Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers searching for answers to home game woes

Nov 7, 2021 at 7:13 PM--

October 18, 2020.

That's the last time the San Francisco 49ers won a game at Levi's Stadium, as hard as that may be to believe.

The 49ers have lost five straight games at Levi's Stadium and eight straight home games, counting those they played in Arizona in 2020 after having the last part of their home schedule moved due to local COVID-19 restrictions. They've only won a total of one home game since winning the NFC Championship at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020.

It seemed like the 49ers had an opportunity to snap that skid on Sunday with an Arizona Cardinals team coming to town that was without a number of key players, including quarterback Kyler Murray (ankle), wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), wide receiver A.J. Green (illness), and defensive end J.J. Watt (shoulder). But the Cardinals gave the 49ers arguably their worst home loss during that stretch -- a 31-17 beating that wasn't as close as the score and saw the 49ers give up over 400 yards to a short-handed offense.

So what's been the problem with home games recently? The 49ers haven't been able to put their finger on it.

"I don't know. It's a tough one," 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "We've talked about it. We've addressed it. But we've just got to fix something. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what that is, whether it's focus at home. I don't know. Our crowd deserves it though because they're out there screaming, yelling. They get loud for us, The Faithful, so we've got to play better for them."

Different games bring different reasons for why the losses keep coming at home, but consistent errors certainly have played a role, including turnovers. Two early fumbles against the Cardinals helped put the 49ers in a hole they couldn't dig out of.

"We're just not getting it done (at home)," tight end George Kittle said. "We have turnovers. When you give up touchdowns after turnovers it really hurts. We continue as an offense to put our defense in a bad spot. That just is what it is, so we've got to get better at that. We've got to eliminate the turnovers to give ourselves a chance because we're really shooting ourselves in the foot game after game after game. We know what that problem is, and to fix it you've just got to hold onto the football."

For 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, game location hasn't mattered too much. He thinks his team hasn't been doing enough to win anywhere they play, whether it's at home or on the road.

"At home, you don't have to worry about the noise as much," Shanahan said. "That's the only difference. So I don't think we've played great football at home or on the road recently. But it's happened that we've lost more at home. For me to think that's anything in particular, I don't. We've got to play a lot better on the road and at home to become a better football team."

It just so happens that the 49ers' next home opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, was the last team they beat at home in a 24-16 win on October 18, 2020. The 49ers will have an extra day to refocus with their next game coming on Monday, November 15, but it won't be easy given the caliber of their opponent.

"We've got to come in tomorrow with the right mindset," Garoppolo said. "Guys gotta get their bodies right, get healthy. Everybody's dealing with something at this point, but it's about going out there and executing. You don't want to overcomplicate things. When something like this happens, you just want to get back to it, get back to the grind right now."

If it doesn't happen next week, the 49ers will have three more chances to win at home this season with a November 28 game against the Minnesota Vikings, a December 19 game against the Atlanta Falcons, and a January 2 game against the Houston Texans. Odds seem to be good that the 49ers will pick up at least one win out of that group (most likely against the Texans), but odds also favored them against the Cardinals on Sunday. Regardless, they've got to reverse the trend in a hurry if they want to have a chance of salvaging their season after a 3-5 start.

"We've got to figure it out and get it right because these fans deserve it," Garoppolo said.

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