No. 2: SF 49ers eliminated from playoffs by Cowboys in Week 15
The exact moment when the Niners saw their already-dim hopes for playoff football came to an official end on Sunday, Dec. 20 at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. When paired with the Arizona Cardinals winning their game that week, San Francisco was officially out of the race.
At 5-8 entering the contest and riding a two-game losing streak, the SF 49ers’ playoff hopes were already on life support. Yet the Cowboys, who were 4-9 entering the game and featuring a backup quarterback in Andy Dalton to go along with one of the NFL’s worst defenses, didn’t appear to be too big an obstacle.
Especially after the Niners had to endure two good defenses in the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team the two previous weeks.
Except any positive predictions for the game went opposite of San Francisco’s way, as Kyle Shanahan’s squad watched the fourth quarter completely fall apart in what turned into an ugly 41-33 defeat.
That marked the second-worst scoring performance by the SF 49ers defense all season long, and it surely put a stamp on why the Niners wouldn’t be getting into the postseason.
While it’s initially easy to blame San Francisco’s offense, three more Nick Mullens turnovers ultimately proved to be too much for the team to overcome.
The game would mark Mullens’ last appearance of the season before being lost to an elbow injury.