1. Find a formula for team consistency
It has been an intriguing five-year run for head coach Kyle Shanahan in the Bay Area. He owns a combined 39-42 regular-season record and a 4-2 mark in the playoffs. The last four years, the 49ers have alternated losing and winning campaigns. The team finished 4-12 in 2018 and 6-10 in ’10. The Niners were 13-3 in ’19 and reached Super Bowl LIV. This past year, the club was 10-7 and made its way to the NFC Championship Game.
This past season, Shanahan’s squad opened 2-0 and then lost four straight and five of their next six games. With a 3-5 record, the club bounced back to win seven of its final nine outings and finished 10-7 and in third place in the NFC West. The unpredictable 49ers swept the Rams during the regular season but were swept by the division-rival Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.
Upset road victories in the playoffs over the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers had the Niners in the NFC title game for the second time in three years. But this time it was Los Angeles that came from behind as San Francisco squandered a 17-7 second-half lead and fell to the Rams, 20-17.
The 49ers’ up-and-down 2021 in some ways epitomized Shanahan’s tenure with the team. Regardless of who is on the roster in ’22, can this team make it consecutive winning seasons for the first time since Jim Harbaugh led the franchise to three straight playoff appearances from 2011-13?