Having fought a myriad of injuries, the 49ers (6-2) have showed incredible depth, with playmakers arising throughout the roster showing Super Bowl poise and charisma.
With several major aerial offensive threats sidelined, the 49ers have relied on a ground-and-pound rushing attack, leading the league in rushing, averaging 153 yards per game rushing. RB Frank Gore, who is third in the NFL in rushing yards and second in rushing TDs, has just eight receptions, however.
Last year’s top two wide receivers, Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham will be returning from injuries soon, immediately aiding QB Colin Kaepernick in stretching out the offense through the air. Through eight games, the offense has only four receivers with double-digit receptions, with Anquan Boldin (39) and Vernon Davis (29) atop the list.
The defense will get a boost with Aldon Smith (team-leading 4.5 sacks, despite missing five games) likely joining the 49ers’ Fog City Wrecking Crew defense on Nov. 10 when they battle the Panthers and QB Cam Newton after the team’s bye week. In the face of several injuries, the defense has been holding it’s own, allowing 18.1 points per game, compiling nine INTs, three each by rookie safety Eric Reid and CB Tramaine Brock. Special teams have been a critical component to the 49ers’ recent success, with an array of unheralded heroes such as veteran Kassim Osgood.
Though fighting penalty and discipline gremlins through a 1-2 start, the team has overcome those woes, scoring 73 more points than their opponents on the year, principally due to their current five-game winning streak, in which they have scored over 30 points in all five games.
With several playmakers returning and stellar depth, the 49ers have the tools to make yet another Super Bowl push, and should contend to bring a sixth Lombardi trophy home to Santa Clara.