Randy Moss raised some eyebrows during the run-up to the 49ers’ crash-back-to-earth loss last weekend by brusquely brushing off a query about his limited role in the team’s offense.
For the everything’s-hunky-dory set, it was easy to rationalize at the time. “Next question” was easy to sell as Moss merely expressing disdain for the very suggestion that there might be even the slightest hint of trouble in Jim Harbaugh’s paradise.
After that loss? “Next question” took on an entirely different feel, didn’t it?
Even the glass-half-full crowd had to concede that Moss again was far shy of featured, and if ever there was a reason to spotlight the man, it was in his return to Minnesota.
But while Moss should have had at least one touchdown — Alex Smith, on a play emblematic of his Bad Alex outing, badly missed his 6-foot-4 target a couple times — he was by no means asked to carry a significant load.
Neither was the highly effective Frank Gore, for that matter, but that’s another story.
Or is it? For the first time in a long time, Harbaugh didn’t look like a genius, and when Mario Manningham came out this week and publicly acknowledged that he’s yet to get in sync with Smith, it very much called the whole notion of Niners Nirvana into question.
Granted, it all disappears with a convincing win today. And hey, that loss last week was essentially on the defense, anyway.
But another loss? To a blowhard like Rex Ryan? If Moss doesn’t get the ball in New York? Look out. It could get ugly in Harbaugh Heaven in a hurry.
EASY TO FORGET: Lost amid all the celebrating that came in the wake of the NFL finally getting their regular refs back on the field was one significant side story.
The regular refs suck, too.
Not as badly as those scrubs who turned Week 3 into a three-ring circus, of course. But surely we all remember moaning about the fact that the NFL has never had full-time officials well before this labor strife.
The NFL has been poorly officiated for a long, long time, and it took all of a few minutes during Thursday Night Football — Browns vs. Ravens? Really? — to get a pretty clear reminder.
Again, it’s nice that we probably won’t see a game as dramatically impacted as was Monday’s fiasco in Seattle. The regular refs are better than the hacks who didn’t even know the rules.
But take a look around the league tonight. You’ll see a ton of players and talking heads bitching about blown calls. Count on it.
SPEED ROUND: Thank you, Giants, for quickly ending the Melky speculation. Bottom line: Should the team make it deep enough for him to even be eligible for reinstatement, it means things are going extremely well. Why would they risk upsetting the balance? Duh. ... Does the aforementioned opinion make it hypocritical to be OK with the return of Bartolo Colon should the A’s get deep enough for him to be eligible? If so, I’ll wear the guilty charge. Oakland’s story is so wonderfully strange, I’m open to anything that makes it even more of a lovely mess.
Mychael Urban, host of Inside The Bigs (9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturdays) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.