(By Daisy Barringer)
I've been to every single 49ers game since I moved back to San Francisco in 2006 I've also been to quite a few playoff games over the years when going to the playoffs was something we did. However, never in my entire life have I seen the crowd at Candlestick as on fire as it was yesterday.
In the first quarter, I saw a couple a few rows ahead of me complain to two guys that they were standing up too much. By the time they complained to the usher in the second quarter, it was too late. Every single person in that stadium was on their feet screaming at the top of their lungs. Even the reluctant couple rose for the occasion. And what an occasion it was.
There are many Sundays where "Make Some Noise" is flashed on the JumboTron, but usually to no avail. You can imagine my shock when the crowd was being so loud that they had to flash "Quiet Please. Niners at Work" while our offense was on the field. That's right. They had to ask us to settle down. Amazing.
There was high-fiving, hugging, fist-bumping, elated jumping At one point, after Smith's pass to Vernon Davis for a 31-yard touchdown, I was so excited that I found myself running down the aisle, arms held over my head, screaming "OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! NIIIIIINNNNNNNNEEEEERRRSSSSS!"
Even Reggie Smith tweeted that he’d never seen “Candletick rocking” like that.
In short? The game was insane. Insane. And fun. And crazy. Crazy fun. And heart-pounding. And magical. So magical.
The San Francisco 49ers are 8-1 -- 8-1 with seven games left. Five of them against the NFC West: one at Baltimore on Thanksgiving Day, and a Monday night game at the 'Stick against the Steelers. The Niners will easily go 11-5. We could very well go 14-2. I promise you NO ONE thought that was going to happen at the beginning of the season. Well no one but me. Because I've always believed.
>> The onside kick. I didn’t see that coming and neither did the Giants.
>> Special teams. Not only did Akers have a successful onside kick. He made four field goal attempts, including a 52 yarder. And let's not forget my favorite punter, Andy Lee, who ensured that the Giants' best starting position the entire game was on their on 22-yard line.
>> Excellent coaching. From the onside kick to the 4th quarter challenge (instead of a time out) to the two-point conversion to giving the ball to Smith, Harbaugh was inspired and inspiring.
>> Alex Smith. Just, in general.
>> Gore rushing six times for exactly zero yards. Because if we can win without Gore, then we can seriously do this. (Of course, I only say this because Gore is saying he's fine and doesn't need an MRI.)
>> Carlos Rodgers and his two INTs.
>> Patrick Willis taking down Eli Manning on the Giants' final drive. (What is it about a sack that just feels SO good?)
>> Justin Smith batting down Eli Manning's fourth down pass to end the game and give the 49ers a 27-20 victory over the Giants.
So what now my little Faithful Furbies? What happens now that the 49ers are 8-1 and on their way to the playoffs? A few things, I suppose:
>> That chick in your office who gets drunk on Jägerbombs all weekend and can't name a single player on the team? She'll be online ordering the Victoria's Secret "49ers Fans are Great Kissers" tee this afternoon.
>> Your Facebook timeline will be filled with people declaring their excitement about the 49ers' amazing record. People who've never ever once before said a thing about our team.
>> ESPN? They're going to do everything the same, except now they'll show Niners' highlights. Don't worry. They'll still doubt us, just like Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders did last night on the NFL Network. (Specifically, if Alex Smith can lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl.)
Anyway, the bandwagon's coming to town and almost everyone will jump on it. And it'll be annoying, for sure. But when your boss, who normally spends his weekends at his second home in Napa, tries to bond with you by bragging about the fact that he's sitting in a luxury box at the game next weekend? Just smile and say "cool." Because he may think he understands. But he'll never understand the way you do.
Because when he watches the postgame speech? He doesn't get tears in his eyes.
Prediction for Next Week: SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona. 8-1 feels good. 9-1 will feel even better.