San Francisco re-emerging as NFC Team to Beat
The re-emergence of Colin Kaepernick under center for the San Francisco 49ers reminds fans how strong the 49ers can be.
This season did not start in the manner in which the entire San Francisco organization had hoped. A week 1 victory over the Green Bay Packers seemed to carry on from their successful season last year. However, two straight losses to Seattle and Indianapolis proved things were not right.
On defense, San Francisco could not force opponents into turnovers and stop their drives. The defensive unit spent too much time on the field.
Offensively the passing attack was close to non-existent. Only Anquan Boldin, the 49ers offseason acquisition at wide receiver was playing up to his potential
Colin Kaepernick the starting quarterback had problems finding receivers and defenses were taking away his first option causing him become inconsistent less accurate than last season when he took the reins during the eighth week.
Add to that, the hamstring injury Vernon Davis the team’s tight end was suffering and the fact other receivers on the team including Kyle Williams, Kassim Osgood, Jon Baldwin and Marlon Moore were having problems getting open and one can see why the 49ers were 1-2 after three games.
Both the Seahawks and Colts defense took advantage of the problems in the 49ers passing offense and concentrated in stopping the run. This left the offense of San Francisco practically frozen in its tracks, as they scored just 10 points combined in their two losses.
The 49ers have now won three straight and are just one game behind the first place Seahawks in the AFC West. The offense is scoring more points, averaging 181 yards per game on the ground and 165 through the air. The passing game can still improve, but the running game is where the team thrives.
Over their past three games, the team only turned over the ball four times including just one interception against Kaepernick and three fumbles.
The best part for San Francisco has been the re-emergence of their quarterback Kaepernick. He is still not putting up the numbers he did last season, but is running the ball better when called upon, and is not throwing interceptions.
Davis has also shaken off his hamstring injury and has shown the league he is a top tight end. Houston and Arizona could not stop the 250-pound tight end. Over the past two weeks, he has had 11 receptions for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
In back to back games, Davis caught touchdown passes of over 60 yards each marking the first time since 1969 that a tight end had done that. He had 180 yards against Arizona, which was the third best for any tight end over the last 20 years.
If things continue improving and Michael Crabtree can come back at some point from his Achilles tendon injury, then San Francisco should be close to where they were last season when they represented the NFC in the Super Bowl.