Here we are at the halfway mark, and the bye week, and the 49ers are fairly flying. 5 double-digit victories in a row, Stifling defensive performances, and a punishing run game has put the Niners back in the Super Bowl chatter. Sure, the competition hasn’t been among the elite, but you play the guys in front of you. The point being, the team came out of training camp pretty beaten up, and they have weathered that after a couple real bad games vs Seattle and Indy. Games where Harbaugh uncharacteristically ditched the run game despite all the injuries to the wide receivers, and lost games that were both decided late. Games that should have been more in line with how they usually play. And that’s the power running game behind Frank Gore.
So, the good news is, Vernon Davis gets a chance to heal his tweaked hammy. Kappy’s foot has healed up from his injury in the Green Bay game. Quinton Dial was recently activated from the PUP list. Tank Carradine as well. Soon to be followed by Mario Manningham and Eric Wright. The team has established their run game, and has managed to at least wean Bruce Miller into the passing game as an option rather than Boldin or VD. This means the team is getting healthy and will be getting fresh players to add depth and strength for the few remaining tough games down the stretch.
The obstacle of course is the Seattle Seahawks. A team that managed to win a game last night despite 138 yards of total offense. A team that could very well be a game behind the Niners if not for a Deangelo Williams fumble, a Matt Schaub pick 6, and a thrashing at the hands of the Rams yesterday. Woulda shoulda coulda I know, but Seattle is winning these games on the road, and that isn’t good. However, they are just now getting hit with injuries. Harvin isn’t back yet, but more importantly, they lost tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacamini. It was very apparent yesterday when Robert Quinn and Chris Long both had 3 sacks. And Sidney Rice is out for the rest of the year with a knee injury. So an offense that is sputtering may have yet another injury to overcome.
Unfortunately for SF, Seattle has the Bucs, Falcons, and Vikes coming up. Since only the Falcons are on the road, they will likely win those 3 before getting Nawlins at home. A toss-up. The Niners have the Panthers here, then NO and Washington on the road. Not an easy task. The hope is the Niners are one game back when Seattle comes to town. Sea will likely be 10-2 at worst when they come to town. The Niners will have to beat a tough Carolina team, and win in NO as well as Washington to keep pace. The Rams come here, and while they are a fast defense, the Niners should be able to outscore them. Losing to NO on the road looks like the one they drop. So, at 9-3, that would set the stage for the Seattle showdown.