Okay, here we are again. Back in the playoffs, number one seed, and as good a chance as any team to advance to the Super Bowl. Not exactly what any of us envisioned at the start of the season, but what the hey, we’ll take it.
Minnesota just did the 49ers a favor by knocking off the Saints, who looked like their toughest playoff opponent. But the Vikes did that in 1987, too, and that did not pan out too good for the 49ers. That playoff loss remains one of the most disappointing defeats in Niner history.
Fortunately, Jimmy Garoppolo was not even born yet and thus has no memory to be nervous about. Joe Staley was only three and was more concerned about his parents saying things like, “Ethel, this kid’s awful big for his age.”
Kirk Cousins finally won a game that guys making $30 million a year are supposed to win but Cousins never really had. That could be the breakthrough moment for him or just a nice way to head into the offseason after getting beat this Saturday. We’ll choose the latter scenario. Sorry, Kirk, but this is Jimmy’s year.
HC Kyle Shanahan wanted Cousins for his QB here and ended up with Garoppolo. I doubt he’s disappointed with that fortuitous development. Still, he knows Cousins well enough to be wary of his talent, and hopefully well enough to defuse it.
The Viking defense is probably more of a concern. They’re pretty good and have the best record in the league at stuffing tight ends in the passing game. That’s the position occupied by the 49ers’ best player, George Kittle. That might seem to be a big advantage to Minnesota’s efforts to stifle the Niner offense, or it could be a stat that doesn’t mean much because the Vikings played only one team with a super star tight end – Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, who had Matt Moore as his QB that day. Kelce still caught seven passes for sixty-two yards. So, once again, we’ll choose the latter scenario.
And in the Thank God for Small Favors department, win or lose, we will at least not be going to Green Bay for an Ice Bowl game.