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The Shanaplan: Mistakes cloud the perception of a dominant 49ers team

To be fair, the mistakes have been consistent as well

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The 49ers aren’t your typical 6-seed in the playoffs. Most 6-seeded teams squeak into the playoffs, much like the Niners, but didn’t win double-digit games during the regular season.

The 49ers' offense ranks one spot higher than the Cowboys in yards per drive and passing DVOA while ranking eight spots higher in rushing DVOA. However, since Week 11, the 49ers rank 4th in EPA per play on offense compared to Dallas ranking 10th. San Francisco is also 8th in success rate to the Cowboys 15th.

The Cowboys scored 50+ points in two of their previous three games. But you don’t get credit for beating up on Gardner Minshew and Taylor Heinicke. Dallas struggled in Week 17 in a loss to Arizona and in Week 15 during a 21-6 victory over the Giants.

Dallas has been hot and cold all season. Their perception is off, just like it is with the 49ers — but for different reasons.

The Niners made the playoffs despite their only divisional victories coming against the Rams. They needed to erase a 17-point deficit to make the playoffs. If not, it took relying on a Falcons road victory to get in.

During today’s episode of The Shanaplan, we talked about the hiccups in the Rams game and all season long and how that’s clouded the perception of this being a dominant team:

One of those losses was to the Colts, who lost to the Jaguars. And now, they’re on the outside looking in. There are so many games you can go back through and ask, ‘how did they lose that game?’ And because of that, the perception of this team is off.

This is a 6-seed, and not your normal 6-seed. The 49ers are a 6-seed because for 1.5 to 2.5 quarters a game they go out of their way to look horrendous. They look very bad at times.

Then, for large parts of the game, they look like a dominant 1-seed. As you saw against the Rams, they couldn’t do anything in the second half. They were going three-and-out left and right.

The offense did whatever they wanted to. You do not run the ball ten times in a row against anybody in the NFL. You surely don’t run the ball against the Rams ten times in a row. And it wasn’t just that, they were throwing the ball down the field for 15 and 20-yard chunks.

This season, the Niners haven’t played a complete game against a competent opponent outside of their first matchup against the Rams. We know they can reach an elite level. We’ve seen it. But we’ve also seen a team prone to mistakes in all three phases. That’s why San Francisco isn’t viewed as a Super Bowl contender.

Akash and I discuss that and more during today’s episode. You can listen to it in its entirety below:

Other topics include:

  • How the 49ers got down early against the Rams
  • The key to the comeback at SoFi Stadium
  • Is this the best win of the Kyle Shanahan era, or was it the final game of the 2019 regular season against Seattle?
  • Why the perception of the 49ers is off
  • Who the 49ers will attack on each side of the ball against the Cowboys
  • Wild Card score prediction