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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports


Where the 49ers stand in Week 7 power rankings after first loss of season

Oct 17, 2023 at 9:09 AM--


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In an unexpected turn of events, the San Francisco 49ers, riding high as the unanimous top-ranked team in power rankings, stumbled in Week 6. Kyle Shanahan's squad suffered their first defeat in nearly a year, falling to the Cleveland Browns 19-17 on Sunday and snapping an impressive 15-game regular-season winning streak.

Quarterback Brock Purdy turned in his ugliest performance as a starter, finishing the game 12 of 27 for 125 yards, one touchdown, and an interception, resulting in a career-low passer rating (as a starter) of 55.3. The performance left some analysts questioning the second-year player's competence.

Still, Purdy did enough in the end to get the 49ers in position to kick a game-winning field goal, but rookie Jake Moody's kick sailed wide right in the game's closing seconds.

The injury bug bit hard for the 49ers. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel suffered a shoulder injury early in the first quarter while running back Christian McCaffrey exited with an oblique/rib injury in the third quarter. These setbacks impacted the team's offensive rhythm. Tackle Trent Williams suffered an ankle injury but remained in the game, playing through the pain.

The 49ers missed an opportunity to increase their lead in the race for home-field advantage and are now one of three remaining 5-1 teams in the NFC, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions being the others.

San Francisco hopes to rebound on Monday night in a road game against the Minnesota Vikings, a contest that could help shape the narrative surrounding the 49ers for the remainder of their season.

What does the national media think about the Niners' roster compared to the rest of the league? Below is a sample of some of the more prominent power rankings around the web and where San Francisco currently stands within each. As always, the highest rankings are listed first.

ESPN
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 1
"The Niners' biggest offseason change came at defensive coordinator: DeMeco Ryans left to become the Houston Texans' head coach, and Steve Wilks took over in San Francisco. There have been a few hiccups in the first six weeks, but Wilks' group has largely held its standing as one of the best units in the league. San Francisco is third in points allowed (87), fourth in defensive efficiency (74.5) and third in defensive expected points added (43.31). There's room for improvement, particularly when it comes to sacks and run defense, but the defense is still a strength for a 5-1 team." — Nick Wagoner

NFL.com
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 1
"Sunday's loss to the Browns was easily Brock Purdy's worst game of the season, and his struggles shouldn't be glossed over, but I bet a lot of people ready to cut him down don't realize just how good Cleveland's defense is. Anyone who watched that game realized how tough a spot he was put in. Brandon Aiyuk dropped a would-be TD, the offense committed six penalties (12 total by San Francisco) and there were big injuries to Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams. Purdy also drove the 49ers to a spot where the game would have been won if not for Jake Moody's errant field-goal attempt. The penalties are a big issue (the Niners lead the league with 45), but the most surprising development was seeing the Browns clearly winning the physical battle up front. San Francisco stays on top for now, given how the rest of the week played out in the NFL." — Eric Edholm

The Ringer
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 1
"There are a lot of excuses to sift through after the 49ers lost to a Browns team quarterbacked by PJ Walker in Cleveland, but none of them feel like blueprint material. Quarterback Brock Purdy had an off day in the rain. Rookie kicker Jake Moody missed the first two field goals of his career, including a 41-yarder that would have won it for the 49ers in the final seconds of regulation. The Browns defense is an absolute juggernaut. Oh, and linebacker Dre Greenlaw, left tackle Trent Williams, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and, perhaps most importantly, running back Christian McCaffrey all missed at least some snaps in the game due to injuries. Is it concerning that Purdy underwhelmed in bad weather against a ferocious defense? Yes. Do the 49ers—like every other team in the NFL—need their best players to be healthy to be a Super Bowl contender? Yes. Would anybody even be asking these questions if the rookie kicker made the field goal at the end? Probably not." — Austin Gayle

Sports Illustrated
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 1
"I don't think we can punish the 49ers for a game in which they barely missed three different touchdowns, a game-winning field goal and had their star running back and receiver get hurt. The 49ers are not going to be the 1972 Dolphins, and nor would we want them to be. The '72 Dolphins are incredibly annoying. It's a bit like listening to someone recount their high school athletic accomplishments, which doesn't happen all that often anymore because…people realize how annoying it is! Anyway, it's prayer circle time. Even if you are not a fan of San Francisco, you should be a fan of this team operating at full strength into the playoffs, like a kind of Thanos (without the whole academic overpopulation argument thing)." — Conor Orr

USA Today
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 1
"Way too premature to suggest they got exposed against the league's No. 1 defense – especially amid circumstances when you'd expect QB Brock Purdy to have his worst professional game given the staggered absences Sunday of injured Pro Bowlers Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams around him. Depending on the injuries, there could be an extended setback here, but almost certainly not one that signals the Niners are in major jeopardy." — Nate Davis

Yahoo! Sports
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 1
"Jake Moody missing a field goal that would have won the game led everyone to point out that Moody was the 99th pick of the NFL Draft, the highest-drafted kicker since the infamous Roberto Aguayo. It's unfair; Moody has been pretty good. He has hit 10 of 12 field-goal attempts. He hadn't missed a kick shorter than 50 yards all season. But he was drafted to hit big kicks like Sunday, not some 36-yarder in the fourth quarter of a blowout against the Giants." — Frank Schwab

The Athletic
Current Ranking: 2
Previous Rank: 1
"Serious question: How much would Jim Schwartz be worth for a two-week consulting fee for any team that met San Francisco in the Super Bowl? The Browns' defensive coordinator kind of owns Kyle Shanahan, who fell to 0-3 as 49ers head coach against teams whose defenses are coordinated by Schwartz. In that span, San Francisco has averaged nine fewer points per game and 0.9 fewer points per drive against Schwartz than against everyone else. On Sunday, the 49ers scored 16 points lower than their average coming into the game. Dating to Shanahan's time as an offensive coordinator, he is 1-9 when he goes against Schwartz. Of course, Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey both missed chunks of this game because of injury." — Josh Kendall

Bleacher Report
Current Ranking: 2
Previous Rank: 1
"Heading into Sunday's matchup with a woefully short-handed Cleveland Browns team starting P.J. Walker at quarterback, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy had yet to lose a regular-season start. That streak is over—in part because for one game at least, Purdy looked like a seventh-round pick. Facing constant pressure from the Browns pass rush, Purdy had far and away his worst game as a professional—just 12 completions in 27 attempts for 125 yards with a touchdown and an interception. ... It could be much worse than just a single loss for the 49ers, too. Running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Deebo Samuel left the game with injuries and did not return. Either missing significant time would be a major blow." — NFL Staff

Pro Football Network
Current Ranking: 2
Previous Rank: 1
"The 49ers losing a two-point game against arguably the best defense in the NFL is not the end of the world. However, potentially significant injuries to Trent Williams, Christian McCaffrey, and Deebo Samuel could be. Brock Purdy looked mortal against Cleveland, but Jim Schwartz has had Kyle Shanahan's number for their entire careers, and the Browns defense has been otherworldly in 2023. The Browns probably didn't "figure out" Purdy or the 49ers offense. Not a single other defensive unit in the league can do what they did against the 49ers. But losing a Hall of Fame LT, the best RB in the NFL, and arguably the most dangerous post-catch WR in the league will be a lot for Purdy to overcome. If nothing else, we're going to learn just how good Purdy truly is over the next few weeks if those guys miss time." — Dalton Miller

Sporting News
Current Ranking: 3
Previous Rank: 1
"The 49ers had a tough trip to Cleveland as their offense got rocked with key injuries to Christian McCaffrey, Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel. Brock Purdy, the running game and defense hung in there, but now there's some challenging midseason adversity ahead of a Monday night road date at Minnesota." — Vinnie Iyer

Touchdown Wire
Current Ranking: 3
Previous Rank: 1
"Well it turns out, if you want Brock Purdy to not play well, all you need is to take away Christian McCaffrey and play in a drizzle. The 49ers will be fine, but that was the most human they've looked in a long time." — Jarrett Bailey

CBS Sports
Current Ranking: 4
Previous Rank: 1
"The offense didn't do much of anything against the Browns, which is a worry. Brock Purdy sure didn't look like Joe Montana in that one." — Pete Prisco

Pro Football Talk
Current Ranking: 4
Previous Rank: 1
"Constant physicality eventually takes a toll." — Mike Florio



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