San Francisco 49ers Upset, What Can We Learn from the Loss?

Michael BrumaginCorrespondent IIISeptember 24, 2012

San Francisco QB, Alex Smith, congratulates Minnesota QB, Christian Ponder, after their 24-13 win over the heavily favored 49ers.
San Francisco QB, Alex Smith, congratulates Minnesota QB, Christian Ponder, after their 24-13 win over the heavily favored 49ers.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

"Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!"

Of course, the San Francisco 49ers aren't quite Joe Frazier, and Fox NFL announcer Kenny Albert is not Howard Cosell, but the news hitting the wire that the Niners lost to the rebuilding Minnesota Vikings was quite a shock.

To have seen the game play out was to have seen a prize fighter lost in the moment. Like watching Mike Tyson getting upset by Buster Douglas. Tyson, in the eyes of many, had overlooked Douglas in getting ready for a future bout with Evander Holyfield. The Niners seemed to have suffered the same fate, perhaps overlooking their Week 4 opponent in lieu of...what?

That is what doesn't make sense. If they were overlooking Minnesota, perhaps looking past them towards another matchup, what could have distracted them? Their next two games are against the offensively anemic New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills. Both should be winnable games.

In Week 6, the Niners play against the New York Giants. That seems too far off for them to be looking past their present opponent. It doesn't seem characteristic of a Jim Harbaugh-coached team.

Might it be possible that Harbaugh was simply out-coached? In this game, you could say yes.

Is Leslie Frazier underrated? Probably so.

Is Christian Ponder that much better than Alex Smith? Probably not.

The reality is, we are all overreacting. Was this an upset? Yes. Is it the end of the 49ers' season? Not by any means. The Niners were likely just caught off guard by an upstart team with nothing to lose.

This just proves to any of us who were predicting a potential unbeaten season that San Francisco still has a few nuts and bolts they need to tighten in the football machine. They are not perfect. Nor will their season be.

What this game does prove is that this season is bound to have a lot more intrigue than what may have been previously thought. Just last week, everyone was surprised by the Seattle Seahawks' domination of the Dallas Cowboys and Kevin Kolb, as well as the Arizona Cardinals' impressive win over the Patriots.

At present, the NFC West division lead now belongs to the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals. The top spot of the AFC East belongs the the New York Jets. And, now, the Minnesota Vikings are tied for the division lead in the NFC North.

There is no telling how long any of this will last, but we can at least surmise that the NFL heavyweights have been put on notice. The rest of the league is not going to lay back and let the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots do as they please. Football is not a gentleman's sport, rather it is a ruthless game of winner take all, and right now everyone wants to be a taker.