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49ers lose ugly

  • San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan (84) sits on the sidelines in the fourth quarter while playing the San Diego Chargers during an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in San Diego. The Chargers won 34-7. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

SAN DIEGO — First, the 49ers lost an apparent game-tying touchdown. Then they lost one of their best defensive players.

Then they lost contact with the San Diego Chargers in a 34-7 loss at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday night.

The crippling two-minute sequence early in the second quarter surely didn't cost San Francisco a game in which they were outclassed, overwhelmed and outgained, 374-192.

But it certainly hastened their demise, both in this game and, possibly, in their 5-9 season.

With the loss, the Niners could be eliminated from playoff contention if NFC co-leaders St. Louis (6-7) and Seattle win Sunday. The Rams host Kansas City (8-5) and the Seahawks host the Falcons (11-2). More likely, though, San Francisco will have 10 days to prepare for a must-win game at St. Louis on Dec. 26.

In order to beat the Rams on the road — the Niners dropped to 3-12 away from home since 2009 — they will have to wipe away the stench from being eviscerated by the Chargers (8-6), who improved to 15-1 in December since 2007.

In contrast, San Francisco proved, yet again, that's it not ready to step up in class.

The 49ers, who are 0-7 against teams with a winning record this season, dropped to 0-10 on the road against teams outside the wretched NFC West since 2009. In their last three non-division games, San Francisco has been outscored, 89-23.

On Thursday, the 49ers had a chance to show a national audience that they were better than their 5-8 record.

Instead, they left many wondering how they got five wins.

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