A spot in the playoffs had already been clinched. The seeding had not.
Mr. Momentum took his sweet time in showing up for the 49ers on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. But, he did show up.
He showed up mainly in the form of Michael Crabtree. He set a new personal high in receiving yards with a 172. More impressively, he made Arizona’s Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson look pedestrian. With precision routes and sure hands, Crabtree ( 2 TD’s) has easily become Colin Kaepernick’s security blanket.
Kaepernick seemed to find his stride once again. Although starting the game timid and sluggish, he finished with his best statistical performance in his very young career. Kapernick passed for 276 yards and 2 TD’s while throwing no interceptions. His progressions and evasive ability against the Cardinal defense were easily the most important factors. If Kapernick can maintain his ability to escape pressure without being sacked and turning the ball over, this 49er team can win the whole thing.
It is going to take a WHOLE TEAM effort to win it all. And with this team, it starts on defense. It starts with guys like Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson, etc. The 49er offense feeds off of the defense. The 49er defense set the tone in this outcome allowing only one touchdown on 262 total yards of offense by the Cardinals. With a home playoff game looming, the defensive unit made a statement in week 17 that says they’re back!
As Greg Roman hinted at earlier last week, momentum comes and goes extremely quickly. The key to it is maintaining it. Granted, the Arizona Cardinals were a far inferior opponent, but in hindsight, that doesn’t matter. What matters right now is where that momentum resides. And currently, it resides with the San Francisco 49ers. It resides with a complete team that has a week off to regain a key player (Justin Smith).
All of these things considered, the real season begins now, and this team is very, very dangerous.