The 49ers were an odd team for the first three weeks of the NFL season. Their defense is elite, but their offense leaves a lot to be desired. USA TODAY’s NFL Power Rankings kept them near the top 10 after two games, but their fiasco in Denver pushed them into the middle of the rankings. 15 – Their lowest ranking since last season, when they started 3-5.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s instability on Sunday night and Trent Williams’ injury catalyzed the setback. Via USA TODAY’s Nate Davis:
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It’s probably fair to expect QB Jimmy Garoppolo to need more time to rest (and end zone chalk on his cleats) as he reverts to the role he’s used to — one that’s become more of a slouch compared to All-Pro LT Trent Williams The tough role, perhaps one of the five best players in the league, will miss a month or more with a high ankle sprain.
The 49ers have enough talent to beat any team in a week. Their defense scored 28 points in three games, while the team averaged just 3.9 yards per game, less than the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens scored.
Instead, they attacked too often, causing that very good defensive unit to waste some effort.
The problem with San Francisco is that through three weeks, there are a lot of teams that fit the “can beat any team in any week” model. There aren’t that many bad teams this year, which is why even mediocre teams push teams into the middle.
If all goes well with the 49ers, Garoppolo improves, and Williams doesn’t miss much time, San Francisco could start to get back into the top 10. Although at the moment they look like a middling team, having come out of 15th place in the power rankings.