Five reasons the 49ers have won eight straight

The 49ers are the hottest team in the NFL winning eight in a row. In the process they captured the NFC West championship.

San Francisco was only 3-4 prior to the start of the of this winning streak. Here are the five reasons behind the dramatic turnaround.

1.) Quarterback play

Whether it’s Jimmy Garoppolo or Brock Purdy the 49ers have received terrific play from the quarterback position throughout this eight-game win streak. The two have combined to post a 112.1 rating.

One of the more interesting aspects to the play is how similar each have been. Over the course of the current streak Jimmy Garoppolo posted a 71.5 completion percentage and averaged 7.98 yards per pass attempt with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

Despite being a rookie with only a few snaps under his belt before being thrown in Purdy has posted nearly identical numbers. The rookie has completed 68.9 percent of his passes and averaged 7.98 yards per pass attempt with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

2.) Christian McCaffrey

The addition of McCaffrey through a trade with Carolina has been a game changer for the 49ers offense.

After making his debut in a limited role against Kansas City, McCaffrey made his first start as a Niner against the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco has not lost since.

McCaffrey has averaged 109 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown per game over the winning streak.

Beyond the personal numbers, McCaffrey has played a large role in the improved performance of the quarterbacks. The veteran running back provides a sure handed checkdown option and his 51 first downs help keep the offense on the field.

3.) Nick Bosa

The 49ers defense has been dominant, and Nick Bosa is leading the charge. Recently named to his third Pro Bowl, Bosa has recorded 10.5 sacks along with 25 of the 49ers 60 quarterback sacks over the eight-game streak.

Nothing helps create turnovers like pressure and hits on the quarterback. Bosa and the Niners defensive front have helped create 15 turnovers over the last eight weeks compared to nine in the first seven.

4.) Jimmie Ward

Ward was named to the NFL Top 100 list for his strong play in 2021. A hamstring injury in training camp forced him to miss the first four games. A broken hand while covering the opening kickoff against Carolina in his return sent him back to the sidelines.

Strong play from Tashaun Gipson led to Ward being moved to the slot, a position he’d struggled at earlier in his career.

Facing Kansas City in his return, Ward struggled.

The veteran defensive back has been stellar since that first performance. Ward has allowed a quarterback rating of only 66.36 over the last eight weeks. His three interceptions during this time are a career high.

5.) Health

San Francisco saw the return of Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw to the starting lineup, and both have made big plays.

Pressure from Armstead led to a Jimmie Ward interception against Miami. The defensive tackle was also instrumental in stopping Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke on a fourth down quarterback sneak. This stop deep in Washington territory led to a quick 49ers touchdown.

Kinlaw saw his first action since week three against Washington. Although the stat sheet shows he made only one tackle, he played a key role in the Niners first fourth down stop of the game.

Facing fourth and goal from the one, penetration from Kinlaw forced two offensive linemen to focus on him. The attention on Kinlaw allowed linebacker Fred Warner a free run to stop Brian Robinson Jr. for no gain.

This article has 21 Comments

  1. I would add one name to that list or possibly a combination of 2 players. Dre Greenlaw has raised his level of play to the point that if he had been healthy and had played at this level all season I believe that we would be mentioning his name as DPOY along with Bosa. If your not that sold on Greenlaw how bout the combination of Warner and Greenlaw. They are the best 2 LB’s playing together that I have seen in a long long time. Another area that has raised its level of play enormously lately is the special teams. They were a weakness early on and now they are top 5 at least in the last couple of games. imho

    1. Let’s just hope the secondary follows the lead of the LBs and special teams in the remaining games and playoffs. Concerned they’re not up to the challenge ahead. Oh, but for the return of Moseley and/or Verrett in a few weeks.

  2. Jack, thanks for this article and, in general, keeping your blog so informative and interesting. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    One thing I’d like to mention re “quarterback play”: There might be an unsung hero in Brian Griese. I have no way of confirming his impact, but the improvement in Jimmy’s play this year and Griese being his new qb coach suggest to me a significant role.

    1. Second your shout out to Jack. He’s done a terrific job resurrecting and keeping this blog entertaining and alive ever since it was hastily abandoned. Thanks Jack and the best to you this holiday season and the year ahead.

      1. Jack, was the moderator I was hoping would take over when the last guy left.
        It took some time, but Jack eventually took the reins and hasn’t looked back.

  3. I would add two other names as well, Coach.
    Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.

    Lynch for the ability to sign FA’ that fit the 49ers needs and goals. Obviously the signing of CMC is a game changer, but C. Ward has been a big help on the defense.
    Shanahan, because he had to make offensive adjustments after Lance went down. The adjustments may not have been major, but JG and BP are not the same QB type that Trey
    Shanahan and Lynch have done a very good job this season.

    1. What kind of QB was Trey? I don’t think he showed enough to develop a real sense of his game…imho

  4. Its funny how the blog hits diminish when things are going great. Its as if certain people are only happy and engaged when things are bad. Well I say good riddance to the nattering nabobs of negativism (all credit to former VP of the USA Spiro Agnew)

    1. It could just be that we’re in the holidays and people are just spending time with family or on vacation.

      1. Gav,
        I was thinking the same thing but I have observed the same posters not posting when things were good and it wasn’t a holiday.

    2. Because some don’t comment doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged. The fact that the 9ers are doing well speaks for itself and Jack’s work is excellent! BTW that quote was written by William Safire and only mouthed by Spiro. Not trying to be negative but give credit where credit is due. Happy New Year!

      1. I can think of one name who only posts when things are bad or at least he thinks so. Well, actually he has multiple names. Luckily we haven’t heard much from him during this streak.

      2. Whine,
        Most great political quotes are credited to the speaker not the writer. “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” generally credited to JFK not Ted Sorenson. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” generally credited to FDR not Michel de Montaigne. “Blood, toil, tears and sweat is generally credited to Winston Churchill not Giuseppe Garibaldi.

          1. I don’t know if its legend or not but supposedly Lincoln wrote it on the back of a card on the train to Gettysburg.

        1. OC – Thanks for reminding me of another reason why I don’t chose to “engage” anymore.

  5. Everything you touched on are good explanations for the 49ers success. In my opinion, the 49er defense is the best in the NFL. The offense is better than average with the possibility of being very good. To think, the 49ers are at this point having gone through 3 QBs is pretty amazing. I’d like to see them string together a few more 30+ point games to really get that offense on a huge roll going into the playoffs. But, the 49ers do have a bit of a dilemma. I want them to rest players but there is a good chance for the 2 seed and maybe even the 1 seed. Playing in Philly in Jan will be a lot different than playing in Santa Clara in Jan. Probably what we will see is starters play and then hopefully get up big on the Raiders early and then rest some guys. That would be a great way to start off 2023.

  6. Super excited about where we are headed. When JG went down, I was actually really excited to see Purdy step in. I honestly was. I just had a feeling that he was going to do well. But I didn’t expect THIS well.

    I’m glad he fell into our lap.

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