49ers fall to 31st in NFL power rankings ... again

A weekly examination of the San Francisco 49ers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Rank: 31| Last Week: 30

Comment: The 49ers have to be thankful for the existence of the Tennessee Titans, right? Because were it not for the existence of the artists formerly known as the Houston Oilers (we’ll get back to them in a moment), the 49ers would be at the true bottom of the barrel, as far as our ESPN NFL power ranking voters are concerned.

A start fast, collapse later 32-17 loss in Detroit this past weekend contributed to the 49ers again equaling a season low by being ranked 31st in the 32-team NFL and, yes, the Titans are No. 32.

But it was in that loss in the Motor City when the 49ers joined the 1993 Oilers in ignominy by having six offsides/neutral-zone penalties in the first half. The 49ers finished with seven such infractions.

Beyond that, the 49ers' 219 points scored this season are also tied for the fewest in franchise history for a 16-game season, along with the 1978 and 2007 49ers teams, so they have to score something, anything against the St. Louis Rams this weekend to avoid another degrading deed.

And they currently sit with the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL draft, so that’s something to look forward to, no?

Still, the 49ers have to beat the Rams to avoid going 0-6 in the NFC West for the first time since 1978, when the 49ers finished 2-14 and drafted some chap out of Notre Dame named Joe Montana the following spring in the third round. And the rest was history. So to speak.