Fooch's Note: We'll have two game threads in just a bit: One for Panther Watch 2009 (Minnesota/Carolina SNF) and one from Drew K for the New Orleans Bowl with players to watch. Also, site decorum rules are in effect for this recap thread so keep it clean. If you need to swear, go back into the 49ers game thread.
And with that relatively meek performance, the 49ers playoff chances are officially finished. This loss, combined with the Cardinals and Cowboys winning, closed the door on the division and the wild card. The 49ers have two games remaining against Detroit and St. Louis, leaving them a rather decent chance to finish .500 for the first time since 2002. Given how the season started record-wise, this is not what most folks were hoping for. Nonetheless there have been plenty of positives to take from this season. Unfortunately much of that was not seen today...
Last Monday night the 49ers were gift wrapped a good chunk of the game as the Arizona Cardinals couldn't hold on to the ball without stick em. The 49ers took advantage of those turnovers en route to a 24-9 victory. Today the 49ers continually shot themselves in the foot in just about every aspect of the game. They turned the ball over repeatedly, their punt return game was nonexistent yet again, the defense gave up big plays, and of course the offensive line took a huge step back after a decent performance last week.
When you struggle like the 49ers struggled, you really have no chance to beat a quality opponent like the Eagles. The 49ers were certainly "in the game" in terms of the score at times. But in reality given how they were continually performing today, it's hard to say they ever really were going to get back into the game. Their longest scoring drive of the game was 38 yards (the first Nedney field goal). When they cut the lead to 7 in the third quarter, it came after a McNabb turnover. The offense simply couldn't get it together yet again. Blame the line, blame Smith, blame whomever you want. I know Florida Danny will certainly have some blame to throw at Josh Morgan, king of the 1 yard too short catch on 3rd down.
As we move ahead through the season, the plan is to still focus on these last two games (as opposed to completely switching gears to the offseason). The team can at least work these next two weeks on continuing to implement the offensive approach they're looking for. Maybe it's not a completely accurate representation of NFL defenses in Detroit and St. Louis, but it's a good start. Some folks will be demanding Nate Davis enter the arena, but Alex Smith can still prove a lot in these next two games. Maybe not that he's "The Answer," but at least that he can step up against inferior opposition.
In the meantime, Drew K will be providing game threads for the various bowl games with players to watch, and he'll also keep up with the Official Offseason Discussion FanPosts. I've begun plotting out ideas for the offseason, but at this point I'd like to at least potentially enjoy these last two games. Some folks will be disappointed the team will hurt their draft stock by winning, but you know what? I want that .500 record. Maybe it's a bit of an empty .500 given the position this team was in at one point, but .500 is .500. The team has holes to fill and is in a good position to fill some of these holes.