2024 Super Bowl: Under-the-radar moves that got 49ers to NFL’s championship game for second time in five years

The San Francisco 49ers arguably have the most talented roster in the NFL, certainly one of the major reasons why they’re playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. The team has star players across the board (Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Trent Williams, Fred Warner, Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave), but it’s the under-the-radar moves that truly has the 49ers playing for a championship. 

These offseason moves weren’t the ones that garnered all the headlines during free agency and the coaching-hiring cycle, but they are why the 49ers here heading to Las Vegas. These are three moves that are why the 49ers are trying to win their first title since 1994. 

Hiring Steve Wilks as DC

The 49ers were already talented on defense, but losing DeMeco Ryans to a head-coaching job was massive. San Francisco was first in the NFL and points and yards allowed per game in 2022 under Ryans, so there was a high bar set for whomever was going to take over as his successor at defensive coordinator. 

The Carolina Panthers passing on Wilks as head coach was the 49ers’ gain. San Francisco was third in points per game allowed and eighth in yards per game allowed, but Wilks improved the pass defense from 23rd in yards allowed per game (first in pass touchdowns allowed) to eighth. San Francisco also led the NFL with 22 interceptions after having 20 last season (also first). 

The opponent passer rating decreased from 82.7 (sixth in NFL) to 79.6 (fourth). The pressure rate increased from 34.4% (12th) to 39.6% (seventh). The sack rate improved from 6.9% (14th) to 7.2% (18th). 

Wilks was the right hire by the 49ers, and the dividends are being paid. 

Re-signing Jake Brendel to four-year deal 

The 49ers weren’t active in free agency with multiyear deals. Outside of signing Hargrave away from the Philadelphia Eagles, bringing back Brendel for four years and $16.5 million wasn’t noteworthy…


Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/2024-super-bowl-under-the-radar-moves-that-got-49ers-to-nfls-championship-game-for-second-time-in-five-years/

Author : Jeff Kerr

Publish date : 2024-02-05 16:42:04

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