I was going to put together a pity party post where I point fingers at who I thought was at fault for Sunday's loss. But the truth is, I'm already over it and playing the blame game did not seem like a good use of my time. Instead, I thought I'd dissect this Week 3 match-up and why the events that took place were necessary.
After taking a step back, there seems to be a lot of reasons to not get worked up over this loss.
The 49ers are going to take this in stride and grow from it. Despite their youth, the 49ers seem to have one of the more mature teams in football. The 49ers Faithful should feel confident that their team can emerge from this even stronger than before.
The Niners are and will remain the physical, fundamental team Harbaugh established -- nothing has changed so you can stop listening to Trey Wingo. This was just a hiccup and nothing more. The team that knocked off Green Bay and Detroit in Weeks 1 and 2 is the real mold of the 49ers.
The media is going to blow this out of proportion like the Niners aren't the most complete team in the NFC anymore. The next thing you know, they'll be talking Vikings in the Super Bowl. Just stick with Niners Nation from the purest source of 49ers info -- we'll get through this loss together.
And you can start by following me after the jump.
Like this headline and intro suggests, we'll be discussing why this loss was necessary for the 49ers going forward. So, without further adieu...
The most important thing to consider here is the 49ers working harder to sustain long-term success. San Francisco will be able to learn from their mistakes and make improvements. Honestly, you can often learn more from a loss than you can from a win.
And going forward, they will not overlook, underprepare or misjudge a single opponent on their remaining schedule.
The 49ers will see more trap games like this one, in the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams. Given how this past game went for the 49ers, they should be more inclined to get off to quicker starts and not lot the game drift away. They will also have to go back to basics, like red zone offense and third down situations. Kyle Williams provided the Niners offense with great field position on a couple occasions and the unit failed to capitalize.
San Francisco needs to return in Week 4 and play with that hunger and underdog mentality. They need to value each down like it's their last, which is how they played in the first two weeks of the season.
Entering Week 3, the 49ers were the unanimous No. 1 ranked team in the NFL, having knocked off Green Bay and Detroit to start the season 2-0. Needless to say, this loss came as a surprise, but the Vikings looked like the hungrier team out there. They beat the 49ers at their own game, and that's something they won't want to let happen again.
This is the kind of loss that will have the 49ers back on track again.
Sometimes you need to have that bitter taste of reality to appreciate what you have. In a lot of ways, this was the perfect loss. The 49ers got trucked from start to finish, got outmuscled and basically had their identity stolen by Minnesota. They turned the ball over and failed to take the ball away until it was late in the game and meaningless.
This was totally uncharacteristic of the 49ers, so this loss in particular will be very humbling for the team.
Inclined to Kick It Up A Notch
This particularly pertains to the offense and the play calling on that side of the football. On Sunday, it did not appear that the 49ers prepared to stretch the field against this team. They played extremely conservative football, even when trailing late, and their overall game plan was simplistic.
I saw this as a sign of disrespect to the Vikings; that the Niners thought they could go beat them in their own house with an elementary game plan. It wound up kicking the 49ers in the teeth, proving to be very costly. And worse yet, they did not make the proper halftime adjustments on offense.
Even after being handled on the field and on the scoreboard in the first half, Randy Moss only played 7 snaps in the second half. Their offensive strategy did not chance, but was rather stuck on repeat. With the offense struggling that bad, it was concerning to see the lack of response by the staff.
I'm not suggesting Moss was the cure to all ails, but if the team is so confident in this guy, why not show it by getting him involved when you really need the points. The 49ers have to acknowledge their mistake and show they've learned from it. It's not preseason anymore. The wins and losses matter; its time to open up the playbook.
We need to be realistic as fans: Jim Harbaugh is not going to have a career record, winning 90-plus percent of his games -- it's just not reasonable. Entering Week 3 against the Vikings, the 49ers had a 15-3 regular season record in the Harbaugh era. They've been dominant since his arrival.
While a loss did not seem to be likely this past week, we have to expect them as fans. And I'm glad the loss came in a game where San Francisco didn't show up, rather than them losing in heartbreaking fashion to an equally talented team. For that reason, it is more likely to blow over; as soon as next week even when the 49ers take on the Revis-less Jets.
Harbaugh's teams have also been known to go on winning streaks following losses. In 2011, a defining moment came for the team following the gut-wrenching overtime loss to Dallas in Week 2. After which, the 49ers strung together 8-straight wins that included the likes of Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, New York (N) and Arizona.
San Francisco can certainly endure this.
So, if we can take something positive away from this loss, it's that the 49ers will be better for it. And if I may steal a message from one of my favorite movie trilogies that applies here: "Why do we fall down?...So we can learn to pick ourselves up."