Alex Smith

Singletary’s toughest challenge

Before the back-slapping and champagne cork-popping gets too loud for anyone to hear this, it’s time to sound the siren of complacency. The 49ers are so close to being close to making the playoffs, one forgets that on Sunday looms the Trap Game to end all Trap Games for five reasons:

1. The Niners are currently 2 games behind the Cardinals, who just made Vince Young look like Dan Marino, and all the Cardinals have to do is lose next week to the Favres and the Niners can move ahead of them in the NFC West with a win on MNF a week later.

2. The Seahawks aren’t really good, with the 49ers easily beating them in their first meeting…in San Francisco.

3. Sunday’s game is in Seattle.

4. Divisional rivalries often cloud the results of should-be blowouts.

5. The 49ers are really excited after the best performance of Alex Smith’s career and an easy win over an inept Jaguars squad that didn’t quite look up to the challenge of playing in a different time zone, especially with Dave Krieg at quarterback. What do you mean Krieg’s 50 years old and white? Then who was that guy kicking the ball around the Candlestick lawn like Pele yesterday?

Considering that the 49ers certainly don’t lack for confidence — their tight ends alone provide bulletin-board material for opponents almost weekly — this Sunday has the potential to be one of the scariest games in Mike Singletary’s short head coaching career.

Nothing would make Seattle feel better than to spoil the newly-contending 49ers’ season, the 49ers strangely seem to feel like their defense is elite even though they allowed Krieg David Garrard to pass for over 300 yards (about 70 more than Smith) and Josh Scobee missed two easy field goals that would have changed the complexion of the game more than slightly.

The key will be for Singletary to put together (OK, maybe more like “oversee”) offensive and defensive gameplans even more aggressive and imaginative than what we saw against Jacksonville, convince his team that Seattle is as good as the Colts and don’t go all “let’s run Frank Gore up the middle since we have the lead” if they get an early lead.

The Niners’ playoff chances aren’t at 0%, which is a victory in itself. If Singletary allows his team to lollygag their way to another loss to a mediocre team (hello Houston, Tennessee and Green Bay!), not only will the Niners be out of the playoff picture, but the Dec. 14 MNF game SGL got tickets for in honor of my birthday will become a lot less important.

Uggh…trap games. Are the 49ers up to the challenge? Vote on the poll and let your opinion be heard!

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