Power rankings can be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s fun to see where the 49ers rank compared to the rest of the teams, specifically in the NFC West. So here’s a look at where San Francisco stands in a handful of power rankings.
Preseason ranking: 10
Top rookie: CB Deommodore Lenoir
It’s early, but Lenoir looks the part of the Niners’ next fifth-round diamond in the rough. With Emmanuel Moseley out because of a knee injury, Lenoir started at outside corner opposite Jason Verrett. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Lenoir played 55 coverage snaps and was targeted four times, allowing one completion for three yards. Lenoir did have a pass interference penalty, but it was a solid debut for a player who is likely to step into an integral role on a more permanent basis following Verrett’s right knee injury. — Nick Wagoner
Lenoir played well. There was the one deep pass where he got his eyes caught in the backfield that could have been trouble, but the pass sailed over both Lenoir’s and the wide receivers' heads. I’m curious to see whether Lenoir stays on the field over the likes of Josh Norman or Dre Kirkpatrick.
16 Jimmy Garoppolo
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QB
Trey Lance sure feels destined to steal more snaps as the weeks go on, but he was exactly what he needed to be for Kyle Shanahan’s run-first attack and first “W.” (+1)
Garoppolo played well. He showcased some much-needed mobility when the play broke down. To me, that was the strongest part of his game on Sunday:
Yes. It *should* be Sermon. That’s why it was so surprising he was inactive. He’s the one guy who can pass protect. They tried Hasty and he batted 0-3 with a whiff.— KP (@KP_Show) September 15, 2021
Hasty owes Jimmy a steak dinner cause Garoppolo saved him a few times. https://t.co/ycX3iNG2bc pic.twitter.com/vzU8AHS5Ts
I also liked how Jimmy knew where to go with the ball, even when the initial read wasn’t there. A play comes to mind where both options over the middle were covered, and Garoppoolo threw a 20-yard pass across the field and into the flats to Kyle Juszczyk. That was great awareness on Garoppolo’s part.
Previous rank: No. 9
San Francisco had a 41-17 advantage over Detroit when cornerback Jason Verrett limped to the sideline with what was later diagnosed as a season-ending ACL injury. It’s not a coincidence that the Lions began to eat into that lead as soon as the top cover man exited the picture. The 49ers survived Detroit’s furious comeback attempt, and now they’ll have to find a way to survive without an indispensable figure in their secondary. We know this team is capable of scoring points, but a healthy and effective defense will be necessary to fulfill those Super Bowl expectations. With Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray looming on the schedule, San Francisco must adapt in a hurry.
Not a whole lot changed in my mind after one week for the 49ers. We knew they’d be able to score on offense. The pass rush made a difference at times, while the secondary gave up plays. But that was to be expected, right?
11. San Francisco 49ers, 1-0
Nearly blowing a massive lead in the fourth quarter to the Lions was disturbing, but I still liked what I saw from Kyle Shanahan’s offense in Week 1.
3. San Francisco 49ers (1-0, LW: 5)
Think of the 49ers this way: They barely used Trey Lance, who is their most talented quarterback. Trey Sermon, a back everyone had high hopes for, was surprisingly inactive. Raheem Mostert got hurt early in the game. Brandon Aiyuk, perhaps because he’s barely back from a hamstring injury, didn’t get a target after playing so well last season. And the 49ers still put up 41 points on the road. All those aforementioned players are very good and will be factors as we go on. The 49ers are going to be really good.
The contrast between the two writers is here is funny. One person was “disturbed” by the 49ers' performance and dropped them to No. 11, while the other bumped San Francisco up five spots after using context.
Think about everything that went wrong for the 49ers, from the onside kick that went off George Kittle’s facemask to Deebo Samuel’s fumble to the lackadaisical play from the defense during garbage time.
Then, you remember the Niners were without their top wide receiver, best run-stopping defensive tackle (and it showed), and it was the first game of the season.
Also, if Robbie Gould makes a field goal, the final possession doesn’t matter. There were plenty of “what-ifs” in this game and a lot of learning points the 49ers can take away from it. We’ll see if they get them corrected against the Eagles Sunday.