NFC West power rankings No. 2: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers nearly made it seven consecutive wins over the Rams but ultimately fell just short in the NFC Championship game, thanks to a notable fourth-quarter collapse by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Co.
In truth, however, the Niners’ road to the playoffs last season wasn’t easy, particularly marred by that four-game losing streak and an ugly 3-5 start to the 2021 campaign. Had San Francisco done better than go 2-4 within the NFC West, the final outcome could have been different. We’ll never know.
Garoppolo, still technically on the roster, is all but gone this offseason at some point, though, paving the way for second-year quarterback Trey Lance to be the difference-maker and to do on the field what Garoppolo couldn’t.
Luckily for Lance, he’ll still have an array of offensive talent to support him, namely wide receiver Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, though head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offensive line saw a big loss with left guard Laken Tomlinson leaving for the New York Jets in free agency.
That said, the 49ers solved one of their biggest positional issues from last season, cornerback, by bringing aboard former Chiefs defensive back Charvarius Ward. That’ll help a lot, as will the numerous special-teams moves to address what was another prime weakness.
Regardless, the Niners’ success or failure in 2022 will revolve around Lance and his maturation.
Good thing he still has a strong supporting cast.