A Scoop of Vanilla

The 49er bar was set pretty low when the 2011 season began. For the past few years, the goal was simply to win the NFC West. To draft and recruit players who could beat Seattle, Arizona, and St. Louis. To somehow get into the playoffs.

With the lockout and the new coaching staff, that playoff goal was abandoned for this year and most just wanted the team to show progress as it muddled its way to a losing record. Some even argued this was a rebuilding year.

But this new coaching staff made a change in the team’s vision. It discarded the “Win the West” mind set and adopted a “Be the Best” attitude. As we finally arrive at the intra-division part of the schedule, the 49ers have conquered the league before even tangling with their division rivals. They can Win the West almost as an afterthought, a by-product of Being the Best.

Sunday’s opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, are probably the NFC West team least likely to achieve any success whatsoever for the next fifty years. It’s a Bidwell enterprise and good players leave faster than they arrive. The 49ers have owned them for two straight seasons. Unless Jim Harbaugh plays this game strictly vanilla — and he might — it should not even be close. It might not even be close with a vanilla game plan. After all, vanilla was the only flavor in the store the past two years, and the Cardinals were steamrolled anyway. And with the epic Harbaugh vs Harbaugh game upcoming next Thursday, I would expect vanilla all the way this Sunday.

This is a game where Aldon Smith should get back on track sack-wise. The Cardinal tackles are two of the worst in the league. The Smith next door to Aldon should get a couple of sacks himself. Arizona QB John Skelton might stagger home from this game feeling like the more famous Skelton’s character, Clem Kadiddlehopper.

It’s difficult to say which NFC West opponent will present the best challenge to the Niners in the coming years. St. Louis has fallen apart this year, victims of a tough early schedule and regressed performances by the defense and offensive line. Their coach, Steve Spagnuolo, appears likely to get canned after the season, and unless the team hires Josh McDaniels as the new HC, the OC will be departing also. This would put Sam Bradford squarely on the same wicked path that torpedoed Alex Smith in San Francisco.

Seattle has the best home field advantage in the West, but only if they are fielding a contender. Pete Carroll has yet to prove he’s anything much more than a smooth talking salesman, but Seattle has a very good defense and that goes a long way in this league. If they get a decent QB, this would be the team most likely to provide the stiffest division competition for the Niners.

Meanwhile, absolutely nobody will be expecting the Cardinals to beat the 49ers on Sunday. In fact, 99.9% of nobodies will not expect this game to even be close. There have been a whole lot of nail biter triumphs this year, but Sunday we should be able to simply and calmly watch the team squash Arizona. We should. Of course, there’s always an Acts of God clause in every human endeavor, so until we get three scores ahead, it will be okay to sweat and chew your fingernails.

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51 comments on “A Scoop of Vanilla
  1. robNo Gravatar says:

    i don’t expect this game to even be close

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    There is no excuse to lose this week, which is why I’m worried.

  3. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Reno is on fire. Estimates are over a dozen homes have burned. It isn’t anywhere close to my house.

  4. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Berger – Hopefully, they can put that our quickly, I know it can get pretty windy up there. Speaking of Reno, I met Red Skelton at the Old Reno Casino in 1979, I was working there then. He was kinda old at the time, and I remember thinking he looked bigger on TV.

    I liked what Harbaugh said about a division game being worth 2 games. I think he will be coming after them with everything plus the kitchen sink. It might not take the sink but it will come if needed. I kinda get the feeling Harbaugh wants all the other division coach’s to hate him.

  5. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    winder- They are saying the wind gust are up to 100mph. There is no way to contain the fire.
    When Harbaugh was hired I remember one of the first things he answered for a reporter was that he wanted to be the “bully on the block”.

  6. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    If I got his right, this is a picture of Caughlin Ranch on fire. At least 20 homes so far.

  7. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, that is a tough situation, with winds like that there is no telling what that fire will do.

  8. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Most of you have probably already read this hilarious piece from The Onion, but for those who haven’t, here it is:
    NFL Searching For Any Unused Harbaughs
    “After noting the respectable performance of Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and the excellent record of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, the National Football League announced Tuesday it is actively seeking any and all Harbaughs currently not in use. “If we could find maybe three or four more Harbaughs, we could replace at least one of the Whisenhunts, Turners, and Sparanos we’re making do with now,” a statement from the league read in part. “The NFL is prepared to offer a hefty finder’s fee to anyone able to locate adult male Harbaughs of decent condition who can speak English and identify a regulation football.” NFL sources said the only person to answer the inquiry, an Africa-American male who became agitated when asked to produce proof of his Harbaughness, was almost certainly former Minnesota Vikings coach Denny Green in disguise.”

  9. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    My forecast Niners 27-10.
    I am also wary though because I really don’t expect them to run the table and finish 15-1. More like a 12-4 team which means 4-3
    down the stretch and a chance for the dormant naysayers to bark again.

  10. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    Bay Area is supposed to get rain
    so the weather is changing. Hope
    for the winds and fire to ease up in Reno. Snow level here will be down to 2500 ft so it’ll snow up your way.

  11. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- I’m in Sac today. I’m driving to Reno in a few hours. I have a camera set up at my house to view from here. It doesn’t look like 100mph winds but they do look strong.

  12. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Berg, aren’t you about done installing Sacto with Raider proof security devices?

  13. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah Skeebs, I thought this was a rebuilding year. What I thought would happen is the team would struggle through the early part of the season (say 4-5), and then start gelling around all these division games. 8-8 may not be ‘rebuilding’ per se, but I didn’t think they’d hit the ground running from the get-go . . .

  14. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebs- The company asked me to stay on for a while longer here. The money is OK for the times, so here I sit. When I get home sick I can view my house live on my computor or phone.

  15. bigtimNo Gravatar says:

    we shall see this weekend if the team can avoid the trap of playing down to the opponents level, the cards seem to consistently score 20 points while they give up 21 this season.
    the 9ers D should harass skelton all game and the offense should pound them out of town because were a better team with more weapons .
    I am looking to see some killer instinct out of this team put em down and keep em there where they belong

  16. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Rex Ryan is looking like a windbag
    guaranteeing Super Bowl for the Jets. Totally over-rated
    Same with the Dream Team Eagles.
    Both went after the highest priced FA. One signed him and the other was runnerup.
    Both teams are mediocre now and in danger of missing the playoffs.

  17. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    One thing about the Ryan boys, it’s lots of fun to see them fail.

  18. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebs do you think the Ryan boys are into knavery? Or do you think they are honorable fools?

  19. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Berg, wouldn’t want to judge their innards workings, but from visible evidence they are both braggarts with large appetites who are less good than the father they try to emulate. They both seem to be overplaying their hands right now.

  20. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    So far, I’d say Rex is more entertaining than Rob, though.

  21. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Listening to people complain about Mark Sanchez is similar to Alex from years past. Sanchez’s coach and OC are terrible play callers. It is hard to say if Sanchez is good or bad with those offensive midgets calling plays. The funny thing is their O-line coach is Bill Callahan. He has shown in the past he knows how to call plays.

  22. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Starting with Buddy, the whole Ryan family have been the bad boys and arrogant bastards of the NFL.
    Nothing wrong with arrogance if you can back it up. Their problem is often times they can’t.

  23. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    The Cardinals’ DC called Harbaugh’s TE shifts “cute.” He used the word several times, disdainfully. You can bet he’s had to drill his D-line not to fall for it, though. I expect some other team to pull it on us, just to get even.

  24. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    They should. And if we fall for it, shame on us.

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Ifins I was one of them thar prognosticators, I would predict LSU and USC play for the national championship next year.

  26. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Ifins and thar did not come up on spell check. Go figure.

  27. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Good day for a trouncing. Although a win is nice and would suffice.

  28. robNo Gravatar says:

    thar she blows ! it’s moby dick !

  29. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Should the Niners suffer an upset at the hands of the Cards today. Berger will most assuredly help mitigate the loss with an extra bottle of sour mash.

  30. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    And another thing. At least we know Wendell Tyler’s wife wasn’t screwing the mailman. That’s his son playing for USC alright. That was a FUM-BLE!

  31. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I won’t be drinking today. Maybe I’ll mash some potatoes. I’ll be eating a rib-eye before the game! The big question will be, should I make dirty rice or mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

  32. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Tyler could mitigate his fumbles if the QB would put the ball in his gut instead on his hip. That thar fumble was the QBs fault.

  33. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    “Thar” came up on spell check this time.

  34. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    It’s dirty rice. The onions are sauteing and the sausage is browning.

  35. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Your sausage is browning? Get out of the sun or have your wife rub some SPF 45 on that sucker.

  36. robNo Gravatar says:

    i liked wendell tyler and was excited when we signed him ! i knew with a good running back added we’d win super bowls ! his 5 yd. per carry average was great for our offense !

  37. robNo Gravatar says:

    i’m saying 49ers 30 cards 9
    next week 49ers 12 ravens 10

  38. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    16-13 ‘Zona in a game played in a quagmire.

  39. robNo Gravatar says:

    you “mook” no way we lose today if it rains … we’ll slaughter em’ !

  40. robNo Gravatar says:

    in fantasy i picked up a LB but forgot to put him in by thursday ! he got TWENTY fu(king points !

  41. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Rob, how many times do I have to remind you? When you p/u a player, he goes directly to your bench. You need to make the switch.
    Did you see your projected yahoo! matchup? You’re .01 pts over your opponent. I hope that lost 20 pts. doesn’t come back to bite ya in the ass.

  42. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    BTW, I’m taking Edwards today for the finale in Homestead. Sorry to say, but Cousin Carl is gonna beat Berger’s boy, Tony “Smoke” Stewart. Tony is gonna get smoked alright. By the 99 car.

  43. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Tony “Smoke” Stewart wins, and wins his 3rd championship! Del, I like your predictions, keep ’em coming.

  44. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    How ’bout dem Niners!

  45. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Eli Manning didn’t look so good tonight. Last week he was deadly accurate. Tonight he was scatter armed and reminded me of how Alex Smith was today.We have a 2 game lead over Saints, Bears and Lions. Cutler is out for 6 weeks with a broken thumb. Detroit still has to play Green Bay twice as well as the Raiduhs and Saints.
    Saints still have to play Giants, Lions and Falcons. They will have to win out to catch us if we finish 4-2. That would be the race for a first round bye.

  46. robNo Gravatar says:

    crabs 120 yards today !

  47. robNo Gravatar says:

    vernon davis passes brent jones for TD mark !

  48. robNo Gravatar says:

    our defense is #1 in points allowed and rush defense !

  49. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    How about Anthony Davis playing enforcer again? These guys have a winning chemistry and seem to consistantly push each other to make plays.
    Always see them picking each other up off the ground, high 5’s or helmet taps etc when plays are made.
    Absolutely LOVE this Defense and, I can’t wait for the Offense to start clicking in the passing game.
    Too many points left off the scoreboard today. Chalk it up to growing pains I suppose, we made plenty of throws and tried plenty of options.

  50. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

  51. Damian HenzeNo Gravatar says:

    The next time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have one thing interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could repair if you werent too busy in search of attention.

2021 Schedules
09/12: W 49ers 41, Lions 33
09/19: W 49ers 17, Eagles 11
09/26: L Packers 30, 49ers 28
10/03: L Seahawks 28, 49ers 21
10/10: L Cardinals 17, 49ers 10
10/17 BYE
10/24: L Colts 30, 49ers 18
10/31: W 49ers 33, Bears 22
11/07: L Cardinals 31, 49ers 17
11/15: W 49ers 31, Rams 10L
11/21: W 49ers 30, Jaguars 10
11/28: W 49ers 34, Vikings 26
12/05: L Seahawks 30, 49ers 23 12/12 · 10:00 AMCIN
12/19 · 1:05 PM v ATL
12/23 · 5:20 PM v TEN
01/02 · 1:05 PM v HOU
01/09 · 1:25 PM @ LAR

2021 Draft Class
1. QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
2. OG Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
3. RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
3. CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan
5. OG/OT Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan
5. CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon
5. S Talanoa Hufanga, USC
6. RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana
2021 Prognostications
Bullit: 12-5
Grumpy: 13-4
NJ49er: 11-6
Skeebers: 14-3
Winder: 12-5
Rob: 17-0
Spitblood: 0-17