The 49ers have been hit hard by injuries lately, but it hasn’t affected the quality of their poor play. The backup players have proved to be nearly as semi-talented as the starters they have replaced.
That would be good news, if it wasn’t also bad news. It means both the starters and the backups, predominantly as regards the secondary, are all essentially backup quality players. And without a pass rush to help cover their deficiencies, they’re getting burned every week and will likely continue that trend for the rest of the season.
Currently, with 25% of the season entombed into history, the Niners rank 12th on offense and 27th on defense. This should make this week’s game at home against the Cardinals interesting, since the Cards are ranked 32nd offensively and 15th defensively. A battle of opposites. It’s also a battle for last place in the NFC West.
This is not where we expected the team to be at the quarter pole, grubbing around for last place again, but perhaps it’s still a little early to throw in the towel. The season really comes down to whether the 49ers can beat the Seahawks and the Cardinals. If they can beat the Cardinals, then four of the next six games are winnable and would put them with a 5-5 record at the BYE week.
Unfortunately, a couple of other things have also changed since the start of the season. Then, it looked like if the Niners survived the tough opening schedule, they could make a late season run. DC Robert Saleh thought so, springing a stiffy at the thought of it. But that late season run doesn’t look like such a given anymore. The Bears are no longer a pushover, nor the Buccaneers, and the burial of the Seahawks might have been premature, too.
At any rate, Sunday’s game figures to be the most winnable game this month. A loss here and you can forget about saving that towel. It’ll be lights out for the 2018 season.