Five bold 2022 49ers predictions revisited
Everybody likes to point out when they are right, I’m no different.
As the 49ers pick up the pieces from a season which fell short of expectations, I thought now would be a good time to show where I missed as well.
Prior to the season I gave five bold predictions for the 2022 season. Let’s see how I did:
1.) Jeff Wilson Jr. will lead the 49ers in rushing touchdowns. WRONG
A midseason trade brought Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco from Carolina. McCaffrey finished as the 49ers leader in rushing touchdowns with six in just 11 game.
Seeing his playing time reduced, Wilson Jr. requested a trade and was sent to Miami following San Francisco’s week 8 win over the Rams. In his eight games with the 49ers, Wilson Jr. finished the same number of rushing touchdowns and fumbles lost, two.
2.) The defense will record the most sacks in a season under Kyle Shanahan. WRONG
Nick Bosa finished with a league leading 18.5 sacks. He didn’t get much help as the rest of the defensive line struggled to take down the quarterback.
Samson Ebukam recorded a career-high five sacks, second most on the team and Charles Omenihu was third with four and a half.
Drake Jackson had a strong start to his rookie season, getting to opposing quarterbacks three times over the first six games to finish fourth.
Jackson wore down as the season progressed, finding himself inactive during the playoffs after playing more that 15 snaps just once in the 49ers final four regular season games.
3.) The 49ers will throw for fewer yards than a season ago. CORRECT
San Francisco finished with 3,856 passing yards in 2022, down from 4,221 the season before despite having just two fewer attempts.
Trey Lance lasted just five quarters before being lost for the season with a broken ankle on a designed run.
Jimmy Garoppolo stepped in and was having his best year as a 49er before suffering a broken foot while trying to avoid a blitzing Miami Dolphins defender in week 13.
Brock Purdy took over for Garoppolo and didn’t lose a game until he too went down with an injury against Philadelphia in the NFC championship game.
The musical chairs at quarterback and injuries to their top receiver from the year before along with George Kittle were prime factors in the drop off.
4.) Deebo Samuel will surpass 1,000 receiving yards for the second year in a row. WRONG
Samuel started out slow after missing the beginning of camp training camp due to a contract dispute with the 49ers.
In addition to the slow start, Samuel missed multiple games due to injuries throughout the season.
Injuries were just one factor which limited Samuel in 2022.
The receiver saw a large drop off in downfield targets this season as his average depth of target dropped from 8.4 to just 4.3. As a result, opposing defenses did a better job of limiting Samuel to an average of 8.8 yards after the catch, the lowest total since his rookie season in 2019.
5.) The defense will record the most interceptions in a season since 2014. CORRECT
San Francisco’s defense recorded 20 interceptions in 2022, the most under Kyle Shanahan.
Jimmie Ward went down to injury during training camp, opening the door for Tashaun Gipson to step in at safety.
In Gipson and first year starter Talanoa Hufanga the 49ers found a pair of ball hawks. The duo combined to record nine interceptions, the most by a 49ers safety tandem since Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid had seven in 2014.
Despite being move to nickelback upon his return from injury Jimmie Ward recorded a career-high with three interceptions.
In total 11 different 49ers recorded at least one interception.