We discussed all offseason how this season for the San Francisco 49ers was not going to be a cakewalk, despite several groups of fans suggesting the 49ers would finish, at worst, 13-3. That’s not how this game works. Even an 11-5 prediction seems out of reach at this point. The 49ers have the most challenging football schedule ahead of them, with seven straight playoff contenders in a row. However, it’s hard to feel sorry for the team as they have played five below-average opponents to start the season.
Which brings us to the question, what’s been the biggest surprise from this team through five games? Is it the 2-3 start? How the Niners have looked at times? Remember, there are 13 players on the injured reserve. When you lose your top two pass-rushers and cornerbacks, you’re bound to struggle to sack the quarterback and prevent the big play. Unfortunately, for San Francisco, they’ve failed to do both at the most critical times of the game. Giving up a touchdown on third and goal from the 22-yard line still stings. Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing a touchdown as he’s being hit can’t sit well, either.
Suppose you have a positive surprise, fire away. Seeing Kerry Hyder Jr. play at a high level has been a warm welcome. Watching Kevin Givens develop as fast as he has is a great sign for the 49ers’ defensive line moving forward. He’s been the team’s best interior pass rusher through five games, which is wild to think about.
It’s not easy to be optimistic through five games when the only two games you’ve won have come against the two worst teams in football. I imagine a lot of answers will be directed at the quarterback or the offensive line, but injuries have made life hard for everyone involved, and the 49ers offense hasn’t been able to find a rhythm because of it. Perhaps that’s the biggest surprise, knowing that Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been healthy and may not be anytime soon.