Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
For the last month, if you have watched any of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s postgame locker room speeches they usually start with, well we found a new way to win today. During the first eight or nine weeks of the season the formula was the same:run the ball down their throats and smother them with defense.
Then the first game against the Cardinals happened, on Halloween.
If there has been a weakness to the 49ers’ defense this season it has been mobile quarterbacks. Kyler Murray was the first quarterback to really give the defense some issues. And when there are problems on defense that can trickle over to the offensive side of the ball.
All season long, we heard what is going to happen when the game is on the line and the team must rely on Jimmy Garoppolo. In the beginning of the season he handed the ball off 40 times, threw the ball a bit, sat back with his beer, and the team was winning. But when the defense wasn’t getting the stops and the running game wasn’t working, it became hold my beer.
The 49ers had to rely on Jimmy changing this offense and putting it on his shoulders. The best part was that the task wasn’t too big for him. He has been clutch on third downs. He completed not one, but two throws on third-and-16 situations in the final drive to beat the Rams a couple weeks ago. And of course, we cannot forget about him exchanging blows with Drew Brees down in New Orleans.
Over the 2019 season, the offense has morphed into…. Well, not sure. Do they have an identity? Sort of, they still want to run the ball and smother with defense, but this is January and they will be playing the best of the best. Deebo Samuel has really come into his own over the second half of the season and has cemented himself as the wide receiver-one. Kendrick Bourne has continued to be a reliable target on third downs and in the red zone. And the Emmanuel Sanders trade is looking like a complete steal as he helped change the offense into what we have seen over the past month.
Jimmy Garoppolo has grown, and this team has grown. Maybe the offense changes into a high-octane we’ll put 30 points up on you and I dare you to stop us offense. When you play the best of the best that may be the offense you need, and we have seen the 49ers play and beat the best already.
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