Following the summer of love in 1998, Randy Moss took the NFL by storm. He was the consensus NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and destined for his first NFC playoff run.
Fourteen tiring years later, Moss debates if he needs Cialis but finds himself in a similar situation. The wide receiver is again in an NFC Championship, facing a familiar enemy. Moss can’t ask for sweeter revenge.
The 49ers and their reborn offense will tackle a formidable foe in the Falcons on Sunday. Despite playing on the road, Las Vegas odds makers have San Francisco favored to win, primarily influenced by their destruction of the Packers last Saturday in Candlestick Park. However, Atlanta did not earn a 13-3 regular season record by accident. The team is balanced in every aspect like the 49ers.
Last week, Colin Kaepernick completed nine passes to Michael Crabtree, resulting in 41st downs and two touchdowns. Three-time All-Pro corner-back Asante Samuel will likely disrupt their airmail, as he held the Seahawks’ primary receiver Sidney Rice to four catches for 60 yards on Sunday.
Kaepernick must attack Dunta Robinson, Atlanta’s oppose left corner, who will be standing across Moss. Robinson, the 10th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, was penciled in as the Falcons’ nickel defender before Brent Grimes suffered an Achilles injury in week one. The former Texan has continued to play inconsistently, which Moss’ experience can exploit.
And if footraces in training camp are any indication, Moss still possesses the Road Runner speed that has made him an electrifying deep threat for so many seasons. At 6’4”, 210 pounds, the 14-year veteran towers over Robinson by six inches, and outweighs the corner-back by 108 McDonald’s quarter pounders. Throw in Moss’ sticky hands, and Samuel may have to divert his attention from Crabtree.
Jim Harbaugh has used Moss as a decoy to this point, so it’s time to justify defenses’ respect. If the 36-year-old can sustain his energy throughout the contest, the passing attack will have weapons at every position (when calling two tight end sets), and allow the ground game to wreak havoc. Moss has been an effective run blocker this season, so his presence is a plus on every snap.
There is a possibility Kaepernick doesn’t trust Moss, since only four of his 22 first down receptions have come on third down conversions in 2012 (Via Yahoo! Sports). Nevertheless, you can do much worse than chuck a ball up to an NFL record holder.
Moss is undisputedly one of the quirkiest personalities in NFL history, which may turn off some of his teammates. But if he reminds the world this Sunday he is a future Hall of Famer, the veteran will be embraced by San Francisco fans with open arms.