Schrock's Week 9 takeaways: Kyler, Tua show 49ers need QB change

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The NFL is filled with dynamic, young quarterbacks. In an era that will be defined by Kyler Murray and others, the 49ers are left without the most important piece of the team-building puzzle.

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1/5

Week 9 of the NFL season was a patented "WTF" week that comes once or twice a year.

The NFC showdown of the year -- Bucs vs. Saints part two -- was a complete snoozer as the Saints steamrolled over Tom Brady and Antonio Brown. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had looked dominant over the last month and then got taken out back and smacked around by a team that had been unimpressive through eight weeks. 

Are the Saints the NFC's best team? Your guess is as good as mine. 

A week after blasting the 49ers out of the playoff picture, the Seattle Seahawks strolled into The Ralph and got eviscerated by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, making the NFC West race an eight-week cage fight between Russell Wilson, Jared Goff and Kyler Murray. 

Speaking of Murray, he and Tua Tagovailoa put on a show in the desert as the NFL's new era of quarterbacks continues to impress. 

Let's get to what we think we learned from Week 9.

2/5

Well, that was ugly. 

Over the past month, many, myself included, believed the Bucs were head and shoulders above the rest of the NFC. They made a statement in throttling the Green Bay Packers and, now fully healthy, would do so against an aging Drew Brees and the Saints. 

Things didn't go according to plan. 

The Saints dominated every aspect of Sunday night's prize fight, holding Brady to 203 yards and forcing three interceptions in a 38-3 thumping at Tompa Bay. 

The fully operational Saints looked like the team we expected to see at the start of the year. They carved up what has been one of the NFL's best defenses like Michael Myers chops up the inhabitants of Haddonfield.

They were equally impressive on defense, making sure Brady spent more time inspecting the grass than connecting with his best friend Antonio Brown.

We ask that you give Brady the time and space he needs to come to terms with what was an out and out shellacking he has rarely suffered in his career. 

But the beatdown raises questions about the NFC's pecking order and who, if anyone, is the favorite. 

Can Drew Brees do enough in January to lead the Saints past the Bucs, Seahawks, Packers and the others? Does Aaron Rodgers have enough weapons to beat good defenses like New Orleans and Tampa? What are the chances the Seahawks' defense can get off the field?

Tampa Bay now has to go back to the drawing board.

Brady and the Bucs played like they spent all week studying the different counties in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona instead of the Saints' defense.

Take away the jerseys and you'd have thought it was Adam Gase and Sam Darnold facing the Saints, and not Bruce Arians and Brady. 

For all their star power and hype, the Bucs looked like a team that wasn't ready for the physicality and intensity that comes in a playoff-esque matchup. 

And that includes the 43-year-old quarterback who has won six Super Bowl rings. 

3/5

In the words of Al Davis, the 2020 Raiders just win, baby. 

A week after beating Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns 16-6 in an Ohio windstorm, the Raiders survived a barnburner against a Los Angeles Chargers team that desperately needed a win. 

Derek Carr didn't have his best game -- he was 13-for-23 for 165 yards and two touchdowns -- but he made the two biggest plays of the game: A 53-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow and a 12-yard scramble on third-and-10 that ended with Carr leaping over a defender to get the first down. Both of those plays came on a third-quarter drive the Raiders needed to erase an ugly sequence of events before halftime. Two plays after Carr's scramble, he hit Darren Waller for a 3-yard touchdown to give the Raiders an 11-point lead. 

The Silver and Black's much-maligned defense did just enough to earn a 31-26 win. The Raiders gave up 441 yards and appeared poised to lose as Justin Herbert marched the Chargers down to the Raiders' 4-yard line with seven seconds remaining. LA elected to pick on second-year cornerback Isaiah Johnson with the game on the line, and the Houston product stood stall, breaking up back-to-back goal line fades -- the second coming as time expired -- to send the Raiders to 5-3. 

It's not always pretty and the defense has been gauged, but Carr and the Raiders are 5-3 and face the NFL's easiest schedule down the stretch. 

It's time everyone, myself included, started giving the 2020 Raiders a little damn respect.

4/5

In today's NFL, you have a shot as long as you have an elite quarterback. 

Having a QB like Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers can help cover up many issues your team might have. 

That's what the 2020 Seahawks are banking on. Seattle's defense is historically atrocious. Through eight games, the Seahawks are giving up 460 yards per game and 28.4 points per game. 

Those 460 yards rank last in the NFL, while only the Raiders, Detroit Lions, Browns, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys give up more points per game. 

Of the eight teams below the Seahawks, only the Raiders and Browns are possible playoff teams and neither has realistic Super Bowl hopes as Seattle does. 

Wilson has been phenomenal this season. He's the MVP front-runner through Week 9 and I'm not sure it's really all that close. 

And yet, with a defense that couldn't stop the Little Giants, let alone the Saints, Bucs, Packers, Cardinals and the like, it's probably all going to be for naught. 

The Seahawks' defense practically demands that Wilson be near perfect for them to win. In six games, he has been. All six of those games, the Seahawks won. In the two games in which he was mortal -- including a four-turnover game Sunday against the Bills -- the Seahawks lost. 

Seattle has no running game and they can't stop anyone. 

Wilson very well could win the MVP. He's playing at a level few have in NFL history. And yet, the Seahawks look primed to waste it because they cannot field a defense capable of stopping anyone other than Jimmy Garoppolo. 

5/5

Everyone watched Sunday as Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa traded haymakers in the Miami Dolphins' eventual 34-31 win. 

The two young signal-callers were electric, making plays with both their arm and their legs. The 49ers have witnessed Murray's ability firsthand. They no doubt marveled at Tagovailoa from afar Sunday. 

Murray and Tagovailoa are just two of a pack of dynamic young quarterbacks taking the league by storm. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson need no introduction. Nor does Deshaun Watson. Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have dazzled in their rookie seasons and look to be the future of the NFL, along with Murray, Tagovailoa and the others.

Almost all of those teams, excluding the Chiefs and Ravens, have glaring issues outside of their young quarterbacks. And yet, those quarterbacks have them in just about every game. 

The Chargers are 2-6, but Herbert has given them a chance to win in each game he's started. The Bengals are talent deficient, and yet, Burrow has had them in all but one game. 

Arizona's defense isn't playoff-caliber, but Murray alone has the Cardinals knocking on the NFC West's door. The Dolphins were 3-3 when they turned to Tagovailoa and he's already rewarded their faith. 

Now, think of the 2019 49ers. They had a dominant defense, a bruising running game, a creative head coach and an average starting quarterback. It got them six minutes from a title, but Garoppolo couldn't make the plays to finish the Super Bowl run. 

There has and will be a lot of conversation about Garoppolo's future with the 49ers and what a team built to win-now should do. 

All the 49ers have to do is look around the NFL and see what they'll have to contend with for the next decade: A crop of young quarterbacks built to own the NFL. Big-armed athletic field generals who can take over a game and deliver wins even when things aren't going their way. 

The next decade in the NFL will belong to quarterbacks who can do the things Mahomes, Murray, Herbert, Tagovailoa and Burrow can do. 

The age of winning with an average NFL quarterback is over. Title building now starts with a game-changing quarterback on a rookie deal and then you go from there. 

The 49ers know what they have in Garoppolo and how far he can take them. 

That won't be enough this decade. In an era that will be defined by Kyler Murray and others, the 49ers are left searching for the most important piece of the team-building puzzle.

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