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Look Out, Seattle: The Niners Are Coming

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Go ahead. You can admit it.

No one's going to judge you here; your feelings make all the sense in the world. Only a few short weeks ago, the Super Bowl looked like an absolute lock. And now you're feeling it slipping away. You're being totally reasonable; any observer would understand.

So go ahead. You can admit it.

You can admit, that you are afraid.

Please, trust us, we know how it went. During wild-card week, you rooted like mad for the Packers to beat us. You probably felt pretty confident, that the subzero wind-chill would put us away. After all, having barely escaped road-games against lowly teams like the Texans and Rams, that trip to Lambeau would've destroyed you. And the officials certainly gave you a tease, stringing you out all the way to the end. But sorry. The Niners won, and they also proved something.

Tough outdoor conditions? They will not stop us.

And then, of course, came divisional week. You probably felt pretty proud of yourselves, having dispatched the soggy Saints, as if that really meant anything. The Saints' showing in Philly hadn't done much to dispel their reputation as a team that melts in the cold and muck, and sure enough, as soon as they felt the first drops of rain, they started giving the game away. Certainly you didn't win the game, not when you gave up 400 yards. Instead the Saints lost it, and then off you went to cheer for the Panthers.

Again, I'll bet that you felt pretty good. The Panthers were at home and rested, and they'd also won 11 of 12, including a road-game over the Niners. In that one, their pass-rush had overwhelmed Colin Kaepernick, inducing Trent Dilfer to say that the young QB becomes "remedial" when his first read is covered. After Green Bay, though, Dilfer issued a retraction, noting that we'd been running a "1970s passing game" where Kaepernick often was given one read. But now, with Michael Crabtree back on the field, Kaepernick was "letting it rip, making big-time throws into contested coverage and getting the ball out of his hand."

So now, it seemed, Kaepernick's struggles against Carolina were actually a function of play-design and receiving corps. (Gee, I wonder where Dilfer got that idea!)

The point is, we aren't the team we were back then, and the Panthers would be the first to agree. Early on, their defense tried to intimidate us, but as Kaepernick had said in September, that's not a plan that's likely to work. Our offense, much better prepared for the Panthers' pressure—and, thankfully, running a much more "modern" passing game—put up back-to-back touchdowns sandwiching halftime, which were more than enough, thanks to a D that did its own intimidating, with two goal-line stands and a second-half shutout.

So again, sorry. The Niners won, and they proved something else.

More rested opponents? They will not stop us.

So now it all comes down to this, as many observers expected it would. Niners-Seahawks. The rubber match, for the Super Bowl. And you can admit, that you are afraid.

Sure, you'll probably try to convince yourselves. You'll start by simply reciting two numbers, which we'll hear again and again this week: "71 to 16," the aggregate score of our last two visits. Two impressive routs to be sure, and thoroughly irrelevant now. As I just got done saying, we aren't the team we were back then, so the score might as well have been 400-zip. It absolutely doesn't mean squat.

What matters is how we're playing now. You know that we've won eight games in a row, but you probably don't know that we've hit 300 yards in each of those games. You haven't hit 300 yards in any of your last three games, all of which you've played at home. Offensively, we've got the edge.

Plus, as I said, you just gave up more than 400 yards, at home and in the pouring rain. (And that's even despite the cheating!) Meanwhile, despite going on the road against two high-powered playoff Os, we gave up basically 300 each. With the way you've been playing, you'll be lucky to pick up half that much. Defensively, too, we've got the edge.

Basically, your secret's out. Against your D, use quick throws out of bunch formations that ensure clean releases off the line, and then follow up with runs down your throat. And against your O, focus on stopping Marshawn Lynch, and make Russell Wilson try to beat you from the pocket. It's a fairly simple formula, though not many teams can do all that. But as you know, the Niners can. And as you know, the Niners will.

All that's left is all you've got: your much-ballyhooed 12th man. Good lord, enough already. News flash: you aren't any louder than the average set of drunken fans. You're just sitting in a stadium that was intentionally designed to bounce the noise off the roof and onto the field. It's physics, not fandom, so stop taking credit for it.

But trust us, by now we're pretty accustomed to it. For last year's title game, the Georgia Dome was plenty loud. Didn't matter. Streamline your communications, score a touchdown or two, and the crowd will barely make a sound. This is the playoffs, folks. We know this is sort of new to you, but trust us again: gimmicks don't work at this stage of the game. The experts who say we can't win up there are the same experts who said the Giants couldn't win in Green Bay, and the Ravens couldn't win in Denver. It doesn't matter where the game is. The team on a roll is the team that wins. And we, right now, are the team on a roll. And you are fully aware of that.

Your time might be coming, but your time isn't now. We've been chasing this for three long years, getting closer with every step. A title game loss, then a Super Bowl loss. And after this season of ups and downs, now the stage is perfectly set. For the final step, to the ultimate redemption.

So go ahead. Bring your noise, if that's all you've got. Because we know the truth, and really, deep down, you know it too.

This is our time. And you will not stop us.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Bill P
    Well gee, it's nice to root for our team. I like the Niners too, but I don't think it's very classy to degrade another good team like the Seahawks like you did. Now knowing how well they played against us and how poorly our QB did against their D, it's embarrassing. Congratulations Seattle and good luck against the Broncs.
    Jan 23, 2014 at 11:14 AM
  • George D
    Nice article. Well-written with good cadence and pregnant pauses. You really put the fear of God into them! Only not with hell-fire and brimstone, but with simple Truth -- which is even more powerful. I feel a blowout on the way, as the 49ers are just way too balanced all-around. There is simply NO VISIBLE WEAKNESS, whereas Seattle has several. PLUS -- that gnawing feeling of loss from last year, is THE greatest motivator. Everything else pales in comparison, and Seattle does not have that. 31-10 payback?
    Jan 18, 2014 at 5:03 AM
  • Johnny
    I am a Cowboys fan living in Seattle. Give me all the crap you want for being a Dallas fan, that will never change. Pulled for the Niners in the Super Bowl and I am definitely pulling for them this Sunday. I cannot stand Seahawks fans (they have no clue), Kaepernick is a stud and I have always liked Harbaugh. So for yet another playoff season I am pulling for the Niners, please do not just beat them, rout them!
    Jan 17, 2014 at 10:06 PM
  • ScottinVA
    The Niners are a completely different and far more potent team than the one that was beaten in Seattle in September. The Squawks won't know what hit them.
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:45 AM
  • Bayboy79
    My thoughts exactly. We will take home-field advantage away from them. They can't stop us.
    Jan 16, 2014 at 9:27 PM
  • ninerdawg
    Great article Jeff! You got me fired up! Every week I got some hater telling me, this is our last week, but after reading this, I am with you Jeff. We are going to rip Seattle! GOLD BLOODED NINERS!!!
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:47 AM
  • Kari
    Oh, how I eagerly await all of your articles, and you never disappoint!!! Unfortunately, I am living in enemy territory. It's not a fun place to be when you are a 49er fan, hearing all the smack-talking, even on the local news. Your article had me laughing so hard! You really nailed it. Thank you again for a job well done! Go Niners!!!
    Jan 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM
    Well said.....and all of it, it's so true and the 49ers will my Niners! sooooooobring it on baby!
    Jan 15, 2014 at 12:21 PM
  • i love 49ers
    i don't care what seahawks fans say, you don't know what us 49ers fans been thru, our time is now and the only shout out there be us whoop you guys, youre looking at the next super bowl champions, 49ers baby, whos got it better than us, nobody, and you can bank on that one too.
    Jan 15, 2014 at 11:11 AM
  • Darrell G
    This. This is what keeps me coming back for more Jeff. Well written and stated. Go 9ers !
    Jan 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM
  • Steve
    I was waiting for you to post an article to this effect. Got me fired up over here. Rest assured though, the 49ers offense must continue to click better, stop burning timeouts, and get pay dirt in the early going. Let's Go Niners!
    Jan 15, 2014 at 8:59 AM
  • Ron michaud
    Kaplan always brings my emotions to tears... Is he a soothsayer? Brilliant piece of writing..... How to beat the hawks. Simple concise and accurate. I'm a nervous wreck waiting for the game. Thank you for providing the flashlight. I can now visualize a W.
    Jan 15, 2014 at 7:38 AM
  • Edd
    Nationally, the 49ers have been pretty much ignored all season. That's OK, come this weekend that will change. The 49er-Seahawk rivalry is the best in today's NFL, and the TV ratings could set records.
    Jan 15, 2014 at 7:19 AM
  • 49RSRUL
    Excellent lead up to the NFC Championship game and oh so true! They ARE afraid. Very afraid. And we're excited. VERY excited. GO NINERS!! QUESTFORSIX!!!
    Jan 15, 2014 at 6:11 AM
  • Marty Hill
    Before last weekends game Seattle announced they were starting a rookie LG for the first time. Not good. Saints lost, but they sacked Wilson 4 times. Wilson was held to 100 yards passing. Could not stop Lynch. 49ers sacked Cam 5 times. They should dominate Seattle's OL. In the 29 to 3 loss, 49ers defense sacked Wilson 3 times & dominated him. Kaep's 4 turnovers & his terrible play is what lost that game. I guess Kaepernick will be the deciding factor of this game. He can win it for the 49ers or he will lose it for the 49ers.
    Jan 15, 2014 at 2:23 AM
  • Chantos
    Well written! I've seen nothing impressive from the chickens' pass offense; as you said jeff, stop Lynch and end of story. Expect to see more read option from Wilson. By the way, Q. Patton is growing fast, i like the guy, he had a couple of great blocks against the panthers! Who do you think sherman will be covering? I hope crabtree beats him time and time again. As a side note, I am glad some hawks fans are noting that we already have 5.... How many do they have?
    Jan 14, 2014 at 11:41 PM
  • TacomaNiner
    Mr. Kaplan, I wish every Hawk fan up here (Im surrounded, egad) could read this. Wonderfully written, nothing homeristic about it, just the truth. I work at KJR 950 Sportsradio in Seattle, the overconfidence is rampant, everyone is calling for a severe throttling of the red and gold. And yes, I am the most hated man in the building. Destiny, thy name is Gore, Willis, Smith, Bowman, Staley....
    Jan 14, 2014 at 10:24 PM
  • chris howard
    I can't say it any better. You nailed every point with FACTs. Amazing article....We will win it all this year. #ForeverFaithful #Questforsix
    Jan 14, 2014 at 9:34 PM
  • duane urban
    It sure makes me laugh. It's ok for the cheathawk fans to keep bringing up the last two games in Seattle, but when it is pointed out that they have ZERO rings to our FIVE we're bringing up the past. WHAT?!?!?!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 9:27 PM
  • Tom
    Can't wait to see the article you will write in the event the Niners lose. It will no doubt be the ref's fault, or the crowd noise, or aliens from another planet. If all those fail then likely as not you'll find a way to blame the ghost of Alex Smith.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 8:37 PM
  • 49Since79
    I give you credit seahack fans. You are truly stubborn to the very end. Even when confronted by harsh truth. We shall continue our quest for 6. Good luck for your search for 1 lmao.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 8:34 PM
  • aasheesh
    amazing article, well written and totally true. we shared it on our billboard page.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM
  • Monsterniner
    Wow. After reading this I wanna put a helmet on and go out to play in that stadium in front of those overrated fans.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 6:43 PM
  • Mizz Bobbie
    Well written, Jeff Kaplan!! We all know it's true! I'm so pumped up right now!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:47 PM
  • stewyQfor6
    I can't stop smiling right now :) Go 9ers and the Kaeped Crusader/Superman!! #SinkTheClink --> #QuestForSix !!!!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:32 PM
  • MommaNiner
    I am truly at a loss for words. This is such an amazing article. It has pumped me up for Sunday's game. I can't wait to see my Niners defeat the Seahags and their 12th man. #goNiners!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM
  • Hazel
    OMG!!! I so wish I could just shake the hand of the writer of this article! With all the haters/critics of The 49ers, this was just the "breath of fresh air" that I needed to fuel up (into HIGH gear) my excitement for Sunday. The overwhelming hatred from the critics/haters is all I seemed to see on TV/read on paper. I so believe that our team is on a mission, and it has been a long 3 years OVERDUE. It IS our year. I can feel it stronger than I did last year. Thank you for writing such an eloquent, honest, and motivating article!!! Kudos! And #go49ers!!!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 4:28 PM
  • Nessa28
    Let's get it. As fans we should have no doubt in our team, we are not quitters!!!! just like Kaep kisses his arm, he kisses his faith!! c'mon niners!!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 4:13 PM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Jeff, I think this is your best article yet, wow, I am pumped big time. From the beginning of the season we all knew it would come down to this. I am tired of all the baloney from She Hawk fans. The Niners are going to shut them up quick. This game will go down in Niners history, we cannot be denied. Go Niners!!!!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 4:03 PM
  • Anna Paganelis
    I hardly call myself a football enthusiast, especially after the fact that my son (Bill Frangieh) was for a while a 49 himself.....All I have to say is that lately I am falling in LOVE with them 9ers and not afraid to show it! I watched the Packers game and even though I have no idea how the game is played (even after ALL these years) I was on the edge of my seat and rooted with all my heart for MY team!! GO 49s!!!!
    Jan 14, 2014 at 4:03 PM

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