This week's game figures to be an important showcase for a team that is reeling. The 49ers are 2-5 as they head into a home game against the Vikings.
The 49ers trailed 41-0 at halftime Sunday against the Bears. In other games this season, they lost to the Chargers 48-19; fell to the Chiefs 41-0; and trailed the Eagles 31-3 early in the second half.
Although the 49ers have, at times, given the appearance of an organization that is on the correct path, the kind of losses they have experienced lately would make anyone wonder. Coach Mike Nolan said he is not second-guessing himself.
"I evaluate everything I do," he said.
Nolan said he was not willing to accept more than his share of blame for the 49ers' recent meltdowns. He said the coaching staff and the players are equally to blame.
"It's always 50-50," Nolan said. "Everybody needs to approach it the same way. That's how you rectify your problems. I could stand up here and be a glutton for punishment and say it all falls on me, but they won't get better that way. The fact of the matter is it's 50-50."
Nolan, a long-time NFL defensive coordinator, remains closely involved in the defense. Nolan said he will not make any changes to his coaching staff at this time. Most speculation has centered around embattled defensive coordinator Billy Davis.
"It's really unfair to pin that on any one person," Nolan said. "I'm the head coach. There's a time and place for everything you do. Right now is the time to stay focused on getting (the problems) rectified and (to) stay focused.
"Our problems are on the field. Our problems are not off the field."
The 49ers have to get some things figured out on defense before facing the Vikings. The team has made some minor personnel adjustments. Safety Keith Lewis is getting more playing time. Third cornerback Sammy Davis was demoted, and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga was a healthy scratch against the Bears.
Recently, respected veteran defensive lineman Bryant Young said there was "mass confusion" on defense.
"I didn't mean it in a bad way," Young said. "I think what we do as a defense, we really have to understand our roles and do a better job when we call a play. Everybody has to be on the same page. ... Or someone just has to make the play when it's called."
When asked if his comments were an indictment of the coaching staff, Young answered, "Absolutely not."
Quarterback Alex Smith said the 49ers remain on the right track. Now, they're looking forward to playing a home game, where they have won both games this season.
"I truly think this team is heading in the right direction and (playing the Bears) was an opportunity for us to showcase that against a good team," Smith said. "It's just that we kill ourselves in the first half with turnovers and put the game out of reach so quick."
The 49ers committed four first-half turnovers that led to 28 points, as they surrendered the most points in franchise history during the first half of a game.