The San Francisco 49ers lost their third straight on Sunday, losing to the Detroit Lions by a final score of 32-17. The 49ers drop to 4-11 with the loss, while the Lions improve to 6-9 with the win. The good news from this loss is the 49ers can improve draft positioning. The bad news is the 49ers looked worse in some respects than a peewee football team.
We might as well enjoy some modest bit of good news. The 49ers got a big break on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens improved to 5-10 with the win, which means they will drop behind the 49ers. The Cowboys, Titans and Browns all lost, while the Chargers lost on Thursday. This loss improves the 49ers from No. 6 to No. 5 in the 2016 NFL Draft order.
The bad news came in the form of discipline and technique issues. The 49ers became the first team in at least 25 years to record six neutral zone infractions in the first half of a game, according to NFL STATS. The 49ers had 11 penalties for 65 yards. And even when the 49ers defense was not committing penalties, the unit was struggling with tackling. I'll be curious to see numbers on Lions yards gained after contact. The 49ers have had problems this year with arm tackling, and it remains a big part of the inconsistency on defense.
The offense did actually show the occasional sign of life, but once again there were way too many give-up plays on third down. I'd love to see a super-cut video of all the 49ers throws short of the sticks on third down. It makes us pull our hair out as fans. But hey, I suppose that counts as a good effort, and thus worthy of a blue participation ribbon.
The 49ers wrap up the season next weekend hosting the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are 6-8 heading into their Week 16 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. I imagine the NFL would love to just flex 49ers-Rams off the schedule entirely. It's going to be a pretty big game, as a loss secures a top five pick (unlikely to be top-two), and a win could drop the 49ers several spots in the first round order. We'll have more on the Week 17 implications throughout the coming week.