<b>UPDATE: Brandon Jacobs and Joe Staley are active, Marion Manningham is out with a shoulder injury.</b>
Well, it is officially crunch time in Ninerland. We are at a crossroads of sorts as the team tries to regain the form that led to such an impressive start. The Niers were clicking along, with one minor blip, when they ran into the New York Giants. They were buzzsawed into oblivion and were bad in every phase of the game. Problem is, as this is a ‘what have you done lately’ kind of deal, the Niners are on shakey ground. Gone is the euphoria of beating Green Bay and Deetroit. Here now is the unshakeable feeling that Alex Smith may be reverting to old bad habits. the defense was pourous in these 2 losses, and the pass rush, which was so good last year, has mysteriously vanished like so many 3rd down stops.
Enter the Seahawks. A mystery unto themselves. They’ve beaten good teams and lost to iffy ones. However, they come to town to renew rivalry between head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, and between Seattle GM Scotty (Happy Hour) McLoughan and his former team. These games always make for interesting fodder as Scotty has been picking up our scraps ever since he got there. Michael Robinson is still on the ‘Hawks, while erstwhile jersey-winner-for-me Kentwan Balmer has moved on to other endeavors (would you like to super size that?).
I have no idea how this plays out. But I do know that this is a game the 49er should win. If they lose, the entire program will fall under the kind of scrutiny that drove the 2 previous coaches mad. Losing at home to the Hawks would be, while not a fatal blow, it will definitely put a crimp in the search for back-to-back division titles. If Alex Smith falters in a big, or even not-so-big, way, the murmurs will start getting louder for Cappy to get more reps. I think they tone down the Cappy switch-outs, but I do hope they still use him down by the goal line.
Plus, we have the SF Giants quest to tie up the NLCS at 2 or run the risk of being shut down in 5 games. All they need is one win to take the series back to the Bay. GO GIANTS ! ! ! ! Depending on the outcome of these 2 games, I may not survive the night. Be still my heart.