It’s funny what you choose to remember. I was sure the 49ers were undefeated on my birthday for at least the last 20 years plus, but they actually lost last year on December 14, 14-9 to the Miami Dolphins. For some reason I put that game out of my mind. Go figure.
That said, the Niners record on my birthday isn’t perfect, but it isn’t bad either.
1980: 35-10 Loss to Falcons
1984: 19-16 Win over Rams
1986: 29-24 Win over Patriots
1987: 41-0 Win over Bears
1991: 28-14 Win over Chiefs
1998: 35-13 Win over Lions
2003: 41-38 Loss to Bengals
2006: 24-24 Win over Seahawks
2008: 14-9 Loss to Dolphins
And last night, in a game that will probably lead to the Cardinals accusing the 49ers of covering the ball in Vaseline, the Niners throttled Arizona in what had to be the most satisfying win in years. Everyone was giddy, and not just because I’m one year deeper into my 30’s.
– The fans around us in Section 11 were content to stand and yell their asses off the entire game, and nobody said anything like, “Down in front, some of us would like to watch the game too.” I hate those people.
– Dre Bly and Justin Smith raised their arms for more noise on what seemed like every single defensive play. Maybe it was because everyone was yelling in our section, including SGL and I, but it seemed like last night the Stick was about as loud as I’ve heard it for a regular season game…this decade, anyway.
– Two little kids in front of us learned how to high-five last night. The little boy also learned how to do fist bumps, which led to him turning around after every play reaching out with his fist to everyone around him, including the guy in his 60’s who seemed a little uncomfortable with the idea. He pretended the kid wasn’t there until I said, “C’mon, don’t leave him hanging!” It worked. A wonderfully awkward grandpa-to-toddler fist bump.
– Even a possibly drunk Jed York called into Damon Bruce’s postgame show last night to tell everyone that Mike Singletary and Scot McCloughan would be back next year.
– Actually, there was a non-Cardinal who lacked giddiness last night: Nate Davis. Judging by how fast he ran off the field as the clock ran out last night, Davis shouldn’t have any problem avoiding NFC West pass rushers if he ever gets a chance in San Francisco.
It was one of the rare games in recent Niner history when there really seemed to be no doubt they’d win. The Cardinals were that bad, and the 49ers seemed strangely calm, especially on offense. Alex Smith threw 2 interceptions, but it was almost as if they never happened. When he completed that 3rd-and-10 pass to Davis on that drive late in the fourth quarter when they were deep in their own territory, I wasn’t even shocked.
Maybe it’s because of any of the great quarterbacks, either active or retired, none go from absolutely perfect to completely inept like Kurt Warner. He was still more accurate in some of his throws than Smith last night. But once Warner starts getting hit and puts the ball on the ground, a couple times, he’s done. Pretty rare quality for a Hall of Fame quarterback to get a case of the Chris Jim Everetts, but Warner does once every six games or so.
The 49ers will probably march off to Philadelphia this weekend and fall behind by 20 points on Sunday morning before your heavy-drinking friends even wake up and think about getting a fast food breakfast sandwich, but it was tough to get exercised about that prospect last night. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis showed the nation (OK, the West Coast, gambling addicts and whoever had a fantasy playoff matchup resting on the game) that they’re legit, and Frank Gore showed that any problems the Niners have running the ball shouldn’t be blamed on him.
And for what it’s worth, the San Francisco 49ers ran their record to 7-3 on my birthday. If they had to choose one night to look like a playoff team this season, I appreciate that they chose last night.