Where have we seen this before? All hell broke loose in the first quarter, the long touchdown pass Philip Rivers threw to Vincent Jackson, who just out jumped Nate Clements to come down with the ball then stiff armed Clements at the goal line pretty much set the tone for the entire game. One thing I thought about over and over after that first touchdown was how I don’t think I have ever seen Alex Smith make a throw like that and one of his receivers come down with the catch. This game was not an indictment on only Alex Smith, it was an ugly performance by the defense as well as the coaches flat out not preparing their players. If you recall, coach Mike Singletary throughout the week seemed resigned to even talk about the preparation for the game against the Chargers. It was like he just finished the game against Seattle and didn’t know what to do about having to play again just a few days later against a much superior team. And lets be honest, from top to bottom the Chargers are a better football team than the 49ers currently are.
In order to beat a better team you need some breaks to go your way, and the 49ers had none fall their way at all. The early penalty on the field goal attempt gave them a chance at a touchdown instead and potentially a tie ball game. They got that touchdown on Alex Smith’s balls out scramble only to have it overturned. The score went from 7-3 to 7-6 to 7-0. To make matters worse Justin Smith, the 49ers second best defensive player, was ejected after making contact with a referee during a shoving match with Chargers players. Later in the game Ted GinnJr returned a kickoff for a touchdown only to have it called back by a facemask penalty on the return. Yes the Chargers beat the brakes off the 49ers, but it only made matters worse that the 49ers could not catch a much needed break.
The bright side is that the team still has a shot at the playoffs although many fans would just like to see the Seahawks and Rams both win this weekend thus eliminating the 49ers from contention altogether. This scenario would absolutely seal the fate of Mike Singletary and Alex Smith while allowing for a decent draft pick next year. A high profile prospective coach might be attracted to a situation with a higher pick to get a decent rookie quarterback in the draft as opposed to picking somewhere in the 20’s if the team were to go one and done in the playoffs. On the flip side, should the 49ers manage to have everything fall into place the next three weeks and make the playoffs, they would likely play New Orleans in San Francisco. The 49ers were only a field goal away from beating the Saints in the regular season, they also lost to the Falcons by once again beating themselves (we all remember what happened in that game). So basically 49ers fans, there is reason to hope in either case. An unlikely playoff run?Possibly.A quick death to this nightmare season?Getting closer to being a certainty.