49ers fans can be thankful for these things in 2022

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) speaks with head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) speaks with head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

2022 hasn’t been the perfect season for the 49ers just yet, but the Faithful can nevertheless be thankful for these parts of the year to date.

2019 was a storybook year for the San Francisco 49ers in which they started out with an 8-0 record and were the final undefeated team in the NFL before advancing all the way through to the Super Bowl.

2022 didn’t quite shape up the same way.

A 4-4 start to begin the year certainly had plenty of Niners fans questioning whether or not the saying, “wait until next year,” would apply again. However, following a nice little win streak after the bye week, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad finds itself in first place in the NFC West and holding onto a 6-4 record with three consecutive home games on the table.

Perhaps Shanahan and Co. can thank the schedule-makers for that one.

On this Thanksgiving holiday, however, let’s peruse around and see what else San Francisco can be thankful for heading into the latter stretch of the regular season (and hopefully into the playoffs).

49ers fans can be thankful the NFC stinks

Going back all the way to the offseason and before Week 1 even began, it wasn’t hard to see all kinds of predictions tabbing three teams as legitimate contenders in the NFC: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Green Bay Packers and the defending-champion Los Angeles Rams as threats to represent the conference for the Super Bowl.

The Bucs? They’re 5-5 in the NFC South, which is turning into the worst division in football if it weren’t for the AFC South. Green Bay is collapsing at 4-7, while the last-place Rams are having an abysmal Super Bowl defense at 3-7, too.

Yes, the entirety of the NFC is terrible, leaving a team like the 49ers in excellent shape to steamroll through the playoffs once again.

49ers fans can be thankful for Trent Williams

Let’s face it, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams might be the best pound-for-pound player in the NFL regardless of position.

Forget all the chatter about him tipping plays with his stance. How did he respond to that odd weeklong discussion? By simply dominating the Arizona Cardinals during the Niners’ Week 11 Monday Night Football win, posting a 94.4 game grade from Pro Football Focus.

Sure, San Francisco’s fanbase can be thankful for plenty of star-power players donning the red and gold.

But Williams should be in a category of his own, and it’s time fans are thankful for him in a big way.

49ers fans can be thankful for Kyle Shanahan

Alright, this might irk some of you. And we know there are critics of head coach Kyle Shanahan out there.

Is he perfect? Far from it. Is he immune to criticism? Nope, not at all.

Shanahan isn’t the second coming of the late great Bill Walsh, but fans are finally grasping what a fully healthy and stockpiled roster looks like under his control, and last Monday’s drubbing of the Cardinals is an example of it.

If things continue on that trajectory, the 49ers will have back-to-back playoff appearances, which is a need for the head coach, and they’ll also be set up nicely with a solid core of players on both sides of the ball.

And, if you’re still not thankful for Shanahan, go back and recall the 2015 and 2016 seasons for the Niners. Not enough? Just consider how many fans wanted now-Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.

Perhaps fans can be thankful a McDaniels hire never materialized for San Francisco, too.

49ers fans can be thankful for Jimmy Garoppolo

Just like Shanahan, there’ll be those who are polarized by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Love him or hate him, it shouldn’t matter right now. He’s playing well, arguably the best in a San Francisco uniform since coming over in 2017. And while the numbers may not be flashy or dominant, there’s one particular stat that stands out in contrast to what fans have seen before.

Jimmy G’s 1.5 interception percentage is a career-low by a significant margin.

Garoppolo has tossed only four picks on the year, and he’s gone three consecutive games without throwing an interception.

Not coincidentally, the 49ers have won all three games.

It’s this version of Garoppolo who can truly help the Niners win a Super Bowl. He might not have to make that critical play, especially if his playmakers are making plays on both sides of the ball, rather Jimmy G merely needs to be efficient.

San Francisco fans can be thankful he’s doing that already.

15 most-beloved fan favorites in 49ers history. dark. Next