Fewer passing yards for the 49ers: 5 bold predictions for 2022

Preseason has come and gone. The roster has been set. All that’s left for the 49ers is to focus on the season ahead which will kick off Sunday against the Chicago. As we wrap up Labor Day weekend, now is the perfect time to make some bold predictions.

Here are my five bold predictions for 2022.

1.) Jeff Wilson Jr. will lead the 49ers in rushing touchdowns.

When Jeff Wilson Jr. is healthy, he is one of the best running backs on the 49ers roster, especially in short yardage situations. In 2020, Wilson led the team in rushing touchdowns with seven.

Wilson is healthy to open this season. This has shown on the practice field and during his lone appearance in the preseason.

The explosiveness and power are back in Wilson’s legs, and he will once again find his way to the endzone often.

2.) The defense will record the most sacks in a season under Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers defense has twice recorded 48 sacks in a season during the Kyle Shanahan era, 2019 and 2021. They appear primed to top that total this season.

Nick Bosa is coming off a 15.5 sack season, and wrecked training camp practices on a regular basis.

Joining Bosa along the starting defensive line will be Samson Ebukam, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw.

Armstead has recorded six or more sacks in each of the two seasons he’s played alongside Bosa.

On the opposite side is Ebukam, who is looking to surpass 4.5 sacks for the first time in is career. If he finally gets more than 51% of the defensive snaps he will get there.

Javon Kinlaw is set for a breakout season. The 2020 first round draft pick is as healthy as he’s been since joining the team. He finally feels good and has looked strong throughout training camp and preseason.

In addition to the starting lineup, San Francisco’s defensive line is one of the deepest and most talented in the NFL. With players such as Kevin Givens, Charles Omenihu, rookie Drake Jackson, Kerry Hyder Jr., and Jordan Willis rotating in the 49ers come at opposing offenses in waves.

3.) The 49ers will throw for fewer yards than a season ago.

Last season the 49ers threw for 4,221 yards. They won’t reach that total this season, and it isn’t a bad thing.

San Francisco’s offense was at its best in 2021 when it was able to stay committed to the run. This played a large role in turning a 3-5 start into a 10-7 record and trip to the NFC Championship Game.

Focusing on the run was also the formula the 49ers offense carried into both starts for Trey Lance.

In the two games started by Lance last season the 49ers ran the ball 54% of the time with Lance throwing an average of 26 times. Putting those together with Lance’s completion percentage and yards per attempt, the total passing yards comes to 3,785. That yardage total would be solid for a first year starting quarterback.

4.) Deebo Samuel will surpass 1,000 receiving yards for the second year in a row.

The season Deebo Samuel put together in 2021 was second only to Jerry Rice in total yards from scrimmage for a 49er’s wide receiver. In fact, Samuel was on pace to have the second highest receiving yards total in San Francisco history until circumstances forced him to spend more time at running back.

Samuel started out slow after missing the beginning of camp due to a contract dispute with the 49ers. Even with this, the fourth year wideout showed he is still one to be reckoned with.

Samuel is a threat to score any time he gets the ball in his hands. He is going to help Trey Lance just like he did Jimmy Garoppolo.  

5.) The defense will record the most interceptions in a season since 2014.

The 2014 49ers recorded 23 interceptions. Under the current regime, San Francisco’s defense has not topped 12 in a season. That will change this year.

Nothing drives up interception totals more than a strong pass rush and tight coverage. The pass rush was detailed earlier. The tight coverage will come from free agent acquisition Charvarius Ward at cornerback to go along with Emmanuel Moseley.

In addition to Ward and Moseley on the outside, the 49ers improved their pass coverage in the slot when they selected Samuel Womack it the fifth round. The rookie has shown the ability to be around the ball.

On the back end of the defense is Talanoa Hufanga. The second-year safety was a ball hawk during his time at USC. This has transferred over to training camp this season as Hufanga steps in to replace Jaquiski Tartt.

This article has 31 Comments

  1. I have SF losing in the SuperBowl to the Bills.

    Lance’s total yards will eclipse 4000
    SF’s run game will not be as efficient ypc (qb scrambles removed)
    SF will make a mid season trade.

    1. Curious prediction u have there..
      Kinda Debbie Downerish..

      I wouldn’t want u at my engagement party

      “Congratulations! I have yall divorcing in a few years”…Infidelity will be just too hard to overcome”.

      I sincerely hope you’re using reverse psychology

  2. Not so much “bold predictions” but maybe some subtle observations.

    At QB–we all read and watched Brock Purdy show he had a greater upside then Nate Sudfeld. With Jimmy G staying, they made the right call, ate the $2 million and kept the qb that won the competition.
    At rb–former 3rd round pick Trey Sermon never seemed to fit this scheme and this years undrafted FA Jordan Mason seems like he was born for this scheme. They cut last years drafted player.
    At OL…Jason Poe made a huge push the last 2 weeks of camp and might be a starter down the road at guard. But Nick Zakelj showed scheme versatility at center and guard and, as per John Lynch, “showed improvement every day.” The team sweated it out, but Poe made it to the practice squad.
    And speaking of the practice squad, the 49ers did a nice job of using the rules to their maximum advantage. They were able to keep some players that will help them immediately if there is an injury (Dontae Johnson, Akeem Spence, Tashaun Gibson, Kemoko Turay, Willie Snead and Malik Turner.) They have also given themselves some very nice developmental players (Qwaun Knight, McCary-Ball, Jason Poe, Tayler Hawkins, and Tay Martin) .
    The biggest question in my mind is the offensive line. After all-world Tackle Trent Williams, we have a center and two guards that have never started an NFL game and a RT coming off of major injury. If this unit comes together, there will be no stopping this team. If this unit struggles, then Trey Lance will struggle. And if Trey Lance struggles, all bets are off.

  3. Jack,
    Has McGlinchey been practicing, Is he wearing a heavy brace on his injured leg? If so how has he been moving with the brace.
    My predictions:
    If the 9ers Avg. 150 yards or better on the ground they will win 10 games or better.
    If they gain less than 150 per game they win 8 or less and T. Lance has a mediocre first year as a starter.
    Deebo will take a step back this year because of injuries. He will miss 4 games or more with soft tissue injuries.
    At least one of the 3 interior O linemen will be replaced by mid season.
    Lance will take a play out of the Jimmy G playbook and throw 10 or more Int’s
    Mitchell and Wilson will make up the best one two combo in football
    Final record 10-7 and a wildcard berth where they will win at least 1 playoff game. Their success will come on the back of their D

  4. Observation;
    This team needs to win one more post season game inorder to be considered a success…
    Or else what was the point of this move by the FO at the QB position.

    1. I think they felt there were two things worth zeroing in on:

      1. Jimmy’s inability to throw outside the numbers or downfield, allowing teams to shut him down in fourth quarters by daring him to throw where he’s not comfortable.

      2. Jimmy’s contract savings could put the team in an excellent position. The thinking would be that they would get similar or better production from Lance and be able to shore up the team elsewhere, especially since they had to re-sign Deebo and Bosa will be under a new contract next season.

      Not sure Lance was worth 3 first rounders (and a third), but we shall see. I personally was super high on him coming out but I’ve since tempered my expectations. Maybe I’m letting all the criticism out there convince me he’s not the future. At the end of the day he’s got all the physical tools and he’s extremely bright between the ears. I hope that translates.

    2. Well..u don’t stay the same just because it’s easier to..

      We we’re winning in spite of Jimmy..not because of him

      We need a playmaker at Qb..
      With a different skillset to attack defenses..
      Not a game manager..which limits areas of the field and playbook

  5. I’m sorry, but I’m not a big stats guy….winning supersedes stats…stats only matter when it’s time for contract negotiations….

    1. 55,
      Good team stats usually lead to good/winning teams and bad team stats usually lead to bad/losing teams.

  6. Jack,
    Everything looks good. Wilson is our best straight-line RB on the team, so it makes good sense that he is utilized in short yardage situations around the goal line.
    I’ve been saying that our 2022 defense will likely be better than last years, and that would be a big accomplishment because last year’s D was pretty darn good.

    I’m a little sketchy on Deebo gaining over 1,000 yrds. He will be a large factor in the offense, but I see Aiyuk making a big splash this year, which in turn could cut into Deebo’ numbers. Throwing more to the RB’s could also become a factor in Deebo’ output. The RB’ on the team may be some of the best group of receivers that we’ve had in the Shanahan era.

    As an incentive to get Trey more comfortable in his 1st year as the starter, Shanahan may call more short passing plays until Lance better acclimates himself after several games.

    Our defense will be the big winner this year. This group is going to strike fear in opponents going forward. This is a Super Bowl material team.

  7. The biggest thing Lance brings to the table is when the defense stacks the box. The eighth man in the box has to account for Lance’s running ability, with JG the eighth man was allowed to roam freely as JG was not a running threat.

    OldCoach has been harping on the run game, well he is correct. Shanny WANTS to run the ball first and foremost and if the Niners are to be successful they have to run the ball. The turnaround last year happened when they decided to run the ball.

    Pass protection hasn’t been good the last few years, it might get worse before it gets better. Shanny’s O-line is built to run the ball and that is just the way it is. The Niners are a run first team.

    1. UC,
      Not football related.
      But too bad my Central Valley area in California couldn’t trade weather with Chicago for just one day on Sunday.
      But I doubt that Chicago would consider it a good trade with the Central Valley averaging between 110-113 right now, lol.

      1. I live on the Oregon coast, just got back from a ride to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Parts of the Artic Circle was 85. I have spent lots of time in the Central Valley when I was a kid.

        1. UC,
          Alaska sounds good right about now.

          If Chicago gets a nice rain storm on Sunday, it might limit our Dline a bit. But, it could also limit Justin Fields running ability.
          I see a 49ers win in a surprisingly close game.

  8. Here is bold prediction #6
    Niners are just a Trent Williams injury away from none of all of the above

    1. Totally agree as that pre-camp training with TL helped develop chemistry between them and it showed in Camp according to a lot of the reporters there.

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