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Sport Unbeaten 49ers have that 2014 Warriors feel about them

07:05  14 october  2019
07:05  14 october  2019 Source:   sfchronicle.com

Draymond Green: ‘Some teams, you’ve got idiots’ in terms of IQ, but not the Warriors

  Draymond Green: ‘Some teams, you’ve got idiots’ in terms of IQ, but not the Warriors The Golden State Warriors haven't tipped off their preseason yet but starting forward Draymond Green is already dishing feasts of quotes.The Warriors stars are known for their basketball IQ. The players are so adept at the game that coach Steve Kerr is keen to let them figure things out for themselves rather than draw up a play when they're struggling. Whether "basketball IQ" was a specific job requirement is unclear, but it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't be important to Kerr and the rest of the coaching staff.

The 2014 San Francisco 49 ers season was the franchise's 65th season in the National Football League, the 69th overall and the fourth under the head coach/general manager tandem of Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke.

According to the metrics, San Francisco are on par with era-defining teams. But look beneath the numbers and they have worrying deficiencies.

LOS ANGELES - The Warriors surprised the NBA five years ago when they went into the season looking like an improved team, then hopped aboard a rocket to the moon.

The 49ers are giving off that same kind of vibe.

I’m not predicting they’ll go to the Super Bowl five seasons in a row, starting with this one. But after Sunday’s 20-7 beatdown of the once-mighty Rams, the 49ers have a chance to be the bust-out NFL team of the season.

Boring? Not anymore. There is a legit excitement and a buzz around the 5-0 49ers.

Sunday’s win was their most impressive, and it’s getting harder and harder to call the 49ers a fluke.

“We won all these (five) games differently,” said quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. “That’s what a good football team is.”

Five games in, the 49ers’ identify is taking shape, and considering that they are undefeated, the shape is pretty good.

Can they be the football version of the Warriors? Well, they’ve got some of the same elements.

A defense, for starters. The Warriors, for all their glamour, built their mini dynasty on rock-solid defense. Sunday, the 49ers got steamrolled by the Rams on the game’s opening drive, then dug in and pitched a stone-cold shutout for 55 minutes and 25 seconds—against a team that only last season was lighting up the NFL like it was playing pinball.

The Warriors had (and still have) professor Ron Adams coaching D. The 49ers have defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who is quietly working his way into superstar status, and, after he celebrated a goal-line stand with a sideline boogie, is a solid candidate for “Dancing With The Stars.”

The 49ers don’t have a Draymond Green leading the way, but they have four or five genuine defensive playmakers, and it’s getting harder for opponents to find weaknesses.

Kyle Shanahan can talk all he wants about how his team can still do things better, clean up a lot of stuff. Horsefeathers. If all the 49ers do the rest of the season is hold every opponent to seven points and 165 yards, and zero third-down conversions (in nine tries), Shanahan can take his disclaimers to Miami next February.

Shanahan is another reason the 49ers are the Warriors. He’s the new (-ish) coach with brilliant offensive ideas, beautifully tailored to the talent on hand.

Steve Kerr rode into town with an innovative offense borrowed from some of his great teachers, tweaked it to fit Stephen Curry, and crossed his fingers that it would work.

Shanahan is three years into the job, but his brilliance is just starting to peek through like sun through the fog. He knows Garoppolo might not be ready to carry the offense all by himself, so he has developed the running game.

Sunday, the Rams held the 49ers to half their usual running yardage, 99 yards, but Garoppolo threw for 243 yards, completing 24 of 33 passes.

In the Warriors’ bust-out season, Curry shot down critics who said he was soft and physically vulnerable (ankles). Garoppolo is making his Curry-like statement of arrival. After an ugly training camp and a shaky start, there was talk that Garoppolo might be hampered by his surgically-repaired knee.

He seemed almost nonchalant against a solid Rams’ rush Sunday, hanging in the pocket to unload some nice late passes. He was a couple of dropped passes away from breaking up the game much earlier.

Fragile? Garoppolo scored the 49ers’ second touchdown on a one-yard sneak. He took a hard sack to end the 49ers’ first drive of the game, and had another sack wiped out on a penalty, but he bounced off the grass and ended the first half zinging the ball with confidence.

Garoppolo is no Steph Curry, probably never will rise to that level of greatness. He still has some rough edges to be sanded off before he gets boosted into elite status, but folks have stopped talking about how the 49ers can dump Jimmy G’s contract at the end of the season.

The 49ers have evolved quickly from one of the most boring teams in sports to one of the more exciting in football. That’s due to overall team excellence, but they have a handful of legit playmakers, none more explosive than tight end George Kittle.

Kittle was questionable to suit up, with a groin injury that Shanahan swore was legit, not just a gamesmanship. So Kittle caught all eight passes thrown his way, for 103 yards, including a tackle-busting 45 yard ramble early in the second quarter.

Kittle uses smog like Popeye uses spinach. Last year in this house, Kittle caught nine passes for 149 yards in the season finale to bust the NFL season record for tight-end passing yardage.

The 49ers, like the Warriors, travel well. The Coliseum was about three-quarters full Sunday, and at least half the fans came to cheer for the 49ers.

You can curb your enthusiasm for the 49ers, and Shanahan will thank you for your restraint. But as the Warriors can tell you, when you’re ready, you’re ready.

Scott Ostler is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @scottostler

Video by NFL

Coleman's 4 TDs lead 49ers past Panthers 51-13 .
Tevin Coleman scored three of his four touchdowns in the first half, rookie Nick Bosa had three sacks to go along with an acrobatic interception and the San Francisco 49ers remained unbeaten with a 51-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in their highest-scoring game in 26 years. 

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