Division Divide

At the mid point of the 2011 NFL season, the 49ers have turned the NFC West race into a laugher. A division infamous for nail-biting, down to the wire drama among dog-poo teams abruptly has no drama whatsoever and half of the season still left to play.

Come Sunday night, the 49ers will be either 7-2 or 8-1, while the rest of the division will most likely be tied for second — or last — at 2-7. A five or six game lead with seven to play might still represent a challenge to the Boston Red Sox or the Atlanta Braves, but in football it’s pretty much a slam dunk sure thing.

How the 49ers got so good so fast has been studied extensively, but how did the rest of the division all suddenly go from mediocre to horrible?

The Rams were early season favorites to win the division, but they have instead fallen apart. Their offensive line has collapsed and their defense has regressed. Arizona traded for Kevin Kolb and he was supposed to turn them into a contender, but he hasn’t and they aren’t. Seattle’s improbable limp to a title last year was not expected to carry over into this season, and it didn’t. That is the only prognostication that has been accurate about the NFC West this year.

In a schedule anomaly, the NFC West teams have almost all their intra-division games yet to come in the second half of the season. To date, Arizona and Seattle have played two NFC West games, while the Rams and 49ers have played only one apiece. It is the 4-0 east coast run by the 49ers that has skewed the division. In past years, the Niners would have lost all four games and be sitting at 3-5 right now, one game ahead of the competition.

Still, division games are always intense and the second half will have drama because of this. The 49ers have exhibited superiority outside the division, but have yet to do so within the division. Five of their remaining eight games are division games.

These games will represent all the Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals have to play for this year. A victory over the 49ers will salvage some self-respect out of an otherwise rancid year. You can bet Pete Carroll will be desperate to beat his nemesis Jim Harbaugh at Qwest Field on Christmas Eve. Pink Slip in the mail coach Steve Spagnuolo cannot afford to see his Rams lose both games to the Niners, especially the last one, in St. Louis at season’s end. And Ken Whisenhunt had better not see his team blown off the field by the Niners for the third year in a row.

For the 49ers, these division games are vital if the team hopes to gain a first round bye in the playoffs. If they sweep all five remaining division games, and they should, it would guarantee a record of no worse than 12-4. No team in the NFC East or South is going to be able to top that record.

Back to the present, a victory Sunday over the Giants would have the 49ers looking realistically at a record no worse than 13-3. That’s some serious cheese, fellas. It’s also the same record as that achieved by the miracle 1981 49ers. Goose bumps.

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56 comments on “Division Divide
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The Giants game has more zeal to it than a need to win.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Having said that, I’ll be really bummed if we lose.

  3. robNo Gravatar says:

    i think we have a VERY good shot vs. NY !

  4. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    This week’s fearless forecast Niners win 27-21.

  5. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Divisional games are never a given. I expect they will all be close ones and hopefully we will come out on top. Rarely do teams sweep their divisions because teams know each other so well. That’s where we have the advantage since the Niners are in a learning process themselves. We have been rather lucky that Kolb has turned out to be a mediocre QB and that Bradford has had a terrible Sophmore year.

  6. robNo Gravatar says:

    happy veterans day all !
    happy 11-11-11

  7. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Smith’s resurgence coincides with the departure of one Jimmy-Hat Raye III.

  8. winderNo Gravatar says:

    chuck, thank God that both Sing and Raye hit the road.

  9. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    It wasn’t Berger passed out on that old ladies’ couch, it was Phillip Rivers. He’s been playing like a drunk.

  10. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Is this you, Skeebs? This was on that Charger blog:

    nineroutsider says:

    Nov 11, 2011 1:25 PM
    The Chargers would definitely drive me to drink. They have to be the biggest tease in the NFL. They can look very good and very bad all in the same month. I would take that over losing for a decade like the Niners had done, but at least I knew exactly how much to drink for every game and planned accordingly.

    If I was that lady, I would said “time to pay your charge for night” …Kingpin Style.

  11. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- Since when am I a Chargers fan? Also, I don’t mind passing out on a couch but I’ve always known who’s couch it is!

  12. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Not me, Chuck. Sounds more like Dennis.

  13. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Del- Today is Alex Smith day! 11/11/11!

  14. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, actually that does sound like Dennis. Steal your name and use it down south . . .

  15. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    No, Berger. Alex Smith Day is 12/21/2012.
    I’ll finally be rid of that bastard come that day.

  16. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    He has made a fool out of you, Del, no doubt about that. No wonder you’re so pissed. 🙂

  17. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    You had to adapt and pose as a Charger fan to get in the house.
    Chargers can’t win with a couple of our guys Spikes and Laboy.
    They have huge issues on their OL and should pick up Barry Sims.
    The Charger backup LT gave up four sacks on the dip move in which he whiffed everytime.
    Chargers haven’t been the same since they let LT go.

  18. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Don’t forget who the Chargers’ DC is, the departed Manusky. Who claimed he was spinning his wheels here.

  19. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, he finally gained traction.

    He’s going in reverse.

  20. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Skeebers, let’s get one thing straight: I don’t need Alex Smith to make me look like a fool.
    Is it magic or just math?

  21. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Man-o-man, has Del been dreaming Alex Smith or what?

  22. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Looks like there was another stabbing at a Raider game Thursday.

  23. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    The 9ers are reminding me of the 60’s Packers, with Smith playing the role of Bart Starr. Starr never got much hoopla as a great QB, but he sure collected a lot of trophies.

  24. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Brian Jennings said this on his radio segment about what happened at Penn State:

    “I feel pretty strongly about this and I’ll try not to go off on too much of a tangent because it’s a big deal. I thought of this quote last night from Edmund Burke. It says the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. When you look at Joe Paterno, I believe he’s a good man, right? And I believe the athletic director is a good man. And the primary emphasis of the outrage should be directed at the perpetrator of these crimes. But at the same time, when you have the opportunity to stop something like this, you have to intervene. You have to.

    “It’s such a powerful thing because there are a few things that I pray for, and it’s not to live a pain-free life or to be rich or to live 150 years or whatever. I don’t pray for that stuff. I pray that nothing bad happens to my family, I pray that I live my life with a certain level of honor and that in that moment when I were in a position that I see something going on that isn’t just a crime against our law, it’s not just a crime against humanity — this is an evil thing that happened — that I have the courage right then and the wisdom right now to take action.

    “Whoever saw that, that young man that saw that, he was scared to death. He has been scared to death every day since. I don’t want to live with that. I would rather die in the fight than live with not doing anything. That is what I pray for. That is what I pray for all the time.

    “I would invite your listeners right now, everybody listening to this, if you know of childhood abuse that is happening, pick up your phone right now and call 9-1-1 and report it. Say, ‘You know what, I know a child that is being sexually abused,’ and say his name. Just do it right now.

    “Everything else will take care of itself. But this cannot be silent. You cannot let this happen and just let it ride. That’s on a religious level. That is on a spiritual level. That is your relationship with your Creator. Good vs. evil. And then when you get into college, you know, now we’re talking about a coach in charge of young men. A coach who is in charge of young men is in a unique position of authority. It is very much like a parent or an adopted parent, maybe, or something like that.

    “In a very real way, I give credit to my coaches and teammates for raising me into the man that I am today. And I appreciate that in a very positive way. For them (at Penn State) to betray and to not take care of those kids is absolutely a huge tragedy. Furthermore, not only should they be fired – everyone should be fired, everyone should be criminally charged – it is an amateur sport, their season should be suspended, every win from the moment Joe Paterno knew about this, every game that he has been a part of should be stricken from the record. He cannot be held as the standard. It’s over.

    “It only takes one thing to ruin it all. And that is what I pray for, right? What do you do to not let one thing ruin everything? This is that one thing for him. It’s over.”


    Powerful stuff. I would hope we would all have the courage to protect the young ones and not
    take the cowardly way out or just look the other way.

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- That was powerful, and somehow I believe Jennings would do the right thing. But let’s not be righteous here. Most people would do less than McQueary did. A common thing we here is “rats get whacked”. It is like a code of honor on the street to not turn things in. This kid McQueary did report what he saw and people are treating him like the criminal. This is why people don’t turn things in. The criminal is the system and especially Penn St in this case. McQueary did what he needed to do, why didn’t the higher ups go further? McQueary was probably worried about being whacked, or at least losing his coaching career for being labelled a whistleblower.
    Like Jennings said, this kid lives in fear every day. The question is, is it for reporting the injustice, or not doing enough, or both. Just seeing this action has scarred this guy for life. I see him as a victim of society. Yes he should have done more, but that is not as easy as some righteous person saying it after the fact. This is why Jennings prays to be able to do the right thing. It is a hard decision, and it could be very costly to do so.
    It is easy to say the right thing after the fact, reality is a lot more complicated.
    Thanks for posting what Jennings said, that was good.

  26. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Oops- Sorry for the spelling of “hear” as “here” in the above post.
    I should have said “the reality of being involved at the scene is a lot more complicated”, instead of “reality is a lot more complicated”.

  27. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    None of us know how exactly we’d react in that situation. We all hope we’d do the right thing.
    McQueary was 6’4″ at the time of the incident. I would have distracted Sandusky and at least given him a shout WTF are you doing?
    Even doing that you’d give the kid he was molesting a chance to get away or ask for help.
    That is the problem with our society today. People don’t want to get involved. If you are a member of society and the community, you are involved. You have two choices, the right thing or run away and be a coward.
    The code I live by is what if I were that little kid? That’s enough for me to get involved.
    The quote that Jennings used is a favorite of mine
    “the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”
    Words to live by and now I get off the soap box..

  28. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    When one chooses to rankle the system and do the right thing it can be very unpleasant.
    I was at the Rose Parade one year. Two guys I did not know were fighting. I broke it up. Thirty seconds later they were at it again. Before I could get back to break it up again the Paddy Wagon showed up. No questions were asked, they just threw the two in and took off. If I were to get back in time to break it up I would possibly be in that wagon, after all, they did not ask questions. I decided to not break up anymore fights because I did not want to get hauled off in the confusion.
    It was easy for me to do the right thing until I saw the potential consequences. After seeing that I decided to just mind my own business. This was a case of righteousness vs reality.

  29. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    Definitely you have to assess the situation. It’s a big difference if you are the kid’s only hope.
    If there are other options and other people involved that changes everything.

  30. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- What McQueary should have done is beat the shit out of Sandusky. That is what I would have done. I’m sure of that. But I’m not speaking for myself.
    Society is a bit more complicated than “this is what should have been done”. McQueary is probably a good person going through hell because of this. He probably has suicidal thoughts. We as a society treat Mafia and union thuggery as a good thing, then we go righteous when convenient.
    My point is demonizing the people who just happen to be caught in the middle creates this situation in the first place. I repeat, this is why Jennings prays that he can do the right thing. It is not as easy as some make it sound.

  31. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Night and day Berger. Seeing a 10 year old boy gettng raped is a little diffferent than a fight in the street. Anyone that had prior knowledge should be held somewhat accountable because Snadusky CONTINUED to prey on children for another 10 YEARS. McQueary was the low man on the totem pole, yes. Paterno should have gone to the police, but any number of people that knew should have done something. They all were protecting the program at the cost of the kids being molested.

  32. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    All these guys have to live with the fact that they pretty much destroyed the lives of an untold number of children. I hope it eats at their souls til they die. It is insane to think any of these people did the right thing. They all did nothing and let the predator have his was for 13 years.

  33. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- Your points are valid. My points are why is McQueary a villain? And that this is why people don’t do the right thing sometimes.

  34. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Actually, if you read my above points, my other point is this is why Jennings prays about it. It can be a hard decision sometimes.

  35. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    unca- So you see a good family man with 10 year old kids get beaten up and killed by the union you belong to. Do you report it or worry about reprisals to you and your family? Or do yo say hooray for our side?
    Penn St is a powerful university and Paterno a legend. Do you ruin your career and keep being the righteous one or do you let the system just keep moving so that you can have a normal life? You make it sound like a black and white issue. How do you know he wasn’t abused as a child and sees this as life as usual? He did turn Sandusky in, so to condemn him before walking in his shoes is being the posse, judge and jury. Who appointed you as God?
    Jennings pegged this perfectly, he prays he can do the right thing. He understands it is hard. You should grasp what he is saying and pray for all involved in situations like this to be able to do the right thing. I know after reading what Jennings said, I’ll pray that I can do the right thing.

  36. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I just read a headline that read “Shots Fired Near White House”. Are the Raiders in DC?

  37. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    “Shots Fired Near White House.” Don’t look at me, I’ve been home all morning. Now that we got that cleared up — Did they get ’em? 😀

  38. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, I have no idea what your 1st paragraph means.
    If I see a 10 year old boy getting raped by a grown man, I do something. It doesn’t get more black and white than that. Jobs come and go. I can get another job. But letting a sexual predator keep going, or stop him at the expense of my job? Easy call. Whether it’s to stop it then and there, or go to the cops, I don’t really know, but I KNOW I don’t sit on my hands or pass the buck. Career or not.
    Yer going to play the passive/aggressive card, Berger? McQueary’s a victim of society? The kids had it coming to him? You make me laugh. They all sat on their hands and did nothing. THAT is inconscionable. It may not be against the law, but they all let this slide for 7 years? It’s just like saying “I was following orders.”
    I never took you for a bleeding-heart lib when it comes to crime. Especially one as horrible as this.
    If you put your well-being above that of a helpless child, then I’m praying for you, Berger, because that decision is an easy one for me. I have children, and I hope to God that if someone was to see something like this happening to one of my kids, they would step in and put a stop to it. Not turn a blind eye to it and hope someone else does something.

  39. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    “Do you ruin your career and keep being the righteous one or do you let the system just keep moving so that you can have a normal life?”
    Yes I ruin my career. Why? Because I’ve lived my life for 50 years. I’d sacrifice my career to save the well-being of a child. Even one I didn’t know. I’d give my life for any of my kids.
    Would you have given your life, say, in 1935, to stop Hitler, knowing what went down? Or would you just let the system keep moving so you can live a normal life, Berger? Yeah, this example is extreme, but not to the kids that were stalked and raped for the 13 years after these allegations first came out. And it is the question that hopefully eats at all these people that put the well-being of the football program above that of helpless children. I hope this haunts them until the day they all die. They took the easy way out. When Penn State found out about what happened in 2002, they told Sandusky, no more bringing kids on campus. In other words, don’t worry about being a pedophile, just don’t do it here.
    The football program should be cancelled for 5 years.

  40. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Why are you protecting the people in authority, Berger? It’s the children that need protecting.
    If McQueary WAS molested, who better to know how awful it is?
    I’m sorry that you struggle with this issue, because it is as black and white, or cut and dried as it could possibly be to me. Children deserve our protection. Not the people that let them fall victim to a sexual predator.

  41. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Here’s another way to see this:


  42. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    unca- I do not struggle with this issue. I know what I would do. I said so above at 9:01. I also have a major problem with the decisions made by the authorities at Penn St. You are not even close to knowing what I am saying so in your case, just forget the conversation. You don’t get it.
    All I am saying is I agree with Jennings and then I expanded on why I agree with him.

  43. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Didn’t see yer 9:01. But the point remains, f*ck society, the ramifications to the program, or whatever, if you don’t do something, you become part of the problem. A LOT of people became part of the problem. As of now there are about 6 people that KNEW what Sandusky was doing and did nothing while he kept molesting children. There’s no excuse.

  44. bullitNo Gravatar says:


    I have no doubt you would do the right thing as most here. McQuery is not a victim but a major part of the problem and should receive the same treatment as Joe Pa.
    He failed miserably as a man and a human being IMHO.

  45. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    bullit- Yes, he did fail miserably as a man. As a 40 or 50 year old we know that. Especially those with kids. What would you have done at 20 or 25 years old? He did turn Sandusky in to the authorities.

  46. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Now this is crazy. Denver is leading at halftime 10-0 over KC.
    Tebow is 0 for 4 and Denver has zero yds passing.
    Who needs to throw the ball?
    Watching NFL Red Zone and have come to the conclusion there are more teams in the NFL that suck then there are good teams.

  47. robNo Gravatar says:

    big game today ! how long since we had it this good !

  48. unca chuckNo Gravatar says:

    A little better now!

    8-1, baby!!

    Where’s NoFear?

    No comments on victories?

  49. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    I wonder what creative ways people will come up with to denigrate Smith’s play today?

  50. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    Smith looked really good….and we didnt run the ball for the win…Smith won it with his arm…

  51. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, that was a nail-biter. It’s amazing the way we keep playing. Manning was on fire the whole game and we still took it too em. It’s evident now that Alex runs this team and has the respect of the players, and I think it was one of his best games ever. I do hope Gore will be ok because we need him.

  52. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    This was a nice win. Our QB looked really good.

  53. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not sure how many times we did this, but I noticed we used the Pistol offense today for at least one play.

  54. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

  55. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    A very satisfying victory.
    I almost hit it on the nose as I predicted 27-21 Niners.
    The Ravens loss yesterday was due in part to their return guy fumbling twice deep in their own side giving Seattle gift scores.
    Week to week you don’t know which Raven team you’ll face.
    Who has it better than us?NOBODY!!!!

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