A win on Thursday night is just what the San Francisco 49ers needed to get back on track, after an absolute beat down at the hand of the New York Giants in Week 6. Losing so drastically to the Giants may have been a bitter pill for San Francisco to swallow, but a tough 13-6 win against a competitive divisional opponent should ease some of the frustration, and get the 49ers headed back in the right direction.
Defensive powerhouses, Justin Smith and Aldon Smith, were asked after Thursday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, if the mentality within the ‘9ers locker room was Super Bowl or Bust, and while Aldon answered that they just wanted to have a good season, there can really be no doubt about the expectations this team has for itself after falling just shy of the Big Game last season.
One thing San Francisco probably did not count on being in their path to the Super Bowl was the rest of the teams in their division, especially after the way the 49ers had the NFC West locked up so quickly last season. With a rookie quarterback in Seattle, a full blown quarterback controversy for the Arizona Cardinals, and the St Louis Rams developing under a new coaching staff led by Jeff Fisher, there was really no reason for the 49ers to believe they would get any resistance from within the division.
This all would have made sense when looking through the preseason schedule, but the reality has shown the NFC West to be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, divisions in the entire NFL. Every team sits with an even record or above, and all four teams have been getting it done with extremely stingy defenses.
Going in to Thursday night’s game, both defenses ranked in the top 5 in the league, and Seattle was the best in the league at stopping the run. Identical 4-2 records meant this game was pivotal in establishing who would take the lead in the division and have the inside track as the season nears the half way point.
Looking at the score, it is obvious that both defenses did their jobs, holding the opposing quarterbacks to 140 yards or less, and only giving up one touchdown during the entire game. Both teams saw their work horse running backs gain over 100 yards on defenses known to keep opponents rushing yards in check.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith just edged out the rookie Russell Wilson, and while Smith did not play great against the Seahawks D, he did just enough to get his team an important win against the team that is arguably the biggest threat within the division.
This win takes the 49ers one step closer to their end goal, and the tough, physical, defensive battle they were in on Thursday may have been just what they needed to set the tone for the rest of the season. At 5-2, San Francisco is back in control of their own fate this season, and with the back to basics approach they displayed last night, the 49ers are back on track, and should still be considered Super Bowl favorites.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.