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Murph: Buckle up, this one’s gonna be bumpy



© Tim Heitman | 2022 Jan 16

A week ago, your local Jock Blog came to you and re-assured you.

Don’t overthink it, the Jock Blog said. The 49ers will beat the Seahawks. We leaned on the poet Bob Dylan, who reminded us: Don’t think twice. It’s all right. Thank you, Bob. 

Despite a brief nanosecond of panic at halftime, I do believe most of you studs and stud-ettes never lost faith. The 49ers wound up blowing out Pete Carroll, 41-23. 

That was nice.

I come to you today, my friend — on the eve of high drama against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC divisional playoff round on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium — to say something slightly different.

Buckle up. This one’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Take your Dramamine or your bourbon or your edibles or your yoga breathing — whatever you need to get through some sort of personal mini-crisis.

This 49ers-Cowboys thing is gonna be nuts.

But! Provided you understand that — that Tony Pollard will hurt you at some point, that Micah Parsons will hurt you at some point, that Dalton Shultz will hurt you at some point, that you will have to stomach the sight of Jerry Jones’ luxury box many, many times — we can all get through this together.

Because the 49ers are the better, more complete, more consistent team, and will prevail.

I think.

Ha! That last sentence give you pause?

Well, this whole game should give you pause. The Cowboys are a 12-5 team that just demolished the Tampa Bay Bucs, looked good doing so, and are coming in mostly healthy. Yes, they have a kicker who may be auditioning for ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 2023’, but other than that, are a solid bunch with playmakers and a win over the Philadelphia Eagles on their resume. It doesn’t matter that they flopped miserably in their Week 18 finale at Washington. That’s ancient history and didn’t matter.

The Cowboys swept the New York Giants, have a top-5 scoring offense and a top-5 stingy scoring defense. This is not the Seattle Faux-Hawks coming in, sports fans. This one is a varsity game.

Just making sure we’re all on the same page.

And now I turn that page to guys like Christian McCaffrey, Trent Williams, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Deebo Samuel. Oh, and a QB named Brock Purdy, for the love of irrelevancy.

Because the 49ers are about as complete a unit as Kyle Shanahan has ever had, and that includes the 2019 NFC Champions, who did not have McCaffrey or Purdy. 

As for this Purdy character — I want to be careful with my words here, because I am like you, gobsmacked by his sangfroid. But I am also a realist. I can’t keep expecting this rookie making his seventh start (including playoffs) to keep answering the bell with slithery escape jobs and consistent reads. At some point, the NFL gets you, and you face turbulence, as I just saying to my friend Joe Montana and his *four* turnovers in the 1981 NFC championship game.

You know that game. Against the Cowboys. Same dudes. That game ended with something called “The Catch”. Except it didn’t end there. The Cowboys got the ball and came within one Eric Wright tackle, one Lawrence Pillers sack and forced fumble, one Jim Stuckey recovery . . .  of winning in the final seconds.

That’s what I mean. Even “The Catch” game was bonkers to the end. As was last year, in Dallas, down to the final spot and second in a game the 49ers led, 23-7. As was the 1994 NFC championship, in which the Cowboys nearly overcame a 21-0 first quarter deficit while Candlestick Park shook with nerves and adrenaline.

The 49ers are currently favored by 3.5 points, but to me, this one has no spread. Only agita, stress, more gray hairs and some heartburn.

Oh, and fun. Endless waves of 49ers-Cowboys fun, drama and, yes, history.

Sunday will be historic, kids. I’m calling the 49ers’ run game to be the difference, and likely McCaffrey to be the difference late.

Just be ready. I warned you. Now . . . bring me kickoff!