49ers may have lost, but at least they’re in the playoffs

49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers may have suffered a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but at least they officially clinched a playoff berth.

The San Francisco 49ers have done something this past Sunday that hasn’t been done since the 2013 season —  linch a playoff spot! If this is such a joyous accomplishment for this team, then why have they been receiving so much criticism?

Could it be their lack of energy, effort, and experience which was on full display during their 29-22 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday?

Or could it simply be an overreaction from many of the 49ers faithful and the doubters? Let’s delve into this game a little further.

The offense ran out of firepower

After an amazing grand finale of what is now being dubbed as “the Gauntlet,” versus the New Orleans Saints last weekend, San Francisco came into the Falcons game very flat and uncharacteristically lethargic.

Quite honestly, from their first offensive drive, the 49ers did not have that fiery edge we’ve seen all season and it carried throughout the entire game. In my sincerest opinion, I truly believe San Francisco played down to their opponent.

Earlier in the season, we’ve seen the 49ers play with pure passion, hunger, and a certain level of violence it takes to win in the NFL.

However, with the lowly Atlanta Falcons coming into Levi’s Stadium on the heels of a 4-9 record, there was no hype or dramatic flare surrounding the game. I strongly feel like that was a huge factor for the team’s overall psychological impact, which directly affected their performance.

Every other game the team has played in so far this season was filled with end-to-end excitement along with the never-ending “pretenders or contenders”  underlining.

Although I’m not quite ready to press the panic button just yet, I would love to see the Niners learn and grow from this game because when you’re a top-tier team, it’s essential to beat the teams you’re expected to beat.

And unfortunately, they fell short of that assignment versus the Falcons.

Still too many injuries

Earlier in the season, San Francisco was able to recover from a few key injuries while sustaining some success. Now all of a sudden, the 49ers find themselves calling players up from their practice squad seemingly every week.

More from San Francisco 49ers

This past Sunday was a true test of attrition as the defense would play without six of their starters. Good news for 49ers faithful, two of those aforementioned starters (Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams) appear to be in line to play this Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

Ever since the dominant win over the Green Bay Packers last month, San Francisco’s defense has seen a bit of a drop off during this latest stretch.

Although the defense did not completely break versus the Baltimore Ravens, they bent just enough to allow Lamar Jackson and company to escape with the win. The following week saw an offensive explosion versus Drew Brees and the high powered Saints at the Superdome.

The Niners managed to outlast New Orleans and leave with a win. Now that we’re all caught back up to speed, this past Sunday versus the Falcons was the one and only disappointing game so far.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Even with the other two losses against the Ravens and Seattle Seahawks, I never felt as much lack of energy as I felt when they played the Falcons. Quarterback Matt Ryan took full advantage of the injuries in the secondary and torched San Francisco when he needed to.

Wide receiver Julio Jones was the recipient of two ‘Matty Ice’ touchdown throws as he racked up 13 catches for 134 yards which included the game-winning grab. For all the good Robert Saleh and staff have done with this defense, the “hot seat ‘o meter” has returned for him and I beg to differ.

The job he has done throughout the year cannot be taken for granted. If not for injuries, I’m sure Saleh would still be in talks for a head coaching gig next season (which he deserves at some point).

Be that as it may, the season is not yet done especially with the playoffs on the horizon.

So, in conclusion, the best piece of advice I can give to Niner Faithful is just, R-E-L-A-X. Relllaaxxx.

We’re finally back in the playoffs and as we all know, it’s a whole new season with a ton of objectives to complete before obtaining the grand reward. With the kind of season we’ve been treated to so far, the 49ers were due for a dud and we got it.

They have been nothing short of special this year and if we were to get a lackluster performance, I’d rather it be now against the Falcons than later in the postseason.

Next. 49ers: Top 5 reasons the team will win the Super Bowl. dark

We’re fine y’all! The number one seed is still reachable.