5 Best San Francisco 49ers During 2013-14 NFL Season
Top Playmakers for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 Season
The San Francisco 49ers did not achieve the team's ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi trophy this season, but several playmakers stood out and served as breakout performers through the season. The team's shortcomings in the NFC Championship game put a bad taste in the mouths of 49ers fans everywhere, but these players' improvement and consistency should have the fan base hopeful for future success.
The team came out of the gate like gangbusters in the season opener and demonstrated why the 49ers were one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl. Although the team found success early, everyone knew the 49ers could not play at that level consistently throughout a long season.
After one of the greatest performances of all time in the opener, the 49ers procceeded to trend downward losing four of the next nine games and the offense became completely anemic. This marked the point in the season where fans started to question if this team was really a contender and caused outcry regarding the quarterback position.
After a rough stretch in the season, the 49ers went on an improbable streak to finish out the regular season. San Francisco rode a six-game winning streak to a Wild Card berth into the playoffs where the team was set to make some noise.
This winning streak featured improvements on both sides of the ball, and the re-insertion of Michael Crabtree to the lineup did wonders for the offense. The 49ers went on to win two hard fought playoff wins that earned the team a spot in the NFC Championship where the team was a play away from returning to the Super Bowl.
The season did not turn out like many had hoped at the beginning of the season, but these breakout performers carried the team further than most teams this season. These five playmakers have what it takes to lead the 49ers in the 2014 season that will once again feature championship aspirations.
Greg Douglas is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.
The most crucial player to the 49ers' offensive improvements in 2013 was the third-year QB, and another year in the system will only help the young quarterback going forward. Colin Kaepernick's postseason play illustrates why he will be the starting quarterback for years to come. Kaepernick has what it takes to lead the team to new heights going forward, and no one should bet against this dual-threat sensation.
The most consistent receiving threat throughout the season was without a doubt Anquan Boldin. He posted yet another 1,000-yard receiving season and struck fear in the hearts of opposing defenses. Boldin is scheduled to be a free agent this summer, but he is one player the 49ers cannot afford to lose.
After several special teams catastrophes in recent years, Phil Dawson served as Mr. Reliable in the kicking game. Dawson had a shaky start to the season, but became automatic down the stretch and was vital to the 49ers' success late in the season. The veteran's leg sealed several walkoff wins while providing a sense of security to the 49ers' once erratic situation.
The unsung hero and anchor to the 49ers' defense was Navorro Bowman. He led the team in tackles and had two interceptions and four forced fumbles on the season. Bowman lived up to the pure warrior spirit of the game when he sacrificed himself to try and recover a fumble late in the NFC Championship game. Bowman provided the team with leadership and heart that the team thrived off of throughout the season.
Eric Reid was third on the team in tackles and second in interceptions. This do-it-all player anchored one of the best secondaries in the league and inspired others to play through the pain. The young safety will be a staple in this defense for years to come and has the opportunity to become one of the top defensive players in the game.