The San Francisco 49ers lost a tough one Sunday afternoon, dropping a 23-14 decision to the Arizona Cardinals. The loss dropped them to 1-2, and they now sit two games back of the Cardinals, and one game back of the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers got off to a strong start, but another second half collapse cost them.
In the hours since the game wrapped, opinions have varied wildly. Some are demanding everybody be fired. Others are blaming the refs for being atrocious. There are still others who are pissed at the players. And of course, some are blaming everybody.
However, there are those who are at least mildly optimistic that the 49ers might in fact rebound from this ugly start. Our own David Neumann had a few post-game tweets I thought I'd share.
Frustrating loss, but there are lots of things happening in these last two games that have almost no hope of continuing for the long haul.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
If you seriously think the 49ers are incapable of scoring in the second half, I’ve got this bridge…— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
Also, it’s very difficult for me to believe these penalties are part of some larger issue re: coaching staff, discipline, etc.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
If those two things alone come back to earth (and VERY strong chance they will), everything will be fine.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
Also, the Greg Roman hate is mostly unsubstantiated IMO. Thought the game plan was good in both losses.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
Have there been a few weird play calls? Sure. But if you can show me an OC that never makes a bad playcall, that would be the first.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
At some point, it’s on the players to execute. And I fully expect that to improve.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
The 49ers offense is in transition—one that I think is better for them in the long run—and it’s not going to happen overnight.— David Neumann (@UndraftedTweets) September 21, 2014
The 49ers opened last season 1-2, losing back-to-back games to the Seahawks and Colts. I'm not here to say that last season will advance in an exactly similar fashion, but I do think it is still early to panic. It is certainly possible the rumors are true, that Jim Harbaugh is losing locker room, and this wild, undisciplined bunch have no hope of rebounding under the current coaching staff.
After less than a quarter of the season, I'm at least open to the notion that maybe things are not quite so awful. This is not to say the 49ers have mistakes that can be fixed with the flip of a switch. I don't know what they can do about some of the awful penalties, but I do know they can play smarter in other such areas. And there is a lot to be cleaned up. Maybe they never get it cleaned up, but I'm willing to think there is at least a decent chance things get turned around.
The 49ers coaching staff includes a lot of veteran experience, and generally smart coaches. Sure they make mistakes, but at this point, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. You don't go to three straight NFC championship games and a Super Bowl by dumb luck. I don't know how this season will end, but the performance through three games is not going to cloud me from thinking just maybe they will turn this thing around.
The 49ers welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to town next Sunday. The Eagles are 3-0, with three relatively close games thus far. They're a good team with some flaws. I like to think the 49ers are a good team with flaws as well, and hopefully this Sunday we get a better idea of how things stand. If they continue making the same mistakes, I will certainly be happy to change my mind about this team. However, for now, there is simply too much talent both on the field and with the coaching staff. The team is dealing with injuries and Aldon Smith's suspension, and need to figure out a way around it.
Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic. Maybe this is the year things come crashing down. In that case, I'm setting myself up for the stomach punch down the road. For now though, I'm willing to wait and see. The team cannot afford to keep losing these kinds of games, but I really do believe this is simply an early season issue that can be corrected.
At the very least, next week's game is the FOX National Game of the Week. That means non-Bay Area residents actually have a decent chance of catching it. Although, if you're more on the pessimistic side, you might not be so happy about that!