Sunday, September 18, 2011

Despite Tough Loss, the San Francisco 49ers Are Playing With A New Winning Mentality

No more Mike Nolan, no more Dennis Erickson, no more Mike Singletary. Despite the tough loss in Week 2, Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers are legitimate contenders no matter how you slice it up.

For the second straight week, the 49ers played simple and basic football to the absolute tee, and it almost worked in Week 2 against a Dallas Cowboys team stocked with weapons both offensively and defensively.

Harbaugh kept it conservative once again, but when needed to open it up, he did -- just slightly.

Alas, you can only keep down an elite team for so long. When the Dallas defense needed to show up, it showed up. When Tony Romo needed to make a play, he not only hooked up with Miles Austin three times, but also threw over the top to a man off the streets for the game-winning score.

However, much is to be taken out of this game if you are the 49ers. Week 2 showed that San Francisco is certainly not a fluke, and neither is coach Jim Harbaugh.

There seems to be a different mentality with this 49ers team this season. It is far different from a the single-minded Mike Nolan, or the college coach Dennis Erickson. It is even far different from the "I want winners" Mike Singletary. He wasn't a winner with the headset on anyways.

Harbaugh is a professional coach with professional credentials and a professional football background. And that has rubbed off on his team in just the short time they have been together.

A true legitimate football team starts with the coaching staff, something the franchise has lacked in the past few years. Jim Harbaugh is a play-calling mastermind and Vic Fangio sure knows how to dial up the right defensive play, as well as get players to play hard for him.

It is for those reasons that the 49ers were just a few minutes away from a 2-0 start to the season.

They are still learning, though.

Off the top of my head, the final play of the Dallas game sure rings a bell. Please do not bite on the play-action fake, entire defensive secondary.

Don't think Harbaugh will not be screaming that into the ears of his players this week. And don't think San Francisco will not be ready for their first away game of the season in Cincinnati.

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