49ers surplus of injuries leads to underwhelming start

San Francisco is 2-3 to start the 2021 campaign


Arman Archouniani

The 49ers are 2-3 through their first five games of the season

A 49ers season that has high hopes and expectations from everybody in the organization has had some good and bad times as they are 2-3 through the first five games. There is still good hope for a playoff run as there are 12 games left after the bye week but many injuries have cost the 49ers a few losses.

Jason Verrett was one of the best cornerbacks in the league last season who received another contract this year after his stellar play. A torn ACL in the season opener against the Detroit Lions cut his season very short and injuries have been the one downside of Verrett’s career.

The signing of Josh Norman was well needed for the loss of Verrett. Norman and Emmanuel Moseley have been doing their part in the secondary and playing well against the top opposition. The cornerback partnership needs to stay healthy for the 49ers to have a serious chance to make it into the playoffs in the tough NFC.

Through five games the 49ers have been through it all many injuries which is similar to what was going on last season. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was injured last week against the Seahawks with what was diagnosed as a calf injury. George Kittle was put on the Injured Reserve list for three weeks and will hold him out for one more game since the 49ers go into Week 6 with a bye. The injuries on offense have resulted in lackluster performances the last several weeks which has been a key reason why the 49ers are on a three-game losing streak.

Raheem Mostert suffered a knee injury in the season opener and will keep out for the rest of the season. The running attack has not been up to the standard this season so far which has been the identity of the 49ers the past couple of years. The Super Bowl appearance in the 2019-2020 season was mostly due to the running attack and effective play-action game by the offense. So far this season the offense has yet to come into its element, but there have been some glimpses in second halves of games even on the losing streak.

One of the true bright spots in this team has been through the air as Deebo Samuel has really grown into a true number one wide receiver. Samuel is leading the team with 548 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. He has been everything Shanahan has been asking for from a wide receiver and has two games with over 150 receiving yards. Samuel had a tough 2020 season and only played in seven games. In his third season in the league, he is truly maturing and becoming a better player every week he steps on the field.

With two wins against the Lions and Philadelphia Eagles on the road, the 49ers lost by a combined nine points against the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks at home which were both very winnable games. Garoppolo’s injury led to the number three pick, Trey Lance, to lead the way against a red hot Arizona Cardinals squad.

In his first career start, Trey Lance threw 15 completions on 29 attempts with 192 yards and one interception. It was not the best of games through the air but Lance showed his ability to use his legs and had 16 carries for 89 yards averaging over 5.6 yards per attempt. With one week of preparation, it was not a bad performance against a very good defensive line starring Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt. There are many learning curves in your first career start and Lance knows that. An early interception thrown in the game was one of the rookie mistakes and with more experience, he will learn how to put more touch on the ball instead of throwing the ball hard every play. Overall, we saw some good and bad in Lance’s performance but the future is bright as the 49ers look forward.

A bye week next week is crucial for the team to get healthy and this will include Garoppolo, who will try his best to be healthy for the next game against the Indianapolis Colts at home on Sunday night in Week 7. The next four games after the bye week are crucial to the 49ers season and it includes the Indianapolis Colts followed by the Chicago Bears and two divisional games with a rematch against the Cardinals and then the Los Angeles Rams.

If the 49ers want to be back to where they were a couple of years ago, this four-game stretch is crucial to the identity of this football team and four wins out of those four games would be a massive uplift to the whole franchise. They will need to be resilient on both offense and defense to become a true contender throughout the rest of the season.