Originally posted by kem99:
Aren't you forgetting a few things....
1. The 2011 defense created a ton of turnovers, which led to points, kept the other team from scoring, etc. This year has been better than 2012 but not on par with 2011 in terms of creating turnovers.
2. The 49ers had an easier schedule in 2011 coming off another losing season and snuck up on some teams. Remember, going into 2011, it was generally expected that the 49ers would be among the worst teams in the league again with Alex Smith starting at QB. The 49ers are certainly not sneaking up on anyone now. In fact, they have to take every team's best shot.
3. Somewhat related to #2, the NFC was a disaster in 2011 other than the 49ers. Now its the best division in football, including Seattle being 10-1, whereas the 49ers would be leading the NFC East and tied for first in the NFC North.
4. The 2011 team didn't throw the ball any better than this year's team. Smith had plenty of pedestrian passing games throughout the season. They did run the ball better (Gore was 2 years younger with less carries than he has now), the defense was a little better and forced more turnovers and the special teams were exceptional (whereas this year, they've been very good at times and not so good at other times).
5. Put all the rest of it aside, the 2011 team managed to win close games. For example, in 2011, the 49ers went to Detroit to face a red hot Lions 5-0 team in their dome and the 49ers pull out a victory on the last play of the game with Smith's pass to Walker, who just gets into the endzone. This year, 49ers go to New Orleans, have the lead late, sack Brees and recover a fumble to probably seal the game but its wiped out by a penalty and the Saints go on to win.
6. There's a reason no losing SB team has made it back in so long and many don't make the playoffs. There's a certain funk teams seem to be in where something is just a little off the entire season and more guys have down years that breakout seasons. That's the history the 49ers were fighting going into 2013 and we are seeing it play out in front of us.
We can microanalyze Kaep, the playcalling, Roman, the run defense, the pass defense, Harbaugh, Mangini, Fangio, LMJ, Crabtree's injury, Kyle Williams, etc. but if the 49ers get 1 more FG against Carolina and the penalty isn't called on Brooks, they're probably 8-2, on a 7 game winning streak and everybody's happy. The real difference is not finding a way to pull out games against Carolina and New Orleans like the teams in 2011 and 2012 generally did.
we do lead the league in points off of turnovers though