No. 1: Turnover differential is killing 49ers in 2021
It’s classic Football 101. If your team is turning the ball over a lot and not generating a lot of takeaways, chances are the wins will be hard to come by.
The 49ers are tied for dead last in the league with just five defensive takeaways this season, two interceptions and three recovered fumbles. Fumble recoveries do take a little bit of luck, yes, but it also involves players being in good positions to recover a ball. For whatever the reasons, despite the Niners posting a middle-of-the-pack 13 forced fumbles, they simply haven’t gotten to enough of them.
In contrast, San Francisco has turned the ball over 14 times this season already, which is tied for sixth most.
So, it shouldn’t be too big a surprise the 49ers’ turnover differential is a horrendously bad minus-9, tied for second worst in the league and only below the New York Jets’ minus-12. And with a second-worst-in-the-league per-game turnover differential of minus-1.1, all one needs to do is figure the Niners will be on the short end of this crucial element of the game any given week.
It’s not pretty.
And it’s also impacting everything else, cutting down on those red-zone trips and leaving the defense out on the field for longer periods than it should be, resulting in more missed tackles, fewer scoring opportunities and a tired pass rush.
If San Francisco wants to turn things around this season, starting here with this stat should be a top priority.