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Before a national audience on Monday Night Football on ESPN the absolute bottom fell out of the San Francisco 49ers as they lost a last ditch effort drive to win the game from two and a half yards out to the division leading Arizona Cardinals 29-24. Every 49er fan from coast to coast witnessed a sudden transformation in a team that was mired in mediocrity right before the bye week after losing to the Seattle Seahawks at home.
Mike Singletary had put his stamp on this team in just a short amount of time and it was apparent out on the field and on the sidelines. We came into Glendale, Arizona without intimidation and with a sense of purpose and that was to compete and win. In my opinion this is the best performance I've seen from this team as a collective unit since the 2006 NFL season where we achieved the status of a playoff spoiler to the Denver Broncos.
The game was electrifying in the first stages of it with Allen Rossum's kick return for a touchdown for 104 total yards and Shaun Hill's ability to play the security card of keeping the ball under wraps during the first half. Hill's 31-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Josh Morgan for a touchdown and an 18-yarder to Vernon Davis who redeemed himself to go ahead 21-13 was a shocker to bird fans at the University of Phoenix.
Bay Area sports writers assembled at Mike Singletary's post game news conference made reference to the "change," they observed in the team as they took the field and came off from it. Mike felt that the formula for winning and ultimate success exists right here in the hearts of each individual player that is on his roster. He remains convinced that they are hungry to win and will continue to strive harder to get another victory in our win column.
This marked the end of yet another season though for us, as this loss to the division leading Arizona Cardinals leaves us at the bottom staring up with a (2-7) record on the season. Despite that painful reality of which we are all so well accustomed to, hope remains in clear distinct fashion with Mike Singletary in charge. It is as almost as the Presidential Election was being held and suddenly won by a landslide candidate that helped bring change that was sorely needed to a franchise on the verge of destruction.
Mike Singletary is that man and head coach of the future for us. His unbridled passion for the game and becoming successful has made a dramatic shift on the entire team and turned the heads of ownership to stand up and take notice. His ability to have players suddenly buying into what he is preaching has turned over remarkable results thus far.
Maybe just maybe Mike Singletary is the Barack Obama we need for the San Francisco 49ers. I am really beginning to think so as I listen to him and see the distinct affects that translates into the players and coaches on the field and the sidelines. Despite our depressing record rather it be because of the Mike Nolan reflection on it at the beginning and at the end and or the ownerships inability to secure more immediate changes in seasons gone bad, we seem to have found the right man for this job.
I was intrigued by San Francisco 49er quarterback Shaun Hill's tenacity to keep the offense moving the chains on the field rather it be with a hand-off to Frank Gore who had a great day and or a throw to one of our promising up and coming wide receivers, he really shows a confidence that helps infect this team.
His fumble and two interceptions in the second half were all life-changing experiences he knows he has to correct and minimize if he is to have a chance at being the starter now and into the future. His methodical care though of moving the ball like a West Coast quarterback ought to do, proves again my theory that this type of offense is by far more encouraging for the 49ers to stay with.
Mike Martz surprisingly has conformed to such a degree that he is now reaping the rewards of witnessing a turnover happy offense less often. Shaun Hill made some real corny mistakes with the ball in both interceptions with the later being a Brett Favre shuffle pass, like he was trying to make a play out of the most suffocating of moments.
He is a blue-collar type of quarterback that isn't afraid to run for a first down when it is needed. He reminds me of Steve Young and even Jeff Garcia in that he shows no regard for sacrificing his life or limb in order to obtain more yardages, sometimes exposing his head to a possible harmful shot.
The 1:06 remaining on San Francisco's last drive of the game was mishandled and utterly abused by poor game management on offensive coordinator Mike Martz's watch with the sudden change in personnel and on the officials that failed to provide adequate communication to both sidelines like Mike Singletary indicated. To lose a game by such a fraction and to see a victory suddenly snatched away from you because of pressing outside circumstances leaves you with twisted and wrenched internal organs.
We had the Arizona Cardinals where we wanted them. I am confident that had the situation been a little more relaxed that we would've punched this ball in and won this game. Instead valuable lessons have had to be learned and the 49er coaching staff must never allow this to become a factor ever again.
Although my analysis and comments seem to be brief this time, I am still very excited to be the observer and witness to the Mike Singletary era. Despite the Monday Night loss, he deserves to be in the national spotlight and in the limelight with Jed York looking out over his shoulder and believing that this man is a man worth keeping around a lot longer.
Let's take the "interim," off the nametag and grant him the front office confidence he deserves. Mike Nolan had from 2005 till now to make the difference needed. Little did we know that we had the hidden antidote right under our nose? I salute you Mike Singletary.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.