Sure, after two horrendous loses in week's 2 and 3, the 49ers looked like the team we expected them to be in week four as they laid a beating on the Rams, 35-11. After their huge win weak one, the 49ers have not quite been the same and have some obstacles to overcome in order to catch up with the first place Seahawks.
First off, I know everyone is fretting about the defense, and what's going to happen with the Aldon Smith situation. Who's going to make up for his pass rush? Will he be the same player when he rejoins the team next month? Well, we really won't know the answer to the 2nd question until he does finish his rehab stint and rejoins the team, but the 49ers did do some things on defense in order to get after Sam Bradford Thursday, and they're going to have to keep getting creative over the next few weeks in order to keep that same type of pass rush. Although they're improving little by little, the Rams are still one of the easier teams to beat in the NFL, and a team the 49ers have just owned over the last few years. Seeing them take care of St. Louis like that, while re-assuring, is hardly a sign of this team being back on track after their disastrous week 2 and 3 performances. The one thing the 49ers do have working in their favor though, is they don't have an extremely tough schedule over the next 6 weeks. After they host Houston next weekend, they have a string of games vs. teams they should handle. However, I thought they'd handily Indy with ease at home in week 3, and we all saw how that turned out, so we can't jump ahead of ourselves too much.
Despite the apparent defensive fall off the 49ers have suffered in 2013, it's been the offense which has garnered much of the concern through the first quarter of the season. Colin Kaepernick looked like he was ready to join MVP discussions after shredding the Packers week 1, but since then, he's looked like an average/below average signal caller. In 3 games since that victory, Kaep has thrown for a total of 434 yards, 4 interceptions and just 2 touchdowns (both coming in Thursday's win). Despite all the success the young QB has had early in his career, we still must remember that this kid has only started 14 regular season games total. Sure he lit it up in the playoffs, but he's still a young guy with some learning to do, so I wasn't nearly as panicked after those two blowout losses as most were. I also wasn't overly impressed with his play vs. the Rams on Thursday night. I think he'll only get better, but my concern here is the offensive weapons around him. Vernon Davis has been a bit banged up and hasn't been able to go full-out since week one. Opposing defenses are really starting to zero in on Anquan Boldin too, which is going to force other players to start making plays and right now there just aren't many getting the job done.
On the positive side, the 49ers should be getting Mario Manningham after week 6, which should be a huge boost, but if I'm Trent Baalke, I'm taking a long look at the trade market to see if there are any wideouts available that could come in and make a difference.