On Sunday, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers executed a masterclass against the Los Angeles Rams. Heading into the bye week, the team needs to re-group, get healthy and prepare for a deep playoff run.
The 49ers Right The Ship!
You could argue this was the 49ers’ best performance all year. While there have been dominant defensive performances, the other two phases have been inconsistent. However, everything clicked on Sunday, the offense scored points, the defense shut down the Rams’ offense in the second half, and special teams executed well. Not only that, the offense produced thirty-one points without Deebo Samuel, which is why Kyle Shanahan deserves an A+ grade.
Once again, Kyle Shanahan out-dueled Sean McVay for the eighth straight regular-season matchup. At 4-4, the 49ers control their own destiny. Currently, Seattle leads the NFC West by one game over San Francisco at 5-3, however, the 49ers are 3-0 in the division. Both teams are playing good football and hitting their stride.
The 49ers Are A Good Football Team, But Not Great.
What have we learned about San Francisco in their first eight games? I would say the offense is inconsistent, but getting better, the defense is great despite depletion, and the coaching is good. Luckily, Kyle Shanahan will get the following players back after the bye: Kyle Juszczyk, Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell, Jauan Jennings, Arik Armstead, Azeez Al-Shaair, Dre Greenlaw and Jordan Willis.
Another player the 49ers could have back is Jason Verrett. The former all-pro tore his ACL in Week One versus Detroit last season. Verrett is a tremendous player when healthy. Currently, Deommodore Lenoir holds down the left corner spot for Emmanuel Moseley, who is out for the season. Although young, Lenoir provides stability on the outside while reinforcements arrive.
Christian McCaffrey Is A Game Changer
The 49ers made a few moves before the trade deadline with the biggest one being the trade for Christian McCaffrey who has been the best player on the team since his arrival. They also traded away Jeff Wilson Jr. to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round draft pick. It is interesting San Francisco chose to trade Wilson, but not surprising. With Elijah Mitchell returning in Week Ten from an MCL sprain, Wilson would become the third running back on their depth chart.
Not only does Wilson drop on the depth chart, but also would become the 4th option running the football. There is no way Wilson would take carries over Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, and Deebo Samuel. Kyle Shanahan now has a three-headed monster in the backfield and can have them at his disposal every play.
Let’s discuss Christian McCaffrey for a moment. What does he bring to Kyle’s offense? Well, coming out of the draft in 2017, he was the best runner in his class, and arguably the best route runner out of any skill position player. If you dissect the offense this season, it is a lot of quick passing, choice routes, comebacks, and inside zone.
McCaffrey’s skill set fits this offense perfectly. His burst in the run game and twitch of eluding tacklers in the open field makes him a threat every play. How does he fit Jimmy Garoppolo’s game? Garoppolo has a difficult time throwing downfield, however, short and intermediate routes are a different story. If Jimmy throws in rhythm, he is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. Christian gives Garoppolo another option to get the ball out quickly into the hands of his playmakers.
CMC HAS A PASSING, RUSHING, AND RECEIVING TD 🤯 He's the first player since 2005 to do this, per @FieldYates pic.twitter.com/gH7OJ3relW — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 30, 2022
Could The 49ers Add To Their Roster?
Where the 49ers could have done better, is adding a corner, right tackle, or defensive tackle. I suspect the 49ers were in on trading for Commanders defensive tackle, Daron Payne. But also the 49ers should look to bolster their roster with free agents, such as: Ndamukong Suh, Sheldon Richardson, Odell Beckham Jr, and Eric Fisher.