Kyle Shanahan’s team appeared on the verge of reaching the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. But the San Francisco 49ers came up just short.
It took Kyle Shanahan’s team quite a few months to figure out what kind of team they would be. After finishing as the NFC’s top seed with a 13-3 record and reaching Super Bowl LIV, the San Francisco 49ers fell to 6-10 and dead last in the NFC West.
So would the 2021 edition of the Niners be closer to that team that owned a 10-point fourth-quarter lead against the Chiefs on Super Sunday? Or would this be another year when injuries and inconsistent play plagued the club?
After a sluggish start, Kyle Shanahan’s club got hot when it mattered most. The team finished 10-7 and grabbed a wild card spot. Wins at Dallas and at Green Bay and the club owned a 17-7 lead in the NFC title game before succumbing to the Rams, 20-17.
This is a talented team that this time around overcame its share of injuries and emerged as a Super Bowl contender. However, this franchise still hasn’t won a Super Bowl since the 1994 season. How can Shanahan and general manager John Lynch get this team over the hump?
3. 49ers must make a decision at quarterback sooner than later
Last April, San Francisco 49ers’ general manager gave up plenty to move up to the third spot in the NFL draft to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. He wound up making two starts this season when Jimmy Garoppolo was unavailable.
Speaking of the eight-year prone, while he remains one of the NFL’s more accurate passers, he remains prone to mistakes. Garoppolo made 15 starts during the regular season and threw for 20 scores but also turned over the ball 15 times. During the Niners’ three-game postseason run, he threw only a pair of touchdown passes.
No doubt Garoppolo has his share of critics. And his inability to stay healthy on a consistent basis does work against him a bit. But as a starter, he owns a successful win-loss record (for what that is truly worth).
Is it indeed possible that the organization gives Garoppolo another year as the starter behind center and let Lance sit another season? That doesn’t appear likely after the team invested so much in moving up to take Lance. But it makes for an intriguing story for a team that was one game away from Super Bowl LVI.