(By Daisy Barringer)
There are only two explanations for the reaction people are having about the 49ers' 23-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals yesterday.
1. I am a total curmudgeon, destined to die alone, my rotting corpse found months later, only recognizable because of the head-to-toe Niners’ gear, my lucky green undies, and that stupid tattoo I haven't finished getting removed.
2. The shock of SF going 9-1 has gone straight to everyone’s brains and the happiness has turned them all into blithering fools. (No, not YOU. Just, you know, everyone else.)
Because, honestly? Here are just a few texts / Facebook posts / tweets etc. that I go
yesterday after the 49ers’ super ugly win against the Cardinals.
"Greatest day of my life!"
"This game was GREAT!"
"Holy sh*t. That was awesome!"
And the best, from everyone’s favorite blogger, @drewber : "Was the pee wee football game at halftime the best??!?" Hey, at least he wasn’t trying to pretend like the 49ers were playing well.
Listen. I'm not trying to take away from the fact that the Niners are 9-1. Seriously. No one is happier about that than I. I mean, seriously. NINE and ONE. NINE and ONE!
That being said, what the hell happened yesterday? Like, we played amazingly. And then we also played terribly. Lucky for us, just not as terribly as the Cardinals.
SERIOUSLY THOUGH. We should have won that game by seven hundred points (Because mathematically, that’s a possibility.) At the VERY least, it should have been a shutout. Instead, we were all over the place and just fortunate we came out with the win.
In case you’re confused how a Niners’ fan with as much passion as I could be lacking exuberance about this win, let me explain.
- The 49ers forced five turnovers. FIVE.
- Arizona only had four first downs. FOUR.
- The 49ers offense had 431 yards and 25 first downs.
- The Niners didn’t punt until the end of the 3rd quarter.
- The 49ers won the time of battle possession 44:16 to 15:44. That’s the most lopsided margin of any NFL game this season.
- Patrick Willis had an amazing game. I mean, god that guy guy is good.
- Cardinals QB John Skelton had a 10.5 QB rating.
- Crabtree had seven catches for 120 yards.
- Kyle Williams (second-year wide receiver) had his best game yet with five catches for 54-yards, including an 8-yard TD.
I get it. Those are all things to be stoked about. Except, if we did all of that then why could we not pull away?
I will tell you why:
- Akers missed three field goal attempts in the first half. (Two were blocked and the other he missed from 49 yards.) I’m not mad at Akers. Coming into this game, he’d only missed two field goals. Stuff happens. And those blocks aren’t his fault. But still: We should have been scoring touchdowns so that he wasn’t in the position to have to kick so much.
- Five dropped passes in the first half (including one by Edwards in the end zone).
- Alex Smith’s misfire to Crabtree in the end zone (3rd quarter) and an end zone interception in the 4th (which ended his streak of 151 passes in the red zone without an INT, second best in the NFL).
- Dashon Goldson was ejected for fighting with Early Doucet. I’m sorry, but if you name your kid EARLY, he’s going to get beat up once in a while. That’s just how life works. Also, Doucet started it. Goldson just finished it and that’s the only thing the refs caught. Whatever. As long as he can play on Thursday, I don’t actually care. (Fine: I kind of like it.) Sloppy play and not capitalizing on Arizona’s mistakes.
In short: The Cardinals had every reason to be in the game. We're just lucky they weren’t.
You're probably thinking: But Daisy. We're 9-1! We won! Why are you pouting about such an amazing victory?
Because you know it and I know it. I love to pout. KIDDING. Truth: Those mistakes didn’t hurt us against a team like Arizona, but they will hurt us against teams like the Ravens and the Steelers. And they will DEFINITELY hurt us in the playoffs. So let’s just hope for the sake of Niners’ fans everywhere and anyone who has to interact with me on a daily basis that we were just getting that poor play out of our system.
OKAY. Now that I’ve destroyed your happiness, let me quickly try to bring you back
- The 49ers are 9-1. This is our first winning season since 2002.
- We've won 8 in a row. Fancy!
- If we beat Baltimore on Thursday (big IF) and the Seahawks lose to the Redskins on Sunday, the 49ers will clinch the NFC West and a spot in the playoffs. Yep. The playoffs, people!
In short: It might not be happening the way we always want, but regardless: IT'S HAPPENING.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go return "Go 49ers!" text messages from seventeen of my friends who have never expressed an interest in the game as long as I’ve known them.
Prediction for Thursday: OMG I DON’T KNOW. I DON’T KNOW! But my gut tells me: BALTIMORE over San Francisco. Sigh.