Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why the 49ers will win Super Bowl XLVI

It has been a long time since the San Francisco 49ers had stability at the quarterback position, nine years to be exact. In that same time period, they also failed to make the playoffs nine times. San Francisco is a proud franchise with legendary coaches like Bill Walsh and quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young. But in the past decade, it is easy to forget what the 49ers were and get caught up with what they became. We saw unworthy players take up the role of QB1 only to be replaced a few games later and coaches who were fired and replaced year after year. It got to the point where a coach even dropped his pants in the locker room to give imagery to his embarrassment. It has been 6 years since the 49ers used the first pick of the draft to take Alex Smith, and in that time, Smith has had 6 different offensive coordinators and no consistency in the playbook. We labeled him a bust before his rookie contract was up and I think a majority of fans wanted to give up on him after year two. It is hard to win when you start with a losing culture.

The 49ers are officially back and in a big way, and just maybe Alex Smith isn’t a bust after all. We all watched the Saints game in shock and awe as the prodigal son Alex Smith carried the team to two touchdowns, both in situations I personally had given up hope. Seriously, who knew Alex could run (almost looked like Tebow from that Jets game this year). Once again, it is clear that coaching plays a huge part in this game, and by boosting self confidence, a non playoff team sky-rocketed to the second best record in the NFL. Jim Harbaugh has changed the culture of this team. His men love him and clearly are ready to go to battle for him every day. The last time the 49ers won a playoff game before this year was the 2002 season when Jeff Garcia led his team over the New York Giants in a wild comeback in San Francisco. 9 years late the Giants are coming back.


  • Forcing turnovers has been a key to San Francisco’s success and they are +28 in turnovers this year, which also tells the story that this offense doesn’t cough up the ball either.
  • Vernon Davis has been a well-kept secret for a while, but not after this past weekend. People forget how big and athletic this guy is because he plays in a conservative offense, but I think he would be challenging Gronko’s record if he were playing with Tom Brady.
  • Run defense is the best in the league, giving up only around 77 yards a game on the ground during the regular season. Also it wasn’t until December 24th that the 49ers gave up a rushing touchdown. O_O “That’s CRAZY.”
  • Jim  Harbaugh, do I really need to explain this one? First year coach, took over a losing team with no major talent improvement from the year before. He took a quarterback that everyone lost hope in and made him into a winner. Jim saw talent in this team and finally the team sees it in themselves.
  • Inexperienced compared to the rest of the field that is left. The other three teams all have players who have won Super Bowls and are constant regulars in the playoffs year after year.
  • Red zone offense is the worst in the league and although we saw a huge improvement last game, the fact that the kicker broke Jerry Rice’s single season scoring record shows how pathetic this team is when it comes to putting the ball into the end zone.
  • Receivers have failed to make any real impact, with many high draft picks who have not lived up to their expectations. This forces Alex Smith to rely on their tight end. Vernon Davis will be doubled teamed the rest of the way, so the question will be if the receiving core can step up.
  • Offensive line has had ups and downs, but giving up 9 sacks to the Ravens during the Thanksgiving game is a huge red flag. They also had games where they gave up 5 and 6 sacks as well.
Keys to success:
  • Alex Smith needs to build on the momentum he has created, and will need to potentially face two top defenses before it’s all said and done.
  • Convert touchdowns instead of field goals. The 49ers were able to do this last weekend and maybe it caught the Saints by surprise when it was clear San Francisco wanted nothing to do with tying that game with a field goal.
  • Defense continues doing what they have been doing. They need to bring pressure on the pass rush because like the Saints, a couple teams left can throw the hell out of the ball. Also, they need to take the run away early, force teams to be one-dimensional, and get at least get two turnovers per game to win it all.
  • Stay confident no matter the situation. Great teams have the ability to rebound from any early deficit. Jim Harbaugh needs to lead his men with strong emotion, the same emotion that brought Vernon Davis to tears at the end of the Saints game.
Reasons why they will win it all:

Defense, defense, defense is why the 49ers are going to win it all. This defense is terrifying and they made a huge statement when they forced a fumble at  the 3 yard line right when you thought the Saints were going to jump up to a 7 point lead on the first drive. The hit heard around the stadium, a Saints offensive player was taken down by one man in the open field and completely crumbled. There is nothing sexy about the 49ers defense or offense, but they are fundamentally sound and rarely make mistakes. Let’s not forget that if Vernon Davis can get out early, we will be sure to see a healthy amount of Frank Gore who might not get the same limelight as Ray Rice, but is in the same class and has the ability to carry an offense for an entire game. I believe Alex Smith has turned the corner and we are finally seeing glimpses of why he was worthy of the first pick in the 2004 draft and how this man led his college team to an undefeated season. Even as a Packer fan, it’s nice to see the red and gold back in the playoffs, something just felt like it was missing the last 9 years.


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