The other day I saw the urologist and he checked my prostate. Two days later, Brett “Satan” Favre stuck it to my San Francisco 49ers. Guess which one hurt more?
You have to handle it to Favre (really, you have to because he’s going to take it anyway) he can flat out stink or just look like an average quarterback for 59 minutes and 59 seconds, and in the last second he’ll find a way to rip out your heart, show it to you, stomp on it and spit in the hole.
Any coach will tell you there’s no such thing as “a good loss,” but this is going to be a really tough week to get through because ESPN will be sucking off Favre non-stop. All things considered when the 49ers lost to the Vikings 27-24 on Favre (lucky? good) last second pass to WR Greg Lewis, the initial crushing disappointment was swiftly replaced by a sense of accomplishment and the budding of potential.
Winning any game in the NFL is tough (unless the Cleveland Browns are on the schedule) and it’s even tougher to win on the road. The 49ers lost their best player (running back Frank Gore) on their first play. After rushing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns the previous week, Gore left on a cart with a high ankle sprain and didn’t return. He’s out for at least two weeks and possibly more.
The Vikings probably weren’t stupid enough to think it would be easy, but they knew the Niners were missing the biggest weapon in their arsenal. They probably relaxed just a little bit. The Niners are a team that pounds the ball on the ground. Their passing game is more of a rumor than a fact.
Since nobody is going to ease up or feel sorry for you in the NFL because of injuries, there’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself either. The Niners held Adrian Peterson, only the NFL’s best running back, to 85 yards and no touchdowns. Vernon Davis scored two touchdowns and finally looks like he might become the great tight end the 49ers thought he was when they drafted him. The defense sacked Favre twice and intercepted him once. The special teams gave up a kickoff return, but blocked a field goal and took it back for a score.
Then Favre parted the waters, pulled a rabbit out of his helmet and walked away with a 3-0 record. Now he’ll wait for the Green Bay Packers next Monday night and for legions of sportswriters to slip on their knee pads and Chap-Stick.
After the game, 49ers coach Mike Singletary made clear he wasn’t upset with his team’s effort. “I don’t want to see you looking at the floor! You didn’t steal nothing! You didn’t do anything wrong! We will see them again! In the playoffs! Hold your heads up! Don’t you look down at the floor for nobody! You have nothing to be looking down at the floor about! Pick your heads up, put your shoulders back and let’s rock!”
As Jim Mora would say, “Playoffs?” A 49ers coach is talking playoffs for a team that hasn’t even played .500 ball in seven years or sniffed the post-season?
Damn right he is. As a long-suffering fan, I’d be happy just to see the Niners finish a season with more wins than losses. Making the playoffs would be like me finding Halle Berry and Monica Bellucci oiled up and glistening up the tree on Xmas morning. Singletary already knows his team is green as grass, but he has a nice blend of kids and greybeards to put them in the hunt.
There are some guys who can make you believe that by the sheer force of their personality and confidence they can take bologna and make it taste like prime rib. When Singletary’s coaching days are over he can stroll right into his next career as a motivational speaker. Like President Obama, he makes you believe in possibilities when the realities say you shouldn’t.
Will the Niners see the Vikings again in the playoffs? Yes. Definitely. But Singletary left himself some wiggle room. He never said it would be this season.
The 49ers aren’t a very talented team. They don’t have much of a pass rush. Their wide receivers are either too young and inexperienced or too old and running on fumes. The offense line plays okay one game and like dog crap the next. Their starting quarterback, Shaun Hill, is only a few seasons removed from formerly being the third-stringer for the Vikings. Without Gore and All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis on defense, the Niners are far from an elite team.
The Niners will lose more games before the season ends especially when they give a grizzled old gunslinger like Favre a last shot. Still, with the incredibly intense Singletary and his laser-like focus running the show, I never expect them to loaf on the field or give less than maximum effort in every game. Other teams have far more talent. Nobody else has an old school coach who despises players who don’t respect their own ability or the game they play.
I do believe. Not that the 49ers will make it to the playoffs, but that there’s the chance they might. They finally have the leadership on the field and sidelines that can take them there (the less said about the front office, the better). A chance isn’t much to hang on to, but it’s been a long time since there was even that much.
Which is yet another reason I don’t care if Michael Crabtree ever suits up in those pretty crimson and gold uniforms.