The 49ers had plenty of ups and downs in the first half of the 2022 season, and with a 4-4 record, what are the biggest takeaways from bye week?
Once again, the San Francisco 49ers are providing another roller coaster start to the season as they are now close to their Week 9 bye at .500. After such a lackluster Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Niners bounced back in a big way against the Los Angeles Rams for their Week 8 matchup to move back to 4-4.
It wasn’t quite the special season many of us were hoping for, but with a 4-4 record and the second half of the regular season still to play, we’re sitting back and preparing for another exciting year.
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad should definitely be looking forward to the Week 9 reunion. After uncharacteristic losses in Weeks 6 and 7, San Francisco may have gotten back on track with this win over LA. Defensively, it looked like some of the early season show-offs were returning to form.
However, losing to far inferior teams (on paper, at least) – like the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons – is always a cause for concern, especially when it looks like most of the damage is self-inflicted.
49ers hit so far often in 4 defeats
In its four losses this season, the 49ers have committed five or more penalties in each competition. The yellow flags that really hurt have occurred most often on the offensive side of the ball. Instead of building on the previous momentum of a successful game, the Niners usually find themselves going backwards and bogging down on rides.
Perhaps this is a key reason why the San Francisco offense struggled to score just over 20 points per game in Week 8.
However, during the Week 8 game against the Rams, the 49ers were only penalized three times for 8 yards and should now be looking to improve in that area. When the team starts making a lot of mental mistakes, it’s usually a good sign of a lack of focus and a serious lack of attention to detail.
The Niners have one of the better rosters in the league and have yet to put together a full 60-minute game and that’s one of the main reasons for the growing frustration of watching them play.
Simply put, the talent on this team is way better than the record suggests.
Though San Francisco is currently 4-4 with nine games remaining, Shanahan and company know they could have kept a stranglehold on the NFC West early in the season, especially if they were to win some of those games against these underdog opponents .
Most of the problems that seem to plague them seem very fixable, and given enough time to turn the tide.
How the 49ers can get back on track in the second half of 2022
In order for this ship to head in the right direction, Shanahan must identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and then learn how to maneuver accordingly.
It’s not like the 49ers have an all-new coach and/or player leading the roster to a Super Bowl, it’s basically a six-year offensive that shouldn’t look as anemic as it has been. Yes, since 2017 there are some interchangeable parts, but for the most part the foundation has remained the same.
There are approximately 15 players on the roster who have been with the team since the 2019 Super Bowl season. Because of the camaraderie and battle-hardened experience they shared, they should flow like a well-oiled machine by now. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing some of his best balls since 2019, and he’s gotten plenty of production from his supporting cast.
Unfortunately, one of those offensive essentials, running back Jeff Wilson Jr., just traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round draft pick.
Before being postponed ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, Wilson led the team in a rush and proved to be one of the more reliable defenders in the room. However, with San Francisco acting aggressively to run back Christian McCaffrey and with colleague Elijah Mitchell looking to return after the bye, Wilson became the underdog.
Don’t feel too bad for Wilson, however, as he’s ended up in a great situation with none other than one of Shanahan’s underlings, current Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel. That should make for another interesting story when the dolphins head to Santa Clara for a December 4th showdown.
Many familiar faces will stand in the way of victory, and the Niners shouldn’t lose sight of that, especially if they want to get back on track.