The San Francisco 49ers have gotten off to a rough start through their first three games. They have put together strong a first half in each game, only to see a collapse cost them in the final two. Through three games, the 49ers have scored 59 first half points, and 3 second half points. In case you are wondering, the former number is No. 1 in the NFL, and the latter number is No. 32.
On Monday, David Neumann put together some thoughts on why he did not think this was the end of the world for San Francisco. He looked at the refs, the so-called "killer instinct" issue, and the chorus of "Fire Greg Roman!". Plenty will continue to disagree, but there are reasons for optimism.
Tuesday morning, Bill Barnwell put together a piece at Grantland that looks specifically at the 49ers second half collapses. During these last three games, the 49ers have a -92 point differential between the first and second half. Barnwell took a look at the "30 worst three-week stretches in terms of that half-to-half point differential since 1990, a group in which the average team performed 78.3 points worse in the second half than it did in the first half." According to Barnwell, those teams were actually "narrowly better (+ 0.4 points) in the second half than they were in the first half."
The 49ers have had horrific second half performances, but they also have had strong first half performances. There is plenty of talent on this team that allows them to get out in front early. It is certainly possible second half performances will not improve enough, but history would seem to indicate there is a pretty good chance it will turn around.
Of course, if you are a believer that the locker room is falling apart, and things are only going to get uglier, well so be it. Plenty of people have talked about how the team just "feels" different. There is nothing I can really say to counter that "feeling" some have, but as I said Sunday night, I don't think this early start is the end of the world. The 49ers face a Philadelphia Eagles squad that has been their inverse. The Eagles have dominated the second half and struggled in the first half. Let's hope we start to see the 49ers move past this.