Entering the Week 6 bye, the 49ers have largely underperformed in 2021. Niner Noise breaks down the five biggest disappointments so far.
Entering 2021, the expectations for the San Francisco 49ers were nothing less than a Super Bowl win.
The team was expected to follow up its 2019 Super Bowl berth with another one in 2020, as the 2019 Niners dominated the league, particularly on defense and with a strong running game, leaving many to believe they would easily do so in 2020. With 2020 derailed by substantial injuries, the expectation for many was that, with San Francisco being healthy, it would repeat its 2019 performance.
Unfortunately for The Faithful, the team has slumped to a 2-3 record all while looking like shadows of the 2019 version.
Nevertheless, there is still lots of football to be played once the Week 6 bye ends, so if the 49ers fix the following disappointments, they stand a chance to make a run for the playoffs.
49ers Expected WR1: Brandon Aiyuk
The first on this list is sophomore wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who in 2020, performed so well that many pegged him to be the Niners’ No. 1 wideout this year and beyond.
Aiyuk possesses elite physical traits that should translate to him being a top receiver in the NFL. With elite route-running ability, speed, hands, and hops, Aiyuk should be leading the team in receiving categories. In 2020, he recorded 748 receiving yards over 12 games with a per-game average of 62.3 receiving yards.
Instead, the team’s leading receiver is Deebo Samuel, who has taken the league by storm. Through four weeks, Samuel was leading the NFL in receiving yards while Aiyuk has been almost non-existent.
In 2021, Aiyuk is averaging 18 receiving yards per game.
Even his average targets per game went down in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2020, Aiyuk was seeing eight targets per game. Now in 2021, he is averaging three targets per game. Needless to say, he has largely disappointed so far, and it’s unclear why his play has seemingly plummeted.
General manager John Lynch addressed the topic, stating that it isn’t from lack of effort. The team can certainly use Aiyuk’s ability, especially since the offense has gone stagnant.
Look, for Aiyuk to bounce back after the bye.