It was nice to go to bed late last night with a studly victory over a hated divisional rival, especially the Arizona Cardinals. The team played well, the coaching staff seemed prepared, and the fans were pumped.
Now, back to reality.
Niners' fans have to take this game for what it is: A fluke. The Cardinals are a better team than the Niners right now, but as we know, every game is a new game, and you can only take one game at a time. This was one game. A great game for the Niners, and a stinker for the Cards.
Any victory is sweet, but the reality is that the Cardinals had no business turning the ball over seven times. Our defense is simply not that good, and their offense is simply not that bad. I hope fans do not expect the defense to be a turnover-creating machine from every game on out. This was an exception.
The same goes for Frank Gore, who looked terrific. However, let's not kid ourselves. Gore is a middle of the road running back. He's going to have a few great games, some average games, and some poor games. This was one of those special nights where everything fell into place.
The offensive line opened up huge holes, and dominated the Cardinals DL throughout the game. However, this is not our normal OL. We have struggled all season, and I doubt this one game changes the reality that our line generally stinks.
And, I sincerely doubt that our team suddenly falls back into the "smashmouth" philosophy. Who would we be kidding? We are a passing team that works best when the field is spread out. It just so happened that for one week, we could line up in a regular offensive formation and run at will.
Our CB's contained Fitzgerald and Boldin to less than 70 yards receiving TOTAL, but let's be realistic. Our passing defense was amongst the worst in the NFL going into the game, and I sincerely doubt that we are going to play weekly at a high level. It was just a wierd, wierd game.
And, finally, for those who think the Niners' pass rush has been solved, this would be another mirage. No doubt that we should salute the excellent effort of Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson, and company. But once again, the offensive line performance this week by the Cardinals was a joke. If they played this poorly the week before, they would have surrendered 56 sacks to Jared Allen and the Vikings. They just stunk for a week, and we looked fresh.
So, while celebrating this victory, which was very sweet, the reality is that this game is indicative of the NFL. One week you can stink, and the next you can shine. The week before, the Cards whacked the Vikings and the Niners lose to the crappy Seahawks. This week, the Seahawks were crushed by the Texans 34-7, the Vikings destroyed the Bengals 30-10, and the Niners defeat a good Cardinals team.
So, I raise a toast to the David Baas', Dashon Goldson's, Ahmad Brooks', Dre Bly's, Adam Snyder's of the world this week, fully knowing that these players had terrific games. But, let's be realistic in our expectation of these guys down the road.
It is simply one week in the NFL. One wild and wacky week.