49ers feeling the heat as route to play-offs suddenly looks very rocky
Halfway through the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers know there’s a sense of urgency to get things turned around.
“You could point fingers at anybody,” 49ers safety Eric Reid said Tuesday. “But that’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep our focus on making the play-offs. We have to keep being persistent.”
Sunday’s 13-10 home loss to the St Louis Rams means the 49ers (4-4) have little margin for error in the race for a play-off spot.
They missed a chance to pull into a tie with the Seattle Seahawks for second place behind Arizona in the NFC West.
San Francisco face Seattle twice and Arizona once in their final eight games.
The 49ers travel to New Orleans to face the Saints, who are also 4-4, on Sunday.
“I think we’ll respond,” 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said. “We’ll have a good week of practice. We’re ready to do whatever we need to do to win. I definitely think we’re at a point where games become more must-wins. We have to get ourselves into a better spot.”
Four of the next five games are against teams that are .500 or worse. The final three games are against teams that have winning records.
“Right now it’s still the same,” San Francisco cornerback Perrish Cox said. “We’ll come in this week and get into a winning mindset. We know what position we are in and we need to stay on the same page and turn this thing around.”
One of the frustrating things about Sunday’s game for the 49ers was how well the defence played and how close the team came to scoring the winning touchdown late in the game.
Colin Kaepernick fumbled into the end zone in the final seconds.
“We got him across the line,” Miller said. “It’s just we got over without the ball. We need to be more efficient. We need all 11 guys on the same page. We’re not always that way and it’s always someone different.”
Under coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers got off to strong starts and reached the NFC championship game in each of the past three years.
“We’ve been in similar situations, where we felt we needed to do something different,” Miller said. “We’ve been able to come together when things got tough and win some football games.”
With an offensive line in flux – Marcus Martin made his NFL debut at centre against the Rams – the 49ers have not been able to establish their running game behind Frank Gore, who has 472 yards on the season and has not scored a touchdown since September 28 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gore’s pace would leave him shy of 1,000 yards and would be his lowest rushing total since 2010, when he was only available for 11 games. He’s averaging 4.1 yards a carry.
“We all have fingerprints on that game,” Reid said of the loss. “We had a blown coverage that led to a touchdown. We’ll get it together and get rid of the mistakes. We need some wins and we have to crank it up. It’s all about getting to the play-offs.”
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Updated: November 5, 2014 04:00 AM