The SF 49ers season may be over after Week 5, and it’s not even Halloween yet.
I am at a complete loss for words following the SF 49ers display last Sunday in their 43-17 Week 5 loss against the Miami Dolphins. This has truly been a letdown of a season, with the Niners going 2-3 through their first five games, only beating New York’s winless teams.
So many fans, including myself, had extremely high hopes for this Niners team following their extremely impressive 2019 season in which they were only minutes away from a sixth Super Bowl.
But let’s face it, the SF 49ers are one of the NFL’s laughingstocks right now, and it’s kind of hard to see how they’ll be able to get better with so many key players lost to injury for large portions of the season.
Of course with that poor of a performance, there are hardly any winners. I’ll still try to shine a small positive light on the few bright spots seen on Sunday.
Here are some heroes and some zeros.
SF 49ers Winners
Mostert is probably one of the only players to show he is still one of the team’s most important players. He ended the day with 90 rushing yards on 11 carries and was powerful on basically every run in which he was called upon.
It’s clear that if the Niners want any shot of returning to their 2019 form, they need to go back what worked best offensively, and that’s abusing the ground game. That starts with Mostert.
It’s kind of weird to be writing Hyder’s name here, as he was essentially a depth signing. But he’s been one of the SF 49ers best players on defense this season.
I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
Nonetheless it has to be highlighted here that he came out of the game with yet another sack, and is a clear winner. Hopefully Hyder continues to positively impact this team for the remainder of the 2020 season while we wait for some of San Francisco’s bigger stars to return.
Warner is slowly becoming the SF 49ers best player on defense, as well as most fans’ favorite player as well. After two amazing seasons with the Niners, he is once again showing why he is one of the NFL’s elite linebackers. He will no doubt command a large contract going into his fourth year with the team, and deservedly so.
His nose for the football is unmatched on this team, with him once again leading the team in tackles against Miami with a total of eight. He also continues to display his elite coverage skills, also contributing with a pass breakup and a quarterback hit.
The Niners season may be going completely south, but Warner’s stock keeps on rising.
SF 49ers Losers
This list should probably contain more than half the team and front office, but I’ll limit this to only the worst of the worst following Sunday’s game.
It’s hard to see how Jimmy G wasn’t one of the biggest losers following Sunday’s performance. He was wildly inaccurate, completing only 41 percent of his passes and even threw two picks, all in the first half. He was also awfully hesitant in the pocket and was unable to escape any form of pressure, taking three sacks.
To make matters worse, he got benched at halftime.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan stated this was to protect Garoppolo from further injuring himself following his return from a high-ankle sprain, but it’s hard to see this as a valid excuse.
Still, it’s only one bad game, and Jimmy G will surely have a shot to prove himself going forward, but this performance was shocking.
The entire SF 49ers offensive line (minus Trent Williams)
I don’t understand what has happened to the Niners O-line this season. Outside of center Weston Richburg, the Niners line is completely healthy, yet they are performing like a unit that has never played football in their life.
Newly acquired star tackle Trent Williams has been good, but he can’t do it all on his own. The Niners quarterback carousel has been under extreme pressure throughout every game this season and has essentially no time to do anything. The fact none of the SF 49ers quarterbacks are mobile makes the lack of performance even more glaring, as they don’t have the ability to escape pressure in passing situations.
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is starting to look like a bust considering his first-round draft pedigree. In my opinion, the 49ers should consider drafting a new right tackle after the conclusion of the 2020 season and move McGlinchey out to guard if he doesn’t turn things around soon.
This unit is embarrassing at this point.
Biggest loser: Robert Saleh
I have to put an enormous amount of blame on the 49ers defensive coordinator. I’m aware that a lot of the Niners stars are missing, but this was a joke. The Niners top four corners may be missing, but someone from that front office needs to explain to me why cornerback Brian Allen was inserted into the starting lineup. Allen is a player who has never played a single snap of defensive NFL football, yet he was put up against star wideout DeVante Parker after being promoted off the practice squad this week.
Of course, it’s expected that, with starters Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Moseley out, the team would struggle in coverage, but this was inexcusable. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had over 250 passing yards before halftime.
It’s hard to see how Saleh isn’t one of the game’s biggest losers for failing to make any sort of adjustments throughout the game, and for putting Allen in that position to fail.
Hopefully Saleh figures it out soon, because it’s starting to seem like the only reason the 49ers defense was strong last year was due to its stacked roster.
Does it get better?
The answer to that is probably not… for this season, anyway.
The Niners just came out of their easiest stretch of games of the 2020 season and only won two of five. At this point, it’s very likely the SF 49ers win four to five games max for the rest of the season based on the ferocity of their schedule. Of course, once the Niners get some of their important pieces back, things can change. But it’s looking more and more likely San Francisco will have to go through some form of retool at the conclusion of this season.