Ahhh, crap. During this week’s practice, 49er OLB Manny Lawson tore an ACL and will be out for the 2007 season.

This is a mighty blow to the nascent Niner defense, who had been counting on the former first-round pick to lend his lanky 6’5” frame and sprinter’s speed to the linebacking corps this year.

After two weeks of nail-bitin' wins over flawed NFC West opponents, the 49ers go to The Steel City to face the cultural might of the Steelers.

* San Francisco vs. Pittsburgh
Sunday, September 23, 2007. 10:00 AM, PST.
Week 03
The Battle Of Reality

Despite the recent coaching change, when it’s the Steelers, you know what kind of American football you’re going to get: power along both lines, an aggressive 3-4 defense matched with an offense built on power-running.

Now this is a team. It’s not the rebooted Cards or the formless Rams, PIT is a veteran, battle-tested organization. And for the first time in 2007, the 49ers will see what a real NFL franchise looks like.

* Photo of Kevan Barlow breaking away from Steeler defenders via SFGate.com

Next up on your American Football Spectacular: The Oakland Raiders host the wacktacular feast-or-famine Cleveland Browns, and the season’s first Bay Area TV blackout.