Things are starting to get shaky in the Bay Area. It has nothing to do with the tectonic plates underneath San Francisco or even Giants fans about to watch former manager Bruce Bochy take a different team to the World Series.
It involves the 49ers having their 2023 season shaken up. And things further got rattled on Monday Night Football in Minnesota, which now leaves the 49ers faithful wondering if it’s panic time.
From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!
What Caused the 49ers to Lose Their Second Straight?
The 49ers have gone from looking like a contender at 5-0 to suddenly joining three other NFC teams as losers of two straight, falling 22-17 to the Minnesota Vikings.
How did things unravel so quickly for the now 5-2 Niners? For starters, their offensive woes from the Cleveland Browns loss ended up trekking to the Twin Cities.
The 49ers tied the Vikes in producing nine total drives. But the home team’s yardage totaled to 452. The Niners’ total yardage? Only 325.
There’s more. A vaunted and high-octane 49ers ground game was bottled to just 65 rushing yards and averaging three yards a carry. They were on the opposite side of a Vikings ground game that entered U.S. Bank Stadium with the fewest ground-based yards among NFC teams.
Furthermore, Brock Purdy never endured a two-interception game in his two seasons in the league in going from the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft to starter for an NFC contender. Purdy not only threw two interceptions but both were snatched by Cam Bynum and arrived in the final six minutes of the game. Purdy joined Christian McCaffrey in turning the ball over in Minnesota.
Two major lapses from the Browns loss, though, carried over to Minnesota.
In the last two games, the 49ers have been bottled to just 17 points. This was an offense that not long ago poured 42 on the Dallas Cowboys and went five straight weeks scoring 30 three times and 35 once.
Kyle Shanahan Reacts to Loss and Current Woes
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has gone from being a potential Head Coach of the Year candidate to now trying to figure out how to get the Niners out of this current hole.
Shanahan got asked right away in his postgame conference about areas he’s become concerned with. He went straight into what upset him on the night.
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“I was real disappointed we couldn’t get them off the field,” Shanahan said. “They had one punt. We had one punt. They had one turnover, we had three turnovers. So I think when both teams punt once, you think it’s going to be a shootout. But we ended up turning it over two more times than them. And it was a five-point game.”
Shanahan didn’t want to spend his entire night lamenting on what could’ve been for the 49ers.
“Not much you can do about it,” Shanahan said. “We flat out got beat and I think right now, you have to take it like a man.”
Does Road Get Tougher on 49ers Moving Forward?
Along with trying to rediscover their offense, the 49ers will also look to see if they can return to being healthier.
All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams and fellow Pro Bowler wide receiver Deebo Samuel were out versus Minnesota. Without Williams, Purdy got sacked just once against a Viking defense that blitzed multiple times.
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But health isn’t just the only topic of concern for San Fran.
Next up in less than a week’s time is a suddenly red-hot Cincinnati Bengals team that’s won three of their last four games. The following week, it’s the AFC South-leading 5-2 Jacksonville Jaguars (now on a four-game winning streak).
Even after the upcoming AFC gauntlet, there are a pair of challenges in the form of 2022 playoff teams: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks. And guess who comes after the ‘Hawks? That highly anticipated NFC title game rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The last thing on the mind of the 49ers is being 5-6 by the time they get to Philly. While still atop the NFC West at 5-2, the final two weeks should be enough to alert the Niners that they need to get out of the current shaky ground they’re on.