A Reason To Believe…

If J.T. O’Sullivan and the 49ers showed the world that they were learning to win two Sundays ago against Seattle, they flipped the script completely in showing that they seemingly are learning to annihilate weaker opponents altogether.

Yes I said weaker opponents, something that while it might have existed in the previous three seasons under Mike Nolan wasn’t really believed by most until a thorough 31-13 drubbing of the hapless Detroit Lions at Candlestick Park last Sunday. Sure the 49ers have played some games against teams with worse records and who might have looked like on paper to employ lesser players. However they had never in the Mike Nolan era just demolished and ran roughshod over a team as they did in this contest.

This is not to say that I am predicting a Super Bowl berth for the youngsters in red and gold, I’ll save that for the Cardinals fans who are so unaccustomed to winning that they’re screaming NFC Championship. I will also acknowledge that this was in fact the Lions, they of 471 rushing yards allowed over the first two games of the season. The franchise, who has recorded only three sacks through three games, has zero interceptions over that same time and who has started the season 0-3 thanks in part to your 49ers.

There is a time and a place to get truly excited about a team’s chances for success in a season, opening up 2008 against the equivalent of the three stooges isn’t that time or that place. What is though is a chance to be optimistic (there’s that word again) about the prospect of actually being competitive and entertaining.

Of course as many well remember the 49ers began last season with 2-1 record and then proceeded to finish it with a 3-10 meltdown in which they were mostly outmatched and ran off the field. This season, one in which they have been able to move the ball seemingly at will in all three games, there is far more reason for hope.

Said cornerback Walt Harris; “We take things one week at a time. Our next focus is New Orleans. We don’t want to focus on anything but one game at a time, one win at a time.”

There is a sense that last season this was not the case. This team had not been there before, starting 2-1 and being on top of the division was not something they were accustomed too. Might they have looked too far ahead into the season at games that appeared to be more important then the next in line? It sure seemed that way as both offense and defense hung one another out to dry. The coaching staff was also clueless as to how to stop the leaks which while they started as cracks in the armor culminated in becoming gargantuan sized pot holes on the road to January.

After putting together a dramatic come from behind win in Seattle the week before, the 49ers were able to dominate in their most complete game in years on both sides of the ball against one the of the NFL’s doormats. Make no mistake, last years 49er team would not have done this, it wouldn’t have happened and in fact they might have lost this game completely. This seasons squad harassed quarterback Jon Kitna all day long, allowed Frank Gore to have his way with the Lions suspect defense and corralled two stellar receivers in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams who combined finished the day with only six catches for 58 yards and no scores.

Gore finished the game with 27 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 32 yards, ending week three as the NFL leader in total yards from scrimmage with 412. Gore truly has taken on the role of Marshall Faulk in this offense, at least in regards to how many times he is touching the ball and the production he is giving the team when called upon.

“This is a different team we have now,” Gore said. “It’s fun. It seems so easy now. Last year it was a struggle. It was a struggle to get the ball across the 50, and now we can score 21 points like it’s nothing.”

In addition to all of this the JTO Show appears to be running full steam ahead as the former journeyman quarterback notched another good game and posted a passer rating of 123.3. He ended the win going 16 for 23 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with eight different receivers in all and also found an open Isaac Bruce in the first quarter for the wideouts first touchdown as a 49er.

To say he has been the most pleasant surprise of this young season would not be doing the man justice. He has taken this offense and this team and made himself its leader. With his command of the huddle, his intensity and passion for winning, O’Sullivan has his team believing that he can and will lead them to victory.

The 49ers most important man on Sunday however might be one who never even set foot on the field unless you count walks to and from the locker room. Mike Martz has revitalized this 49ers offense and it appears that the entire team is feeding off of his confidence. That this is the best the offense has looked in the last six years is an understatement, sure it’s early in the season yet but for the first time in what seems like an eternity, there is reason to be excited about Bay Area football again.

At least on this side of the bridge anyway.

  • West

    James nice piece, keep em coming

    On another note anyone know if David Patten is listed out for our game, he pulled his groin …right?

  • James Jones

    Thanks guys, it is much appreciated.

    West: Last I heard Patten was listed as questionable for the game on Sunday.

  • Tim

    Bryant Johnson is going to snap soon.

  • James Jones

    I find it comical that someone from the east coast is on there in the comments section complaining about media bias because the 49ers are mentioned for beating the Lions and the Dolphins and Ronnie Brown aren't.

    West Coast media bias, that's a new one. :)

  • crazydave

    WoooHoo 2 in a row.But this month is gonna be killer New Orleans,New England,Philly and Giants.This will prove to me how good this team is. Hope all goes good to the 9er world!!!!

  • West

    James….Thanks for da update

  • I admit, Ronnie Brown should have been on that list. Not Mike Nolan. Not in a thousand years. Martz, maybe. I believe the 49ers will beat the Saints and Patriots for a 4-game streak, derail against the Eagles, then go on the road and beat the Giants. That's optimism. I mean, did you see the Giants play the Bengals? Pathetic.

  • joe gomez

    Its official… Shauntae Spencer is gone for the year. We will shock the world and beat the Eagles!

  • 9nerfan

    i know last year we had the same records but there is just something different about this years team. last year, 2-1, but i was still not that convinced that there really that good. but this year is way different. it's like day and night. i really wanna see what this offense can do cuz i know they are still learning and still early in the year. thats the scary thing about it. the damage hat we can do when everybody is clicking. i just hope VD can step up and start catching cuz he is open and is still a weapon. no linebacker can cover him and is to damn big for any db. he just needs to catch the damn ball. i dont believe he is a bust. he just has way to much potential to be a bust. i believe he will get it together. i bet no team is overlooking us now. i can honestly say that we put the league on notice. GO NINERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 9nerfan

    oh and that sucks about shauntae. i hope tarrell can keep on doing what he did. anyways DB"S are our deepest position right. i know i heard that some where. so am not to worried about it but that is a setback though

  • ninerfaithful

    i love this Gut articals very well written piece my friend! we have a bright future ahead of us as longs as nolan or jennings are not invovled lol GO niners 3-1

  • joe gomez

    James… Very well written as always.

  • joe gomez

    Couple of notes from Maiocco:

    Shauntae Spencer might be lost for the rest of the season with an ACL tear.

    He credited Jason Hill for being the best special teams player “by far.”

    They might be working in Spikes to take over the starting position from Ulbrich.

    Kentwan Balmer was getting pushed back much to easily.

    Rachal suited up for the very first time but did not play.

  • Eric
  • marksmen

    How come nolan aint playing manny lawson as our pass-rushing olb? parsy harlyson doing better him thts a surprise?

  • Pintor98

    Lawson still hasn’t recovered his speed from last year prior to his injury. I truly think that he won’t be 100 % till mid.yr.Like Peterson took 2 years to get back to normal. Lawson will be a beast after the half way point of the season.

    DB’s now is the time for our young DB’s to show what they got

    T-Brown was a first round talent and dropped because of his off the field character. He’s been a model citizen since being drafted

    R.Smith was also a first or second round talent that dropped a bit more and was a steal in the 3rd round by many draft guru’s

    Strickland a hometown kid played his ass off late last year.
    Good in zone.

    Hudson 6’1″ a big corner/fs who has made some plays when he’s played.

    I’ll also include Dashon Goldston becasue he will be playing a lot more in the nickle D. He is a true ball hawk who can cover and deliver a blow!! Seems to always be around the action

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  • Sunday will be a true test of this team The Saints killed us last year. It will be HUGE to be 3-1!!

    Keys to winning: Blitz the hell out of Brees
    Keep an eye on Bush all game
    Nedney making FG’s
    Zero turnovers

  • James Jones

    I personally think that Chilo is going to be a stud on the line for us for years to come… the reason he isn't playing right now is because the O-line is pretty deep right now and there are more experienced guys in front of him. His time will come and when it does I have no doubt that he will pay dividends.

    Balmer on the other hand I'm not so sure of. He has yet to make a real impact and has been used only sparingly thus far in the season. I'm just not sold on him and don't believe that he is the answer to the teams pass rushing woes.

  • joe gomez

    McLoughan was asked on KNBR yesterday why he didnt grab Desean Jackson who was available much later on the draft board. Desean is tearing it up with the Eagles while our top 2 picks have barely played or basically havent done shit. His remark was, Rachal and Balmer are who we wanted according to their “draft board” and that they would be pretty good players “someday.” What a fucking joke.

  • joe gomez

    James… I hope he isnt another “bust”. Our organization has way too many busts over the years. Im so fed up with our fucked up picks especially when your picking them so damn high. Our team could be that much better so much sooner if we havent picked so many DUDS.

  • ninerfaithful

    these guys where brought in to develope Joe Gomez i think that Balmer is more of a DT the a end personaly but chilo will emerage next season …. this was a safe draft for us safe picks smart move

  • joe gomez


    1. Alex Smith, QB (1st overall, 2005)
    2. Rashaun Woods, WR (1st Rd, 2004)
    3. Todd Kelly, DE (1st Rd, 1993)
    4. Kwame Harris, T (1st Rd, 2003)
    5. Reggie McGrew, DT (1st Rd, 1999)
    6. Jim Druckenmiller, QB (1st Rd, 1997)
    7. Amp Lee, RB (1st Rd, 1992)
    8. Israel Ifeanyi, LB/DE (2nd Rd, 1996)
    9. Gio Carmazzi, QB (3rd Rd, 2000)
    10.Brandon Williams, WR (3rd Rd, 2006)

    Will Chilo and Balmer be on this list? Not looking good so far. Ive noticed that weve been trying to get pass rusher for almost twenty years now and still havent found one. Julian Peterson might have been our best pick and we let him go. I almost put Andre Carter on this list too but he wasnt with us for too long, but he was just average. Notice how I put Rashaun Woods way at the top. He was a big waste which Donahue picked. He would of been the biggest 49ers bust if Alex didnt go number one overall.

  • joe gomez

    ninerfaithful.. No thats bullshit. We didnt pick those guys that high just so we can develop them. Nolan said they will “impact” our roster right away. Here is Nolan’s quote right after those picks:

    “Good afternoon. We obviously drafted two picks. We’re excited about both players, offensive lineman, defensive lineman as you already know. Both will be impact players on our roster. We’re confident of that.” ~ Coach Nolan

    If you want to read the whole interview:


  • joe gomez

    When you have the worst offense probably in history, you dont make “safe” picks. You go for “playmakers.” People who can help the team NOW! Were gonna waste 1st and 2nd rounders on some fucking projects? I dont think so. They were picked to “impact” the roster and we missed again. They wont do shit this year and we well have to wait next year or later just to see if they can play. 1ast and 2nd rounders are supposed to be “Impact” players like Patrick Willis. We Royally fucked up by not taking Jackson when he was available so late. Just look at our draft pick history, its pathetic. Someone needs to fix this, we cant afford to keep drafting people so high and not get anything in return.
    How many more “Busts” do we have to see out of this team? I can accept a “Bust” in the 3rd or later rounds. Those first two rounds, we have to be smarter with our picks plain and simple. I mean what the fuck did we see in Balmer anyway? Hes only got 1 year of college experience and he didnt do shit! Save the “project picks” for the late rounds!

  • ninerfaithful

    do u feel better joe? here is a tissue clean ur self up and then come into reality that all draft picks are projects… impact on a roster could mean several things its important to have qaulity depth thats a roster impact!!!
    But i do agree with you on the Bust issue we have selected a few in our time… but scott has been drafting some real qaulity people since he has been around thats all i am saying?

  • joe gomez

    Wrong again ninerfaithful.. and FUCK YOU.. for that insult regarding tissues bitch…

    When Nolan said they would impact the roster, he meant that they would contribute THIS FUCKEN YEAR. If they were drafted to sit on the bench until they are ready, then they are FUCKEN PROJECTS. Desean Jackson for example wouldnt have been someone who needs to sit on the bench and groom. The motherfucker was ready right now. Hes an impact player! Do you get it yet idiot?

  • joe gomez

    Let me help you out a little bit ninerfaithful because you sound like your not grasping what Nolan said.

    If he drafted those two to be “impact” players for the future, then he wouldve said something like…”I feel good about the picks, they will impact our roster in the near future.” Something to that effect. But no, he said that the two top picks will definitely impact roster THIS year. I dont think sitting your fucking ass on the bench gathering splinters up your ass is impacting a roster.

    Does that help you? Daym your fucking stupid.

  • joe gomez

    qaulity depth thats a roster impact!!!

    Man you dont even make fucking sense! Stupid fuck

  • joe gomez

    Did you mean quality depth that impacts our roster? Again, being a fucking backup doesnt “impact” a roster. I understand if they were being rotated in and out, but theyre barely getting on the fucking field.

  • joe gomez

    ninerfaithful <~~~~~~~~~~ Thinks being an “impact player” on a roster means being a “project.” Can someone please tell this motherfucker that “impact players” and “project players” mean two different things and please tell him that not all draft picks are “project players.” So Patrick Willis was a project huh? Hahaha… stupid motherfucker.

  • 5 Rings

    Hey ninerfaithful, Patrick Willis was drafted to have immediate “impact” on our roster meaning he was picked to play right away. Picking a “project” means they will have to learn for awhile. Usually projects are picked in the later rounds. Alex Smith was a project, thats why I feel he shouldnt of been #1 overall. Not all picks are “projects.”

    Joe, I think ninerfaithful is misunderstanding what Nolan said. He said they were going to be “impact players” on the roster this year. He didnt say they would “impact” the roster. You can impact a roster by being a solid backup but thats not what he said. I also agree that if theyre not on the field then theyre impacting anything.

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  • ninerfaithful

    5 rings all i am saying is u cant compare patrick willis to a kentwan balmer yes they were both selected in the first round but patrick willis was a top ten pick lucky for us he fell to 11th…. to be honest i was hoping for a limas sweed or dan connor! we all knew the second Balmer was drafted he would be a project! how many highlight reels did he have in college? 5 rings, Joe Gomez i hold your opinions as such i respect what you guys are saying i am just giving my opinion on why i think we drafted safe

  • 5 Rings

    yea he had that bonehead play i agree. but can anyone on our team take it to the house like him. he wouldve been a HUGE plus on special teams and on the offense. ninerfaithful, i was just reiterating the point that not ALL draft picks are projects and it doesnt matter where they go in the draft, doesnt matter if their top ten. you cant deny talent, it was obvious willis was not going to be a "project." alex smith was taken #1 overall and everyone knew he was a "project." nolan did say the top two picks would be "impact players" on the roster and i have yet to see that. im just hoping they are not more busts because the Niners have chosen far too many busts. worst one ofcourse is alex smith.

  • Adam49

    Well James,Derek Smith is starting in San Diego.And we haven't been able to fill his shoes since he left.He played better with 1 eye than the players we have their now.His job is to take on pulling gaurds and fullbacks and he seemed to do that just fine.Seemed like Patrick Willis was able to make more playes when he was in the game.I'd bet Nolan and Co. would bring him back in a heartbeat if they could.

  • Niner Pundit

    Adam…I'm convinced you aren't real. You love Nolan, Smith, Derek Smith and can never say anything negative about the 49ers. Your real name isn't Niner Jan is it?

  • Adam49

    I think Balmer is gonna be fine.He had a couple plays in the Detroit game and he didn’t get pushed around to much.He actually played pretty good,he turned 1 play back inside and Willis made the tackle.Not to bad.As the season goes on and the starters start gettin a little worn down i think he will get more reps and become a good DE.Would i have rather us pickup Jackson of coarse but he’s a fuckin idiot.Rachel on the other hand is gonna be 1 heck of a player for a long time.I’m not 1 to talk shit about our drafts.You win some you loose some.And i personally think we got a better reciever than Jackson in the 6th round of the draft this year.He had a couple staph infections which hampered his developement.He just needs more playin time.

  • Lowrance

    Let’s hope the 49er’s “Believe” tour last at least as long as Cher’s farewell tour! (Cuz her believe tour wasn’t long enough for a 49er winning streak!!!)

  • James Jones

    Hahaha you beat me to it Pundit.

    Adam: Really? I mean… really? Smith starting in San Diego because Stephen Cooper is serving a four game suspension due to violation of the league's substance abuse policy is not grounds to assume that the team would "bring him back in a heartbeat if they could".

    Smith's play through three games as a starter is not, at least in my opinion, reason to believe that he is performing so great or that the team has not been able to fill his shoes since he left. On top of that while he might be starting, Waters is seeing the bulk of the playing time at ILB for San Diego.

    Why would the team take back someone they released? That makes no sense. Especially considering these numbers.

    Smith – 9 tackles – 6 solo – 3 assists – 0 sacks – 0 fumbles

    Spikes – 11 tackles – 8 solo – 3 assists – 0 sacks – 1 fumble

    Ulbrich – 9 tackles – 9 solo- 0 assists – 0 sacks – 0 fumbles

    Not to mention that Brooks is now practicing exclusively at the TED and he is more physically gifted and athletic then Spikes, Ulbrich or Smith so to say that Nolan and McCloughan would take him back in heartbeat when they are stacked at linebacker is just not accurate in my opinion.

  • James Jones

    Joe: I understand what you’re saying and believe me I agree with the summation that the team should have taken Jackson when he fell as far as he did. I was upset about it for week after the draft. After I had a chance to reflect a bit on it I could see what they did. McCloughan and Nolan felt they were in a position to draft for need in those rounds rather then best player available.

    Truth be told Joe, I don’t believe that Jackson would be seeing much of the field even if we did select him.

    #1 because that’s Nolans style, he has rarely played the best players, case in point Derek Smith starting when he shouldn’t have been anymore.


    #2 because the main reason Jackson is seeing as much playing time as he is right now is a result of the injuries which have beset Philly’s receiving corps.

    I’m not saying he wouldn’t be playing but I would think it might be more in the way that Morgan is being used now. Still though I would have liked the team to take the kid from Cal. Although Joe, I have a really good feeling about Morgan too.

    As for Balmer and Rachal, again I’m just not sure about Kentwan but Chilo I think is going to continue to grow in this offense and will eventually be starting, that might come earlier then some think if injuries on the line creep in.

  • joe gomez

    Just a thought.. I think a JTO to TO combination wouldve been EXPLOSIVE. I dont like his attitude either, but I judge what they do ON THE FIELD. Besides, hes not running over cops (Moss) or speeding in his Lambo (Bryant), hes just got a mouth on him. Hes an idiot, but he is very explosive. Just like Desean Jackson's an idiot, but what he does ON THE FIELD is what matters most. I really dont understand Nolan's philosophy in that either. When he first came in, he said he wanted "character" guys like Alex Smith. After awhile he started getting players with an arrest history. So which one is it? He totally contradicted his statements. I think getting arrested and having a record is a much bigger deal than someone who is just plain cocky but can back it up. (Chad Johnson, T.O.) Not Moss, hes a talker too, but hes straight criminal for trying to run over that lady cop.. lol.

  • joe gomez

    James.. yea thats what it looks like they did, but Nolan and Scott didnt say they were drafting out of “NEED”, didnt they keep saying they will pick the “best player” left on their draft board? Im pretty sure thats what they said. If they went out and said we drafted these two players because we need depth at the D-Line and O-Line then I would of understood. But to say they drafted the “best” players they had on the board is what pissed me off because it was so fucking obvious Desean Jackson in the 2nd round was a steal.