The San Francisco 49ers went from losing very close games to losing definitively on Sunday, falling to the Dallas Cowboys in a pathetic 40-10 effort. There were a couple bright spots — Carlos Hyde looked good running the ball and C.J. Beathard wasn’t completely terrible.
But the negatives far, far outweigh the positives. Allowing five sacks of a rookie quarterback making his first start while producing none on the other side of the ball is disastrous. The running game taking a backseat to the passing game due to the quick hole the team was put in. A comedy of errors leading to an insurmountable 7-point lead for the Cowboys at the beginning of the game.
The list of things that went wrong is so long that when Beathard spoke after the game and said that the only way to go is up, it’s hard to disagree on its face.
“After a game, losing like that it’s tough. A 40-10 loss, that’s tough. I think we’ve got the guys here, leaders on this team to move past that. Yeah we are 0-7. There’s only one way to go, and that’s up. I think we’ve got a lot of season left ahead of us to get better and really turn the season around and make something out of it, just do our best. I think that’s what we’ll do. We’ll go back to work tomorrow, watch the film, improve. Really, you got to put this one behind us like we’ve done with the six other games and look forward.”
But it’s also completely untrue. It can get much worse for the 0-7 49ers and has, in fact, been much worse in recent years. The 49ers have a young, confident head coach who is making changes each week without seeming like he’s panicking, and that already gives them an edge over the teams from the past couple seasons. But things can still get far worse.
Doom is obviously on brand for me, but I’m not just playing it up here. We can do a whole lot worse than Beathard completing 22 passes for 235 yards with no interceptions. We can do a whole lot worse than Hyde putting up 68 yards on 14 carries. We can do a whole lot worse than Marquise Goodwin catching four passes for 80 yards.
As 49ers fans, we’re blessed with historic Super Bowl victories. We, as a fanbase, are not nearly as tortured as another fanbase that has never won a Super Bowl, let alone five of them. But over the past decade or so, we’ve seen some of the worst football has to offer.
I don’t know if the 49ers are truly going to be a better team next year. I can’t make that prediction. But I do know that they can be a whole lot worse. Maybe they’re in tank mode now — maybe not.