The San Francisco 49ers dropped to 0-6 on Sunday with their loss to Washington, and are setting records for futility. The 49ers lost their fifth straight game by a field goal or less, which is a new NFL record. They’re winless along with the Cleveland Browns, but they’re certainly competitive. Per Josh Dubow, the 49ers have been outscored by 33 points, and the previous best point differential for an 0-6 team was -84 points.
That being said, it is no surprise that they remain buried at the bottom of NFL power rankings. We’re back once again to take a look at NFL power rankings around the media landscape. The 49ers might now be the best 0-6 team ever, but winless is winless. In every power ranking I came across, the 49ers are No. 31. It is interesting to note that Sports Illustrated does a consensus of voters, and at least one of their voters had the 49ers at No. 29.
Mark Saltveit came up with a term for what is going on, referring to it as “elegant tanking.” The 49ers are making a strong run for the No. 1 overall pick, but they are putting up a heck of a fight each week to try and not lose. In the past we’ve seen teams benching their better players and making it entirely clear they have no interest in winning. On the other hand, the 2017 49ers are putting on a clinic in doing good things while still continuing to lose. It truly is an elegant display.
And with that, here is a look at Week 7 NFL power rankings from around the media.
What’s worse? Getting smashed like the Cleveland Browns, or barely losing in the most painful way possible on a weekly basis like the San Francisco 49ers?
The Browns hung in against the Jets and Colts, but were handled by the Texans in Week 6. The 49ers lost their fifth consecutive game by a margin of three points or fewer. I think I’d take the San Francisco losses, but sheesh, both are awful. Losing isn’t fun.
The 49ers probably aren’t as bad as their winless record suggests. They’re the first team in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or less. They have to catch a lucky break and win at some point. Right?
According to Elias Sports bureau, the 49ers are the first team in NFL history to lose five straight by three or fewer points in a season. That's not exactly the kind of streak the 49ers would like to extend, but they'd probably like to keep it close against the Cowboys, Eagles and Cardinals over the next three weeks.
This really is the most competitive 0-6 team in NFL history. According to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press the 49ers have been outscored by 33 points, and the second lowest total for an 0-6 team is the 2000 Chargers at minus-84. It’s hard to believe the 49ers’ luck in close games will continue to be this bad. It also sums up the parity of the league: Any team from 31 on down can point to a few plays here or there making a big difference in their record.
Unlike the Browns, the 49ers continue to battle each week and keep things close. They've now lost five games by three points or fewer, with two of those losses coming in overtime.
It was the right move to bench Brian Hoyer for rookie C.J. Beathard. He gives the 49ers a more aggressive trigger finger under center, and he holds more upside than Hoyer. At some point, the 49ers were going to have to make the change in order to keep the rest of the team believing in the building process.
Making the switch in Week 6 was nearly enough to net the 49ers a win.
The 49ers now need to get the ground game going with more consistency. Coach Kyle Shanahan fields the best play-action offense in the game, and the 49ers need to be able to feed on it.
Defensively, San Francisco does enough to keep the team in games. The problem is the defense gives up too many easy completions and too much cheap yardage. This was the case again in Week 6, and it's something that needs to change if the 49ers want to start winning games.
For the second time this season, the 49ers got cheated by a bad offensive pass interference call. That sucks, but the fact is better teams would be able to overcome such mishaps.
Last Week’s Rank: 31
Points in MMQB Power Poll: 27
Highest-Place Vote: 29th
Lowest-Place Vote: 31st (10)
Last Week’s Result: Loss at Washington, 26-24
Week 7 Opponent: vs. Dallas
The Niners lost another game Sunday. But they may have found an interesting QB prospect in C.J. Beathard, as the grandson of former Redskins GM Bobby Beathard had some good moments at FedEx Field. There’s no reason not to stick with him.
C.J. Beathard is the man now. Brian Hoyer had his opportunity, and frankly, didn't earn his keep. Despite votes of confidence from team brass and a certain writer I know. The Failing Washington Post (just kidding) pointed out that Beathard provided his team an energy boost when it really, really needed precisely that. OK, the kid didn't bring San Francisco all the way back for a win, but Beathard carries upside, whereas Hoyer has entered a static position in the minds of most personnel decision makers. Favorite Beathard play? Easy: The mock-scramble-up-the-middle-throw-it-off-his-front-foot-to-Aldrich Robinson-for-45-yards-and-a-score.
So close. And yet so far. Four of the next five games are at home, if you're looking for good news here. Oh, and you have a new quarterback - C.J. Beathard, who still has to play with the same offense Brian Hoyer did.