The general understanding regarding the San Francisco 49ers is that they are a superb defensive team, probably the best in the NFL, scoring points through an efficient, conservative offensive game, mostly based on a powerful running game. Think again: The 49ers are simply have a great offense.
They had a little glitch in the system on week 3, losing 24-13 to the Minnesota Vikings. But how did they recover from that? With two big wins over AFC East weakling. Beating the New York Jets 34-0 and then the Buffalo Bills 45-3. In their win over the Bills, the 49ers weren’t just good, they were historically good.
They had 621 yards of offense, which is a franchise record. But this was also the first time an NFL team had over 300 yards of both rushing and passing: Alex Smith threw for 303 yards on a nearly perfect, 18-24, 3 touchdown day (and 7 more yards thrown by Colin Kaepernik), while the Frank Gore led running game (106 yards) ran for 311 yards. This was also the most yards the Bills have ever given up.
More impressive, possibly, was the 49ers averaging 9.86 yards per play, the second highest average since 1951. The St. Louis Rams in 2000, the greatest show on turf, averaged 9.90 against the Chargers in a 57-31 win. The 49ers seem to have the complete package – the number on defense in the NFL, allowing just 13.6 points per game so far, and an offense that is much more than just “give the ball to Frank Gore.”
At the moment, they’re gaining nearly 6.1 yards on every run play. That is on pace with the best ground attack in history, 0.32 yards better than the Cleveland Browns in 1963. And how about Alex Smith? The quarterback everyone dissed two years ago has the best passer rating in the NFL, with 108.7. Higher than Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
They win their games by an average of 24 points per game and are the only team in the NFL with two +31 wins this season. The only other team with one win like that are the Chicago Bears, who ran over the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend.
Great numbers don’t always win Super Bowls, as the New England Patriots from 2007 taught everyone, despite posting record breaking numbers that year. The 49ers have another “to prove” game this weekend, playing the New York Giants; the team that knocked them out in the NFC championship game last year. A win over the champions, even by far less than 30 points, will be another notch on the belt of what looks like the best team in the NFL.