If recent history is any indication, the Denver Broncos should lose Sunday’s game in London. Denver usually starts fast and then, about mid-season, goes into a steep dive. Some suppose this is due to the initial advantage the team has of playing teams in the thin atmosphere of Denver, which they are used to and other teams are not, but as the season wends its way along, this advantage dissipates and even backfires as the horse franchise turns into the donkey joint. They are 2-4 this season, however, fresh off a major butt whipping at home by the hated Raiders, so maybe they don’t need recent history to bray this weekend.
Recent history is working all too well with the 49ers this year, at least. They have had their annual five game losing streak, albeit a bit earlier this year than other years. Fans often talk about the team returning to the playoffs, but frankly it would be a joyous occasion to even see the team reach the mid-season point with a winning record — like the Broncos usually do. The Niners have not accomplished this feat since 2002.
Even last year’s break even club did not have a winning record from the sixth game all the way through to season’s end. The team has only had one winning streak longer than two games since 2002, and that was in 2006, when a young QB, who had no idea of the hellish fate that awaited him, managed to lead the team from a 2-5 record to a 5-5 record.
Needless to say, the idea of the Niners now embarking on a four or five game winning streak is not something you’d want to bring up in front of anybody but a hungry and ruthless bookie, who would no doubt love to give you some very enticing long shot odds to squander your money on. The only likelihood of this preposterous scenario occurring is if Sunday turns out to be one of those This Day In History moments and Troy Smith swaggers out onto the field and pulls a Tom Brady subs in for Drew Bledsoe type of stunner.
Smith is too short for such a tall order, however, so maybe we should be looking for Doug Flutie parallels to embellish our starving imaginations. Or maybe there’s nobody left who gives a shit and I should just stop yapping about it and move along to the 2011 season.
The Niners have been in England all week, while the Broncos have waited till today to fly there. If the Broncos come out flat and dopey with jet lag, will we be able to say that the 49ers outcoached a team this week?
According to Barrows, the 49ers are the 3rd most popular NFL team in England. It all goes back to the 80’s, when England started showing American football on the telly. There’s still a loyal following from those years that sees the team as a fallen giant. So it appears the team will indeed have home field advantage this weekend.
When the season began, this game in England seemed like a lousy break for the team, but now the London angle is about the only hype surrounding this week’s media coverage. John York has been squeezing the flesh over there for quite some time promoting this game, so there’s no way he’s going to poop on the parade until this game is over and done with. After that, all bets are off.
NoFear checks in below with the TD pass that began the Carolina game last week. If Troy Smith somehow lights it up Sunday, who knows? This Foto collage might be the last TD pass Alex Smith will ever throw for the 49ers. But you have to wonder who would be happier if Alex never suited up here again — the fans or him.
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This is the touchdown play capping the first drive and following the 53 yard pass play to Davis up the seam.
The play call here, the setup and the execution, all outstanding.