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Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


Ugly loss to Dolphins proving to be turning point for 49ers

Oct 25, 2020 at 7:36 PM--


It was very easy -- and understandable -- for fans to have all sorts of negative thoughts about this year's San Francisco 49ers team following its 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5.

After all, the 49ers looked so bad in that game that it wasn't a stretch to wonder if the team might be in for a losing season, even though it finished 13-3 and went to the Super Bowl the year before.

But the 49ers themselves weren't thinking that way. And since then, they've been able to make that loss to the Dolphins into a turning point that put their season back on the right track.

The 49ers didn't sulk after their loss to the Dolphins, electing instead to keep their heads up and focus on turning things around. The results have spoken for themselves -- a 24-16 home win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6, followed by an impressive 33-6 road win against the New England Patriots on Sunday. And now, the 49ers seem to have a full dose of momentum as they head into a crucial road game against the Seattle Seahawks.

"I think that's just what we needed -- that wake-up call to really spark a fire underneath us and get that sense of urgency back, because we know what we're capable of," 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said Sunday.

There's no question the 49ers felt like a team at a crossroads after Week 5, but two weeks later they stand at 4-3 with two consecutive wins. The first step was getting past the loss to the Dolphins, which the team was able to do in short order with a dose of positive attitude.

"It says a lot about the character of the guys in this locker room," offensive tackle Trent Williams said Sunday. "Yeah, the loss to Miami was embarrassing, and we knew we were a lot better than what we put on tape. We didn't sit there and point fingers. We came to work the next day, we suited up, we laced up the shoes, and we just worked. We worked our butts off, and it started to turn for us."

The 49ers were then able to string together a good week of practice, followed by a momentum-turning win over the Rams. That momentum carried over into the following week and continued to build until they delivered a stunning win in New England that now stands as the most lopsided home loss in Bill Belichick's 20-plus seasons as Patriots head coach.

"Last week definitely helped, just to give guys a little bit of momentum, a little bit of confidence going into this week," tight end George Kittle said. "We just played well. Every practice we're learning to play together better. Every single snap that we take, every single rep that we take, every single practice. The more confidence that our guys have, the better we're going to be. I can say that a lot of our players are playing with a lot of confidence right now."

The 49ers will continue to have their hands full in the weeks ahead as they try to navigate a schedule over the next five games that includes home games against the Packers and Bills with road games against the Seahawks, Saints, and Rams. And they'll be doing it with a banged-up roster that likely will continue to be without multiple starters for the foreseeable future.

But they've clearly gotten their house in order since Week 5 and have since given fans a newfound optimism about the rest of the season.

"This is the type of football that we know and that we should have been playing," wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk said Sunday. "It definitely gives us confidence, but we know we're supposed to play like this, and we're just going to keep on working to continue to play like this."





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