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Gold Standard: What is the magic number for the 49ers offense?

It was 20...

A lot of teams are injured, but no one is injured to the extent that the 49ers are injured. The entire starting defensive line missed practice on Wednesday.

Today wasn’t much better. That’s in addition to Jimmie Ward playing two snaps this year, Azeez Al-Shaair missing half the season with a knee injury, and Emmanuel Moseley’s ACL. On today’s Gold Standard podcast, we wondered how many points the Niners would have to score per game in order to win while so many defensive pieces were on the shelf.

So far this year, the defense has clearly carried the offense. You know the numbers. Zero touchdowns allowed in the first half. Number one in yards allowed, sacks, points, and just about any other metric you’d like to pick. As such, 20 had been the magic number for this offense. If Kyle Shanahan’s unit scored 20 points every week, they would be undefeated through five games.

Now that the losses are piling up on defense, it’s the offense’s turn to pick up the slack. Despite multiple injuries of their own, there are still plenty of weapons available on that side of the ball. How many points per game will they have to score while waiting for the cavalry to return later this year?

The next four games are the Falcons this Sunday, the Chiefs, the Rams, and the Chargers after the bye in Week 9. Three of those four teams currently rank in the top ten in points per game, and the outlier is the defending Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs are the highest-scoring offense in the league at 31.8 points per game, the Chargers are ninth at 24.4, and the Falcons finish off the top ten at 23.6. The 49ers themselves sit at 17th in points per game (21.6), but that number includes two defensive touchdowns, so they’ll have to pick things up a bit if they’re going to compete.

The good news is that they do appear to be doing just that. They dropped 30 offensive points against the Panthers last week, including 20 in the second half. The ground game adjusted and picked up more than five yards per carry, and Jimmy Garoppolo opened up the offense with 10 pass attempts of 10 or more yards down the field. The foundation is in place to be able to score with anyone in the league.

Through five games, the 49ers had the luxury of a defense on a historically good run. With the injury bug taking a bite out of that side of the ball, Jimmy Garoppolo and company are going to have to return the favor against some quality teams over the next few weeks. Fortunately, with a more aggressive game plan and a bevy of playmakers, they’re entirely capable of doing just that.

Other topics in today’s show

  • There’s actually no drama with the 49ers right now! (2:44)
  • Have Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan had a come to Jesus moment? (9:41)
  • How the 49ers have adjusted the running game for the better (12:10)
  • Why the Falcons won’t pack it in like Carolina did (15:50)
  • Atlanta knows how to run the ball very well (16:36)
  • Somehow the 49ers addressed all the complaints against him (20:31)
  • With the defense’s injuries, how many points will the offense need to score? (23:35)
  • The special teams unit needs to pick it up (25:21)
  • This win would set the 49ers up incredibly well going forward (27:31)
  • The mistake people make when trying to figure out why this team is injured so often (29:53)
  • The offensive line has been better than we thought (33:47)
  • Should the 49ers sign Odell Beckham Jr.? (36:11)
  • Are we sure Brandon Aiyuk is as good as we think? (38:12)
  • Picking a winner in the contest to name the 49ers' defense (39:13)