2020 Season Preview: Few experts picked the 49ers to reach the Super Bowl in 2019. Now many experts are picking them to make a return trip. The team lost some important players but replaced them and, most importantly, the San Francisco pass defense still looks strong. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should be better in 2020, with all kinds of weapons to choose from: Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Kyle Juszczyk make up a great backfield, while George Kittle and Deebo Samuel are quality receiving targets. Young superstar Nick Bosa, veteran Richard Sherman, and rookie lineman Javon Kinlaw lead the defense.
January 19, 2020: Raheem Mostert ran for 220 yards and scored four touchdowns against the Packers in the NFC Championship. He broke the record for most rushing yards in a conference title game, which had stood for 55 years. Mostert had been cut by six NFL teams before winning a job with the 49ers.
2019 Season Roundup: San Francsico’s short passing game resulted in 479 points and 13 wins—not bad for a team that many picked to miss the playoffs. That was the beginning of a run to the Super Bowl, which they led 20–10 before falling to the Chiefs. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and receiver George Kittle were the stars of the offense, while Richard Sherman, DeForest Buckner, and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa led the defense.
2019 Season Preview: The ’Niners went into the off-season with a long shopping list of needs and mostly filled them. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns to the field after a knee injury and will be making use of speedy tight end George Kittle, who had a great season in 2018. Big things are expected from running back Dante Pettis, and from the team’s pass rushers, who did not get the job done last year.
2018 Season Roundup: The 49ers had a losing record for the fourth year in a row. Back-to-back wins in December got them to four for the season. A knee injury ended quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s season after a promising start and the offense never recovered. Tight end George Kittle had a breakout season and fullback Kyle Juszczyk made the Pro Bowl for the second time as a 49er. On defense, DeForest Buckner showed the ability to become an elite pass rusher.
2018 Season Preview: San Francisco fans are excited about quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be playing his first full season in the team’s complicated offense. One reason it’s complicated is the 49ers’ lack of star receivers. Running back Jerick McKinnon, signed as a free agent, should be one of Garoppolo’s favorite targets in 2018. The defense will be led by newcomer Richard Sherman and DeForest Buckner, who might be the best lineman in the NFC West.
2017 Season Roundup: The 49ers were a disaster in the first nine games of the season, going 0–9. Suddenly they turned into a great team, going 6–1 the rest of the way. The fact is that five of those early losses came in close games. Coach Kyle Shanahan got solid seasons from a team that never gave up, which give San Francisco fans hope for an exciting 2018 season.
2017 Season Preview: San Francisco fans are still trying to figure out how their team won only two games last year. The offense is looking better for 2017, and there is plenty of young talent on the roster. If the team comes together and a few stars emerge, the ’Niners could triple their victory total from 2016.
2016 Season Roundup: The good news in 2016 for 49ers fans was that they beat their arch rivals, the Rams, twice. The bad news was that San Francisco lost its other 14 games. The team fired its coach and general manager and began looking toward 2017. It will build off of a handful of 2016 standouts, including Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Kerley, and DeForest Buckner.
2016 Season Preview: The big news for 49ers fans in 2016 was the hiring of head coach Chip Kelly. His offense-first approach would have been a big help in 2015, when the team had one of the league’s worst. He doesn’t have much to work with, but Kelly is known for getting the best from what he’s got. The defense should be good with several talented rookies joining a group led by linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
2015 Season Preview: Colin Kaepernick was asked to carry the 49ers last year and he paid the price with a ton of quarterback sacks. This year, he’ll have help from running back Carlos Hyde and a group of good young defensive players. They will have to fill in for Patrick Willis and other veterans who are no longer wearing the San Francisco uniform.
September 1, 2014: San Francisco fans feel that the 49ers offense never got to fire on all cylinders in 2013. If that is so, then Colin Kaeprnick could be ready to bust out in 2014 with an MVP year. Whatever, the offense does, the team will win or lose based on the performance of its defense, which is less than 100% heading into the season.
September 4, 2013: The 49ers changed the balance of power in the NFC West when they inserted Colin Kaepernick at quarterback midway through the 2012 season. San Francisco already had a tremendous defense, and still does. Will it be enough to hold off the constantly improving Seahawks? That may rely on contributions from other unexpected sources, like receiver Ricardo Lockette, who spent the off-season working out with—you guessed it—Colin Kaepernick.
February 4, 2013: The 49ers fell behind early in Super Bowl XLVII, but staged a breathtaking comeback against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half. Their effort fell short, as San Francisco lost 34–31. It marked the first time the 49ers lost in the Super Bowl.
January 20, 2013: The 49ers erased a 17-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship. Frank Gore scored the winning TD to send San Francisco to the Super Bowl.
January 12, 2013: Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards in a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. That set a record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback—no one had ever run for more in a regular-season or postseason game.
October 7, 2012: In a 45–3 blowout of the Buffalo Bills, the 49ers gained 303 yards passing and 318 yards rushing. No team had ever gained 300-plus yards on the ground and in the air in the same game before.
September 9, 2012: In a game against the Green Bay Packers, David Akers booted a 63-yard field goal. The kick hit the crossbar and bounced through to tie a record shared by Tom Dempsey, Sebastian Janikowski, and Jason Elam.
Summer, 2012: The great San Francisco defense is back for another try at the NFC Championship in 2012. With Alex Smith gaining confidence and Frank Gore playing injury-free, the only thing keeping the 49ers from another big year is a tough late-season schedule, beginning Thanksgiving Day.