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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

McDonald’s: 49ers Think They’re Contenders, But They Haven’t Seen The Part

The company line coming out of Arizona is that a three-game losing streak isn’t the season and the death knell for the 49ers’ Super Bowl aspirations.

Maybe it isn’t, but it’s worth considering the low hopes for the 2021 49ers after an unbeaten 17-10 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

They are three games behind the Arizona (5-0) and two games behind the Los Angeles Rams (4-1). The four-team race now holds the 49ers and Seattle 2-3. The Cardinals with Kyler Murray and the Rams, along with Matt Stafford, secure the most important positions in football.

Coach Kyle Shanahan insisted “nothing has changed” going into San Francisco’s goodbye week, meaning that when Jimmy Garoppolo’s calf has healed enough, he will go back to the starting lineup. The Seahawks have lost eight games to Russell Wilson following finger surgery to repair a tendon.

That alone puts the Cardinals and Rams in the forefront—and also the 49ers and Seahawks—unless you believe half a season of Jimmy G-Tre Lance Dance and Geno Smith will be good enough to be playoff contenders.

This is the biggest reason to doubt what the 49ers can achieve, but it’s not the only one.

The 49ers lost to the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, along with Healthy Wilson, to Seattle and the Cardinals now led by Kyler Murray. Arizona is 5-0 and Green Bay is 4-1. You could argue that the 49ers could have won all three games. They certainly think so.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said, “Don’t take anything away from those guys, they won, but I thought we had every chance to win those games and it’s about us more than anyone else.”

Left tackle Trent Williams said, “We could easily be 5-0 and obviously we are not.”

“All three losses are really close and there are little things we could have done better,” said defensive end Nick Bossa.

As always, the bottom line is the overriding factor, and teams that win the Super Bowl don’t lose three straight games. At least they never have in San Francisco. Of their five championship teams, the 1988 team was leading 10–6 and once lost three out of four, but not three straight.

Neither of the last two 49ers teams, which went to the Super Bowl under Shanahan in 2019 and under Jim Harbaugh in 2012, have ever lost three straight.

It’s a huge leap of faith to assume that the 49ers can recuperate some body and make some minor adjustments to eliminate penalties and replace third and fourth downs. The team has not proved that it deserves that level of confidence.

A good team Shanahan was a consistent winner and led 13-3. His other teams, displaying inconsistency, remained the same. Injuries are a part of the matter, and that aspect has reared its head again with injuries to Garppo, George Kittel, and cornerback positions with Jason Verrett and Ke’Von Williams.

Teams you can depend on don’t ruin a strong defensive performance by scoring a touchdown and a field goal in nine runs, as the 49ers did on Sunday.

Teams you can depend on don’t compile a 457-to-234 yardage advantage in total offense and lose anyway, as the 49ers did against Seattle.

Teams you can depend on don’t fight back from a 17-0 deficit, take a 28-27 lead, then 47 in the final 37 seconds to lose to the quarterback (even Rodgers) at 51 Let it complete near the yard. Yard field goal on the gun.

And it’s been the dominant personality trait for the 49ers through five sports — a lack of dependability. They almost lost a major lead against the Detroit team in the opener to win 40–33. There was some patience and rigor involved in beating Philadelphia on the road in Week 2, but it didn’t translate to much over the next three games.

After the goodbyes, the 49ers host Indianapolis on Sunday night, October 24, tour the Chicago Bears on Halloween and then have division games against both the Cardinals and Rams in consecutive weeks. Have you seen anything in five weeks that makes you believe they can win three of those games and go 6-4?

Shanahan admitted a few rookie mistakes, but said of Lance, “Overall, we could have done a little better around him. He did well enough to win.”

For all Lance’s heroics, he takes so many chances with his body that television cameras caught his mother Angie on Sunday with her head in her hands, unable to see. He lowered his head to try and score on the goal line and met Isaiah Simmons and Tanner Vallejo. Some of Lance’s teammates felt the same way.

“Maybe need to learn how to slide,” Bossa said. “Maybe his juke move needs a little work as well.”

World Nation News Desk
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