The Niners lost to the Chiefs in week 3 (38-27), but, they lost their leader on offense for the remainder of the year and may have lost their leader on Defense for a prolonged period of time. Jimmy Garoppolo went down in the 4th quarter trying to gain a meaningless extra yard and tore his ACL in his left knee and will be sidelined for the year. Richard Sherman strained his left calf in the first half and did not return to the game. The extent of his injury will be known after an MRI.
In a year where expectations were so high, Arrowhead punctured a huge hole into the Niner Nation balloon. With Jimmy G., the Niners are a top tier offense… Without him, they are in the middle-of-the-pack. With Richard Sherman, the Niners opponents needed to focus on only one side of their defense… Without him, their defensive backfield is as porous as a broken dam.
The Chiefs are the real deal. Their offense with Patrick Mahomes is Super Bowl caliber. They will be limited by their defense which is in the lower tier. The Chiefs had the ball five time in the first half and scored five touchdowns… game over.
In years past, the Niners would have folded. Shanahan’s team will not quit under any circumstances. They actually out-played the Chiefs in the second half to the tune of 17-3. This team is much better than last year and will continue to surprise even without Garoppolo and Sherman. C.J. Beathard is a good QB for Shanahan’s system but his ceiling is limited while Garoppolo’s ceiling is the Super Bowl. Lynch and Shanahan have a solid core from which to build and they will get better year by year. Their offense is solid now with a good O-line and a good core of running backs. They need a game breaking receiver to become real contenders. On defense, they have a solid D-line and Linebackers who can develop into one of the league’s best with Reuben Foster and Fred Warner. They sorely need an edge rusher who will make the D-line even better. Regarding their D-backs, the Niners have gone through so many without success, one has to wonder if they actually have the athletes but need a new Defensive Coordinator. Robert Salah came from Seattle and came highly regarded. But, his defensive schemes have not yet worked. Saleh was not Shanahan’s first choice so look for a change next year.
At the beginning of the year, I thought that if the Niners went 2-2 in the first four tough games, that they would make the play-offs. Sadly, the Faithful will have to wait yet another year before those dreams become reality.
Around the League:
- The NFL has to do something about the roughing-the-passer rules. There were multiple cases again where a defensive lineman hit the QB with his shoulder and not his helmet and landed on the QB with his weight. Once again, Clay Matthews was involved and once again, he and the Packers got screwed. When the lineman is on top of the QB as they both fall to the ground, the law of gravity takes over. Can the NFL and Roger Goodell change Newton’s Law?
- The Buffalo Bills shocked the Vikings in Minnesota. In the NFL, anything can happen.
- The Cleveland Brown’s let the Dogs out, won a game, and found their QB of the future in Baker Mayfield.