The 49ers-Seattle Seahawks Week 13 game got flexed out of the Sunday night time slot this week.
The 49ers-Cincinnati Bengals game should have been flexed into prime time in Week 14.
As it was, the NFL opted to move the 49ers’ game in Cincinnati to 1:25 p.m. (PT) from the morning start on Sunday, Dec. 14.
So that’s good news for the 49ers, who will have a more normal body-clock kickoff time.
But, c’mon, the NFL is going with the Bears (4-7) at the Packers (9-3) over the 49ers (6-5) and Bengals (7-4)?
The 49ers have won three in a row, but that does not mean there’s a shortage of fodder for other overreactions.
Overreaction? No (and yes).
For the long term, losing Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner would have been crushing blows to the 49ers’ hopes this season.
But both players were fortunate they sustained only low-grade muscle strains and are expected to be out no more than two games apiece.
It certainly will not be easy, but the 49ers are still fully capable of heading north and winning. After all, the Seahawks have their own problems with six losses in their past seven games.
I don’t think it’s possible to use enough of Deebo Samuel.
In the 49ers’ three-game winning streak, Samuel has touched the ball 26 times. He has just seven receptions to go along with 14 rushing attempts. During that time, Samuel has 124 yards as a receiver and 181 yards as a runner.
In the first three games of the season, he had 24 touches (20 receptions, four rushing attempts).
Obviously, the more players are used, the more risk there is for injury. But Samuel is such a unique talent and his dual-threat role was a key factor in the 49ers winning those games.
Keep Trey Lance where he is, and continue his behind-the-scenes development to take over for Jimmy Garoppolo.
With no Samuel, the 49ers’ run game should still be in good shape with Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson and, perhaps, JaMycal Hasty.
And the passing game should be able to get by for a game or two with Garoppolo targeting George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
Coach Kyle Shanahan does not have to do anything dramatic to the offense without Samuel.
Overreaction? Yes (but not the Madden Xbox part)
The 49ers are winning, in large part, because of Shanahan’s coaching.
When the 49ers were struggling, Shanahan received a lot of criticism. But over the past five weeks, this could be the best Shanahan has coached during his time with the 49ers.
The 49ers faced a lot of adversity while they were limping along on a four-game losing streak. Things could have gone from bad to worse.
But the coaching staff kept the team focused and came up with the right answers to get their problems solved.
The one question I had about Shanahan was how he would handle truly difficult times. He seems to have passed that test.
Overreaction? No, but …
You’d think the 49ers do not have much choice but to move on from Garoppolo after the season.
In order to fill out the rest of their roster with the best players possible, they will need to re-purpose Garoppolo’s scheduled salary of more than $25 million for the 2022 season.
So, yes, they will certainly look to trade him.
But I still don’t know what kind of market there will be for Garoppolo, who also has a no-trade clause.
If I were him, I’d decline any trade because I would want my new team to keep all of its draft capital.
That would force the 49ers to release him, then he could pick his spot among all interested teams.
There was a time when I did not think that Garoppolo would land a starting job elsewhere in the NFL in 2022.
But, now, I’m thinking Detroit, Carolina, Miami, Houston, Pittsburgh, Washington and, possibly, Seattle might be among the teams seeking new starting quarterbacks next season.
The 49ers are three games behind the Arizona Cardinals with six to play.
And if there’s a tie, the Cardinals would be crowned NFC West champions based on their two head-to-head victories.
So there is virtually no chance of the 49ers winning the division.
However ... if the 49ers make the playoffs, there is a reasonable chance of them meeting up with the Cardinals in January.
And if that happens, I think I know which team I’d pick.