49ers’ Playoff Hopes Hang in the Balance After Ravens Upset

49ers’ Playoff Hopes Hang in the Balance After Ravens Upset

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers finished the Ravens game Wednesday morning and carefully went over their usual film review with coach Kyle Shanahan. If all goes to plan, a one-sided loss won’t come close to defining their season. Then they put the game plan in motion against the Washington Commanders, who, at 4-11 and coach Ron Rivera with a foot out the door, could create another losing streak by eliminating the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

The hottest team in the conference, the Los Angeles Rams, await the regular season finale at Levi’s Stadium, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. “We know we have to win these next two games to get to where we’re trying to go,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “So at the end of the day, this game is everything.

Winning two games doesn’t matter if you don’t win the first one.” A 33-19 loss to Baltimore on Christmas Eve left a razor’s edge for error. The 49ers (11-4) could lose one of those two and still be No. 1, but it’s unlikely that Philadelphia (11-4) will finish with Arizona (3-12) and the New York Giants (5-10). ). Detroit (11-4) could also be in play for the No. 1 49ers, depending on what happens with the Eagles.

What the 49ers learned against Baltimore was the ins and outs of football, which led to five interceptions and 10 penalties for 102 yards. It had nothing to do with being overconfident, taking anything for granted, or keeping the season steady after six straight wins. “We were so excited for the opportunity to show the world how good we are, but I think Kyle did a really good job of putting it to bed today and we’re going to keep moving forward,” rim climber Nick Bosa said.

“There are a lot of silver linings with a team like this, how we’ve bounced back in the past and how mature a group we are. I think that can benefit us down the road.” Quarterback Brock Purdy, who threw four interceptions, will speak to the media Thursday, but he looked no different than any other day, cheerfully and politely accepting wishes for his 24th birthday.

Based on what we’ve seen over his last 23 NFL games, it’s unlikely he’ll be in contention after one bad game. Purdy had already pored over the film before he met with Shanahan Tuesday and then went over it again. “I know it’s tough when you have four picks and no touchdowns, especially when you have four with two minutes left in the fourth quarter,” Shanahan said. “But you talk to him about why they happened, what happened, and when you look at the game, it’s not a hard thing for him to bounce back from and get to work this week.” It’s the NFL. Stuff happens.

The Ravens crowed about the win afterward and deservedly so. Winner gets trash talk. But make no mistake, even if the 49ers don’t say it out loud, they would love nothing better than to see Baltimore again in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium. It’s not like Ray Lewis and the 2000 Ravens stopped the 49ers. Or even the 2012 Ravens beating the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. In the first half alone Monday night, the 49ers gained 231 yards on 27 plays and averaged 8.6 yards per kickoff. And that supposedly modernized passport offense from Baltimore? It wasn’t as impressive as creating Lamar Jackson with his legs to find receivers or run. Jackson was great and may have won his second MVP, but the offense looked the same as ever.

Baltimore controlled six red zones with turnovers and won only half of them. It was a miracle the 49ers had a chance to make it a one-goal game in the final minutes. It was about the 49ers’ interceptions and fumbles. Cut the turnovers in half and the penalties in half and they would have won. The hard part isn’t so much a possible rematch with the Ravens in the Super Bowl as getting there. Things looked encouraging Wednesday for left tackle Trent Williams, who left the game with a strained groin, while left guard Aaron Banks has a recurrence of a sprain and toe swelling.

There could be a slight change or two to the offensive line makeup, or a drastic change if Williams or Banks can’t play. That will be revealed throughout the rest of the week and into next week. New defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day arrived to help make up for Arik Armstead missing the last three games with a leg injury. The 49ers can also count on their third starting safety (Logan Ryan? Isaiah Oliver?) if rookie Ji’Ayir Brown’s sprained knee is serious and he joins Talanoa Hufanga on injured reserve. Instead of looking and feeling like a team headed for the gallows, the Ravens’ gift to the 49ers was a big dose of perspective.

“I don’t think we needed a wake-up call, but you learn from your experiences and I think it highlights the fact that we have to stay a moment and not look at one seed or we have to win so many games,” said Bosa. “Things can go south quickly in the NFL and they look a lot better week in and week out.” After the 49er lost 6-8. three straight losses in the week, the conventional wisdom was that they had lost touch with Philadelphia for first place. They then caught and passed the Eagles in Week 13 with a big win in Philadelphia. The biggest losers are the ones that don’t include a movie review because the season is over and the Christmas Eve meltdown wasn’t even close. So the 49ers took their grass

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