The author Marianne Williamson once said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” When it comes to the 49ers this season, they are not inadequate. Armed with one of the best defenses in the league and an offense loaded with talent, the 49ers have everything they need to win tonight and well into the future. They just have to get out of their own way.
On today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Leo Luna laid things out pretty plainly. The 49ers' defense is good enough to keep them in the game against anyone. Right now, DeMeco Ryans’ bunch allows drives to end in points just 14.7% of the time. That is by far the best in the NFL.
The second-best team on that list, the Eagles, give up points on 20.5% of all opponent drives. That is a massive jump. Now, if you want to argue that the Niners haven’t played the league’s best offenses, that is true, but part of the reason those teams look so bad thus far is because they’ve played the 49ers.
The only reason this team doesn’t have more wins is that they keep shooting themselves in the foot. In Week 1, 12 penalties and torrential rain sank the ship. Last week the penalties were cleaned up, but they turned it over three times and gave two points away thanks to an infamous safety. As long as you don’t take the ball out of his hands, Kyle Shanahan will find a way to get the offense down the field.
It might look like a tall order to score on this Rams team that appears to have straightened things out defensively since Josh Allen ate their lunch in Week 1. In reality, all the 49ers have to do is hang on to the football. In their last three matchups against Los Angeles, San Francisco has scored on 41% of their offensive drives.
That’s part of the reason I continue to harp on Kyle Shanahan being more aggressive. With the defense that they have, two touchdown drives and a couple of field goals are probably going to be all it takes for the 49ers to win most weeks. Punting on fourth and short between the 40-yard lines does a disservice to your defense because you’re actively taking away a scoring chance from yourselves. Admittedly, that will result in that defense having to defend a shorter field some of the time, but it will also ultimately lead to more points on the board than they otherwise would have scored. That makes a defense’s job easier in the long run.
Until players like Trent Williams and Elijah Mitchell return to the field, the 49ers’ offense isn’t going to be pretty. The good news is that because of their all-world defense. They won’t have to do much to win games while they wait for the cavalry to arrive - so long as they don’t fall on their own swords in the meantime.
Other topics in today’s show
- Jimmy Garoppolo needs to step up this week (2:37)
- Will we see the hot hand at running back? (6:35)
- What do we want to see from Deebo Samuel? (8:26)
- The 49ers should pass on first downs more (10:16)
- What is the X-factor in the game tonight? (16:04)
- How DeMeco Ryans will attack the Rams’ offense (20:00)
- Will the pass rush get in Matt Stafford’s head? (25:50)
- What is the minimum numbers of points the 49ers have to score to win? (28:26)
- This game is a pivot point for the entire season (33:33)