Chargers vs. 49ers 2014 results: 3 things we learned from San Diego’s 38-35 win
The San Diego Chargers beat the San Francisco 49ers in overtime on Saturday, 38-35.
The San Diego Chargers recovered from a big second-half deficit to best the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, 38-35. The comeback required a last-minute touchdown to force overtime, but it was successful regardless, thanks to a 40-yard field goal from Nick Novak
San Diego looked bad in the first half, giving up three touchdowns to San Francisco’s normally lacking offense and allowing a defensive touchdown when Philip Rivers threw an interception to Antoine Bethea. But despite trailing by three scores heading into the second half, the Chargers held on and eventually mounted their comeback. They were probably encouraged by the fact that the 49ers have been out-scored 150 to 76 in the third and fourth quarters this season.
With the win, San Diego’s playoff hopes are still alive. There are a few scenarios in which they can make the postseason, and all of them required a win on Saturday. Now, they’ll need to win in Week 17 to have a chance, but they also need some other teams to lose. The easiest route is a Baltimore loss, on Sunday or in Week 17. The other two scenarios require either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Cincinnati Bengals to lose both of their remaining games.
If one of those three things happen, then the Chargers can snag a wild card spot. The AFC West is out of reach, as the Denver Broncos clinched the division in Week 15. The Chargers will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17, having already lost to them at home in Week 7. Given that a Baltimore loss is their most-likely avenue to the post season, it’s worth noting that the Ravens have tough games against the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns in Week 16 and 17, respectively.
San Francisco was already out of the playoff race, and given the looming questions about Jim Harbaugh and his future with the organization, it’s unclear what a win would have meant for them at this stage anyway. Some offensive success during the game probably helps a player like Colin Kaepernick going forward, but with so much uncertainty over who will actually be in charge of the team next season, that could mean anything.
Three things we learned:
1) Frank Gore still has it
Running back Frank Gore has had seven seasons of 1,000-plus rushing yards over the course of his career, including 1,128 yards in 2013. But his 2014 campaign has definitely been a down year, from the 804 yards he had to the 3.9 yards per carry going into Saturday’s game. Well, nobody told Gore that he wasn’t supposed to put up big numbers, as he took his second carry 52 yards for the game’s first touchdown:
It was just the start to a big game for Gore. He led the 49ers to one of their best rushing performances of the season, accounting for a solid chunk of the team’s rushing yardage.
2) The 49ers’ offense is capable of executing … sometimes
San Francisco’s issues on the offensive side of the ball aren’t suddenly fixed now that they’ve shown some life, but there were definitely some good things on display Saturday. Of course, it’s too little, too late, but seeing quarterback Colin Kaepernick look decisive, seeing the 49ers use some of its players to their strengths (Bruce Miller being used more in the passing game) and things of that nature had to be encouraging. It’s just a shame it took this long to play to their strengths, especially given the questions regarding head coach Jim Harbaugh and whether or not he’ll be leaving this offseason.
3) Colin Kaepernick still knows how to run the ball, apparently
Kaepernick is known as a scrambling quarterback, but he hasn’t been doing much running this season. More than that, he hasn’t been running particularly well when he does. But he had a couple big runs on Sunday, including a massive 90-yard touchdown run:
It’s worth noting that touchdown run came right after Kaepernick fumbled the ball and allowed a San Diego touchdown in the third quarter.