Posted on December 22, 2019, by Travis Pulver
A couple of weeks ago, following a thrilling win over the New Orleans Saints that saw Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense blow up, the 49ers odds to win the NFC was a conference-best +183. At that point, despite the unusually bad game by the defense, all was right in the world for the 49ers.
They knew their defense could and would do better and got the confidence they needed in Garoppolo in the offense. But then they came out against a poor Falcons team and laid an egg on both sides of the ball. No matter, because they’ll just ‘get-right’ against a beatable Los Angeles Rams team in Week 16 before facing the Seahawks in Week 17.
If the version of the Rams that the Dallas Cowboys faced in Week 15 had shown up, it would have been a much better game for the 49ers. But the Rams came to play and were not about to make it easy for the 49ers.
It didn’t help that the 49ers seemed to forget they had to do more than show up in the first quarter. After allowing the Rams to drive right down the field on the opening drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead, they were gifted a short field courtesy of an 81-yard kick return by Richie James Jr. But the offense couldn’t move the ball and had to settle for a field goal.
San Francisco’s offense ran four more plays in the first quarter, gaining just five yards. They also set the Rams up on another touchdown drive with one of two Jimmy Garoppolo interceptions on the day.
However, the offense did wake up in the second quarter with two touchdown drives. But the essential play came from the defense when Fred Warner took a Jared Goff interception 46 yards for a touchdown giving the 49ers a 24-21 lead.
But the offense went back to struggling again in the third quarter. Garoppolo started the quarter off with another interception and led the offense to just a single first down. They failed to string a few first downs together until about midway through the fourth on what ended up being a six-play, 91-yard touchdown drive.
While the defense had been playing well in the second half, they couldn’t keep the Rams from tying the game back up with a late 52-yard field goal. But then Garopollo was able to earn his paycheck and get the 49ers in position for the game-winning 33-yard kick as time expired (final score, 34-31).
The game was a mix of good and bad for the 49ers. But most of the bad was on offense and most of the good on defense. While that has been the norm for most of the season, in recent weeks, it appeared as if the offense was going to step up and do its part more.
But if these last couple of weeks are any indication, fans may need to worry about either side doing its part.
Seattle is not going to cut them any slack in Week 17. Nor will whoever they meet in the wildcard round after they lose the division race to the Seahawks. They can’t afford to have defensive lapses or for the offense to struggle for most of the game– that is if they want to win it all this year.
While they may have entered the weekend with the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel (+650), they are not looking like a very good bet these days.