The San Francisco 49ers were upset on Sunday by the Atlanta Falcons, but still clinched a playoff spot and remain in position to be the NFC’s No. 1 seed. To make that happen, the 49ers just need to win their last two games of the season.
The first of those two games happens Saturday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara when the Niners take the field against NFC West rival, the Los Angeles Rams. The game opened as a pick ’em, but the line has jumped to six points in favor of San Francisco.
The Rams (8-6), who need a miracle to earn a wild-card berth, lost to Dallas on the road on Sunday, 44-21.
Embarrassing Loss a Wake-Up Call for San Francisco
The 49ers were 10-point favorites over the 4-8 Falcons heading into Sunday’s game. William Hill said that with San Francisco at home, and pegged as a big favorite, most of the money was on them. They also reported that 61 percent of the tickets written on the game were on the 49ers.
Then San Francisco watched as Atlanta scored 19 fourth-quarter points, including the go-ahead touchdown with just two seconds remaining. The Falcons added six more points when the 49ers fumbled on the final play of the game, allowing Olamide Zaccheaus to scoop up the loose ball in the end zone. That ruined several bettor’s cards that had the under of 49.5.
The loss was a tough one for the team to swallow. Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday that he told his team to put the loss behind them, and focus on Saturday’s game against the Rams.
”There was an opportunity that we had that we missed, and you address that,” Shanahan said. ”But the neat thing about today is, after you go through it for 24 hours, you get to go talk to the team. It’s neat to be able to say to the team that, ‘Look guys, last week before we played them we controlled our own destiny. It was a tough loss that we feel we were good enough to win and didn’t get it done, but we still control our own destiny.’ We can’t sit and harp on that too long. We correct the mistakes, but we’ve got to go out there and play good football on Saturday.”
49ers Focused on Playoffs
The message appears to have gotten through. Tight end George Kittle, who was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, told reporters he and his teammates have put the Atlanta loss behind them.
”You never want to lose a game, but fortunately, we played well enough the first how many games of the year so that loss didn’t hurt us too bad,” Kittle said. ”Just more disappointed in ourselves. It’s another week to get better, and we’re looking forward to the Rams.”
The 49ers won their first game against Los Angeles, 20-7, and are confident they can complete the season sweep. If they defeat the Rams, they next head to Seattle where another win would cement their spot at the top of the NFC West, and earn them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Running back Raheem Mostert told reporters Tuesday they know what’s at stake.
”Right now we’re in the driver’s seat for our race, where we want to go and that’s ultimately the big game,” Mostert said. ”It starts with the little details and how we can control moving on from that loss.”