The 49ers’ season didn’t officially end Sunday when the clock hit 0:00 of their 31-17 loss to Colt McCoy and the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. Unofficially we can set them out of the playoff chase until a dramatic turnaround gives reason to do so.
San Francisco on Sunday against the Cardinals needed a win. They had a chance to get to 4-4 and ride a two-game win streak into a Monday Night Football matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, they came out flat against Arizona, coughed up two early turnovers and fell behind 17-0 midway through the second quarter.
They battled back to cut it to 17-7 before halftime, but Arizona scored the next 14 points and jumped out to an insurmountable 31-7 third-quarter lead.
Now the 49ers are 3-5 and face the red-hot Los Angeles Rams, arguably the best team in football, in Week 10. The path to the playoffs, until the 49ers prove they can consistently play well on both sides of the ball, is closed.
Sure, they could win against the Rams and then go on the road to knock off Jacksonville and get to 5-5, but reality in the immediate aftermath of a dismal loss to Arizona is that beating the Rams seems impossible. Knocking off the Jaguars seems like a 50-50 proposition. The rest of their schedule doesn’t teem with easy wins or games that can be chalked up as Ws.
Week 8 in Chicago made it seem like the 49ers might put together a nice little run. Week 9 dropped them right back down to Earth. Consistency is key, and San Francisco just hasn’t had it. They are not good enough.
Solutions to their problems don’t come down to one player, or one coach, but it’s clear what they’re doing now isn’t working. Losing that game to the Cardinals was inexcusable, and now we may be in for a long wait until the 49ers put together another “good” win.
Week 9 was San Francisco’s chance to turn their season around and they responded with a lackluster performance indicative of a team looking forward to the offseason with nine games remaining on the schedule. That’s not a good place to be, but that’s where they’re at, and that is not going to get them into the postseason.