It’s time to put to rest all of the talk about Jim Schwartz looking like he wanted to fight Jim Harbaugh after a rough post-game handshake and backslap. The real issue after this weekend is how the San Francisco 49ers appear to be for real.
As a Seahawks fan, I didn’t want to believe it after seeing the box score of the 49ers’ 48-3 win over the Buccaneers. I wanted to believe that was a fluke in front of their home crowd. And with the Seahawks on their bye week, I couldn’t wait to watch San Francisco get slapped back down to Earth.
Outside of a bunch of penalties by the Niners and watching Alex Smith complete just over 50 percent of his passes for a total of 125 yards, I did not like what I saw. This team is actually pretty good, and to see it go on the road and win against an undefeated Detroit team was very impressive.
Now at 5-1, the question is whether or not the Seahawks even have a chance at running them down in attempt to retain the NFC West crown. It certainly doesn’t look good, but there is still plenty of room in the schedule for a meltdown. Just ask former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels.
In 2009, the Broncos were quick out of the gate and McDaniels was worshipped in Denver for the great start. I’ll hold off on making any comparisons to Harbaugh, though, until he loses 17 of the next 22 games. I’m not saying it’s going to happen—I just really hope that it does.
Maybe Seahawks fans ought to take the same attitude as Raheem Brock. On Monday, he posted on Twitter, “Yeah the 49ers r lookin good! But we won’t worry about that until Dec! We got cleveland this week!”
The Seahawks don’t face San Francisco again until Christmas Eve in Week 16.
As good as the 49ers have been so far, it’s had more to do with Smith not making mistakes than any sort of miraculous turnaround from his previous years. The 49ers are ranked 30th in the league in passing, two spots behind the Seahawks, with an average of 171 yards per game.
“Alex is playing winning football. Playing tough. Managing the offense, you know, doing a great job with his assignments and his role,” Harbaugh said.
Smith is winning, but he hasn’t been dominant by any means. Outside of a 291-yard passing performance against the Eagles, his best game was against the Buccaneers, in which he threw three touchdowns but only 170 yards.
“I don’t think anybody played perfect on the offensive side of the ball in this game,” Harbaugh said. “But I thought they overcame adversity, got stronger as the game went on, and didn’t flinch at crunch time.”
The 49ers are getting wins through a strong running game, limiting turnovers and with a defense that is playing very well, particularly against the run, and limiting opponents to only 16.2 points a game.
While San Francisco has a few difficult teams on the schedule that could trip it up, five of its final 10 games are against the Browns, Cardinals and Rams, who have a combined record of 3-12.
While the season isn’t near over yet, it’s definitely time for Seahawks fans to be worried. The 12th Man will continue to cheer in Seattle, but it wouldn’t hurt to also start rooting for a catastrophic collapse similar to the 2009 Broncos.