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What we learned as Bills deal big blow to 49ers' playoff hopes

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The 49ers traveled to a home game on Monday night. And if that was not enough, their playoff hopes were steered well off-course, too.

The 49ers, who will call Arizona their home for the foreseeable future, had a housewarming party to forget against the Buffalo Bills.

How bad? Think about a front door that fell off its hinges, light bulbs that burst into flames and a major sewage backup that flooded the living room.

That bad.

The AFC East-leading Bills completely dominated the 49ers en route to a 34-24 victory at State Farm Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals.

Here are three things you need to know about the 49ers’ Week 13 loss to the Bills:

It’s not over, but ... 

Sunday was a good day for the 49ers, despite the fact that they didn't play. But Monday was another story.

The 49ers entered the game against the playoff-bound Bills with a 5-6 record. With the happenings of Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings were in the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoff picture with a 6-6 record. The only team between the 49ers and the Vikings was the Arizona Cardinals, also 6-6.

The 49ers, now 5-7, remain in last place in the NFC West.

They are not out of it, but the route to the postseason got a lot more difficult and leaves a lot more to chance.

The 49ers have games remaining against Washington, Dallas, Arizona and Seattle. While a 9-7 record could still get the 49ers into the postseason, it seems unlikely they could earn a wild-card spot with an 8-8 record.

 

Bills' offense too much for 49ers

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh did not have the answers on Monday night. Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll won the head-to-head coaching battle, as his offense sliced and diced the 49ers' defense.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen looked every bit like the superstar he has become in his third NFL season. Allen completed 32 of 40 pass attempts for 375 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 139.1.

The 49ers were down to their fourth nickel back, and Allen made them pay the price. Bills slot receiver Cole Beasley toasted San Francisco time and again, as the 49ers were without K’Waun Williams, Jamar Taylor and Emmanuel Moseley due to injuries. Dontae Johnson got the start at nickel back. He had his hands full, as did safety Tarvarius Moore, Jason Verrett, Richard Sherman and Jimmie Ward.

The 49ers’ defensive backfield struggled mightily, and it did not help that the defensive line failed to generate much pressure on Allen.

Beasley got in front of Sherman to catch a 5-yard touchdown pass from Allen near the beginning of the second quarter to pull the Bills into a 7-7 tie. He caught all seven passes thrown his way in the first half for 113 yards and finished with nine catches for 130 yards. Stefon Diggs, the Bills’ top receiver, had 10 receptions for 92 yards.

The Bills put the game away with 9:50 remaining in the fourth quarter when Allen found Gabriel Davis all alone on a busted coverage for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

RELATED: Where 49ers stand in NFL playoff picture after loss to Bills

49ers take it on the run

The 49ers clearly wanted to get their run attack going against the Bills, who came into the game surrendering 4.7 yards per carry and had allowed 16 rushing touchdowns. But the 49ers did not get anything going on the ground, and they didn’t get the ball into the hands of their playmakers on the outside until they fell behind by 17 points late in the third quarter.

The 49ers attempted 16 running plays in the first half, which gained 65 yards for a 4.1-yard average. They attempted just five runs in the second half for the same average. Meanwhile, Nick Mullens completed six of nine passes at halftime for 57 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

It was just the third time this season that the 49ers had Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel and Aiyuk together on the field at the same time -- and the first time with Mullens at quarterback. But the 49ers could not get those players involved. 

Mostert had 42 yards rushing on nine attempts. Aiyuk caught five passes for 95 yards, while Samuel was held without a catch for three quarters of the game. He finished with six catches for 73 yards.

Mullens completed 26 of 39 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. A lot of Mullens’ production came when the game was out of hand.