KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The better team won. There, I said it. OK?
The harsh reality 49er fans must accept is that the Seattle Seahawks are a better team, offensively and defensively, than San Francisco.
The Seahawks ranked 17th in the NFL with a 339 yards per game average. The 49ers ranked 24th with a 323 yard average, behind even the Raiders, for crying out loud. Defensively, Seattle was the best in the league, allowing 274 yards per game, with the 49ers ranking 5th with 316 yards per game allowed.
Whether they win or lose in the Super Bowl, the Seahawks aren’t going anywhere. The best thing the 49ers have going in their favor right now is that simply by going to the Super Bowl, Seattle is likely to come crashing down in 2014. Don’t believe me? The Super Bowl Champion Ravens didn’t even make the playoffs, and the runner-up 49ers didn’t return to the big stage. So I suppose you could say history is on the 49ers side.
Of Seattle’s 11 starters on defense, 10 are under contract for 2014, including Richard Sherman. The point I’m trying to make is that the 49ers can’t stand pat. Resigning Anquan Boldin won’t get her done. The 49ers have to get better. Not by a wide margin, but enough to make a difference. Enough for someone other than Colin Kaepernick to run the football. Enough for Kaepernick to rely more on passing the football than running it.
What’s with the 49ers offense anyway? They have one of the best offensive lines in football. They have weapons in Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore, and, if he comes back, Anquan Boldin. They ranked 10th in the NFL in scoring, but sometimes disappeared. For example, 34 points in the season-opening victory over Green Bay followed by 3 points against Seattle in week two and 7 points in week three to Indianapolis.
And sometimes, the inconsistency exists in a single game. They scored 17 points in the first quarter against Arizona and then flew to Cabo for the next two quarters before two field goals in the fourth quarter, the last one to win the game as time expired. Is the lack of consistency a result of talent or coaching?
My wish list would include a shutdown cornerback and a receiver that could stretch the field. They have neither. And I hate to bring up the annual question of Frank Gore’s age and wear-and-tear, but it’s an issue. The name to watch in the off-season if Marcus Lattimore. The fourth-round pick in 2013 has had two major knee injuries, just like Gore when he came to San Francisco. Lattimore is healthy and will get his shot. My guess is that Gore opens as the number one and gets spelled by Lattimore and the rest will play out.
Finally, it’s not just Seattle the 49ers have to worry about. The Rams have the second pick in the draft and the Cardinals are no longer a gimmie. The NFC West will likely be the best division in football in 2014 and the 49ers would be wise to get better…or else.