The San Francisco 49ers lost their first game of the year 27-24 at home against the Seattle Seahawks. In a game where everything possible went wrong, it’s time to see how that shakes up the playoff picture for the NFC.
I’ve seen many San Francisco 49ers games that aggravated me, but this one may take the cake for the most frustrated I’ve ever been.
In a masterclass of Murphy’s Law, the Niners lost a Monday Night Football instant classic on the literal last play of overtime against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10 to break some hearts, sending the 49ers to 8-1 after the 27-24 defeat.
Injuries, drops, drops that led to interceptions, a shanked field goal for the win. Yes, sir. If you wanted to know just how aggravated you could be at a stadium or in front of a television screen, then this is the game for you.
While it was encouraging to see San Francisco almost win a game against a very good rival, where the Niners had everything go wrong for them, the reality is it’s a loss which will have big consequences.
Namely, the 49ers now only have a one-game lead on the conference against the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and the Seahawks, and all three teams the 49ers now have to face (two of them on the road).
What would have been a handy two-game buffer on the conference and three-game buffer on the division has turned into a margin so thin, that it’s almost barely counting as a lead.
If the 49ers want to remain on top of the NFC pile, they need to hope the Saints, Packers and Seahawks slip up at least once, or somehow come away with three wins against the three best teams in the NFC.
And that’s not the only problem, either.
Tough divisional games against the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, albeit at home, are still on the schedule, as is a road game against arguably the best team in the AFC in the Baltimore Ravens.
Add in the Atlanta Falcons, who showed they can still compete when they accounted for New Orleans, and every game is going to be a battle.
The key will be offensively getting everybody healthy. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and running back Matt Breida (ankle) are day-to-day with injuries suffered during the Seahawks game, while tight end George Kittle was desperately missed and will look to hopefully return for the Arizona game on Sunday.
Defensively, the deep defensive line stocks will be getting tested. Ronald Blair is now out with an ACL tear for the season, while D.J. Jones is out for a week with a groin injury. Both were invaluable in how much pressure they gave as reserve linemen.
There’s no shame barely losing to one of the best teams in the NFL when everything goes wrong, but the narrative is the same, nonetheless.
The 49ers are still in control of their own destiny, but they can’t afford anymore slips in a ridiculously competitive NFC.
San Francisco has a chance to right the ship against Arizona in a rematch of two weeks ago. A win there could relieve the pressure, somewhat, as the team tries to shake off the loss.
Until then, the Niners can only take it one day at a time.