I know he’s not the most popular person with some of the outlandish takes that he has, but Colin Cowherd has been right about the San Francisco 49ers since August when he said the team would make the NFC Championship:
San Francisco, in my opinion, is in the NFC Championship next year. You think I’m nuts? Front seven? Great. Coach? Great. Quarterback? Fantastic. Durable running back. They have to upgrade at corner and one wide receiver spot. I’ll tell you right now; I called Philadelphia a year ago, my darkhorse Super Bowl team. They had this young quarterback Carson Wentz and this new coach Carson Wentz. Remember the Cowboys had a great season, two years earlier the Giants had been good, Washington had Kirk Cousins and a profound offense. I said no, take Philadelphia. I’m going to tell you the same thing. My Super Bowl darkhorse this year, it’s not the Rams, it’s the 49ers.
Earlier this week, Cowherd was back to discuss the Niners and had some high praise for the top seed in the NFC. Cowherd believes the 49ers check all the boxes. He said this is a team that humiliates you. Here is the four-minute video:
Cowherd said, “the way you beat San Francisco is with Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson. Off script.” That’s a great point as we have seen this defense destroy your traditional pocket passers that cannot create for themselves. The rush is going to get to you, that’s inevitable. Add in the talent, speed, and smarts in the back-seven, and you have a historically healthy passing defense. Most opposing offenses damage has come after the initial play was stopped. Cowherd said when you are standing six yards behind the center, and they know you can pass, “good luck.”
Cowherd broke the season down into three stages. The first stage was 8-0 when the Niners were invincible. The second stage was vulnerability, where he cites numerous injuries to what feels like everyone not named Jimmy Garoppolo. The final stage Cowherd—in what could serve as a pregame hype video tone, is when “all the boys are healthy again:”
You don’t want any part of them. You don’t want any part of San Francisco. They look different. Kansas City’s offense is like San Francisco’s team. ‘Let’s double Kittle, can’t. Deebo, Sanders.’ Alright, they’re a pass team. No, not really. Their coach is Shanahan.
Cowherd continued to fawn over the 49ers, saying that there are elements to the ‘85 Bears team. He did have some accurate points. One was how Garoppolo doesn’t need to have a box score as he did against the Saints for the team to win big, and used a couple of quarterbacks from yesteryear to prove it, even Joe Cool himself. The versatility in ways this team can win is what makes the Niners so dangerous, in my opinion. Shoot out? Shanahan thought you’d never ask. Every week some plays and schemes are new. Just because the play doesn’t spring for a long gain doesn’t mean it’s new. There was a run against the Vikings that hat zone/trap/wham-run concepts all in one. Look:
Ok Shanahan i watched this play like 50 times trying to figure out all the rules some kind of outside zone wham trap extravaganza . This guy is gotta be fun to play for ! pic.twitter.com/Ia9kQTWzJP— Olin kreutz (@olin_kreutz) January 14, 2020
Shanahan is a mad scientist that goes deeper into the bag of tricks as the stage gets bigger. If it’s a low-scoring punt fest where you need to get a stop, we have a half-season sample-size plus four quarters of playoff football proving the defense won’t just stop you but probably force you into a mistake. The number of players that can make a play on both sides of the ball gives the 49ers the versatility to win that no team has. That’s a point I agree with.
Cowherd ended his soapbox rant with how you define great teams at the main offensive skill positions, which is a take, and says you could argue Green Bay is better at quarterback, running back. No. 1 wide receiver, but San Francisco is good there too, and they’re better literally everywhere else.
“I think this San Francisco team does not look like the rest of the teams.”