No. 5: Narrative Changes if Chase McLaughlin Coverts in Overtime
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first.
The 49ers were down a number of key weapons on Monday night, including kicker Robbie Gould, who was out with a quad injury. As such, the Niners were forced to sign fill-in rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin, who found himself the hero for San Francisco on his 47-yard game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
But then there was his miss in the extra frame. Seattle capitalized on the extra chance, not missing its try and ultimately coming away with the win.
Let’s assume McLaughlin made the overtime kick, giving the 49ers a would-be win and sending the team to 9-0. Instead of looking at quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo having an up-and-down game, tossing a multitude of near interceptions, all the wide receiver drops and whether or not the Niners can seriously contend against good competition.
Instead, the narrative would have shifted to San Francisco’s comeback, using its defensive fortitude to overcome a 21-10 deficit to tie things up in the fourth quarter, then making some gutsy plays to secure the would-be overtime win.
And the Niners would have upended Seattle in front of a national audience.
Yes, McLaughlin’s miss stings. It’s also anyone’s guess what the outcome would have been if Gould was available.
Still, it’s crazy to think how much changes when the margin of victory is so narrow.