. . . Kyle Shanahan is now out of MY doghouse. Even DeMeco Ryans has poked his head out as well. Looking back on the season when we were at 2-4, the defense was stagnant, Bosa was being blocked and chipped (and held) to oblivion, the DBs were getting PI’ed to death, the run defense was terrible, and we couldn’t stop opposing teams on 3rd down.
Offensively, Kyle was questioning his own ability to call plays, he had sort of dallied with Trey Lance coming in for certain plays, Kittle was hurt, Aiyuk was in the doghouse, and the revolving door of injured running backs spun like a top. The only good thing about the offense was Deebo Samuel.
Now? Well, things aren’t perfect by any means, but the team hit its stride in the Rams game by putting Deebo Samuel in the backfield. Samuel proceeded to rip off long runs and score TDs at a Jim Brownsian rate. Even as a decoy this freed up Brandon Aiyuk, un-hurt George Kittle, and even Jauan Jennings as the passing game started to click with a better run game behind it. The 49ers controlled the clock, and won some big games. Namely against the Rams and the Vikings.
Defensively, with Dee Found on Road Dead dead and gone as a 49er, DeMeco Ryans started moving Bosa around to the right side so as not to tip off where to double team or chip him. This has paid off in spades as Bosa has gone from 5 sacks in his first 6 games to 9 in his last 7. Also, with the loss of Kinlaw, Armstead has become the steadying force as an inside run stopper, with the help of D.J. Jones. In their last 5 games, they are giving up an average of 66 yards a game on the ground.
And still we are ravaged by injuries as this season progresses. Here’s the list of the missing yesterday:
LB Azeez Al-Shaair (elbow)
LB Dre Greenlaw (groin)
DL Maurice Hurst (calf)
CB Dontae Johnson (personal matter)
DL D.J. Jones (knee)
RB Elijah Mitchell (concussion, knee)
Johnson is dealing with his mother’s death, but the rest are very concerning. These aren’t rest days, and I’m sure more will come out before the game, but getting any one of these guys back would be a big help. Atlanta is one of the many teams chasing us in the playoff parity chase (thanks for stopping by, Flying V), so any loss going forward will hurt.
And it will re-open the door to the doghouse.