San Francisco 49ers' Garrett Celek (88) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Los Angeles Rams in the fouth quarter of their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, September 21, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

SANTA CLARA — Fret not, 49ers fans.

While Thursday night’s high-scoring and highly entertaining 41-39 loss to the Rams might feel deflating — they were so close to actually winning — it was actually the best-case scenario for the 49ers’ franchise.

Simply put, the 49ers won’t gain anything from winning games this year. Outside of registering a win or two to avoid being the worst team in NFL history, there’s no discernible benefit to walking off the field at the end of games with more points on the board.

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But Thursday’s loss to the Rams was a victory, of sorts, for the 49ers — it was a moral victory.

And those are the only kind of victories the 49ers should be trying to accrue this season.

San Francisco 49ers’ Garrett Celek (88) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Los Angeles Rams in the fouth quarter of their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, September 21, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Again, the 49ers’ 2017 season won’t be defined by wins and losses — it doesn’t matter if the Niners win six games or one — the 2017 campaign will be defined by how it set the team up for 2018 and beyond.

First-year head coach Kyle Shanahan has a six-year contract, one of the worst rosters in the NFL, and a stopgap quarterback at the helm of his offense. He’s starting his tenure from lower than rock bottom, so 2017 is being treated like a 16-game week evaluation period.

And off this bottom-of-the-barrel roster, Shanahan is trying to find players with NFL-caliber talent, technique, and tenacity that he should keep for next year’s team.

He might have found a few players worthy of keeping on Thursday night.

San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brian Hoyer (2) and San …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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