After finishing the first quarter of the season 3-1 the 49ers have established that they belong in the conversation as a team capable of going to the Super Bowl. While many 49er fans felt this way before the season started it took the first quarter to prove to the rest of the pundit’s that the 49ers are for real. The 49ers have a long way to go and look to be playing in arguably one of the tougher divisions in football today. While trying to figure out what teams are among the top tier this year has been difficult with the replacement refs and missed opportunities here are a few reasons the 49ers are among the top three.
First off is a no brainer the 49ers Defense is the best in the league, facing top quarterbacks and running backs this season the 49ers have shut them down making few mistakes in the process. Yes they did lose to the Vikings and were unable to stop Ponder when they needed to but it was an off day all around and the 49ers Defense really bounced back from that performance. The defense played extremely physical against the Jets and I would expect to see the same type of effort the rest of the season. Dashon Goldson is playing really well and deserves a long term deal he has been the tone setter on the team.
The Offensive Line has been playing much better, this time last year the line had given up more sacks and the running game had not really gotten going. It was in the second quarter last year that Frank gore started his 100 yard per game streak. Alex Boone has really solidified the line and it should only get better as they get more reps together.
While it has not been a dramatic improvement at the wide receiver position it has shown that it is a work in progress with a lot of upside. Michael Crabtree has been healthy and has become a reliable third down target. Mario Manningham is playing better and quickly becoming a larger part of the offense. While Randy Moss has not played a lot this season he has been blocking and doing other things to allow the 49ers offense to be successful.
It has been the improvement in these areas that have the media saying that this might be the best team in the league right now. And after one quarter of football the 49ers have silenced some of the critics who were saying that they might regress based on history of teams that have risen so fast. What they failed to see was this team has a solid foundation in a defense something some of the teams that failed to stay successful did not have.