San Francisco 49ers' Goals for Last Four Games of the Season

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IDecember 12, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 6:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks over the defensive formation during their NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks on December 6, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 20-17. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have a remote chance of making the playoffs this year, but it's time to stop thinking about it. Instead the 49ers have other goals that the team should work on and, if the 49ers somehow make the playoffs, then that's truly a miracle.

One goal for the 49ers is to start mixing up the playcalling. During the course of the season it's either been running the ball or throwing the ball, there's never really been any kind of balance for the 49ers.

I understand that Alex Smith feels more comfortable in the shotgun formation, but eventually he is going to have to start making throws from under center. Right now when the 49ers do run the football, it's way too easy for a defense to key in on the run and Frank Gore hasn't been able to get going.

At one point during the Seahawks game, the 49ers had thrown the ball 21 times and ran the ball only three times. That ratio is not going to win very many games.

It's rather sad that the best run of the game versus the Seahawks was a run on a double reverse by Delanie Walker. The added benefit of running the football for the 49ers is that it keeps the defense off the field if Gore can pick up first downs on the ground or even through the air.

The second goal would be to end the season 8-8 or 9-7. No more sub-.500 seasons for the 49ers. This should definitely be an attainable goal since the team really has only two tough games. One is coming up on Monday in San Francisco against the Arizona Cardinals and the other will be in Philadelphia against the Eagles.

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I would be happy if the 49ers split the two games. They would then have an excellent chance of finishing the season 8-8 because their last two games are against the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams.

I've been reading on that the 49ers should just end up losing out to get two solid picks in the first round, since the Carolina Panthers aren't doing well this year.

That may have happened under Mike Nolan as head coach, but with Mike Singletary at the helm it won't.

The third goal for the 49ers should be to use Michael Crabtree in the red zone. So far, Crabtree has just one touchdown catch and it wasn't even in the red zone.

Along those lines, if the 49ers have a second- or third-and-goal from the one-yard line, run Frank Gore. Do not try to throw the football. Just run it in with Gore, he's the best option at the goal line for the 49ers.

The fourth goal is to improve the special teams play, specifically in the return game. It's been one of the weakest parts of the 49ers this year. Josh Morgan seems to be effective in returning kicks.

For punt returns, maybe try Morgan there as well because Brandon Jones and Arnaz Battle have been far from impressive.

The fifth goal for the 49ers would be to try to get a consistent pass rush towards the end of the season because if the 49ers want to beat Arizona and Philadelphia, giving Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb all day to throw isn't going to be a good idea.

In the Seahawk game, Matt Hasselbeck was able to go 7-of-7 on a drive with absolutely no pressure on him.

The final goal is to improve the secondary play. This means better tackling and better coverage by the safeties and cornerbacks. Too many Seahawk receivers were able to get to open spaces without a defender around them.

With these goals in mind, the 49ers could finish the season at .500 or above for the first time since 2002.