The fate of the 49ers comes at you fast. If you don’t stop to ponder it in a Jock Blog every now and then, you just might miss it.
Just a week ago, I was writing how Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo needed to take their turn in the Circle of Critical Heat after the crushing overtime loss to Seattle at home.
One week later, the Jock Blog tips its cap to maybe the guttiest win of the year, a 36-26 victory over the Arizona Flying Squirrels that was much more critical than you might think.
(H/t to DeForest Buckner for AZ team name.)
The obvious handicaps were at play, as in WI — Whopping Injuries. No George Kittle. No Matt Breida. No Kwon Alexander. No Joe Staley. And in the second half, no Emmanuel Sanders.
But every team in the NFL has injuries, so the whining on that must be kept to a minimum — even if the 49ers injuries are whoppers.
Next up was the DF, or Deficit Factor. The 49ers trailed, 16-0. They hadn’t made a comeback that large since 2011 at Philadelphia. You remember that game. Or do we need to go to YouTube and cue up Justin Smith’s Era-Defining Chasedown in the City of Brotherly Love? You’re welcome. (Video starts at play in question)
Add in the PSH — post-Seattle Hangover. Losing for the first time all season stunk. Losing to the wolf-gray gum chewers from Seattle stunk that much more. The Seahawks didn’t just win a game; they changed the landscape of the NFC West, and 49ers windpipes got a little tight from late Monday night onward.
And, of course, the EQ Factor — the Extra Quarter the 49ers played on Monday. They played five quarters! More accurately, 70 minutes. That’s a lot of hard-hitting minutes in an emotional game. Seattle’s reward was a bye week. The 49ers’ reward was trying to desperately fill their gas tank when they forgot their debit card and all they had was $3.51 in their change compartment,
That is was Kyler Murray and the Flying Squirrels on the other end made for a full nightmare scenario. Two games vs. that guy already and I’m thinking the next decade of the NFC West is going to be Zantac City. Kyler is not an easy out.
That’s why everything Kyle and Jimmy did was so massive. It was a monster win, and I’d argue the biggest of the season. A loss makes it two in a row, and a tie for the NFC West, with the Green Bay-New Orleans-Baltimore gauntlet of fire on the other side.
The Jock Blog would be a very different place today.
No, Kyle and Jimmy took the heat. They stayed in the kitchen. Almost literally — Garoppolo’s touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson, Jr — Jeff Wilson, Jr! — was in the face of a Cover Zero blitz that required Jimmy G to stand tall in the face of oncoming heat. A lot of it. Kyle overcame the miscues of the Seattle loss and played for the touchdown late. A game-tying field goal attempt would have meant more Kyler in OT. Nobody wanted more Kyler in OT. Plus, Chase McLaughlin would have had to re-visit the Scene of the Harrowing Hook. And no, that’s not a Hardy Boys book.
Millenials, look up the Hardy Boys book series. It’s good, clean fun.
The next three weeks of November/December football is going to be all the fun 49ers fans have been dreaming of ever since Colin Kaepernick lofted a pass in the dark Seattle night, in the direction of Mike Crabtree and Rich Sherman some six years ago.
Wait, did I say ‘Colin Kaepernick’ out loud? Oh, shoot, that’s my cue to go.