The 49ers have played one game of the 2011 NFL season. Which they won. It doesn’t seem like much, but last year at this time, they had lost that first game, lost it badly, and the season quickly spiraled out of control. As it turned out, even as bad as last season was, that opening day loss was the difference between the Seattle Seahawks going to the playoffs and not the 49ers.
Game two last year was a home game against an offensive powerhouse, the New Orleans Saints. Few gave the Niners any chance to beat the Saints, but the game went down to the last second, with the Saints winning by a mere field goal.
Lo and behold, again this year, the second game is at home against an offensive powerhouse, the Dallas Cowboys. If fortunes are being reversed this year from last, the Cowboys will be going home Sunday night with a second straight humiliating loss pinned to their egos.
Of course, it might not work out that way. Fortune is a fickle effer and likes nothing better than to deviate from a Walt Disney script to an Edgar Allan Poe script in the beat of a tell tale heart. Kindness to long suffering fans, or anyone else, is rarely displayed. In fact, Fortune may be nothing more than a post mortem theory attempting to introduce reasonability to the otherwise random events of our human experience.
So, the other and more trustworthy course to victory would be to just earn it. The 49er players have been assuring us each season for the past three or four years that they are a really good team. The results say not. Blame for the 2010 season fiasco was placed on the entire coaching staff and two players: Alex Smith and Nate Clements. All but one of these real or imagined culprits have been escorted from the building. The one that remains will be in the spotlight this Sunday, and he better not lay an egg.
It’s been pointed out all week by our astute bloglosophers that we’re going to have to unveil a passing game if we hope to beat the Cowboys. A good solid pressuring defense has also been mentioned. Each of these commodities has been sorely MIA in the past few seasons, and a primary reason the players’ assurances have proven to be a lot of hot air.
Reversing these commodity deficits is precisely what Jim Harbaugh and Vic Fangio were hired to accomplish. Some people think each of these fellows held something back in the Seahawks game that they are now going to demonstrate. All people HOPE this is true, because what we saw in the Seahawks game is just not going to cut it. What we expected to see in game one, and did not, will be necessary to see in game two.
As for today, we do not want to hear reported the fateful words, “The team had its best practice of the year this week.” Whenever I hear this ominous phrase, I know the team has peaked too early and I can begin writing the Monday morning obit on what will be an inevitable Sunday afternoon debacle. Now, if we hear, “We had our worst practice ever. We couldn’t do anything right,” I will get goosebumps. A stunning Sunday victory is guaranteed.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, we are not likely to hear either phrase. Harbaugh has made it clear from day one of Training Camp that we ain’t gonna hear nuthin’ about anything regarding practices, meetings, game plans, injuries, or what he had for breakfast. This is not good news for the blogopolis, which thrived upon the constant blatherings of Mike Singletary. But this minimalist approach will be tolerated — as long as the team wins games. If they do not, well, the blogs have a way of thriving on hot air, dead air, foul air, unspoken air — even sub-zero vacuums. They won’t care if Harbaugh says anything or nothing. Losses are to the blogs what roadkill is to the vulchers. Dinner!
Here’s hoping Sunday’s results keep the vulchers in an extended holding pattern through yet another week.