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I didn't think that after coming back from a two-week hiatus I would be typing in this word, but after the 49ers pushed their record to 4-1 in week five by dominating their opponent in a way they hadn't since the 2003 season, well, I have to at least use it in a question: playoffs?
Sure, tack this to what sure will be plenty of positive overreaction around 49ers land and perhaps the league when talking about the 49ers, but this isn't crazy talk.
Since 2003, or since the 49ers have been experiencing the playoffs as spectators only, 40 teams have finished the fifth week of the regular season with four wins on their records - 31 of them, or 77.5% of those teams, have reached the playoffs. The odds are pretty good.
Now consider the fact that the 49ers are 4-1 in a division that was won by a 7-9 team last season. The rest of the division hasn't gotten any better: the Rams are winless, the Cardinals just lost convincingly to a team that was winless coming into this week, and the Seahawks, the only team that seems to be putting up a fight, have already lost to the 49ers and are not even at the .500 mark at the moment.
There had to be doubts after the ugliest win of the season at Cincinnati, and it can even be argued that the Eagles' meltdown helped the 49ers steal a win on the road last week, but there were no doubts today. Truth be told, I had a good feeling about this game since watching the Bucs last Monday vs the Colts, but even I wasn't expecting this. The 49ers continue to evolve on both sides of the ball as each week goes by, and the two major concerns I had about this team coming into the season (the passing game on offense and defense) are slowly but surely transforming into fun parts of the game to watch. Alex Smith now has seven touchdowns and one interception this season, making Jim Harbaugh look like genius for bringing him back, and both allowing the run game to be more effective while utilizing it as a weapon. The play-action game is helping this passing game tremendously, for those of you who haven't noticed. On the other side of the ball, boy is Carlos Rogers looking like an Pro-Bowl lock so far: his three interceptions are currently tied for the lead in the league, and he has had tremendous coverage for the most part while also displaying great instincts in the passing game. There's no doubt that the whole team deserves credit for being 4-1, but Smith and Rogers deserve individual praise as they lead this team into their best start since the 2002 season ?
? The last season the 49ers made the playoffs.
Playoffs? It's a long way ahead, but you have to like the odds.