By: Kyle Madson |
2 hours ago
It turns out it’s hard to win in the NFL regardless of schedule. Week 9 was a good reminder of why the 49ers’ 8-0 start requires no asterisks or caveats to be impressive.
The Patriots took their first loss of the year Sunday night when they fell to the Ravens 37-20 in Baltimore. The vaunted, historically good Pats defense didn’t have any answers for Baltimore’s electric quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Baltimore is a good team. It also lost to the Browns at home in Week 2 – the same Browns the 49ers pummeled 31-3 at home the following week.
The Packers, one of the two one-loss teams trailing the 49ers in the NFC standings, also lost. They fell to a Chargers club that’s looked mediocre on its best days in 2019. Los Angeles has no business thumping the Packers 26-11 regardless of location, but the Chargers did it because wins in the NFL aren’t given.
How about the Dolphins? They beat the Jets for their first win of the year. The same Jets that knocked off the Cowboys three weeks ago.
And the Seahawks. They won to keep pace with the 49ers in the NFC West, but a 40-34 overtime win over the Buccaneers at home, coupled with a narrow Week 1 home win over the Bengals and a slim road victory against the Browns makes it very clear that winning in the NFL is hard.
It’s important to note that the transitive property doesn’t work in football. Team A beats Team B, and Team B beats Team C, doesn’t automatically mean A beats C. However, all of this is to illustrate how an easy schedule is not an automatic series of wins. Weird things happen every week in the NFL, and every win counts because it’s so easy to turn an easy win into a loss.
The 49ers sit alone at the top of the standings as the league’s only unbeaten team. They snuck past the Steelers and Mason Rudolph on a last-minute touchdown after turning the ball over five times. They needed an MVP-caliber showing from Jimmy Garoppolo to squeeze past the Cardinals 28-25.
It’s not a knock that those games were close. And it’s not a knock that San Francisco’s schedule hasn’t been full of playoff teams. All that matters is the win column, because the line between a win and a loss is impossibly slim. We see it every week, and every time a good team slips up, it’s a good reminder of how impressive San Francisco has been this season.