One game back of the NFC West once again for the San Francisco 49ers. After their obliteration of the rival Seahawks, the 49ers sit within one game of the NFC West lead and a win against the Chargers on Thursday Night Football would give them an overwhelming source of confidence. But it's a tall task. San Diego is coming off the destruction of their rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, who soundly defeated the 49ers earlier in the season.
They're also one of the top ranked defenses, and it will take a perfect game from the 49ers to get a win. With only three games left to play and two of them against NFC West opponents, the 49ers can technically afford to lose to the Chargers providing the Seahawks and Rams lose but why lose the one semblance of controlling your own destiny you can hang on to? The whole "The 49ers are still in the hunt," talk has been grating on the nerves of just about every 49ers fan out there. The most diehard are sick of hearing it and the casuals have moved on.
But it's a very real possibility with the 40-21 victory over the Seahawks. A victory that saw a lot of good things happen for the 49ers. Running back Brian Westbrook showed that he could fill in for Frank Gore and make plays in one facet of the game at the very least. Rookie Anthony Dixon has been running hard and does not give up. Wide receiver Josh Morgan let everyone know that the team does have receiving targets outside of tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.
Oh, and Alex Smith just had the best statistical game of his career, his first game back in five weeks after an injury and a hot hand from backup Troy Smith. 17-of-27 for 255 yards and three touchdowns against zero interceptions, that's what he was good for against the 'Hawks. The Chargers have a very tough defense though, but one that is exploitable. Can the 49ers do that? Their playoff hopes ride on their ability to do so. Look for more in depth analysis of the matchups and the game in general as we go into Thursday.