Even if you missed the game, we all know what happened this weekend. We went into Sunday's game expecting to win and win handily, giving points as road favorites against a weak opponent. However, instead of getting off to the start we expected everything that could go wrong did.
Our first possession had a horrible result. Then our defense gave up a couple of long drives while our offense went three and out. Before you knew it we were into the second quarter and trailing by two touchdowns. Our defense gave up 163 yards on just three drives while making their quarterback look like Joe Montana as he went 10-14 for 151 yards.
Things were looking bad. We weren't living up to our lofty preseason expectations. Our star quarterback seemed off. Our vaunted defense couldn't handle a rookie coach's schemes. Fans were ripping the team, the coaches, the players. Others were giving up on our playoff aspirations, much less ever returning to the Superbowl.
Fortunately for us our team came right back the next possession and started turning things around. Our passing finally started clicking and with a couple of big plays we narrowed the score to within one touchdown. After that we looked much better and eventually won the game, although we failed to cover.
In the end our quarterback finished the day with an excellent 10+ yards/attempt, a 60% completion percentage, a passer rating above 115, and the Packers are still considered a Superbowl favorite.
"Wait", you say, "why did you bring up the Packers?" Because that's who I was talking about the whole time! If you don't believe me, go look it up yourself. All stats listed above are those for the Panthers offense, Cam Newton, and Aaron Rodgers. Of course, those numbers and the play-by-play are almost exactly the same as those for the 49ers, Alex Smith, and Tony Romo. Take a look:
Panthers Offense First 3 Drives - 163 yards, 13 points. 49ers Offense First 3 Drives - 140 yards, 14 points.
Cam Newton on those Drives - 10/14, 151 yards, 1 TD. Alex Smith - 9/12, 117 yards, 1 TD.
Aaron Rodgers - 19/30, 308 yards, 2 TDs. Tony Romo - 20/33, 345 yards, 2 TDs.
And let's be honest; while we're a good team, the difference between the Packers and the Panthers is much bigger than the difference between the 49ers and the Cowboys. Furthermore, we showed on the opening drive that we could move the ball on the 49ers defense and had already stopped the 49ers and even had a sack. While you may say Cam Newton looks like a good quarterback you are only saying that BECAUSE of the Packers game. All throughout the preseason Newton looked terrible and had only lit up an even worse Cardinals defense, and everyone expected the Packers defense to shut him down.
I wrote this post to point out that even when things are looking bad it's not the end of the world - similar things happen to good teams all the time. Could you imagine the vitriol on this board if it had been Felix and Romo who coughed the ball up like Tolbert and Rivers did against the Patriots? (Oh, Jets game, right...) Or if this upcoming Monday against the Redskins we play like Steelers did against the Ravens? I'd probably give up on BTB and wouldn't come back, and I know I wouldn't be the only one.
We have a good team on our hands here, and if they ever get healthy there's even potential this team can be a Superbowl contender. But it's a long season and along the way there are going to be good times and bad times. This week I publicly singled out a ubiquitous poster for his comments made during the game, and for that I apologize. That said, the sentiment behind my call out remains - no matter how poorly this team plays over any short term stretch, know that this team can go toe-to-toe with any other team in the league and I beg you, the fans, to not give up on them so quickly. It'll be much more enjoyable for everyone watching and commenting on the games, and we'll still be able to enjoy the highs to come.
And if that's not good enough for you, then at least you won't feel like a jackass for ripping a player when he's still giving it his all despite the hole in his lung and not being able to breathe.