Throughout the first two weeks of the NFL season, there have been many surprises. From the Buccaneers and Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Patriots getting destroyed by the Jaguars, this season is just as crazy as any other.
But among all the craziness emerges a light of hope for the 49ers. While the Rams are still looking very dominant, the rest of the division is wide open for grabs. Sure the Seahawks still have Russell Wilson but the rest of their team is very weak and depend on him more than ever. The Cardinals have also looked to struggle greatly through their first two games. This leaves the 49ers in a good spot to try and take the division under control. While beating the Rams for the division will be difficult, it is looking like the wildcard spot is wide open. The division looks to be the 49ers to win or lose.
NFL’s Leading Rusher
After Jerick McKinnon went down with an injury, it became a question of who would get the majority of the workload. Then the season started and the backfield looked to be split between second year running back Matt Breida and veteran Alfred Morris. It didn’t take long for someone to emerge as the guy, though. After a slow start to the season, Breida torched the Lions in week two this past weekend. The former Georgia Southern running back rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown.
After a great performance last week, Breida enters week three leading the NFL in rushing yards with 184. He is currently averaging 8.4 yards a carry. If Breida can keep this pace going, then the sky’s the limit for the 49ers offense under head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Warner Continues to Shine
Last week, I discussed how rookie linebacker Fred Warner shined in their week one game. Well, it didn’t stop there. Through the first two weeks of the season, Warner has accumulated 19 tackles, one forced fumble, and one pass deflection. But his stats go much further than that if you turn on the tape.
Coming out of BYU, Warner’s biggest strength was his coverage skills. After playing nickel linebacker at BYU, his transition to a coverage linebacker was very smooth. Warner is currently playing middle linebacker for the team. Here he is asked to cover many tight ends and slot receivers often. In this role, you can see Warner’s athleticism and coverage skills thrive as he has been a force to be reckoned with over the past two weeks.
The Number One Receiver Saga Continues
Throughout the offseason, one of the biggest questions was who is the number one guy in the offense. After a hot ending to the season last year, everyone was waiting for Jimmy Garoppolo to establish that connection with someone. Well, the first two weeks of the season have come and gone and we are no closer to figuring it out. Sure we have seen glimpses here and there from the young talent on the team but none has been consistent enough to warrant the number one receiver spot.
Watching this team operate, it’s clear a true dominate threat on the outside would elevate this offense to new levels. However, it may not be this year that we get to see that dominant threat emerge. It doesn’t become a problem until the offense starts to struggle and is held back because of it.