20% off at the official 49ers online store with code COACH20 →

Straight Out of the Rabbit’s Hole: Win against the Seahawks validates the 49ers.

Diego Del Barco
Dec 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM


The San Francisco 49ers went into yesterday's match-up against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park with an 8-4 record, which was good enough to place them among the six teams qualifying to the playoffs in the NFC, but when taking a closer look at their record and the teams that they had played it was difficult to pinpoint a STATEMENT win. Sure, the season/home opener thrilling victory over the Green Bay Packers was all the rage at the time, but San Francisco's offense had significantly regressed since, and while there was not question that the 49ers were one of the NFC's best teams, there were definitely concerns as to whether they could beat the elite teams in the conference come January.

Yesterday's 19-17 victory against the Seahawks eased those concerns.

The 49ers are getting a clean bill of health, and this has especially been a welcomed addition to Colin Kaepernick's game, with the return of Michael Crabtree opening up the offense to take them closer to the team that went to the Super Bowl last season, and further away from the unit that struggled not just in their losses but during some of their wins this season as well. Matt Millen was on the phone this morning on 95.7 The Game and he mentioned something that is worth repeating: you can easily take the criticisms of this offense from earlier this season and just toss them out of the window, because this is a different offense than what was on display from most of September through November. It was clear yesterday that San Francisco was once again using more two and three wide receiver sets while lowering the number of plays that used "22" personnel. It is no coincidence that the offense is starting to look better each week, although it's still not close to their best. An improved offensive unit to pair with what continues to be one of the top defenses in the NFL adds up to a team that the rest of the NFC does not want to meet in the playoffs.

While winning the NFC West remains an improbable achievement - Seattle, which holds a two-game lead over San Francisco, is likely to win their remaining three games against the Giants, Cardinals, and Rams - San Francisco has a chance to enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the conference by also winning their remaining three games against the Buccaneers, Falcons, and Cardinals. Tampa Bay is now the team that has won four out of their last five games after starting out 0-8, and while their defense will present a challenge (especially at Raymond James Stadium), their offense should have plenty of problems against a Vic Fangio unit that has recently held both the Seahawks (27.5 points/game) and New Orleans Saints (26.4) to 20 points or less. The Buccaneers are averaging 24 points/game over their last five games, and 28.5 in their four victories over that stretch, but were held to just six points in their week 13 loss against a team with a defense similar to San Francisco's - the Panthers'. As far as the Falcons' game goes - putting aside the fact that Atlanta has been a disappointment all year long - the 49ers are as much of a lock to win their last regular season game at The Stick as the Saints were to win their first game at the Superdome after Katrina. The emotion that will come with the moment will have San Francisco ready to rock the stadium in a way that it has never felt before (coincidentally, the Falcons were the opponent back when the Saints returned home in 2006.) Finally, a week 17 match-up in Arizona against the Cardinals may present the biggest challenge San Francisco has left in the regular season, but the 49ers are a bad match-up for a turnover-prone QB and an offensive line that fails to protect him, and history tells us that Michael Crabtree owns Patrick Peterson, which should help San Francisco's offense put up enough points against a very good Arizona defense. If San Francisco can take care of business these next three weeks, they will be riding a six-game winning streak into the playoffs.

A healthy, complete 49ers roster has helped Jim Harbaugh's team start their second winning streak of the season, a streak that has the chance to run until the end of the season, and possibly through the playoffs on the way to a Vince Lombardi Trophy. After all, the last three Super Bowl winners have been teams that worked their way to the top from the wildcard round (Green Bay Packers in 2010, New York Giants in 2011, and Baltimore Ravens in 2012). Before yesterday, it would had been difficult to make the case for San Francisco to make such run since they had folded against winning teams four out of five times this season, but after a statement win against the team the possessed the best record in the NFL, and with an emerging offense to go along with an intimidating defense, there is no question that the 49ers are a team that nobody wants to run into in the playoffs.

_________________________________________________________________

You can follow me on twitter at @DiegoDelBarco
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


1 Comment

  • Gonzola
    Diego my man... well said. I am still waiting for a statement. Win or lose they need a FUNdamental shift with offensive play calling. Things are starting to open up, but I still think Roman is wack. 3rd and inches and you run it right up the gut into a wall of 8 very large Seahawks. How stupid? 3rd and inches with good field position calls for a nice little passy pass - which would of led to a 40 yard gain instead of a 1 yard 1st and 10. If you failed on 3rd and inches you could always punt it away on 4th down. What a miserable 3rd quarter. The game should have been 49ers 33 Seahawks 17 at the very least. Roman is still a liability and unless he is saving something VERY special for the playoffs then they need to get rid of this guy. Win or lose I am sticking to my guns and Sunday's performance has not made me less afraid. I am still scared we are in fact losers. I know the players will do their best to prove me wrong! Now lets see the coaching staff do the same. Go NINERS!
    Dec 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM
    0
    Response: Thanks Gonzo. I continue to believe Harbaugh should not get a free pass when it comes to the criticism of the offensive play calling - that is: Roman should not be the only one to blame.

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers QB Trey Lance says he didn't take as many hits as it seemed against Cardinals

By Kirk Larrabee
Oct 10

On the surface, it may seem like 49ers quarterback Trey Lance took a bit too much punishment in his first NFL start, having carried the ball 16 times while being on the other end of two sacks and seven quarterback hits. But thankfully, Lance got out of the game unscathed and assured reporters afterwards the hits he took weren't as bad as they looked. Lance spoke to reporters following the 49ers' 17-10 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, during which he ran for 89 yards while also throwing for 192 yards and one interception on 15-of-29 passing. He downplayed any concerns about the amount of hits he took, saying that most of them didn't exactly leave him in pain. "I didn't really think I took too many shots. I'm sure I'll see how I feel tomorrow. A lot of them were



Rapoport: Trey Lance 'cannot win' the 49ers' starting job vs. Cardinals

By David Bonilla
Oct 10

What happens if San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance shocks the NFL world with a strong performance today against the Arizona Cardinals and Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) is healthy heading into Week 7 after the bye? Nothing, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (h/t to Alex Didion of NBC Sports). The job will reportedly still belong to Garoppolo, no matter what happens this afternoon at State Farm Stadium. "San Francisco has been very clear that, not just this week—although, they were clear this week as well, really, ever since Trey Lance was drafted No. 3 [overall] when the 49ers traded all the way



49ers' Kyle Shanahan on Trey Lance: 'He will give us a chance to win a lot going forward'

By David Bonilla
Oct 11

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters this afternoon, nearly 24 hours after his team suffered its third consecutive loss of the season. There was a lot of bad from the trip to State Farm Stadium to play the Arizona Cardinals. However, there was also some good. The game was rookie Trey Lance's first NFL start. The 21-year-old quarterback had his ups and downs, but it was an opportunity for growth. Lance was playing because the 49ers' regular starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, is dealing with a calf injury. "I was proud of him," Shanahan said of Lance via a conference call. "I thought he went into a tough environment versus a real good team. I thought he did a lot of real good things. He threw a bad pick on that first drive, but I thought he



Alex Mack on 49ers' QB situation: 'I want the guy who's going to win games'

By David Bonilla
2 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers might be approaching a crossroads. Eventually, a quarterback decision will need to be made. Jimmy Garoppolo is the team's undisputed starter right now. However, his injury history made the 49ers uncomfortable to the point that the team drafted Trey Lance this offseason. Lance is the future. He will eventually succeed Garoppolo. When that happens is anybody's guess. Garoppolo sustained a calf injury during Week 4, forcing Lance to start Week 5 — when the rookie suffered a knee sprain. Things are trending toward Garoppolo starting this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts. The veteran passer was out on the practice field with his


Featured

More by Diego Del Barco

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone