When Kyle Shanahan was hired by the San Francisco 49ers, it was considered a great move. Then the results didn’t follow for the first couple years.
There were good reasons, undoubtedly. Still, he was 10-22 through two seasons. He was never on the hot seat, but might have found himself there with a similar third season.
No need to worry about that. The 49ers are 7-0 and have been very impressive all season. Their 51-13 demolition of a Carolina Panthers team that had won four games in a row is yet another sign that the 49ers aren’t going anywhere. Now that we can see tangible evidence of Shanahan’s value as a head coach, it seems safe to guess the 49ers might be contenders for a while.
49ers’ run game has been dominant
The signature of a Shanahan offense, whether it was Mike Shanahan for many years or Kyle these days, is gashing teams in the run game with the zone-blocking scheme. The running backs don’t even matter. They’ll all produce.
The NFL is a passing league, but the 49ers are practically unstoppable on the ground. On Sunday it was Tevin Coleman’s turn to shine. He had four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving. Coleman finished with 105 rushing yards.
It hasn’t mattered whether it has been Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson or Coleman. The 49ers have been able to run the ball on anyone, no matter to whom they hand it. The stellar running game complements their top-tier defense perfectly. And Emmanuel Sanders, who scored a touchdown in his first game since the 49ers acquired him in a trade with the Broncos, should give a nice boost to the passing game.
San Francisco’s defense plays well again
The highlight of Sunday’s game belonged to first-round pick Nick Bosa. With the 49ers already blowing out the Panthers, Kyle Allen tried passing to his left. Bosa jumped and pulled the ball out of the air. He had a long return after that to set up another 49ers score. That type of athleticism is why Bosa was the No. 2 overall pick of the draft.
The 49ers did what they usually do. They rush the quarterback very well with their front four, and the aggressive secondary can make plays behind hit. Allen has played fairly well in place of Cam Newton, but he was overwhelmed on Sunday. There wasn’t much time for him to throw, and when he did get a chance to throw it deep his receivers were covered well.
The 49ers and Patriots are the last two undefeated teams in the NFL, and they have a similar template. They can run the ball well and the defense is stifling. There’s another common thread between the teams: They’re very well coached. Shanahan doesn’t have the resume of Bill Belichick, but he’s proving to be an asset on the sideline.
Since Jim Harbaugh’s departure, it has been a long road back for the 49ers. Shanahan has brought them back to relevance in an unmistakable way.
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