This is how far the 49ers came in one evening: They played well enough to convince their fans that the officials screwed them.
I am not here to take a side on this. You play in a league with indecipherable rules, you take your chances with the officiating. Besides, if you want to avoid getting whistled out of a game, don’t give up 41 points.
Worse, don’t score 39 and lose. That’s happened only 40 times since 1940 out of nearly 15,000 games, so that’s an achievement in and of itself.
But the complaining is a sign that, for the first time since 2013 perhaps, the 49ers mattered enough to their shrinking audience to haul out the old “Jeff Triplette did us dirty” meme.
That is significant progress in a non-technical way, because as the shots of the stands have showed us, the modern 49er fan is more used to walking (as in out) than talking (as in smack). They are not by and large interested in the gestation period -- they want to see the baby.
And, rarely for the NFL, the 49ers’ greatest eras did not come with long rebuilds. They happened almost in a flash. Bill Walsh was 2-14 and 6-10 before the heavens opened in 1981. Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 after eight non-winning/stagnant seasons which didn’t come close to being an actual structured rebuild.
In other words, around here, patience is for saps, the journey is not entertaining on its own, and progress is declared only upon arrival.
The real world, though, is different, and though everything about Thursday’s loss speaks to advancement here/regression there and has in no way a relationship to the 12-9 loss to Seattle a week ago, blind officials are a nice cheap way to pretend that there is. Nothing is more satisfying for a chronic loser than to say, “We would have won if those thieving bastards blah-blah-blah.”
It is also a dose of empty calories, but if you can’t have something nourishing, a bag of candy will do in a pinch.
In any event, the 49ers are 0-3, but good enough to moan that they can be unlucky or cruelly treated. It may not be progress inside the building, but it is outside, and judging by the sea of empty stadium seats, the 49ers need all that they can get.
The 49ers have signed wide receiver Max McCaffrey off the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad, a source confirmed Tuesday to NBC Sports Bay Area.
The NFL Network first reported the 49ers’ move.
The team could place wide receiver Victor Bolden on injured reserve to make roster space for McCaffrey. Bolden sustained an ankle injury in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans.
McCaffrey (6 foot 2, 200 pounds) is a second-year player from Duke. He is the son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey and the older brother of former Stanford star and Carolina Panthers rookie Christian McCaffrey.
Max McCaffrey appeared in five games this season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching one pass for 4 yards.
He originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted rookie and spent time with Green Bay, New Orleans and Jacksonville before returning to the Packers’ practice squad in October.
Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown for more yards than any quarterback in 49ers history in his first two starts.
But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo’s play has not changed how he views the contract situation that must be addressed before the start of the new league year in March.
The 49ers acquired Garoppolo in a late-October trade with the New England Patriots. He is under contract only through the end of this season. The 49ers will retain Garoppolo with the franchise tag if the sides are unable to reach agreement on a multi-year deal.
“For me personally, it doesn't impact anything,” Shanahan said. “I thought it was so neat about the situation that I didn't feel that, because of that (franchise) option, that we had to see something here or there, and we had to do all this stuff.
“It's been able for us to just try to do things the right way, put him in when we thought he was ready to, not put any pressure on him where he has to do all this to show something. Obviously, we're very encouraged with how these two games have been.”
The 49ers must designate Garoppolo as their franchise player at any point from Feb. 20 to March 6. Last year, the one-year cost for a franchise player at quarterback was $21.268 million.
In leading the 49ers to back-to-back road victories, Garoppolo threw for 293 yards against the Chicago Bears and 334 yards against the Houston Texans. Garoppolo is scheduled to make his first home start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Levi's Stadium.
“We'll see what happens here in the offseason when we get together and can assess everything,” Shanahan said. “I definitely don't think that’s something he's thinking about at this point, and it's definitely not something I'm thinking about, either.”
Shanahan said he does not anticipate the sides working out a contract extension during the final three weeks of the regular season.