The win by Atlanta snapped two streaks.
One was Seattle’s line of six straight wins in the regular season and playoffs. The other was a streak that has Atlanta fans and players breathing a sigh of relief.
After all, every time they make the playoffs, the team seems to hit a proverbial wall. They were 0-4 in their last four postseason appearances.
A win will do wonders for their confidence heading into their final home playoff game this season, but does the team have enough collective weapons to beat the 49ers?
I don’t think they do.
They are a good team. However, the 49ers are a great team. Possibly the best.
It’s almost unfair how many ways they can beat you. Their running game is headed by the power back, Frank Gore, who continued a strong season with over 100 yards rushing against the Packers last Saturday.
The offensive and defensive lines? Look no further than the All-Pro team or the Pro Bowl roster. The San Francisco lineman fill both lists, and rightfully so. The two lines have a perfect mixture of size and speed, and the youth of the players is only surprising because of how much experience they show on the field.
The secondary has been lights out. The 49ers have very strong cornerbacks, and outstanding safeties to take care of anything over the top.
Their receivers are equally ridiculous. Michael Crabtree had a breakout season, totaling 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns, both career highs. Randy Moss remains a dangerous target downfield, Vernon Davis attracts a great deal of attention from the tight-end position and even Delanie Walker scares defensive coordinators. It’s a cause for the question: So which ones do we cover?
It’s been asked before, and I’m not so sure there’s an answer. Each can give defenses fits in any area of the field.
I haven’t forgotten the one who makes it all happen. Colin Kaepernick.
The second-year quarterback out of Nevada navigated the 49ers to the No. 2 seed in the NFC with his precision and consistency. Indeed, many thought his debut against the Chicago Bears was a fluke. Except for the fact that he kept repeating those numbers as he finished the season at quarterback.
I’m sure head coach Jim Harbaugh had to be pretty happy when Kaepernick broke the all-time record for a rushing performance by a quarterback with 181 yards last Saturday. Him among many in the city of San Francisco.
That’s not to mention his two long touchdown runs right through the middle of the entire Packers defense.
Green Bay couldn’t stop him. Will Atlanta be able to?
I doubt it.
The reason is that Kaepernick can beat you in too many ways. His passing is accurate, and his poise is equally admirable. Starting off the game with a pick-six couldn’t have been easy to recover from. The fact that he did just makes the performance that much more spectacular.
He can pass on zone defenses, and he can run on man coverage.
So unless the Falcons’ defense is planning on having four quarterback spies, play man-coverage on his receivers and defend with two deep safeties, I don’t think they can stop the 49ers offense. Especially since doing all that leaves two men on the defensive line.
Frank Gore would certainly like that. So would LaMichael James. And Kendall Hunter.
Yes, I believe I’ll go with San Francisco in this game.
It’s just a good year to be a 49ers fan.