Losing three games in a row is draining.
Luckily, the 49ers had the luxury of the Bye week to save them. The season could have easily snowballed after the loss to Arizona.
Now the 49ers have a chance to get their season back on track. A 2-3 record is not the end of the world. It is still fairly early in the season to turn it around. While Sunday night's game against Indianapolis is not a must win game, it is definitely a "gotta have it" game."
The 49ers must have a sense of urgency against the Colts.
They cannot feel at ease. Every player and coach has to be locked in. There cannot be many mistakes. The margin for error in this game, and even going forward in the season, is now thin. The Colts cannot come into Levi's Stadium and serve up the 49ers. That just cannot happen. Not on a primetime game with the masses watching.
“I think the guys are geeked up," said Kyle Shanahan about the energy in the locker room. "Anytime you lose three games in a row in this league, that eats at everybody, it's tough. You put a lot into it and we've had three games in a row that we felt we had opportunities to win and we've come up short and add a week off to think about that, so it's been a month. The guys came back from Bye week probably sick of thinking about it. Their bodies were fresh, we had a great week and I think our guys are fired up for Sunday night, ready to go out there in front of our fans and ready to do something to give ourselves a chance to feel better about ourselves.”
The last thing the 49ers want to do is drop this game against the Colts, then have to prepare for a morning road game against the Bears. That demand to perform in that game will be even higher and morale probably will be plummeting at that point. A win against the Colts can give the 49ers a chance to exhale and feel okay going to Chicago.
This is the time for the 49ers to make their stand for their turnaround run in the season. Since developing players isn't high up the priority chart, the 49ers have to win and contend. Jimmy Garoppolo will be returning as the starter Sunday after missing one game due to a calf contusion. This means Shanahan has his guy that he wants to roll with. No excuses are to be made here.
Everything that needs to go right for the 49ers starts with the offense. In fact, you could argue it is all on the offense now. The defense of the 49ers has been stout. Even with a questionable secondary, they still manage to maintain a firm defense. Now surely the 49ers would like to see more turnovers generated and a more consistent pass rush, but the defense ultimately is doing its job. Now Shanahan and his offense have to get it together.
My lasting point over the course of the past four weeks is that Shanahan's play calling is lacking rhythm. A portion of it is failed execution of his players, but Shanahan is not really giving his guys the juice or momentum to keep them in a position to be successful. Perhaps some time away from the facility can allow him to refocus and get out of this funk.
For the 49ers sake, they all need to lock in and handle their business this Sunday.