The Rams come to Candlestick on Sunday with a chance to tie up their all time series with the 49ers, who currently lead 62-61-2. The chances the Rams will do so? Squat.
I probably shouldn’t be so cavalier about their chances Sunday. Anything can happen in a football game. They have some decent players and QB Sam Bradford might get his favorite WR Danny Amendola back this week. But the 49ers have better focus, more hope, better players, and just aren’t about to lose this game.
A win Sunday will give the Niners a clean 3 in row sweep of their division rivals. With Seattle poised to run the table at home this year, only the Niners seem capable of derailing that dream in the next to last game of the season. The Seahawks suck on the road and could easily lose their remaing away contests to finish 1-7 as the visitor. 8-0 at home would give them 9 wins and a possible playoff spot. A loss at home to the Niners would freeze them out.
But I get ahead of myself. One slaughter at a time.
With hurricane Sandy, the Bye Week, the Election, and the World Series, it’s been difficult to remember we’re even having a football season in the Bay Area. The Raiders played last week, but that can’t really be classified as football. An embarrassment is more like it. Any momentum we got from the impressive win over AZ was dissipated within a few days.
But that game may have shown us the blueprint for the rest of the season. Teams have focused on stopping the run and taking Vernon Davis’ big play ability away. Nobody can stop the 49er running game right now, except by getting a two score lead — something our defense hardly ever allows. But Davis has indeed been quieted.
Beginning with the second half of the Seattle game and continuing through all of the AZ game, however, the team has begun to resemble the old Bill Walsh Niners — whisking down field with short passes and lots of yards after the catch. Michael Crabtree has become a force, Mario Manningham routinely slips free, and Delanie Walker is getting the passes that might normally have gone to Davis. Sooner or later, teams will have to relax their Davis obsession to cope and the big old lug will be a force once more.
In short, the 49ers have too many weapons now for another team to cope with. Pick your poison. This is the scenario most of us hoped for when the team upgraded its WR group last offseason, and we are starting to see the results.
Or we were before the season went on hold for two weeks. Hopefully, the team hasn’t lost focus like the rest of us have. Maybe they’ll sputter a bit in the first half against the Rams, but it will be a brutal beat down after that.