San Francisco continued their late season success from the previous year, and won five of their first six games and were in first place in the West midway through the season. The Niners then lost three straight on the road to drop to 5–4, but then won the final three games to close out the season at 8–4, their best season since 1953.
The 49ers tied with the Detroit Lions at the top of the Western Conference, and split their two regular season games in November, with the home teams winning. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game at Kezar Stadium on December 22. The winner would host the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns for the NFL championship the following week.
The 49ers built a 24–7 lead at halftime, and extended it to twenty points in the third quarter. Detroit's hall of fame quarterback Bobby Layne had been lost for the season two weeks earlier, and backup Tobin Rote lead the Lions' rally, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to win, 31–27, which ended the 49ers' season.
Eight weeks earlier on October 27, 49ers' owner Tony Morabito, age 47, suffered a heart attack in the press box at Kezar during the second quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears. He died shortly after arriving at Mary's Help Hospital on Guerrero Street. The team was notified of his death at halftime, and with tears in their eyes, they went back out and won a come-from-behind victory.
Quarterback Y. A. Tittle had another strong season for the 49ers, completing 63.1% of his passes for 2157 yards and 13 TD's. He also rushed for 6 TD's. End Billy Wilson led the club with 52 receptions for 757 yards, along with a team high 6 TD's. Running back Hugh McElhenny led in rushing with 478 yards on 102 attempts.
|1957 San Francisco 49ers season|
|Head coach||Frankie Albert|
|Home field||Kezar Stadium|
|Division place||T–1st NFL Western|
|Playoff finish||Lost to Detroit Lions|
in Conference playoff
|Pick #||NFL Team||Player||Position||College|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||John Brodie ||Quarterback||Stanford|
|1||September 29||Chicago Cardinals||20–10||San Francisco 49ers||0–1–0||35,743|
|2||October 6||Los Angeles Rams||23–20||San Francisco 49ers||1–1–0||59,637|
|3||October 13||San Francisco 49ers||21–17||Chicago Bears||2–1–0||45,310|
|4||October 20||San Francisco 49ers||24–14||Green Bay Packers||3–1–0||18,919|
|5||October 27||Chicago Bears||21-17||San Francisco 49ers||4–1–0||56,693|
|6||November 3||Detroit Lions||35-31||San Francisco 49ers||5–1–0||59,702|
|7||November 10||San Francisco 49ers||37–24||Los Angeles Rams||5–2–0||102,368|
|8||November 17||San Francisco 49ers||31–10||Detroit Lions||5–3–0||56,915|
|9||November 24||San Francisco 49ers||27–21||Baltimore Colts||5–4–0||50,073|
|10||December 1||San Francisco 49ers||27–17||New York Giants||6–4–0||54,121|
|11||December 8||Baltimore Colts||17–13||San Francisco 49ers||7–4–0||59,950|
|12||December 15||Green Bay Packers||27–20||San Francisco 49ers||8–4–0||59,100|
|NFL Western Conference|
|San Francisco 49ers||8||4||0||.667||7–3||260||264||W3|
|Los Angeles Rams||6||6||0||.500||5–5||307||278||W2|
|Green Bay Packers||3||9||0||.250||2–8||218||311||L3|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
|December 22||Detroit Lions||31–27||San Francisco 49ers||60,118|
|Division championships (19)|
|Conference championships (6)|
|League championships (5)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
All-America Football Conference (1946–1949)
Championship seasons in bold