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Parallel Worlds
December 14th, 2001
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Have you ever watched one of those television shows where the characters get sucked through a time warp of some sort or another only to find themselves in a world that looked exactly like the one we know of, only every detail of it seemed to be inverted? You know what I mean, where: the cool people were the nerds, the nerds were the cool people, up was down, down was up, left was right, right was left, yes meant no and no meant yes. Well if you made through those two sentences your probably wondering what the heck my point is. Well, simply put it is that the 49ers are in one such parallel world.

It may be a little hard to recognize at first, but stick with me here, and I think you’ll see that I’m right. When you think 49ers, the first thing that comes to your head is likely “offense” - that in all likelihood is followed by “lots of passing” or something to that extent. Well immediately we have a conflict with what we know the 49ers to be and what they are this season. Firstly, although the team ranks second in the NFL in offense, it really has been the defense that has made the difference in this season’s record. It’s the defense that has come up big when it had to leaving the 49ers in winnable situations. Similarly, it’s not the 49ers passing game that has been in the spot light this season, bur rather it has been the remarkable running of miracle back, Garrison Hearst. The scary thing is, these paradoxes don’t stop there.

A quick look at the 49ers defense should prove that to you. Take the defensive tackle position where Bryant Young and Dana Stubblefield have been reunited. Back when these two were first teamed together, they were an unstoppable duo, and punishing quarterbacks for even thinking of passing. Things are different these days though. While Bryant Young started the season off with a two-sack game, neither Young nor Stubblefield has put up numbers remotely close to that at any other point this season. Instead their value to the team has been in run blocking.

Still not convinces? How bout taking a look at the 49ers defensive backfield notoriously known since 1997 as the weakness in the 49ers defense. This season things are quite different. Ahmed Plummer has an incredible seven interceptions and an uncountable amount of passes defended. Meanwhile his counter part who is 5’9” no less is also having a great season. This is something the 49ers can’t be used to.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, there is the matter that in all likelihood the 49ers will be back in the playoffs this season after missing them for the past two years. Things just seem to being getting done in San Francisco in unorthodox manners - almost other worldly manners compared to what us 49ers fans have grown used to. But heck, as long as the team keeps winning, who are we to complain?

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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