Broncos at 49ers: Behind Enemy Lines with Niner Noise
We go behind enemy lines to chat with Chris Wilson from Niner Noise and get his takes on the 49ers ahead of their matchup with the Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos travel to Santa Clara, California to take on the San Francisco 49ers. It marks the first meeting between the two teams in the regular season since 2014. In that game, we saw Peyton Manning pass Brett Farve for most touchdown passes in a career. It was a dominate performance by the Broncos.
Fast forward four years later, and the teams have dealt with major changed. Peyton Manning and Colin Kaepernick are no longer the quarterbacks for the Broncos and 49ers respectfully. The Broncos will see Nick Mullens and the 49ers will see Case Keenum.
As far as the 2018 season goes, both teams are in opposite directions. The Broncos are fighting for the final playoff spot with a handful of teams. The 49ers were eliminated from the postseason and are playing for nothing but pride and the future the rest of the way.
Denver should not look past this 2-10 49ers team. While there has been success recently, Vance Joseph’s road record is still not solid. And it may look like a win on paper, but that is why they play the game.
Hoping to get more information on our opponent, we turn it to Chris Wilson, who writes for the FanSided site Niner Noise.
The San Francisco 49ers are dealing with a rough season. What exactly has gone wrong with this team, one that had promise?
Expectations were certainly high for the San Francisco 49ers entering this season. After finishing the 2017 season with a five-game winning streak thanks to their new franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, many fans expected a playoff run for the Niners in 2018. Instead, many Niner fans are now aiming for the top overall pick in next year’s draft.
There are three main reasons why the 49ers are a two-win team this season: injuries, a lack of development by recent acquisitions and turnover differential – and the first two reasons are closely related.
The most impactful injury was obviously Garoppolo’s torn ACL, which essentially ended the 49ers’ season in Week 3. San Francisco never had a chance to see running back Jerick McKinnon in action due to a preseason knee injury, and the team’s top two receivers have managed to play only a handful of injury-free games. Defensively, the 49ers are on their fourth free safety and have cycled through defensive backs and linebackers throughout the season.
Aside from the addition of Garoppolo, hopes were high for San Francisco because they believed their 2017 draft class was elite. Now three months into the season, opinions have changed. The 49ers had five selections in the first four rounds, and two of those early draftees – linebacker Reuben Foster and running back Joe Williams – are no longer with the team. Meanwhile, quarterback C.J. Beathard lost his job to an undrafted free agent, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is the favorite target of opposing QBs, and third-overall pick Solomon Thomas can’t find a place to play on the defensive line. Even “late-round steals” Trent Taylor and Adrian Colbert have been no-show’s due to injury and poor play. The real steal of the draft was fifth-rounder George Kittle, who may be the most complete tight end in the NFL.
As for turnover differential, the 49ers sit dead last in the league with a turnover margin of -20. The Niners have actually improved in his metric over the second half of the season, as the team was on pace to break the NFL’s turnover differential record earlier in the year: