09 Nov Half Glass Full: Don’t Count The 49ers Out
Although it has been a dismal first half for the injured San Francisco 49ers, there is no reason to believe this team cannot make some noise in the second half. Keeping myself at a glass-half full approach, the 49ers have proven (at times) to hang tough with stiff competition. As a fan and observer, it is easy to make excuses as to why the team has faltered in games that felt winnable.
For example, in the Seahawks game, the defense held the unit to 13 points in the first half. Coming into that game, the Seahawks had the #1 rated offense, according to Football Outsiders. The 49ers defense held them to 172 yards of total offense in the first half, which isn’t shutdown, but for the situation the team is in, is good. Russell Wilson had passed for 155 yards with 2 touchdowns. The running game of Seattle? Only 25 rushing yards.
Had Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense been more effective, it would’ve been a closer game. Same story can be said about the Philadelphia Eagles game. The defense did their job, while the offense underperformed.
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The offense can arguably be blamed for the team’s struggles; however, Robert
Saleh and the defense have also had their share of making mistakes. Needless to say, the team hasn’t had the consistency that propelled them to the Super Bowl a year ago.
But, with the injuries stacking and the odds building up against the team, I want to remain confident that the team can at least compete and squeak into the playoffs as a wild card team.
It’s hard to find any hope within this team, as it felt from the second game of the season, when Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Jimmy Garoppolo all suffered devastating injuries, that the dynamic of the team changed entirely.
As the season has worn on, the 49ers have cycled over 71 different players to play on both sides of the ball. Injuries have derailed what was deemed the “Revenge Tour” and a possible return to the playoffs.
However, I want to look into some of the things that give this battle-hardened team hope.
Although two of the next three games appear daunting (@Saints, @Rams, vs. Bills) the rest of the schedule is beatable. Shanahan and the 49ers have the blueprint to beat the Rams, and the other remaining games (vs. Washington, @Dallas, @Arizona, vs. Seattle).
Each of these games has their pros and cons of winning and losing, but, even with the hardships the team as faced, are by no means automatically losable games. The NFC is significantly weaker compared to last season, and, while at 4-5, the 49ers can slip in as a possible 9-7 team.
With the terrible performances the team has put out the past two weeks (37-27 L vs. Seattle, 34-17 L vs. Green Bay) it’s easy to see why this team has any reason to continue winning, as questions marks at the QB position could be addressed in a deep QB draft class, assuming the 49ers are picking within the top-12.
Keeping my eyes off of a beautiful QB class though, the feeling around the team is that these guys do not want to just layover and lose. With leaders like Fred Warner and Trent Williams in place, it’s hard for me to believe these guys are just willing to lose.
And they’re not, by no means. But again, with the QB position quickly becoming a need for the 49ers, the deadly words that are “embrace the tank” are gradually sneaking their way into the fanbase.
I refuse to embrace the tank, although I do have my concerns about how the team is going to handle the QB spot after this season.
With an offensive mastermind in Kyle Shanahan though, and a group of injured players (Weston Richburg, Ronald Blair, Richard Sherman) on their eventual return, not all hope is lost for the team. The injuries and inconsistencies have made this return to glory monumental, but with a little luck and some more consistency, there is every reason to believe this 49ers team can at least make it back to the playoffs.
A lot has to go right for this team to succeed, but keeping my glass half full here, some key players returning and consistency on both sides of the ball give this team a chance to make some noise in an NFC that is starting to separate very quickly.
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