“Didn’t they used to call the Giants “torture” or something?” – Dwight Clark, a tight end, who made a reception that will long live in 49er history, made a surreal connection between Bay Area sports teams.
During the 2010 season and post season, the San Francisco Giants made an improbable run throughout playoffs, which ended in a World Series victory. That Giants team were constantly referred to as the underdog all throughout the playoffs; however, they were still able to, “win the last game.” During the run, the Giants acquired and maintained a slogan, known as torture. They are remembered for winning, but making the wins much harder than needed. In the post game talk of the, 49er – Cardinal game; Dwight Clark made an interesting, yet prevalent connection between the Giants and 49ers.
It is no secret that they 49ers received a justified amount of hype throughout the off-season. They have followed through on a lot of the hype; however, they have not made it easy on themselves. Examples come in the last two games that they have played, against the Falcons and the Cardinals. With a playoff spot still not guaranteed before the Falcons game, the 49ers won the last two games of the season, but they made life much more difficult than it needed to be.
The Falcons, have no doubt had a down year, yet the final result last weekend would not reflect that. The 49ers won 34-24, a ten-point differential that relied on an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final minute. So, the score does not necessarily reflect it, but the game was much closer than a ten-point difference. Comparing their records before the game, the 49ers had six more wins, which would lead one to think they had a clear advantage. This could not be further from the truth; the Falcons outplayed the 49ers in every statistical category, except the final score. While the game was much closer than many expected, the 49ers were able to get the win, however, they made it much more difficult than it needed to be.
The theme of torture continued into the final week of the season. The 2nd quarter started with the 49ers up 17-0 and looking dominant. However, they would not score again until the 4th quarter, ultimately winning the game, 23-20. Following a dominant 1st quarter, the 49ers allowed the Cardinals to get back into the game, instead of putting the nail in the coffin.
It almost seems that this group of 49ers becomes complacent with a lead; they really do make things harder on themselves. However hard they make games on themselves, they do seem capable of winning close games. This is seen in the previous two games, as well as other games against, Green Bay, Arizona, St. Louis and Seattle throughout the season. The 49ers draw this eerily similar characteristic to their Bay Area brother. They have tortured themselves time and time again during the season and have time and time again been able to win. I think I would be jinxing the 49ers if I said this meant they’d win it all, however their ability to win close games is a great sign moving into the post-season. Dwight Clark may be on to something by making this comparison, by making life harder on themselves, the 49ers are taking a page out of the Giants playbook, hopefully this will lead to similar success in the post season.