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49ers lose in Arizona, bye in jeopardy

Nick Eason, Darnell Dockett

Arizona Cardinals’ Nick Eason (98) and Darnell Dockett try to get the fans cheering loud during the first quarter in an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, Glendale, Ariz.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


We should no longer assume the 49ers will get a playoff bye.

After Sunday’s 21-19 loss in Arizona, the 49ers shouldn’t consider anything a sure thing. The 49ers have avoided losses like this all year, but their big weakness as a team showed up in the desert.

The 49ers are just a terrible red zone offense. They came into the game 31st in the league in touchdown percentage and went 0-for-3 against the Cardinals Sunday.

They dominated the game after knocking Kevin Kolb out, but couldn’t close the deal because they kept blowing opportunities inside the ten-yard line early in the game. John Skelton hasn’t played well, but he’s now 3-1 as a starter and beat the 49ers coming off the bench.

At 6-7, the Cardinals have kept their faint playoff hopes alive. At 10-3, the 49ers are now tied with the Saints for the No. 2 spot in the NFC.

The 49ers have the tiebreak and would clinch a bye if they won the next three games. But they host the Steelers next week on Monday Night Football.

San Francisco’s offense needs to pick it up a notch with the playoffs approaching, but they appear to be regressing.