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The 49ers are not a cute little team anymore

Rams game notwithstanding, the 49ers are a power next year.

Jacksonville Jaguars v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

I used to hate hearing teams stuck in mediocrity saying “Just wait until next year.” I always thought it was delusional and a cop out to the fact that the team in question had serious issues, which was why they had a 7-8 record in the first place. This exact time in 2011, Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle on Christmas Eve, and all I heard about was, “Just wait till next year.” While that ‘next year’ led to the Seahawks going to the NFC Divisional, it was the same phrasing I’d heard year in and year out for five years of watching the Seahawks only to compile losing records (and one playoff appearance with a losing record). So I hate it when I hear someone say their atrocious team needs to wait until next year.

But it says right here: The San Francisco 49ers are going to be a team to watch next year. The 49ers aren’t just a cute little team that surprised a few others. They are a team to fear next year, a potential power next year. They have gone up in difficulty, now beating a potential playoff team and one that is trying to get a 1st round bye back to back. One was a submission via T.K.O. and the other was running all over the best defense statistically in the NFL.

That aforementioned defense was the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Jaguars haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown in the first drive of the opposing team all season? They have now—and it was against a team that hasn’t had a single touchdown in their opening drive since the end of 2016. The Jaguars haven’t allowed more than an average of 14 points a game? That average has ballooned thanks to the 44 points total for the 49ers. Yards come at a premium for the for the Jaguars? Niners didn’t have any issues with offense, trouncing them for over 200 yards in the first half, the most yardage in the first half by any team against the Jags defense this season.

It all goes back to the play of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who has no trouble staying in the pocket and throwing it through the air. This makes the defenses no longer stack the box, and instead play honest.

And speaking of Garoppolo, if the 49ers don’t back the Brink’s truck up this offseason in his driveway, it’s a mistake. Garoppolo just earned his long term deal. Forget the interception on Sunday—pay him his money. Why? Because this is virtually the same team (actually with the loss of Pierre Garcon it’s worse) that Brian Hoyer led to 0-5. So either Hoyer’s not much of a quarterback or Jimmy Garoppolo is the second coming of Joe Montana. This guy can flat out play quarterback.

I hate saying “wait until next year”, but with a four-game winning streak under a quarterback who has never lost, this is the time to say “wait ‘till next year.” The 49ers have another playoff contender and possibly the best team in the NFC—the Los Angeles Rams— to close out the season. If the 49ers can pull out a win on the road, anything less than a wildcard spot in 2018 is a disappointment, and there’s no excuses for anything but a winning record.

Next year.