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The “gauntlet” is over, but the 49ers can’t afford to take their foot off the gas

All gas, no brakes, you could say.

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers completed their three-game gauntlet (Green Bay, Baltimore, and New Orleans) 2-1 and improve to 11-2 on the season.

Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams knocking off the Seattle Seahawks tonight, the 49ers are now again in possession of the #1 seed and control their destiny. So thanks for keeping that #1 spot warm for us, we’ll take it back now. Now look, I’m aware that this is exactly what the team wanted and where they wanted to be, but I’m also aware now is no time to come off the gas. ALL GAS, NO BRAKE, is definitely the mantra.

With the remaining games being the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams at home, then a road trip to Seattle, the 49ers need to approach this next three-game stretch with even more focus than the previous three. This stretch isn’t as difficult in terms of opponents, but it’s definitely as important.

Week 15: Atlanta Falcons

These Falcons put a 40 burger on the Carolina Panthers earlier today and are playing for pride. Say what you want, but that’s dangerous, and they cannot be overlooked. While the Falcons are sitting at 4-9 and looking up at the rest of their division, I guarantee they are coming into Levi’s with intentions to deliver the 49ers and hot L (loss), especially facing their old offensive coordinator, now head coach Kyle Shanahan.

That said, I’m sure coach Shanahan is also eager to put it to the Falcons and in impressive fashion, and I’m all for that. Just don’t get too cute coach, take care of your home turf, and just win. ALL GAS, NO BRAKE!

Week 16: Los Angeles Rams

The following week, it’s a rematch against the NFC West rival Rams who also love to personally deliver an L. This is also a game the 49ers should win, but also a game they cannot afford to take lightly. If anybody thinks Sean McVay and them boys aren’t walking into Levi’s with a chip on their shoulders and a bad taste in their mouths, they clearly have a false sense of reality. Their next game is versus the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas.

If they can somehow hand Dallas an L, they’d be on a three game winning (hot) streak as they come head to northern California to take on the 49ers. They’re currently in third place in the division, and if things worked in their favor, they could be very much in the playoff hunt and are very much alive. ALL GAS, NO BRAKE!

Week 17: Seattle Seahawks

Ah yes, week 17 and a trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seahawks for what may very well be for the division. Now we all know the 49ers should’ve won the first game, but they didn’t and definitely needed to win the next one. To make this game more interesting, the 49ers haven’t won in Seattle since December 24, 2011, and have also never beat Russell Wilson in Seattle. I know that stings, but good. Use that motivation to smack these Seahawks at their house.

To add context to how long it’s been since the 49ers won in Seattle, both Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman were both rookies, and Tarvaris Jackson was the quarterback. Yeah, it’s been a while. So yes, the 49ers need this game for the division and to end the nine-year drought of winning in Seattle.

The difference in this game, the 49ers should have a healthy George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders, and be well prepared to even the season series at one game apiece and take the division. The faithful need to travel well one more and invade Century Link! ALL GAS, NO BRAKE!

The wrap-up

As always, thanks for riding with me. Okay, faithful, so the next three games are all very winnable, and I’m confident they will win all three. To do so, they’ll have to handle business and clean some things up. Though they walked out of Ne Orleans (yes, I left the W out purposely as the 49ers left with that today), it seemed the defense forgot how to tackle and simultaneously forgot how to cover tight ends. Just yuck. Both the need as mentioned above, to be tightened up, and like tomorrow.

The injury bug bit the 49ers again today, as starting center Weston Richburg was carted off the field during the game with a leg injury and is set to have an MRI tomorrow. The 49ers have battled through a number of key injuries this year but have still found a way to push through and win games. That trend will need to continue.

This team is indeed battle-tested, can win in a variety of ways, and is never out of a game. What’s most impressive, though, in my opinion, this team has yet to play it’s best football. Can you say save the best for last?

Let’s go Niners, finish this special season, with this special group strong, on a four-game winning streak to win the division, and earn home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs. The quest for six is as close to completion as it’s been in years. LET’S GO! Well, I’m sure you know what comes next, so say it with me. ALL GAS, NO BRAKE!