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 Tartt, Dee Ford, Kwon 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.