The hangover from the super bowl is usually reserved for the victor. however, last season he was runner-up to the san francisco 49ers. The 2020 49ers team was a disappointment and featured one of the longest injury lists in the National Football League. Unfortunately, this time around the injury problem took out several big-name players, including tight end George Kittle and running back Nick Bosa, to name a few.
After starting the season 4-4, head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers were poised to sneak into the NFC playoffs. however, the wheels fell off the wagon as the 49ers finished the year 2-6. they fell to last place in the nfc west and a record of 6-10.
what went well
Unfortunately, there weren’t many things that went well for this team in 2020. However, some things did go well for some of their rookies this season. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was thrust into a prominent role early in the offense, with Deebo Samuel sidelined for most of the season. Aiyuk finished the year with 96 goals, 60 receptions, 748 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games, all of which he led the team. Meanwhile, Javon Kinlaw didn’t have the standout season some might think. but still he showed enough flashes with his 33 tackles and even an interception that he could be in store for a big season next year.
The other positive of 2020 was some of the new additions to the team. Veteran all-pro left tackle Trent Williams controlled the blindside of Jimmy Garappolo and Nick Mullens and was also a dominant force in the running game. Williams was PFF’s highest rated tackle in 2020 with a 91.9 rating. Defensively, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder came out of nowhere due to injuries and led the team in sacks with 8.5. Cornerback Jason Verrett also got the call with Richard Sherman out of order and was a blocked corner all season, catching two interceptions and seven passes defensed. While not a new addition to the defense, linebacker Fred Warner also had a season. he accumulated 125 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed and five tackles for loss.
what went wrong
Finishing last in their division after reaching the super bowl last season is certainly not what the 49ers expected this season. However, injuries plagued this team, with several big names including Kittle, Bosa and Garapppolo missing the second half of the season. The defense was especially hard hit by injuries, as running back Dee Ford missed most of the season. Free-agent signing Ezekiel Ansah also missed all but the first four weeks. cornerback richard sherman missed 12 weeks, and defensive lineman soloman thomas was injured in week 3 and placed on injured reserve for the rest of the season. offensively, it was the same story. Kittle missed nine weeks throughout the season, wide receiver Samuel missed 12 weeks and free-agent signing Jordan Reed also missed six weeks. running backs raheem mostert and tevin coleman also missed significant time.
after that long list of injuries, you can expect that this has not been a great season. The offense was a turnover machine averaging just under two per game and had the second-most turnovers in the NFL. Nick Mullens, who replaced Garappolo in the second half of the season, threw 12 interceptions and also had four fumbles, accounting for more than half of the team’s 31 turnovers. Mullens finished the season with just 12 touchdown passes, a 64 percent completion percentage, and an 84.1 passer rating.
team award winners
mvp – fred warner
warner has established himself as one of the best young linebackers in the nfl. the now three-year veteran won both his first pro bowl and his nod to all pros after a 125-tackle season. Warner concluded the 2020 season with potentially two of his best games of the year, with a 14-tackle performance in Week 16, followed by a 10-tackle performance in Week 17. The all-pro also earned his only sack of the season. in the last Warner was one of the few bright spots on this team and the 49ers should keep his name out of potential trade talks this offseason.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Brandon Aiyuk
aiyuk was looking to serve as a role player in a loaded 49ers skill position room and ended up in the spotlight due to a long list of injuries to the 49ers offense. the rookie wide receiver led the team in goals, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Ayyuk only played in 12 games, but still caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns. The former Arizona State Sun Devil was one of five rookie wide receivers with those numbers and was the only one not to play in all 16 games.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Javon Kinlaw
Seeing as Kinlaw was the only defensive rookie to receive significant playing time this season, he meets this award. It wasn’t all bad for Kinlaw’s season, but he certainly didn’t live up to the hype he was receiving in the offseason and preseason. The former South Carolina gamecock was finally facing players his size, so he could no longer just bully his way to the quarterback. however, let’s assume he refines his rushing moves and learns how to attack opposing shooting guards this offseason. In that case, he could become the beast of a defensive tackle that people thought he would be.
biggest surprise: kerry hyder
The 49ers signed Hyder as a free agent last offseason and he probably wasn’t expecting significant playing time. However, due to injuries to Bosa, Thomas and Ford, Hyder was given the opportunity to prove himself, and he did. Journeyman defensive end set career highs in sacks with 8.5 and tackles with 49. Hyder nearly doubled his career sack total with just 10 in the four seasons before 2020.
the only problem is that hyder is a free agent this offseason once again. If the 49ers want to opt for production over potential, they should cut ties with Ford and let Hyder work full-time again for the 2021 season.
biggest disappointment: jimmy garappolo
Whatever plans the 49ers had for Garappolo have fallen by the wayside in his time with the team. Unfortunately, Garappolo has struggled to stay healthy in his time with the 49ers and only played one full season in 2019. However, after an ankle injury and poor play while healthy this season and turning 30, Garappolo retired. It has become a big disappointment. . he will likely find himself preparing for a new team next season.
a burning question
who is the quarterback for 2021?
The garappolo experiment hasn’t gone as planned for the 49ers. After starting his career at Bahia 5-0, Garappolo has dealt with various injuries and hasn’t been a major player on offense when he’s healthy. Garappolo led his team to a 3-3 record before suffering another season-ending injury and threw for seven touchdowns on five interceptions. Rumors have spread that Deshaun Watson would be a possible trade option for the team. They have the proven talent to influence the Houston Texans to potentially do it. Or do they go after a quarterback in the draft and trade him? however, one thing is for sure. garappolo has not lived up to the contract they gave him. plus, the team would free up $20 million or more if he traded or cut it.
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