The eventual AFC champion Colts needed a halfback pass to beat the 49ers in Indianapolis this season.
The eventual NFC second-seeded Vikings needed a desperation touchdown heave in the final seconds to beat the 49ers in Minnesota this season.
The 49ers swept the fourth-seeded Cardinals, who advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs and could lose Kurt Warner to retirement this offseason.
The Jets, playing a style the 49ers once set out to establish, made their way into the championship round.
These are all legitimate reasons for fans to get excited about the 49ers' prospects next season. But it's important for the 49ers themselves to approach 2010 as if the team still has much ground to close in becoming a playoff team. They should take nothing for granted.
And if they need reminders on this front, coach Mike Singletary should point to that horrible Week 13 defeat at Seattle.
The 49ers appear close to breaking through. The less they act like it, the better their chances in 2010.