The blogosphere is like the home crowd of a road game. If they are quiet, the 49ers are winning the game. If they’re roaring, the 49ers ain’t be scoring.
It was fairly quiet Tuesday. Considering the Niners lost the game, this is quite an achievement. But understandable. The hungry Boo Birds, poised along the rim of Candlestick and ready for a big night, were instead shooed away from the stadium by the second quarter, and never returned. The crowd was cheering and bonkering right up til the last three seconds of the game. Not a single slot in the parking lot vacated by an early exiter.
The primary targets of fan abuse, which is the meat and potatoes of the blogosphere — Mike Singletary, Jimmy Raye, and Alex Smith — all performed stunningly well Monday night, making themselves unavailable for the post game scorn wrap up. A few permanently addicted hate mongers made feeble efforts of derision, but by and large, it was a comparatively subdued post game party.
The news media, which loves to destroy people far more than it enjoys reporting news, had spent last week painting a picture of Singletary as a coach spiraling out of control and losing his team. Any fan paying the scantest attention to the 49ers these past few years has definitely seen teams that had lost their heart, but that was nowhere remotely visible on Monday night. Indeed, the team fought like warriors for three solid hours, against all odds and their own turnovers, and nearly pulled off a gigantic upset.
Raye had been portrayed last week as a doddering old fumble mouth, and the blogosphere has been punkin’ him since the day he was hired. He, as well as Singletary, have been regularly characterized as dinosaurs from the Eighties — not the WCO Eighties, of course, just the 85 Bears Eighties. However, 417 yards of offense Monday night, 150 on the ground and 275 in the air, didn’t look like anything but a tremendously well balanced offense. Still fashionable in any league and any year.
Smith probably has more detractors than any player in 49er history. After his woeful showing in Seattle on opening day, the blogs were ready to boil him in oil this week. Actually, they’ve been boiling him for several years now. Maybe he’s boil proof at this point. Whatever, on Monday night, on a national stage, he peed on every torch that has been applied to his torso: Can’t throw accurately – 71.8% completion percentage; Can’t read defenses – ask the Saints about that; Chokes when it counts – see last two minutes of 4th quarter.
Why did these three Niners look so damn good on Monday night? O-line. Let me spell it out: Offensive Line. Those five fellows who have been killing QBs, RBs, OCs, and HCs for at least the last three years, since Larry Allen’s last good year in 2006, and maybe longer than that. The O-line Monday night was not only great, it was damn near perfect. Smith had time to throw, Frank Gore had room to run, Raye’s plays worked. It’s a simple game.
More than any other aspect of Monday’s game, the performance of the O-line, especially the two first round rookie’s, is by far the most meaningful and exciting development for the future of this team. There’s a big test coming this week, on the road in Kansas City, but these guys can do it. How long it takes them to do it, each and every week, is the only question left. Mike Iupati is going to be a perennial Pro Bowl guard. Gore was practically having a post game dither down in awe of the holes Iupati was opening for him during the game, and the growth he had made since the Seattle game. The team has bookend tackles that are going to rival any team in the league. Even the strange and bizarre career of David Baas might be finding a warm and fuzzy ending smack in the middle of this emerging group of guys.
We are going places, Niner fans. Hopefully, prayerfully, Save Dennis From the Ledgefully, that festive trip will begin next Sunday at Arrowhead stadium.