5 trends 49ers are showing after starting 2-3 to open season
Trend No. 1: 49ers’ turnover differential
The 49ers’ defense is playing well on the whole, but one concerning thing it hasn’t done a lot of is creating turnovers, with just a single interception — a pick-six from Dre Greenlaw in Week 1 — and one fumble recovery — via cornerback Dontae Johnson last week in Arizona — so far in 2021.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Niners offense has fumbled seven times, losing four, and tossed three interceptions, leading to a turnover differential of minus-5, a concerning trend heading into the final 12 games of the season.
One of the key elements of San Francisco’s Super Bowl run during 2019 was it had a positive turnover margin that season, albeit simply a plus-4 in that department. But it’s difficult for a team with a negative differential to make the playoffs, let alone be a Super Bowl contender.
So, if the 49ers have any hope of pushing for a playoff spot, they’ll have to figure out a way to both generate more turnovers and keep control of the ball on offense. Otherwise, they’ll be an afterthought in the playoff hunt as the 2021 season begins to heat up over the last few months.
Not all of these trends are necessarily bad things, as the 49ers return to the field at Levi’s Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football, but in any case, they’ll need to be things the coaching staff and the rest of the team will need to be aware of as the season continues.
As the schedule softens, the Niners will still need to clean up the areas of concern and lean into the things they do well. If they can do so, they should be in the mix for a 2021 playoff spot.