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Murph: Man, can the 49ers get a do-over?



© Isaiah J. Downing | 2022 Sep 25

Man. Can we get a do-over?

The 49ers season — aside from the ridiculously impermeable team defense — has gotten off to such a bad start, I’m thinking of binge-watching the Netflix Jeffrey Dahmer documentary for stress relief and light entertainment.

A 1-2 start against three definitively non-playoff teams has me aching for the thrill of a John Brebbia September start as a distraction.

The good news, there are 14 more to go.

Wait. Is that good news?

Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Mooney Ward have every right to walk around the locker room wearing “WTF?” T-shirts. The defense is almost historically good, and for DeMeco Ryan’s dudes to deliver three lights-out efforts in Weeks 1-3 and only get one win out of it — well, the offense is buying donuts on Fridays until further notice. 

Thing is, Bosa is so disciplined, he won’t even eat the donut.

Ronnie Lott, our oracle, told us this week on the show that September is the new pre-season. This seems to be a growing trend — that with the new CBA and shorter preseasons, teams are taking longer to gel. Therefore, a 1-2 start in a division where the leader is 2-1 is not a death sentence.

Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo and that offensive line and pass game better hope that’s the case.

That whole group named above has been patently awful this season. Only five teams have scored fewer than the 49ers’ five touchdowns. Only the Bears have a worse team QB rating than the 49ers. When your QB rating is hanging out with the *Chicago Bears QB rating* at the NFL QB cocktail party, you are definitely not with the cool kids. The rushing offense, ranked 13th in the NFL in yards per carry, seems like a superstar unit by comparison.

What in the name of Mike McDaniel-in-Miami is going on here?

As always, it seems to come back to the Rams.

Since the 49ers’ old 20th century rivals moved back to L.A. in 2016, the 49ers-Rams games have taken on increasing importance.  There was the shocking Chip Kelly debut, a 28-0 spanking in Week 1 — and Colin Kaepernick’s last win as a 49er on Christmas Eve Day at the LA Coliseum that same year. There was the fairly epic 34-31 December 2019 Jimmy G shootout (!) win en route to a Super Bowl berth. There was, of course, the legendary OT win on Week 18 this past January, a 27-24 victory fueled by Jimmy G’s 316 (!) yards.

And then, three weeks later, the 20-17 NFC Championship loss. Cue sad face emoji here.

Point is, Rams games since they’ve moved back to the Best Coast have been pretty memorable — and this is coming from an old head who still gets butterflies of youthful excitement thinking about the 1976 Monday Night Football pillaging of Rams QB James Harris at the L.A. Coliseum. Shout out the 10 sacks from the Gold Rush that night. 

So if anything can wake the 49ers’ offense and Kyle and Jimmy from their current slumber, it’s the sight of the Ram horns on the helmet. It’s a home game. Noise will not be a factor. We’re at sea level. Jimmy now remembers where the back of the end zone is. He can’t be worse than he was at Denver. Can he?

And knowing Kyle, his considerable ego is so damaged by the speculation that McDaniel was the true brains of the operation, he will dial up a slash-and-gash game plan that utilizes every weapon — from Kyle Juszczyk to Brandon Aiyuk to George Kittle (remember him?) and liberal doses of Deebo — to spread the field.

This is “hopeful me” writing now. Shanahan has gotten things right against Sean McVay and the Rams many times through the years.

Now is the time, my dude. I don’t know if 49ers fans can take another clunker.