Oh…wait…did you…did you think after that 28-0 victory week 1 against the Rams that this was maybe going to be a successful season for the Niners? Ha, you have a lot to learn my friend. The 49ers started this season in the same fashion that they started last season, with a blowout win fooling fans into thinking “you know maybe..just maybe we could be good this year.” I wasn’t falling for it. Last season the 49ers beat up a very good Vikings team in week 1, only to finish the season 5-11. To be fair, they’ve had a tough schedule so far this season having played the Panthers and the Seahawks in the last 2 weeks. Through 3 weeks the Niners are who we thought they were. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly so far this in this season.
- When I wrote the blog previewing the 49ers season, I talked a little bit about how the offensive line will be a positive to look forward to and so far it has. Through the first two games the offensive line has given up just 2 sacks (tied for fewest in the NFL) compared to the unit last year that gave up 8 through the first 3 games. And of the 2 sacks given up, neither was by a member of the starting O-Line.
- The defense has forced 8 turnovers through 3 games. The defense hasn’t played particularly well at this point in terms of points allowed, but they are near the top in the league in forced turnovers. Creating turnovers will help keep you in the ball game as long as the offense can capitalize and convert the turnovers to points (good luck with that).
- The defense. Aside from the forced turnovers, the defense hasn’t really been impressive. They started off the season really well forcing the rams to put up a goose egg in week 1. But that is a team with Case Keenum at QB throwing the ball to a bunch of nobodies. Week 2 and 3 the defense allowed 83 total points. 83 points in 2 weeks. Yes, 83. In week 2 the team gave up 100+ yards to Whittaker, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. In week 3 they gave up 100+ to Christine Michael, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. On the right is the graphic that Fox showed during the game. Not quite the formula for success.
- The wide receivers for the 49ers. My god, talk about a boring group of playmakers. Jeremy Kerley currently leads the team with 12 catches and that ranks just 60th in the NFL among WRs. This is a position that GM Trent Baalke has really missed on in the last few years. 49ers have either passed up on or didn’t trade up a couple slots to get guys like Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief, Deandre Hopkins and Keenan Allen. Instead the team is signing a new wide out every week to see if they’re better than anybody they have right now. I’m even thinking of strapping on the ole cleats and trying out.
- Blaine Gabbert. This guy has no hope and gives this team nothing going forward. He hasn’t progressed at all since he’s been in the league yet he is somehow a starting quarterback. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett on Gabbert: “Kaepernick gives them a better chance to win but that’s just my opinion.” No Bennett that’s not just your opinion, it’s the opinion of almost everyone that’s a 49ers fan. Sure, Kap isn’t that good either but at least we’ve SEEN him be good before. I want a QB that isn’t going to throw it to the receiver running a 5-yard out on a 3rd and 12. Allergy season must have come a little early this year because this guy is severely allergic to throwing the ball farther than 10 yards. So far Gabbert ranks 30/32 for QB rating, 31/32 for completion percentage and 32/32 for yards per attempt. Case closed.
- 3rd downs on both sides of the ball have been a nightmare for the team so far this year. In the past 2 games on defense, the 49ers are allowing 10.1 yards per play on 3rd downs with a 55% conversion rate. The team is allowing far too many 3rd and long conversions as well. On the offensive side of the ball, 3rd down is a nightmare too. Gabbert is the king of check downs on 3rd down. Blaine has had 47.1% of his 3rd down completions result in 1st downs according to ProFootballReference.com. That ranks 27th out of all quarterbacks. On 3rd downs, he also ranks 29th in passer rating and 30th in yards per attempt.