Be Careful What You Ask For

I think most of us were happy to see the Minnesota Vikings improbably go to New Orleans and kill the Saints Super Bowl dreams yet again. Two years ago there was the improbable catch and run on the last play of the game that thwarted the Saints Super Bowl march. Then there was the non-call on a blatant pass interference late in the Rams game that ended their comeback.

This last game? Well, Brees had two huge turnovers in the 2nd half to kill drives, and the Vikes did just enough to take the lead late and hold on to force NO to kick a field goal and go to overtime. NO had their chances, yet squandered them. Minn pressured Brees all day and had 7 hits, 3 sacks, and one strip sack.

The 49ers? Well, we had the luxury of having the week of to heal up. Dee Ford and Jaquiski Tartt are ready to go, and the possibility exists that Kwon Alexander will be ready. He is on the same fast track that JJ Watt went on to play last week and propel Houston to a win over the Bills.

Certainly good news. Thing is though, Minnesota brings a lot of pressure, and the Niners haven’t been very good lately at pass protection. Jimmy G has weathered the storms very well these last few weeks, but it sure would be nice to try and establish the run to set up play-action. Minnesota’s defense gives up a lot of yards, but their turnover numbers and sack numbers line up with ours pretty well. They do a good job in the red zone.

Their offense is pretty much the same. Nothing spectacular across the board but they run and pass efficiently. Dalvin Cook had a solid 1,230 yards rushing, and Stefon Diggs had an equally solid 1,135 yards receiving. The Saints shut him down, but Adam Thielen took up the slack against the Saints, and they have a tough TE of their own in Kyle Rudolph.

Even Kirk Cousins, the almost-49er, had a solid season. His rating of 107 is 4th in the league, and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He didn’t light up the league in yards, but neither did a lot of other playoff QBs. Of the top 10 QBs in yards per game, only Mahomes and Brees (7th and 8th respectively) made the playoffs.

So, what does all this mean? Well, those of us who have been around a while surely remember when the 1987 49ers cruised through the regular season at 13-2 only to get annihilated by the 8-7 Vikings in the opening round of the playoffs. A crushing defeat that had reverberations for quite some time as it drove an unmendable wedge between Eddie D and Bill Walsh to the point where Walsh had to be talked back into coaching by Eddie and his players. Walsh didn’t want to end his run on that note, and came up with his best coaching year in 1988 when the Niners staggered down the stretch, but won 7 of 8 games to win the West, and eventually the Super Bowl.

Overconfidence should not be a factor, and the 49ers shouldn’t be looking forward to the possible Seahawks rematch as that game won’t be decided till Sunday, and everywhere you look, you see references to the 1987 Minnesota playoff game.

I hope Kyle is making the team aware of that game, and its ramifications.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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28 Responses to Be Careful What You Ask For

  1. Winder says:

    What they did to Brees at home is better than what we did to him. Jimmy is just gonna have to get the ball out quick and hopefully doesn’t get hammered to bad. I still think our 4 man rush is better than theirs especially with Ford back but he tried a comeback a few weeks ago and it didn’t work. Hopefully this time it will.

  2. unca_chuck says:

    Yup. All about the rush. And pass pro. Ford and Alexander drove the early pass rush success. When they went down, the sack numbers dropped as well.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    Hopefully we will be singing the praises of Robert

    after the game . . .

  4. 12th man. says:

    Kwon cleared to play, getting those 3 guys back is huge!

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Kwon is still a game-time decision, but seeing how JJ Watt did has to be encouraging for all involved. Watt’s sack seemed to energize the Texans and propel them to their win.

    I just hope it ain’t that close.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    Here’s a cool Niners/ Vikings highlight from 10/30/1988.

    We were sitting in the North (wrong) end zone, and all we could do is watch the crowd stand up as Young ran down the field. Like a permanent wave. When the south end zone jumped up and erupted, we knew Young scored. Crazy game.

  7. unca_chuck says:

    Funny thing is, in today’s NFL there are 6 illegal blocks on the Vikings run.

  8. alleykat69 says:

    Funny how the Coaches can go full circle in the NFL.
    Mike Nolan hired Mike McCarthy to be OC for the 49ers in 2005.Now 15 years later McCarthy the new Cowboys coach hires Nolan to be the DC!

  9. unca_chuck says:

    I always wondered how we would have done had Nolan been kicked upstairs to GM and McCarthy named HC in 2006. Nolan wasn’t terrible in personnel decisions and we all know how McCarthy turned out.

    • alleykat69 says:

      Had those same thoughts Chuck.Nolan really was pretty good in the draft,Vernon Davis,Patrick Willis, others I’m drawing a blank with,bringing in the Cowboy as a F/A Justin Smith and the CB from Ohio St I forget his name as well to big contracts.
      Nolan’s strengths to me was his drafting abilities, but as a Coach he was over his head.Actually his biggest mistake was pulling the trigger on Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers, but who knows they were in the midst of 7-8 OC then and that would of fucked up Rogers as well.You have to have stability in the NFL,Pats have always had that, and now finally the 49ers are getting that back too, under Shanny&Lynch and I’ll throw a 🍖 bone to Jeb as well finally for not screwing it up..

    • unca_chuck says:

      Well, the possibility exists that McCarthy would have done better than Nolan as the coach and there wouldn’t have been the thrash around the OC/HC debacle that we went through.

      Hard to believe we are where we are frankly. At least Jed got to the point of hiring good people and quit tweeting. It took some time but here we are.

  10. alleykat69 says:

    Another thing about Mike Nolan, good are bad, the guy is a resilient and dedicated lifer in football.
    Not only a HC with the 49ers he was LB coach with the Saints,DC is more his specialty as he’s made stops at DC with Ravens,Jets,Redskins,Giants,Broncos,Dolphins,and Falcons! Cue up Johnny Cash song “I’ve been everywhere man”

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Nolan was hired 15 years ago. That’s nuts.

  12. NJ49er says:

    I think ‘nuts’ has reached a new plateau.
    Did you see the deal Carolina signed Matt Ruhle to?

    All good if he turns out to be the 2nd coming of Jimmy Johnson I ‘spose?

    Panthers are giving former Baylor HC Matt Rhule a seven-year – seven year – deal worth $60 million that with incentives could be worth up to $70 million, per league sources.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    Who? Never heard of the guy.

  14. alleykat69 says:

    He coached at Baylor, turned them around but still?
    I know more about him then the clown 🤡 NY Giants hired Joe “Here comes the Judge”
    Giants really are the laughingstock of NFC east even more than the Redskins imo.They should of cleaned house and fired they’re GM Gettleman as well..

  15. unca_chuck says:


    I couldn’t believe that when I heard they dumped Shurmur and not Gettleman with him. Not that he was any great shakes, but the Eli situation has been festering for over 2 years now and this hire of Judge, a guy whose WRs didn’t exactly do well, in fact were the weakest part of the NE offense is now head coach? Weird.

    Smacks totally of the Baalke/Harbaugh fiasco. Hey, who knows? Maybe the guy is a diamond in the rough. But what is in the rough usually turns out to be a turd.

  16. Winder says:

    It is interesting seeing how these teams needing coaches are handling things. I guess Cleveland is the only one left needing a HC, good luck with that. A lot of the process is just about timing and I think we were lucky(smart) in getting who we got. I don’t know who whispered in Jed’s ear but whoever it was I and most Niner fans are sincerely grateful.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, Kyle Shanahan was a pretty well-regarded guy, and he had his Bay Area connections to boot, but John Lynch was a total risk as a GM hire. I don’t think it could have worked out much better.

    I’d like to think Jed talked to Eddie but who knows?

  18. unca_chuck says:

    RIP Buck Henry. Great comedic screen writer and comedy writer.

    Did Get Smart with Mel Brooks. Loved me some 99 . . .

  19. Winder says:

    I knew there was a reason i don’t think bye weeks always help. Teams following a bye week this year
    wins- 11
    losses- 21

  20. unca_chuck says:

    Well, we were one of the 11 earlier this year, so there’s that. I wonder what the stats are for playoff seeds getting the bye vs not getting the bye

  21. unca_chuck says:

    The numbers support the bye team with home field has a huge advantage. Here’s the full article.

    The gist of it is:

    The NFL realigned into 8 divisions with 4 teams apiece when the Houston Texans joined the league in 2002. Since then, only 8 teams that played in the Wild Card round wound up advancing to the Super Bowl. They were the 03 Panthers, 05 Steelers, 06 Colts, 07 and 11 Giants, 08 Cardinals, 10 Packers and 12 Ravens. 6 of those teams won it all.

    Since this article was written in 2018, that means that 8 of the 136 wild card round teams made it to the Super Bowl.

    Once the NFL expanded to 32 teams, 2 teams in each conference received a first-round bye. Previously, there was only 1 team in each conference that would get a bye until the divisional round. From 1990-02, the league had 6 divisions, yet 12 teams still made the playoffs. That means that there were a trio of Wild Card entrants in each conference.

    During that 13-year span, however, just 4 teams advanced through the Wild Card round and eventually made it to the Super Bowl, and all of them came out of the AFC. Those were the 92 Bills, 99 Titans, 97 Broncos and 00 Ravens. The Broncos and Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl.

    Having a bye also means you get at least one playoff home game, which is massive in the NFL. In football, home teams have won playoff games 64.7 percent of the time, which is the highest mark among home teams in any of the 4 major American professional sports. In fact, that winning percentage of 64.7 percent is actually nearly 5 percent higher than the regular season winning percentage of home teams in football (57.1).

  22. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, it really underlines the importance of home field in the playoffs more than anything else. Not that that saved the Saints.

  23. unca_chuck says:

    Green Bay sure lucked out though getting home field and the bye. That is especially important for them seeing where they play.

  24. unca_chuck says:

    New thread is up.

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