Who should be 49ers’ offensive, defensive first-half MVPs?

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs past A.J. Terrell #24 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs past A.J. Terrell #24 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

With one half of the 2022 season in the books, Niner Noise looks at which 49ers players should take home the illustrious first-half MVP award.

OK, no such award actually exists. The San Francisco 49ers aren’t exactly dishing out first- and second-half MVP awards to either side of the ball.

But it’s fun to talk about.

Interestingly, though, the Niners’ own 4-4 record in eight games through the 2022 campaign leaves a lot of question marks. The .500 finish to the first half suggests there is some underachievement going on, and there have been some rather disappointing efforts, both against some inferior teams and from some standout players.

However, a number of other players have proven to be quite excellent during that stretch.

So, who should be considered the best of the best on each side of the ball?

Let’s make our claim for San Francisco’s first-half offensive and defensive MVP recipients, starting out with a fairly easy winner on the defensive side of the ball.

49ers first-half defensive MVP: EDGE Nick Bosa

There were effectively three players in the running for the 49ers’ defensive MVP award over the first eight games of the season: linebacker Fred Warner, cornerback Charvarius Ward and EDGE Nick Bosa.

Ward has been everything the Niners could have wanted in a free-agent pickup, solidifying the secondary after a 2021 campaign where it was a glaring problem. And Warner? Well, he’s Warner.

But Bosa, whose eight sacks is just half a sack behind the NFL lead (and over just seven games played), is the biggest difference-maker of them all.

Bosa isn’t running away with the NFL lead in tackles for a loss, as he did a year ago. But he does hold the league lead in quarterback hits with 19, so that’s something to consider.

And, in terms of a fear factor, Bosa edges out Warner by a slim margin.

49ers first-half offensive MVP: Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk

Normally, when one would think about San Francisco’s offensive MVPs, the stars would come to mind. Perhaps it’d be someone like All-Pro tight end George Kittle or, at least more recently, All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Heck, even quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is arguably playing his best ball in a 49ers uniform, currently.

But, if we’re being honest and taking into account total game impact and statistics, fellow wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has done the most damage.

Read More: Watch Christian McCaffrey toss TD pass to Brandon Aiyuk

Currently, he leads the Niners in receptions (38), receiving yards (483) and receiving touchdowns (four), and more importantly, he’s been fully available this season in light of both Kittle and Samuel missing brief periods of time because of injuries.

On top of that, Aiyuk is certainly taking advantage of the fact that opposing teams are centering their defensive focus on Samuel in light of his own 1,770 all-purpose-yard campaign a season ago, meaning Aiyuk is getting those favorable one-on-one matchups.

He’s making the most of them, potentially finishing the year with his own 1,000-yard campaign, which would be a career-first.

For now, he’s San Francisco’s first-half offensive MVP with ease.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best quarterbacks in franchise history. dark