Historical Comparison: Is this the worst 49ers offense of all-time?

Nov 15, 2007 at 7:07 AM9


A strong case can be made that this may be one of the worst 49ers teams in the history of the franchise, if not THE worst. At least, it is starting to look like it through nine games. The fact that this could even be contemplated is shocking when you think that just over two months ago, fans were discussing how far this team might go in the playoffs. There were even some bold predictions, not only be fans, but by the media. USA Today shocked a number of people predicting that this season's Super Bowl would have San Francisco losing to New England. While most of the Niner Faithful were not aiming so high for this season, there was a lot of excitement regarding this 2007 squad which looked to have a good deal of talent on both sides of the ball.

The team had acquired a true shutdown Pro Bowl cornerback in Nate Clements during free agency, already had another Pro Bowl cornerback in Walt Harris, and drafted a linebacker that looked like the second coming of Ray Lewis. On offense, the team already had a Pro Bowl running back in Frank Gore, who only last year broke the team's rushing record with the assistance of a very solid offensive line that remained relatively unchanged in 2007. The 49ers also had third year quarterback Alex Smith who many felt would have a break-out season. They added some targets for Smith with the additions of wide receivers Darrell Jackson via a trade with Seattle, Ashley Lelie from Atlanta, and third round draft pick Jason Hill. Fans and media alike felt that San Francisco might be the frontrunner for the NFC West title and might even do some damage in the playoffs.

Two months after an ugly but respectable 2-0 start, the team has fallen apart, fans' hopes have been crushed, and the organization struggles to figure out what has gone wrong. What some people seem to forget is that San Francisco witnessed some very bad football clubs prior to the rise of Camelot in the early 80's. "Camelot" was a reference made by legendary 49ers head coach Bill Walsh when talking about the 49ers dynasty that he had created.

Is this San Francisco team one of the worst in the history of this once proud organization? Maybe. A strong case can be made that the offense may be one of the worst of all-time.

Let's take a look at some of the more embarrassing statistics in 49ers history and see how this 2007 49ers team stacks up in comparison.

Consecutive losses
Franchise Record: 9 straight losses (1978 season)
2007 49ers: 7 straight losses (through 9 games)

Fewest points in a season
Franchise Record: 198 (1963 season)
2007 49ers: 104 (on pace for 185)

Lowest average points per game
Franchise Record: 13.7 (1978 season)
2007 49ers: 11.6 (through 9 games)

Fewest touchdowns in a season
Franchise Record: 21 (1960 season)
2007 49ers: 10 (on pace for 18)

Fewest first downs in a season
Franchise Record: 182 (1959 season)
2007 49ers: 113 (on pace for 201 - not record setting, but still bad)

Fewest first downs in a game
Franchise Record: 3 (vs. Baltimore in 1959)
2007 49ers: Two games with 6 (vs. Baltimore and Seattle)

Fewest rushing yards in a season
Franchise Record: 1,332 (1964 season)
2007 49ers: 811 (on pace for 1,442 which would be the 2nd worst all-time not counting the 1982 strike season)

Times sacked in a season
Franchise Record: 53 (1998 season)
2007 49ers: 31 (on pace for 55)

Fewest touchdown passes in a season
Franchise Record: 8 (2005 season)
2007 49ers: 5 (on pace for 9 which would tie for 2nd worst all-time)

Most punts in a season
Franchise Record: 107 (2005 season)
2007 49ers: 60 (on pace for 107)

Just when fans thought that San Francisco had finally turned the corner after years of waiting and that head coach Mike Nolan had finally put most of the pieces together, the 49ers end up being on pace for some embarrassing entries into the franchise record books.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


9 Comments

  • mike
    Don't forget some of those crappy teams only played 14 gaames and some only 12 so the stats are skewed. Oh ya your website says Brodie's number is retired so what is that sorry ass Dilfer doing wearing it.
    Nov 20, 2007 at 8:15 AM
    0
    Response: Dilfer asked for permission to wear John Brodie's number from Brodie himself.
  • Boise49ers
    Newbie the miracle isn't gonna happen. I was hoping for it still after about the third consecutive loss, but since watching them a couple more times have come to the conclusion that their season is over. Nolan is to hard headed to admit he made a mistake with Hostler and if he won't admit he made a mistake he needs to take a hike. They need a Veteran coach, or better yet an old 49er assitant Veteran coach. One of the Mike's would work. I'd hate to have to watch either on the sideline unless we were winning. Then Holgrems flappin Jawls or Shanihans crossed eyes wouldn't bother me as much. I think they should let Eddie back in the head office too : )
    Nov 20, 2007 at 5:35 AM
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  • Mark
    Problem is not the players. It is the offensive system and Hostler. Eddie would have fired Hostler by now. He is clearly overmatched. Hostler needs to be fired or demoted and let Sullivan call the plays. We cant even get a first down. Pathetic
    Nov 19, 2007 at 9:28 AM
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  • Mo
    How can anyone say that nolan & company have brought this team around? They are one of the worst teams in all of football and their offense isn't only bad for 49er history but its one of the worst offenses in NFL recent history (20+ years). That kind of ineptitude screams incompetence by the people coaching and evaluating talent on the offensive side of the ball.
    Nov 18, 2007 at 8:40 PM
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  • Jack Meyer
    David, You should also note that some of those records were under a 12 or 14 game season. That said, the 49er's will probably rewrite the record books across the board.
    Nov 16, 2007 at 12:39 PM
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  • niner
    YOu got it all wrong. Nolan said the offense is doing good! We are going to win our divison just like we did 2 years ago. Oh by the way Smith is not hurt. Its all just the conspiracy of the media. This week our tough guy qb ( he can pull cars like lineman can) will show us what the HC wants as his qb.After all he knows all about offense and qb's! After all were really close to being RAvens West. A couple of more lousy outings and we'll be there! When Nolan (teh mannequin) speaks, no one listens! (except his equally clueless boss)
    Nov 16, 2007 at 12:16 AM
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  • Ladale
    David, After reading all the inept stats in your column it is difficult to say that the offense is the worst of all-time, when there is no semblance of offense to speak of. It would be easy if there was some kind of identity such as a committed running game, a committed pass game, or just some specific game plan in which we knew what to expect from our 49ers. The play calling is just so erratic, we have yet to identify our best offensive players. Is Jason Hill the answer, can Ashlie Lelie spread to field, will Alex Smith continue to flounder, why is Frank Gore not apart of the passing game, why is Vernon Davis not lined up one on one with anybody. All these questions should have been answered by the ninth game of the season. Boy, poor coaching and Q.B. play can certainly kill a team. As I said before, if things do not change, we will see whether Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, and others can carry a team when they are doing it for a different team. Can you say Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia, Eric Johnson, Peterson, you get the point.
    Nov 15, 2007 at 6:11 PM
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  • Mikelove49
    Having just looking over these franchise worst stats, it just sickens me more at how badly we are playing. It seems as though that all the moves that we made in the offseason with the draft and free agent pick-ups all seemed to be a total waste. I have been a 49er fan for over 20 years and i have never saw the team that i love and root for look so terrible. Bill Walsh must be rolling over in his grave, considering how badly we are playing. It is clear that alex smith may not last that much longer, the team has to start looking in a different direction. The 49ers faithful deserve better than this. We need Eddie DeBartolo back in control of this franchise, he would not tolorate this kind of performance from this organization!!!
    Nov 15, 2007 at 3:54 PM
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  • NinerNewbie
    Yikes! I still stand by my position that we need one huge wake up call to get this team going. Maybe Nolan and Smith need to have a blow up so they can get past the "everyone's good, everything's fine, I don't know why this won't work" mentality and get back to some FOOTBALL.
    Nov 15, 2007 at 10:43 AM
    0

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