The 49ers came off a victory which kept them alive in the NFC West hunt as they defeated the Seahawks 19-17 on Sunday afternoon. For San Francisco, their biggest challenge will be keeping the same composure through next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have played well after an 0-8 start.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh downplayed any signs of the team being laid back in preparation this week. He has taken every game on the schedule one game at a time.
"Our guys are professionals and they know what’s at stake," Harbaugh said on Wednesday. "This game is the biggest game on the schedule. This is a must-win game and [we must] do whatever it takes to get that by any means necessary."
It took a full 60-minute effort by the defense to hold Seattle to 17 points on Sunday. After allowing two touchdowns in the first half, the defense only allowed a field goal after Golden Tate had a 54-yard punt return to bring the Seahawks in position.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won four of their last five games after an 0-8 start to the season. Head coach Greg Schiano said there were unfortunate in the first half after suffering four close losses by seven points or fewer.
"Early in the year we were legitimately finding ways to lose games," Schiano said in a conference call. "It was some of the craziest things we've seen. There were a lot of distractions and I'm sure it had something to do with it here no matter how much you try to eliminate it."
The one distraction early in the year was Josh Freeman, who was later released by the Buccaneers in favor of QB Mike Glennon. It wasn't until Week 9 where they got their first victory in a 22-19 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Vic Fangio said talked about how the Buccaneers have played well since Week 8 where they lost a close game to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. The team's mindset has been the same throughout the month of December as their backs have been against the wall, according to Fangio.
"I don't think it's going to be easy," Fangio said. "The last four games have great importance because of the situation. This game is just as important as the last one."
While it's easy for a team to tank for a better draft pick in April, the Buccaneers have been playing great football in the second half. Schiano said it's all about the integrity of the game regardless of what they're record is.
"We're trying to win the game [every week]," Schiano said. "After starting 0-8 and later winning games, we understand every win is precious. All we're trying to do is win on Sunday."
The Buccaneers will lay it all out on the field and expect the 49ers to do the same.