The 49ers win over the Raiders did not impress the blogosphere all that much, nor did it provoke any playoff fever epidemics. But there was no denying the immense sigh of relief that wafted up through cyberspace. I will not compare this sigh to the smile of a feller who’s left a smeller in the room, but some folks might find the comparison apt nevertheless.
Sarcasm seemed to be the more general reaction of Niner fans to this first win of the 2010 season. There was little about the game to enjoy for the entire first half and the first seven minutes of the 3rd quarter. Chants of “Kill Smith” and “Fire Singletary” reverberated in the hearts and throats of those at Candlestick Park and in living rooms around the Bay Area and beyond.
The final twenty-three minutes of the game were kind of fun, though. The eight minute drive that consumed all of the third quarter somehow mixed in a 19 yard pass and a 32 yard pass, split second affairs covering 51 of the 91 yards in the drive. That means about seven and a half minutes were spent negotiating a mere 40 yards. That is some serious grinding. A real Mike Singletary ecstasy effort.
Given the consequences of failure in this game, that drive and the pass to Michael Crabtree for a TD might turn out to be the defining moment of the season for this team and its quarterback. Some will scoff and say, “Right. Not if we lose the Carolina game!” But that is next weekend. If failure is all we’ll have on the plate this year, all the more reason to savor one brief moment of hope.
Alex Smith has often been dogged for his lack of leadership and inability to lift his team to victory. But that is precisely what he accomplished on that third quarter drive. Now maybe his “lifting” was more of the Bantam Weight Division of weight hefting than the Heavy Weight division muscles necessary for NFL eliteness, but it was a beginning. Unless it soon becomes an aberration.
At any rate, it happened once. The TD pass to Crabtree probably provoked reactions of shock, more than glee, in Ninerlanddom. A real, bona fide WTF moment.
This victory over the Raiders also produced the first comic relief moment of a season with little mirth to it. That would be the final clock killing drive in the moments after Takeo Spikes’ interception. A drive that saw Isaac Sopoagna’s debut as “The Ice Truck” in the 49ers offense, reprising the role played initially by Guy McIntyre in the Bill Walsh years.
McIntyre was about 50 or 60 pounds lighter than Soap, though. Almost Moran Norris sized. But for once, Singletary’s lust for Physical with an F not only worked, but was enjoyed by the fans. NoFear has graciously (??!!) acceded to requests to ogle this Big Truck moment below.
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Didn’t have a very good camera angle for Sopoaga’s FB plays. But here are a couple of shots of his last play, along with a couple of Norris’s block on Gore’s 60+ yard run.