It is a long season.
At some point, there is bound to be a pothole or two in the road for the 49ers. But after four games, coach Kyle Shanahan’s team has been the NFL’s most consistent outfit.
In a league known for its week-to-week nature, the 49ers essentially have been the same team in every game they have played. They have cruised to victories by scores of 30-7, 30-23, 30-12 and 35-16.
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The 49ers’ early-season success has been accomplished with a business-like approach.
“We have an end goal in mind, but everyone's hungry to do the little things right,” 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy said following the team’s victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals. “And the coaches are hard on us when we win because there's (more) plays to be made out there.
“There are things that we could be better at. And I feel like last week we sort of took that to heart and guys came out just very detailed. So it felt good.”
As well as the 49ers are playing, they have not been perfect. Heck, Purdy was only 95.2 percent (20 of 21) on Sunday, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. (That was a joke, folks.)
San Francisco 49ers
But what’s not a joke is our weekly installment of 49ers overreactions. Shall we?
Our defense isn't nearly as good as our offense! (Kevin Buursema)
OK, perhaps “not nearly as good” is a bit of an overstatement.
Let’s just say the 49ers’ offense has passed up the team’s defense for being the team's most dynamic feature.
The defense is still good -- one of the best in the NFL. The offense, however, has taken it to a whole new level with big-time playmakers at every position group.
First-year defensive coordinator Steve Wilks still is in the process of figuring it out and determining how the pieces fit together.
In three of the 49ers’ games, there have been alarming sequences in which the defense did not live up to their own high expectations. Still, the 49ers will head into Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys with the NFL’s fifth-ranked defense, allowing 284.3 yards per game.
Meanwhile, the 49ers’ offense has been absurdly consistent. And, yes, the offense has overtaken the defense as the strength of the team.
This ain't the CMC show, we gotta get other play makers involved (Jacob Razo Jr.)
No, actually, this IS the Christian McCaffrey Show.
My advice is to sit back, relax and enjoy it.
On Sunday, McCaffrey played 47 of the team’s 55 offensive snaps. He had 27 touches (20 rushing attempts, and seven pass receptions).McCaffrey accounted for 177 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.
Yes, the 49ers have other playmakers, and they have gotten involved.
Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle all have had their games to shine this season. It’s just that McCaffrey has been huge in each of the 49ers’ four games thus far.
The coaching staff fully realizes McCaffrey cannot be on the field for every snap. They also know they have a unique talent who is capable of unique things.
The defense needs to put more pressure on the QB. Rushing four isn’t cutting it. We’re making mediocre quarterbacks look good. (Mark Hitesman)
Overreaction? No, but ...
The 49ers rank in the lower third in the league with nine sacks in four games. Yet, their pass rush ranks No. 1 in PFF’s grading system. However, that status atop the league does not seem to pass the eye-ball test.
Nick Bosa is a dominant pass-rusher, for sure. He grades out highly, even if he has just one sack in four games. He constantly faces double-teams and has still managed to apply steady pressure. Bosa leads the team with 20 pressures.
Bosa and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave give the 49ers two outstanding pass-rushers.
After that, the 49ers are going to have to win their one-on-one battles or Wilks is going to have to scheme up more things to generate pressure.
The problem is, if the 49ers have to send more pass rushers at the quarterback, there will not be as many men in coverage. And that will invariably lead to more big plays being surrendered.
Through four games, it is difficult to find too much fault with the 49ers’ pass defense. The opposition is averaging a measly 5.4 yards per pass attempt. The 49ers have given up four touchdown passes while collecting five interceptions.
Their opponent passer rating is just 75.0, which points to the 49ers doing a lot of things right with their pass defense.
But the standards around these parts are high, and this unit is capable of doing more.
This MAY be the best 49ers team of all time. (Steven Smillie)
See above. “It is a long season.”
The 49ers have won five Super Bowls in franchise history and none since January of 1995. If the 49ers win the Super Bowl, we can have that conversation. But, until, then ... nope.
We’re not even going to entertain comparisons with the legendary 49ers teams of the past when there still are 13 regular-season games to be played and so much can and will happen.
All that said, it is not a stretch to say this could be the most-talented, best-coached team the 49ers have fielded in nearly 30 years -- covering the time since the organization’s last Super Bowl win.
But to go any deeper into where this team ranks, they need to win their final game of the season. So we're more than four months from discovering if this statement even warrants a discussion.