Some sports writers and pundits are assuming that the San Francisco 49ers are going to have a rubber band season in 2012.
Sure the 49ers went 13-3 last year, and it was exciting for the team to get to host an NFC Championship once again.
Heck it seemed like old times! Break out the Huey Lewis and the News records, find Jerry Rice and Joe Montana and let’s cut a single.
Expectations for the team were to fall back to earth. Many assume the team will win the lousy NFC west division with an 8-8 record.
That’s what teams usually do after going 13-3.
Your gift for such a nice record is a tough schedule. This makes it harder for teams to win at the same clip.
But hang on folks. This team is coached by Jim Harbaugh.
That alone is reason enough to believe that the Niners will not regress this year.
When Harbaugh came to San Fran he didn’t need to trade for a franchise quarterback.
He didn’t need to “gut” the team to rebuild it with players to fit his “system”. He took what available players he had, and taught them to win.
Captain Comeback took his 49ers into Lambeau field and beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on opening day.
Sure Packers fans will complain about the lack of calls in the game, but take a number and get in line. The refs didn't't do any favors for the 49ers either. The entire league is adjusting to new officials, as they adjust to the speed of the NFL.
Harbaugh had to really enjoy facing a Packers team that refuses to do what he loves to do, run the ball. The 49ers just lined up and slammed their powerful running game, featuring Frank Gore, right in the mouth of the Green Bay defense.
And just when you think the 49ers are not going to run, quarterback Alex Smith makes you pay with his arm, hitting Vernon Davis and Randy Moss for touchdown receptions.
At 35 Moss is trying to resurrect his career, and he will be successful. Why? Because he wouldn’t be on this team if it were not for Harbaugh knowing that Randy isn’t going to fall asleep or play half-heartedly.
Moss was in lazy land for most of his time in Oakland, and has been regressing ever since telling Tom Brady to get a hair cut. It’s time for Randy to catch his second wind.
Harbaugh will get production out of his players. Squeeze it out of them with his own bare hands if he has to. Quarterback Alex Smith produces for Harbaugh when he didn’t for others.
In fact Alex Smith has really done a great job running the system and getting wins for this team. His mind is locked in and he does what he needs to do. Cool and comfortable.
And while it is just Week 1, the NFC greats from 2011 are looking a little off their game. The New York Giants let the Cowboys punk them on opening night. The Lions almost let Jeff Fisher’s baby Rams beat them.
The Saints look lost without head coach Sean Payton. Drew Brees maybe wishing he was still holding out. Think of it like this Drew, your getting head coaching experience?
Yet the San Francisco 49ers stay the course and take care of business at Lambeau field against Aaron Rodgers and company. The 49ers are not a flashy team, but they are deep and complete. They don’t make mistakes.
The 49ers took the ball away 28 times in 2011, best in the league. Takeaway numbers rarely stay the same from year to year, but with the defense that Vic Fangio is coordinating, they could buck the trend.
In January 1996 I watched Quarterback Jim Harbaugh lead his Colts into frozen Kansas City and knock my highly-favored Chiefs out of the playoffs. His hail mary in Pittsburgh almost put the Colts in the Super Bowl that same year.
The Super Bowl eluded him as a player. So he will get his Super Bowl as a coach.
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