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Golden Nuggets: Who has been the biggest surprise for the 49ers through four games?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Judging Week 4 NFL overreactions: How much did Tom Brady enjoy the Bucs’ win? Are the Cowboys a legit contender?

The verdict: OVERREACTION. Could it happen? Sure. Lance could take the job and run with it, especially if Garoppolo is out for an extended period of time. But Lance also could flop next week against the 4-0 Cardinals, and then the 49ers have a bye in Week 6. If Garoppolo’s injury is going to keep him out only a couple of weeks, that could mean he misses only one game. And if Lance doesn’t impress in that one game, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Shanahan going back to Jimmy G. If Shanahan thought Lance were ready to take over by now, Lance would have taken over by now.

Lance likely has the opportunity to grab the job with a big game next week. But it’s possible that the Niners end up having to go back to Garoppolo to keep them in contention this season. Remember that the trade deadline is about a month away and that Garoppolo has a no-trade clause in his contract for this year only. This could be an important couple of weeks for the 49ers’ quarterback situation.

NFL Power Rankings Week 5: 1-32 poll, plus the biggest surprise for every team

Biggest surprise: WR Deebo Samuel

Why it’s a surprise: Samuel showed up to training camp leaner, healthier and a more well-rounded receiver. He looked poised for a big season, but even the biggest Samuel believers probably didn’t see this coming. Four games in, Samuel is first in the NFL in receiving yards (490) and yards after catch (266) and fifth in yards per reception (17.5). His 490 receiving yards through four games is the second-most by a Niner behind only Jerry Rice’s 522 in 1995. — Nick Wagoner

49ers mailbag: What will a Trey Lance offense look like? What’s amiss with George Kittle?

How much of the disappointment at the 49ers’ performance so far is the result of the media hype in preseason — you, of course, excluded? — Baskar G.

Ha — I’m part of it. I thought the 49ers would be better out of the gate than they’ve been largely for one reason: They compared well to the 2019 team. In fact, you could say that, on paper, they were better than the early-year 2019 squad in that Garoppolo was better-versed in the offense and was under pressure to deliver and that the receiving corps was deeper and more talented with an experienced Deebo Samuel and an ascending Brandon Aiyuk. The most significant missing piece was DeForest Buckner, but the 49ers went into the current season with more defensive line depth than they had two years ago. At cornerback, I thought a fully healthy Jason Verrett would compensate for the loss of Richard Sherman.

Week 4 Studs and Duds, and Reflection: Expectations of the 49ers Shift Dramatically

Stud: DeMeco Ryans’ defense

It was a fantastic start for Ryans’ defense. The Seahawks could not get anything going on their first five drives and didn’t pick up a first down until their sixth.

First five drives:

  • 3 plays for 6 yards
  • 3 plays for -5 yards
  • 3 plays for -5 yards (drive started on SF 38 and forced a punt)
  • 3 plays for -10 yards (included five negative yards from false start)
  • 3 plays for -1 yard

Everyone knew at some point the Seahawks would put together a scoring drive, and that drive came on Seattle’s sixth drive, where Azeez Al-Shaair questionably lined up across from D.K. Metcalf. Metcalf broke Al-Shaair’s ankles and fought his way across the goal line for the score.

49ers Should Start Trey Lance Against the Cardinals in Week 5

Whether or not Shanahan is set on giving Garoppolo the starting reigns back, why risk Garoppolo worsening his calf? Of all the injuries Garoppolo has sustained with the 49ers, this is definitely the most bizarre. If there is anything the 49ers should know by now with Garoppolo it is that they cannot rush him back. He is injury prone and that goes the same with re-aggravation. Remember what happened last season when they rolled him out too soon from a high-ankle sprain? It just isn’t worth the risk.

Besides, now is the perfect time for Shanahan to see what he has with Lance. Evaluating Lance fairly was not possible against the Seahawks since he played without any practice with the starters. All Lance has done since the regular season is run scout team, which doesn’t improve him, only his teammates. It is time for Shanahan to stop shirking away at his responsibility of developing Lance. Now that he has a half of football under his belt, Shanahan was able to actually coach him.