I never did like crow.
Even during the below-poverty-level times of my youth, I avoided the delicacy (ugh), even though it was readily available around the ranch. Crow is stringy, a tough bird who will eat almost anything and often tastes like roadkill.
But I ate some crow last night.
The 49ers, my all-time favorite team, beat the Atlanta Falcons and are going to the Super Bowl.
I struggled with the meal, forcing it down, albeit with a grin on my face.
But for the first quarter and even through some of the second, I seemed to be right. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 start, and the 49ers seemed to be unable to move even a yard or stop anything the Falcons tried to do.
It was a depressing start for the 49ers, a team famous for its defensive acumen and its newly minted offensive explosiveness. Watching the Falcons’ tall receivers catch ball after ball and make touchdowns without being touched depressed me.
But then a merciful halftime break gave me time to catch my breath and the 49ers time to adjust. Actually, the adjustment began during the second quarter, when the 49ers came out running and made a first down. It gave the defense time to breathe and recoup, and kept the Falcons' offense warming the bench.
And adjust the 49ers did. The offensive front five, whom the Fox announcer said was “the envy of all NFL coaches” began to push the Falcons back on their heels.
It is true that great offensive lines usually do their best work as the game progresses, once they have worn down the defenders a bit and have gained the leverage and stamina advantage. The 49ers' front five did just that, looking impressive in the last three quarters.
Those dudes were beautiful to watch.
The offense began running the ball almost at will. Frank Gore and LaMichael James made a combined 124 yards on 26 carries and three TDs.
Colin Kaepernick made 16 connections for 233 yards (for 14.5 yards a catch) and a TD. Vernon Davis, held in check for most of the 2012 season, blasted out with five catches for 106 yards and a TD. The Falcons continued a season-long tendency to have little answer for tight ends running down the middle of the field.
Randy Moss got in his licks also; making three catches for 46 yards. Delanie Walker, who caught some 500 balls during the week with the tossing machine set at its highest velocity in order to overcome a penchant for dropping Kaepernicks’ rockets, caught only one pass, but did not muff any reachable passes, either.
Greater love for the game hath no man.
It was a gritty game, played with vigor by both sides and not decided until the last few seconds. It wore me out. I had to take a nap afterwards, and awoke to find the Baltimore Ravens up and closing out their game, as well as the rank aroma of baking crow in my nostrils.
So we’ll have a Bro-Bowl, a Har-Bowl, a Sib-Bowl, a Bowl of Brothers and all kinds of creative and boring puns about brothers. There will be too much boring hype over the Harbaugh family competing for the NFL Championship and the Lombardi Trophy in the next two weeks.
I think I’ll tune out the hype until the Big Game day and concentrate on getting the taste of crow out of my mouth.