SAN FRANCISCO — First off, give the 49ers a big atta boy.
Because they beat the Rams 23-13 on Sunday, and now they are riding a two-game win streak and they currently hold a wild-card playoff spot. And if you say — dare to mention — the two-game streak came against bottom-feeder teams, well, shame on you.
You may think wins over chump opponents like the Redskins and Rams mean absolutely nothing. Such a thought is lacking in perspective, bordering on narrow-minded and just plain mean. I, for one, learned a great deal from the Rams' game, stuff of an educational nature.
What I learned applies to next Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks — not a bottom feeder — come to Candlestick, and the Niners have to put up or shut up, as they say. Next Sunday's game is BIG as in humongous. It's not big enough to be for the division or anything like that. That ship sailed. But the game will show the 49ers' pedigree, their level of expertise, their playoff readiness.
So, you bet, I am looking ahead to that game. That's what this column is, a looker-aheader. I mean, no one in his right mind actually wants to read or write about the Rams' game, a total snooze-fest.
I am picking the Seahawks to defeat the 49ers. I offer this opinion humbly, tremblingly and with the reminder that I cannot see into the future and could be all wet.
I bring up the Seahawks game because it is the real issue, the only issue right now. How the Niners played against the Rams (Lambs?) predicts how they will play against Seattle. The 49ers have trouble beating good teams. You could see why based on how they played the Rams. So far, the Niners have beaten only one good team, the Packers who may not be a good team.
You with me?
This is what I noticed in the Rams' game.
I noticed the 49ers have trouble scoring touchdowns. It's an axiom that touchdowns are better than field goals. The Niners better score TDs against the Seahawks or they (the Niners) are toast, corn bread or matzo — choose your bread analogy.
The 49ers scored exactly one touchdown against St. Louis when the game, such as it was, was still a game. They scored a second one when the game was not still a game and it came after a botched Rams' fake punt that left the Niners breathing on the Rams' end zone.
Because the Niners did not — and do not — score tons of TDs, the game that shouldn't have been a game actually was a game deep into the third quarter, the Niners leading 13-6. Such skimpy TD production won't be good enough against the high-flying Seahawks — no matter what happens tonight between them and the Saints.
I noticed the 49ers don't run the ball so well — or if you want me to write in sports talk, they don't run so good. Frank Gore, who has been called their "bell cow," ran for 42 yards and averaged a measly 2.8 yards a carry, and mostly looked like a masochist who got knocked down and then popped up eager to get knocked down again. The Seahawks will be happy to play the sadist in next week's drama.