5 biggest concerns 49ers have through two weeks of 2021
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers are off to a 2-0 start to begin 2021, but there are already some notable concerns over these first few weeks, including these top five.
Yes, it’s early. And few would be upset with the San Francisco 49ers starting off the 2021 regular season with a 2-0 record, especially considering both victories came on the road. Who cares if the opponents were bottom-tier squads like the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. Road wins are always tough regardless of the context.
The Niners offense got hot in Week 1 before faltering for the better part of three quarters in Week 2. Meanwhile, the defense fell apart late in the first week before being exceptionally stout in Philly.
Quite the contrast. But good teams find ways to win regardless of the challenges. So far, San Francisco has done that. Good sign.
Still, there are some concerns and minor alarm bells already sounding off two weeks into the 49ers’ 2021 campaign. And head coach Kyle Shanahan should be at least a bit proactive in trying to remedy what he can before the Niners’ schedule gets tougher against playoff-likely teams such as the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, against which the aforementioned inconsistencies might not slip by as easily.
Here are five concerns rising to the table after these two opening weeks.
No. 5: George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk off to a slow start
It might be little more than an anomaly at this point of the season. Yet it’s slightly stressful to see two of San Francisco’s best offensive weapons, tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, nowhere near as featured in the passing game over the first two weeks.
Granted, this has opened up the door for fellow wideout Deebo Samuel to be a massive difference-maker, currently leading the NFL with 282 receiving yards. But the lack of production from Kittle, Aiyuk and the 49ers’ other pass-catchers is a bit concerning:
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Aiyuk has drawn the biggest question marks after not seeing a single target in Week 1 then seeing just two passes thrown his way in Week 2.
Luckily, there’s no massive reason to get anxious about all of this just yet. Kittle will always remain a game-changer, while Aiyuk likely still needs to develop some chemistry with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, as the two only scantly played together a year ago amid Garoppolo’s multiple ankle injuries.
For now, though, the Niners will need to look to get some of their other top receiving weapons involved relatively soon. Samuel can’t be asked to do it all, all the time.