Thursday night’s game is looking like the most crucial 49er game of the year. A Seahawks loss would give them an 0-3 division mark, probably handing the 49ers any tie breaker scenarios at season’s end. On the other hand, if the Niners can’t beat them at Candlestick, there’s little chance they can beat them at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
So, which team is going to show up Thursday? The dominant powerhouse that easily whipped the Packers, Lions, Jets, and Bills. Or the discombobulated mess that was easily whipped by the Vikings and Giants. The defense is playing well enough to be ranked 3rd in the league and first in 3rd down defense, but they are not getting interceptions or sacks — the game changing plays that were so prevalent in 2011.
That’s put the spotlight squarely on the offense, which is better than last year’s but prone to self-destruct if the team falls behind. When the Niners get the lead, they are tough to beat. They can control the game with their running and methodical passing, and even toss in a big play here and there, and wear you out. In their four victories, they’ve put up 30, 27, 34, and 45 points. In the two losses, they’ve puked out 13 points and 3.
It does not appear that any of our blognoscenti have a clue what will happen Thursday night. Don’t look at me for help, guys, not that you would, but if you did, don’t. Let’s hope Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman, and Vic Fangio do have a clue. The Giants loss has thrust the team back into the nobody-believes-in-us role, which Harbaugh nurtures and cherishes. Enough with the We’re the Champs even though We’re Not attitude.
The team has responded well in the past to defeats, but the Giants game was more than a defeat. It was a manhood stripper. They pants us, kicked dirt in our face, and stole our girl friend.
These short week Thursday night games don’t leave any time to install new plays, so each team is basically coming in with a what-you’ve-seen-is-what-you’ll-get situation. Your men against our men. Coaching and game plans are de-emphasized and best team wins.
Nobody expects a high-scoring game. Both defenses are excellent. The Niners have a better offense, but the Seahawks have pulled three games out of their rears at the buzzer and have better special teams, an area of 49er weakness in 2012 that is going to cost us a game if we don’t clean up our act fast. We’re losing the field position battle this year, which was a strength last year.
I do not want to spend the next eleven days trying to purge from my mind an image of Pete Carroll jumping around happily on his sideline at game’s end. That is for sure. Too much to bear. Agony. I am demanding a victory, 49er guys. I don’t care how. Bring in Tonya Harding, if necessary. Are you listening? BEAT THESE BUMS!