It feels like an old friend left town. A week after the 49ers’ season ended, there’s definitely something missing around The City. The discussions around town, between strangers, in the sports bars, the restaurants, in buses and the taxis. By the end, The City was just like it was in the good old days of Montana, Rice and Young. Read More
Nothing comes easily against these 49ers. Hidden beneath the accolades and praise heaped upon Vernon Davis, Alex Smith, the defense, coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff, has been the subtle fact that the 49ers make an opponent’s every possession difficult. And that’s before the defense takes the field. Read More
Honestly, the comeback of Alex Smith stands incomplete.
After seasons of ridicule for his struggles to become the next 49ers quarterback in the line measured by Joe Montana and Steve Young, Smith’s Comeback Player of the Year-type season has been filled with hollow applause.
That’s because, up until now, Smith has heard more about what he hasn’t done than what he’s done.
Basically, Smith has been credited with not screwing up this Niners season, for not making the bone-headed mistake that might have bounced the 49ers off their 13-3 regular-season run. Read More
Don’t downplay these 49ers. It’s safe to dream a little bigger.
Sure, simply reaching the playoffs serves as a huge step forward based on their play in recent years, but the 49ers have compiled a 2011 résumé that gives them as many — or more — reasons to reach the Super Bowl as any of their NFC counterparts.
The Green Bay Packers may feature quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the New Orleans Saints may boast quarterback Drew Brees — one of whom figures to be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this season — but the 49ers carry with them the conference’s best defense. Read More
Don’t underestimate how much the 49ers have grown up over the last month or so.
With the NFC West champions set to finish off a terrific regular season this morning in St. Louis by playing for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs — and a week off — the Niners have stamped themselves ready for whatever the postseason tournament can throw at them. Read More
As a professional, nothing has come easily for Alex Smith. And that could finally be a good thing. Since being the first pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, Smith has had to travel the hard road through every turn — a pair of overmatched head coaches, seven offensive coordinators in seven years, playing for a franchise struggling to regain the momentum of past glory. Breaks simply haven’t broken in favor of Smith, who should have earned far more this season now that he’s proven he can successfully quarterback a good NFL team. Read More
It’s time for the 49ers to raise the stakes, reduce the margin of error and find the efficiency. When the Niners take the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, with a national prime-time audience looking on, they will have a stage that will provide them yet another chance to sharpen their ailing red-zone game.
The fact is the Niners really struggle scoring touchdowns. They have 15 passing touchdowns, ranking 21st in the league, and 10 rushing touchdowns, ranking 14th in the NFL. Read More
Niners fans should understand the sports world’s biggest story as clearly as anybody.The success of Denver quarterback Tim Tebow, the most hotly debated topic in any sport anywhere, has played out over the past seven weeks in much the same fashion as Alex Smith’s 2011 season. As Smith has proven to the Niners Nation through the first 12 games this season, quarterback success in the National Football League is tied as closely to avoiding huge mistakes as it is to completing touchdown passes. Read More
The 49ers have plenty left to prove to the faithful.
Admit it. Despite nine wins and only two losses, the wonderful feelings stirred up in the 49ers Faithful so far this year were shaken on Thanksgiving. Is it really safe to believe? Is it finally time for the Niners to not just take a spot among the NFL’s elite, but establish themselves as championship contenders? Read More
The 49ers will look back on their Thanksgiving and be thankful.
That’s because their Thanksgiving night loss gave them a preview of the NFL’s postseason, and provided a crystal clear look at what they’ll need to improve over the final five weeks of the regular season if they hope to win a Super Bowl.
Against the Baltimore Ravens, the atmosphere was bigger. The intensity ramped up.
The Niners saw holes not so big, receivers not so open, Alex Smith’s time to throw was not so generous. It could prove to be the perfect learning experience. Read More
Quit the giggling. There’s work left to be done. When the 49ers, holders of the NFL’s second-best record take the field this afternoon, they’ll find themselves facing a new challenge. They’re supposed to beat the Arizona Cardinals, the first of five seemingly easy affairs left on their schedule. The rest of the doubts about these 49ers were erased last week when they beat the New York Giants with Frank Gore gaining a grand total of zero yards. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Read More
Brian Sabean is a cobbler.
He can cobble together a major league roster as well as anybody in the game. Unfortunately, there’s not much romance in cobbling.
Sabean’s trade for Melky Cabrera earlier this week was simply his first pass at chiseling out the most competitive team possible for 2012. On paper, he added a .305 hitter who hit 18 homers and drove in 87 runs. Few Giants fans jumped up and down. Read More
Frank Gore’s highlights are a little more crowded this year.
When Gore breaks into the opposition’s secondary on one of his long runs, he usually has company as he weaves his way through those linebackers and defensive backs.
That’s because Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Adam Snyder or Anthony Davis is usually out there running with him. Read More
It’s a whole different ballgame.
From here, the 49ers must prove they can play with expectations tapping them on their shoulders.
The scene in Santa Clara has shifted 180 degrees. Seven weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns were supposed to be the up-and-coming franchise, and a big challenge for the 49ers. Now, the 49ers are considered shoo-ins to win this afternoon. Read More
And on the seventh weekend of the NFL season, the 49ers rested.
The 49ers’ body of work so far has been so off the charts, it defies anybody from saying they saw it coming.
The No. 2 defense in the league. Sweeping three games played in the Eastern Time Zone. A 2½-game lead in the division. Frank Gore looking as good as new. Alex Smith looking better than new. Read More