San Francisco 49ers: 10 wins – 7 losses, 6th in the NFC
Two years after their Super Bowl loss against the Chiefs, the 49ers are back in the playoffs.
Still the same quarterback, still a good defense, but a few more assets.
How did they get there?
Badly embarked with only three wins for five losses, quickly embarrassed by injuries, the 49ers seemed set off for another complicated year.
Except that Kyle Shanahan managed to re-mobilize his team on its fundamentals. Running, defense, and just the right amount of passing, helped by the return of George Kittle after being absent for a few games.
To start again, the coach put aside the experiments at the start of the season, when Trey Lance returned for a few actions per game. The manager had the lucidity to realize that this was breaking the rhythm, and he left the rookie aside during the second half of the season. He only reappeared to help his team beat the Texans when Jimmy Garoppolo.
San Francisco has the merit of having climbed the slope without taking advantage of a particularly easy schedule. They beat the Rams twice, but also the Bengals. In the end, they won seven of their last games.
The key player: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB)
Everything Jimmy Garoppolo was in the last game of the regular season. An interception in the last quarter that could have made him the scapegoat. An 88-yard drive in six actions a few minutes later to get overtime.
102.0 valuation in 2019-20. 98.7 this season.
Garoppolo, it’s Julio Iglesias who talks about it best.
“And you haven’t changed either
Still the same light scent
Always the same little smile
Who says a lot without really saying it “
Can he win four times in a row in the playoffs? Not sure.
Why are they going to go to the end?
For the same reasons they reached the Super Bowl two years ago. Their ground game can be formidable (7th in the NFL). Their pass rush (48 sacks, 6th) too. As a whole, the defense can carry the team. She is third on the yards conceded and 10th on points.
Another asset they did not have in 2019, a Deebo Samuel who holds a legitimate place in the discussion for the title of offensive player of the year. With 1,405 yards on reception, 365 more on the ground and 14 total touchdowns, number 19 is Shanahan’s versatility asset.
Why won’t they go?
For the same reason they lost the Super Bowl two years ago. Jimmy Garoppolo and this attack can handle a match, but rarely chase after the score or blast the match. The problem is, it’s better to be able to do it once or twice on a winning course.
Jason Verrett, Mike McGlinchey, Javon Kinlaw, Dee Ford, Raheem Mostert, Trent Williams. There has been no shortage of significant injuries in San Francisco over the past few months. This enabled new profiles to emerge, but it remains a real handicap. The (almost) good news is that they’re used to it.
Can the 49ers beat the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs? Absoutely. When you see how Dallas lost to the Broncos in the regular season, San Francisco has room in this 90’s-tasting clash.
But the Niners can also bow very well to the firepower of Dallas, which is going to be difficult for X-factor Jimmy Garoppolo to follow. And then ? If there is a sequel, the same problem will arise against the Packers or the Buccaneers, and even against the Rams. In one game, anything is possible, but San Francisco seems too short on offense to knock down all the ogres in the conference.