As I watched the 49ers issue a beating of biblical proportions on the Detroit Lions last Sunday, I received a text from a good friend (who has asked to remain nameless, as said friend is a NY Giants fan). The text read, "Sweet Jesus, who kidnapped the 49ers and replaced them with these guys? This is the toughest team in football right now. They should be charged with assault for a beat down like this."

The text, admittedly, was a bit over the top...but the question it posed brought to light something that many in 49erland may not have realized: while we've been watching our team pound their opponents into pumice almost weekly since the start of the Jim Harbaugh era, the rest of the league hasn't really been paying attention…not beyond the box score or the highlights, anyway. After the first two weeks of this season, however, it has finally begun to dawn on the NFL and the football watching public in general: these are not your father's 49ers.

This 49er team has a new identity. They don't just beat their opponents...they BEAT their opponents. From Anthony Davis' perpetual rag-dolling of Cliff Avril to Aldon Smith's outright abuse of Jeff Backus to Frank Gore's soul crushing block on the second of Michael Crabtree's 4th quarter third down conversions, the 49ers set out to mangle the Lions, and by the time they were done, the pride of Detroit was nothing more than a pile of kitty litter. Used kitty litter.

But prior to Sunday's game everybody knew that the defense was tough. Everybody knew that Frank was a tank. That didn't make them a tough team…it made them one dimensional.

Then the 4th quarter rolled around. Having physically dominated the game to that point, the 49ers needed to kill some clock and score some points. On 2nd and 10 from the Detroit 42-yardline, Alex Smith dropped back to pass, took one quick look up field, tucked the ball and took off. Smith gained 20 yards and began to slide…and received a forearm shiver to the face from Lions safety John Wendling for his trouble.

The shot was as cheap as they come, delivered by a frustrated player who had been torched on a Smith to Davis pass for the first score of the game. After the blow, Smith rolled on the ground, his hands went to his head and everyone in 49erland head their collective breath. When Smith found his feet and walked back to the huddle, he looked like "Rocky" in round 15. Blood was streaming from a gash in his nose. Three plays later, the football watching public found out exactly what the San Francisco 49ers are made of.

On 2nd and 3 from the Detroit 23 yard line, Smith took the snap and rolled right. He extended the play with his feet, and lofted a perfectly thrown ball to Vernon Davis, who weaved his way through Detroit's defense for 17 yards and a touchdown. The score sealed the victory and the reputation of the 2012 49ers: this is a team that will kick your ass and take your lunch money.

When today's game in Minnesota kicks off, the Vikings had best be careful. Chippy play might intimidate some teams…but not this one: Don't make them angry…you wouldn't like them when they're angry.