Most of the people I saw on the game thread vs the Ravens were not the people I see around here day in and day out, so I'm not sure that what I'm about to say is meant for both of you. But we, as a collective fan base, need to chill out. This is about the level of comment I saw in the 4th quarter:
OMG THE NINERS SUCK HARBAUGH SUCKS ROMAN SUCKS FANGIO SUCKS ALEX SMITH SUCKS THE DEFENSE SUCKS THE OFFENSE SUCKS THE OFFENSIVE LINE SUPER SUCKS EVERYONE SUCKS THE NINERS WILL FINISH 9-7 David Akers is OK.
Well, I agree with these people to some extent - if the Niners play like they did in that game, they won't go far in the playoffs. It wasn't a good game for us, the offensive line in particular. However, it is my belief that we won't play like this again. Really, a lot of stuff happened in this game that simply won't happen again. So here are the reasons that Niners fans should just stop panicking and accept the loss.
- There's no denying that the offensive line played horrible, horrible football today. Alex Smith got sacked nine times.
That was, in my opinion, the difference in the game, and it's why the offensive line takes so much of the bame for this defeat. If it hadn't been for the line, we probably would have won this game. However, there's one mitigating factor to note here. The pressure was almost always from the right side. While I haven't seen the game film yet, I'm willing to bet that 7 or 8 out of 9 times, the right side was what caused the sack. And of course, the right side is where Adam Snyder plays - only he was out because of an injury, and in his place, of course, was the mighty Chilo Rachal. Otherwise known as 'the guy whose benching turned us from an OK team into a very good/great one'. Also, we were missing Bruce Miller, and in his place was the mighty Moron Norris. Now, credit to the Ravens' defensive line - they played brilliantly, and exploited the weakness. But if those guys come back and play at the level we're accustomed to, I think our line will be fine.
- Let's be frank - the refs sucked this game. The most blatant bad call was the chop block that negated a TD, and cost us 7 points, but they also had some other bad calls. They missed an intentional grounding on Joe Flacco, though it didn't matter much, and called a bad one on Smith, though it also didn't matter. Also, they called a pass interference negating an interception, and while I personally agreed with that call, I think that it could be argued that the defender was trying to make a play on the ball. Now, as much as we may like to think this, THE REFS ARE NOT TRYING TO SCREW US OVER. They're good people, trying their best to do the best job they can*, though sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes, the calls will favor them, sometimes, they'll favor us.
- The bad playcalling. This was not a good game for the Niners coaching staff, and that's the one thing that I really couldn't find any mitigating factors for. It was bad. However, it's been good all season. So they had a bad game - they had 2 days to prepare! It happens to the best coaches. I'm willing to believe the rest of the season over one game.
And lastly, the #1 reason why we all need to collectively take a chill pill, is:
- GOOD TEAMS SOMETIMES LOSE FOOTBALL GAMES. Say that to yourself. Do it again. There's a reason teams go undefeated extremely rarely. It's tough to keep a win streak of that long going. The Niners got outplayed, outcoached, and beaten today by another good team, a Super Bowl contender. Fine. They're still a good team. They're still going to win the NFC West. They're still probably going to get the #2 seed in the NFC. The world is not ending.
Really, on that last point, I think what's going on is that in the past, when the Niners lost, we could just say, they're not a good football team. Hell, even this season, that's what happened - I thought the Niners were bad when they lost to the Cowboys. They've spoiled us this season by not losing, so when they finally lose, we want to revert to that 'they're not a good team' mentality, when it simply isn't true. They're a good team that got beaten by another good team. Relax. It happens. Our playoff chances, and yes, our Super Bowl chances are as alive as ever.
The Niners are good for the first time since 2002. They're 9-2 and have their division wrapped up tight. They'll probably have a first round bye this season. They have a lot of young talent and they could be good for years to come. This Thanksgiving, at least be thankful for that. Happy Thanksgiving, Niners Nation.
*Excluding Tim Donaghy, of course. And that referee in the USA-Slovenia world cup game. I mean seriously, what was he thinking?