What should we make of 49ers’ first 8 games of 2022 season?

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The 49ers had plenty of up-and-down moments over the first half of the 2022 season, and with a 4-4 record, what are the biggest conclusions at the bye week?

Once again, the San Francisco 49ers provide another rollercoaster start to the season as they now sit at .500 just ahead of their bye week in Week 9. After such a lackluster Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Niners bounced back in a big way versus the Los Angeles Rams for their Week 8 matchup to scramble back to 4-4.

It has not quite been the special season many of us were hoping for, but with a 4-4 record and a second half of the regular season left to be played, let’s sit back and prepare for another nail-biter of a year.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad should definitely be looking forward to its Week 9 bye. After uncharacteristic losses in Weeks 6 and 7, San Francisco may have gotten back on track with that win over LA. Defensively, it looked like some of the early season swagger returned to form.

However, losing to far more inferior teams (on paper at least) — such as the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons — is always a cause for concern, especially when it seems like most of the damage is self-inflicted.

49ers beat themselves frequently in 4 losses to date

In the four losses this season, the 49ers committed five or more penalties in each contest. The yellow flags that truly hurt have occurred most on the offensive side of the ball. Rather than build off the previous momentum from a successful play, the Niners usually find themselves walking backward and stalling out on drives.

Perhaps this is a major reason why San Francisco’s offense struggled to score a shade over 20 points per game entering Week 8.

However, during that Week 8 game against the Rams, the 49ers were only penalized three times for 8 yards and should now look to improve in that area. When the team starts making a ton of mental errors, it’s usually a good sign of lacking focus and a serious absence of attention to detail.

The Niners have one of the better rosters in the league and have yet to put together a complete 60-minute game, and that’s one of the main reasons for so much of the growing frustrations when watching them play.

Simply put, the talent on this team is way better than what the record indicates.

Although San Francisco is currently 4-4 with nine games remaining on the schedule, Shanahan and Co. know they could’ve had an early season stranglehold on the NFC West, particularly by winning some of those should-win games against those inferior opponents.

Most of the problems that seem to plague them appear to be very fixable and with enough time to turn the tide.

How 49ers can get back on track during 2nd half of 2022

In order for this ship to get going in the right direction, Shanahan needs to identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses and then learn how to maneuver accordingly.

It’s not like the 49ers have a totally new coach and/or player who’s coming in to lead the squad to a Super Bowl, rather, this is basically a six-year offense that should not be looking as anemic as it has been. Yes, there’s quite a few interchangeable parts since 2017, but for the most part, the foundation has remained the same.

There are roughly 15 players on the roster who have been on the team since the 2019 Super Bowl season. They should be flowing like a well-oiled machine by now because of the camaraderie and battle-tested experience they shared. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing some of his best ball since 2019, and he’s gotten a lot of production from his supporting cast.

Unfortunately, one of those integral pieces to the offense, running back Jeff Wilson Jr., was just traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round draft pick.

Before Wilson was moved ahead of the Tuesday NFL trade deadline, he led the team in rushing and proved to be one of the more reliable backs in the room. However, since San Francisco aggressively traded for running back Christian McCaffrey, and with fellow tailback Elijah Mitchell set to return after the bye, Wilson became the odd man out.

Don’t feel too bad for Wilson, though, as he landed in a great situation with none other than one of Shanahan’s understudies in now-Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel. That should make for another interesting storyline when the Dolphins travel to Santa Clara for a Dec. 4 showdown.

A lot of familiar faces will be standing in the way of victory, and the Niners shouldn’t lose sight of that, especially if they want to get back on track.

49ers offensive grades from 1st half of 2022 season. dark. Next