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Murph: The 49ers were two different teams in the first half of 2022, which one is the real one?

© Gary A. Vasquez | 2022 Oct 30

The 49ers bye week is a time for reflection, and to paraphrase George W. Bush:

Man, this is some weird stuff.

An 11-10 loss to the Broncos? Weird.

A 27-7 win over the Seahawks? Not weird.

A 19-10 loss to the Bears? Weird.

A 37-15 win over the Panthers? Not weird.

A 28-14 loss to the Falcons? Weird.

A season sweep of the Rams? Not weird.

A late summer signing of Jimmy G? Weird.

Jimmy G being the QB now entrusted to win a Super Bowl? Even weirder.

Stunningly acquiring Christian McCaffrey, one of the top 50 players in the NFL? Weird, in the best possible way.

I know they say “Keep Austin Weird” down in Texas, but they haven’t seen the 2022 49ers.

The question we must grapple with is the same question we’ve kicked around on the show about the 2022 Giants and their miracle run to mediocrity: Do you believe the truth about the Giants franchise is closer in quality to the 81-win 2022 version, or the 107-win 2021 version? 

Sadly, we agreed that it’s closer to the 81-win.

We present the same question about the 2022 49ers: Is the truth about this team closer to the squad that produced awful losses at Denver and Chicago . . . or is the truth about this team closer to the squad that smoked the Rams last Sunday in a dazzling second half of “CMC and D” — McCaffrey’s exploits and a revitalized defense?

We will let you ponder that question, the ultimate “half empty or half full?” 49ers query, before revealing the Jock Blog’s take: 

This team is closer to really good than really bad.

And McCaffrey has a ton to do with that.

The 49ers defense has never been the concern. At least, it wasn’t until the injuries to Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw and Emmanuel Moseley made it so, particularly in the Falcons and Chiefs games. But the belief that Armstead is returning, and perhaps Jason Verrett at corner, and maybe Kinlaw — plus their performance against the Rams — returned faith among the Faithful. Yes, challenges await with a second half that features Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray and Tyreek Hill, but the Nick Bosa-Fred Warner-Talanoa Hufanga crew is not what keeps 49ers fans up at night.

The 49ers offense has been the concern. Losing Trey Lance. Losing Elijah Mitchell. Jimmy G’s weird re-entry into our lives. George Kittle missing a couple of games early. Mike McGlinchey becoming a target on social media. The inexperienced interior offensive line.

Sometimes the offense hit. Lots of times the offense missed, particularly in the second half.

Then along came McCaffrey.

Yes, the price was high. But as Ed DeBartolo once reminded us: you must bring gluteus maximus, to get gluteus maximus. 

And McCaffrey brought the gluteus maximus at SoFi last week, completely changing the texture of the offense, and of Jimmy G’s options, and of the season. He did this without Deebo Samuel on the field, mind. 

Plus, if you saw it on Arik Armstead’s Instagram: he won the 49ers Halloween costume contest with a 10/10 Eminem outfit. 

The 49ers are half-full, not half-empty. The truth is, they’re closer to the good team than the bad team.

Not to back up and keep driving over the Giants in this analogy, but the move for McCaffrey is the sort of talent accumulation the baseball club has avoided. The 49ers traded for Trent Williams. They traded for Emmanuel Sanders. 

Now, they have McCaffrey. As the late great Hunter S Thompson once said: when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. The 49ers are about to turn pro the second half of this season.


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