Everybody here is aware that on some days a team can look great and on others, a team can just look rotten. The San Francisco 49ers have had some pretty significant issues for most games over the past few weeks, especially early on in games. This poor play has led me to lower my expectations, but it does have the added benefit of making it hard to count out the 49ers after a rough start.
But back to my point: teams have bad games. We can't look at one game and draw a conclusion proper from it, especially when that conclusion is one that we so, so want to believe. But there are certain circumstances where a related discussion is necessary.
In this instance, the circumstance is that the Seattle Seahawks are really, really, really good at home. CenturyLink Field is a tough place to play, and if you say you weren't surprised by the Arizona Cardinals notching a win there in the regular season, then I'll say you're a liar.
It's loud, it's hostile and the Seahawks are just a much better team when they're there. I don't think opposing teams lay an egg there so much as that the Seahawks are just really, really effective at home. They've had something of an aura of invincibility there this season, and I think that intimidated many New Orleans Saints fans last week.
But when the Seahawks and Saints actually started playing, one thing was immediately clear to me: they stood a real solid chance to win, and a better team than the Saints could win that game. The 49ers, despite recent history, are better than the Saints. They're better on the road by a large margin and are better suited to play physical teams like the Seahawks -- without drawing penalties for their play (pathetically bad calls notwithstanding).
As to why the 49ers have looked absolutely poor in Seattle over the past few years ... you've got me. I don't know why Harbaugh has suffered the two biggest losses of his career in that stadium, but he has.
But it's the 49ers who carry momentum right now. The Seahawks had a seven-game winning streak during the regular season, but that was snapped when the 49ers beat them at Candlestick Park in Week 14. Much was different in that game for San Francisco, the least of which was not the return of Michael Crabtree, who always opens things up in the passing game.
Since losing that game, the Seahawks have lost a game at home -- to the Arizona Cardinals -- and struggled against the Saints. They also have gone 3-2 since their winning streak, counting the loss to the 49ers. Meanwhile, the 49ers have now won eight consecutive games and will head to Seattle with that in mind.
Looking to the Saints game, the Seahawks only put up decent numbers. Marshawn Lynch was great as usual, but the 49ers don't generally let running backs beat them, and Russell Wilson's 103 yards certainly didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence. Meanwhile, they let Drew Brees throw for 309 yards and allowed 108 yards rushing on top of that.
It's fortunate for them then, that the Saints thoroughly enjoy making mistakes and choking on the road. The Seahawks took advantage of a lost team in that game and the 49ers won't be so easy to overcome. I'm just ranting at this point but really all I'm trying to say is simple: the Seahawks that have shown up in recent weeks will lose to the 49ers that have shown up in recent weeks.
If the Seahawks and 49ers that played in Week 2 show up ... well, at least it will be over quickly. But I don't think that's likely to happen.
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