Alex Smith

Pregame: 10 ways the 49ers can save their season

If the Niners lose big to the Saints, leaving them at 0-2 while facing three difficult games in the next few weeks, the season is probably over. OK, I guess that depends on what you mean by “the season” and “over,” since the second half of the schedule is extremely easy and the NFC West is extremely craptastic. But if going 7-9 and losing your first playoff game constitutes a successful season for you, then maybe you should focus on a sport like long-distance running. “Ooooh, my favorite Nigerian runner just finished 10th in the Boston Marathon and totally PR’d!”

Luckily for Mike Singletary, the most important game of his career takes place in good old Candlestick Park, which should be rocking. Of course, since the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl there will probably be a bunch of fairweather fans on the scene — after all, it took a quarter and a half for 49ers fans to create as much noise as the Bears fans at the Thursday night game I went to last season — but it’s the home opener. It will be loud. Will the fans leave as happy as they will be as they stroll into the stadium high off Sierra Nevada and bratwurst? If at least five of these ten things happen.

1. Frank Gore breaks off at least one run of 40+ yards, or two runs of 20+ yards.

2. Patrick Willis makes Reggie Bush see stars in the first quarter.

3. The 49ers sack Drew Brees at least three times.

4. The Saints sack Alex Smith fewer than two times.

5. Jimmy Raye finds a translator who can understand his garbling.

6. Alex Smith keeps the defense honest with a couple first down runs early.

7. Shawntae Spencer covers Marques Colston, not Nate Clements.

8. Mike Singletary hires Morten Andersen to give an electrifying locker room speech to the team.

9. Michael Crabtree learns the plays.

10. Andrew Luck wears an Alex Smith mask, accounts for 350 all-purpose yards and 5 touchdowns.

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