Are the 49ers mentally tough?
I haven't done the necessary research to properly address this question but I would like to throw it out there and see if our collective knowledge can bring some illumination to this question.
Games have ebbs and flows... sometimes it's back and forth all game and sometimes a team takes big lead or mounts a big comeback. There are endless possibilities. Something that concerns me about this team is that if they fall behind EARLY by more than a single score (or maybe ten points), they rarely fight back.
I didn't look at every game but I honestly can't think of a game where we fought back from down more than ten early on. If we get a lead then we're usually in great shape but if things go wrong, we tend to get blown out. This year, we saw it three different times: against Minn, NYG, and now Seattle.
Can anyone think of a single game like the one Houston had against Jackonville? A game where the niners came out soft against a lesser opponent, fell behind, and came back to win? Maybe that game is an aberration but lots of good and great teams have games like that. Can anyone think of a game where the niners had to battle back from an early deficit? I'm not talking about ten points in the 4th quarter but rather, an early deficit.
Playing with a lead and I'll pick this team over any other in the NFL. From behind? I'm not certain that team isn't in the bottom third of the league.
Assuming my premise is correct, what is the cause? Perhaps it's coaching. Perhaps it's the play at QB (although that doesn't really explain defensive collapses), but perhaps it's something worse. When look back at all of the teams that have won Super Bowls over the last thirty years, one thing stands out: they have tended to get good quickly and then stayed good. Rarely have teams stockpiled talent like us and underperformed for years, only to emerge later. That just doesn't really happen.
Could losing just be a culture, even for great players like Gore and Willis? I don't know but it worries me to think that it might and that alone might be the best reason to move away from Alex Smith. Let's hope that Kaep has some fight in him, even if he didn't today.