The San Francisco 49ers appeared to be rolling into the 2013 NFL season, a team on a mission, an irresistible force that would simply dominate and once again represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Up and down the roster the Niners were deep and talented, a quarterback with a historic first season, a bull of a running back in Frank Gore, and perhaps most of all, an NFL leading defense that took no prisoners.
After a season opening win the Niners faced off against their division rival in Seattle. And got spanked 29-3. Most NFL pundits and San Francisco fans wrote it off as a bad day at the office. Certainly the carnage couldn’t continue. Colin Kaepernick would rebound, the defense would gird it’s loins and wreak havoc on the next opponent, an Indianapolis Colts team that looked improved but certainly wouldn’t be much competition.
Those Colts had their own problems. Andrew Luck was working off a bad outing the week before. New running back Trent Richardson wouldn’t be able to pick up the offense that quick. Most of all, a reeling Colts defense couldn’t possibly stop Kaepernick.
For the 49ers, reality has hit home and hit hard. The Indianapolis Colts stunned San Francisco 27-7 in San Francisco yesterday, winning what I dubbed The Rebound Bowl, and forcing NFL fans to rethink their assessment of just how good these San Francisco 49ers actually are. Is it possible the curse of a Super Bowl appearance will rear it’s ugly head once again?
Consider this: The Niners have now given up 56 points in two games while scoring 10. That’s not what we think of when we think of the San Francisco defense. Or the offense. Kaepernick and Gore could get nothing going yesterday. Looking ahead, they have next week to recover and right the ship in St. Louis. After that come the Houston Texans, and later in the season the New Orleans Saints and the Seahawks again. Pegged as NFC West winners the Niners now find themselves two games behind their rivals. Stumbling out of the gate doesn’t spell the end but San Francisco needs to fix their problems and fix them quickly.