That’s almost more like it. Despite playing in St. Louis, where Niner dreams go to tie, die, and everything in between, Colin Kaepernick put forth a much better performance in a 35-11 win last night. But I'm still not happy.
Granted, the offense could ride the unrelenting Frank Gore train to victory, but that’s how it’s done when you employ the greatest running back in franchise history. Gore and Kendall Hunter gashed their way right through the Rams defense and set the tone for what would become a much more memorable game.
Of course, the offense still had its problems. They looked sheepish at times, and Kaepernick still narrowly averted disaster with two sure-interceptions falling out of defenders’ grasps. And it wouldn’t be a 2013 Niners game without something terrible happening. This time, Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley had to come limping out of the game in the second half. For the most part, Staley protects Kap's blindside like people covering the blind side should, according to Warner Bros, so his loss left me nervous.
Even though it was a much-needed win for our downtrodden 49ers, we must ask: What does it really mean? Chances are, a performance like that against anyone but the lowly Rams would have resulted in a much closer score, and maybe even a loss. Did they actually improve? Will this win strictly serve as a confidence booster before a game next Sunday night against the much more dangerous Houston Texans?
Here’s what I'm worried about:
• The 49ers should probably draft a kicker next year. No disrespect to 38-year-old Phil Dawson—who replaced last year’s abomination of a kicker, 38-year-old David Akers—but the team could use someone who shouldn’t be raising grandkids. Dawson missed his first attempt and had the Niners looking like trash again, before salvation came in the form of Gore. Dawson also missed a 71-yarder, which let’s be honest, Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders makes with his heel, while wearing a blindfold. In the snow. And nobody wants to lose anything to the Raiders.
• The defense hates my fantasy team. I mean, come ON. An easy pick-six and an easy fumble return for a touchdown, both negated by the lack of hand-eye coordination on the D. This isn’t actually a talking point, but I’m still annoyed.
• A win is a win is a win. So what if it was against one of the lousiest teams in football? The 49ers needed to win big and they did. The fan base can now safely retreat from the metaphorical bridge ledge (it's a brand new one, actually, with a beautiful view of Oakland).