The San Francisco 49ers are riding high on the crest of a hitherto unthinkable four-game winning streak powered by the inimitable Jimmy Garoppolo - the gift that just keeps on giving. after the 49ers' demolition of the league's premier defensive outfit - the Jacksonville Jaguars - in a 44-33 game, the team's current mindset was summed up best to reporters by fourth-year running back Carlos Hyde.
According to him, the Super Bowl next year belongs to San Francisco. With every win, the 49ers' odds are leaning more and more towards aligning with his prediction. The pending free agent stated that he would hesitate to consider a move away from San Francisco, as he sees their chances of a Super Bowl appearance next year are more than flimsy fantasy.
Were it any other side, we could have tossed the bold predictions aside with the rest of the empty bravado we hear coming from hopeless lockerrooms every day. Not in this case, however. With the sort of form the 49ers are currently displaying, the smart money is paying more than a little bit more of attention than it would have a year ago.
The Garoppolo effect has seen the 49ers trample over two playoff contenders in their undefeated 4-0 run in back-to-back weeks. This is definitely a San Francisco side we haven't seen in a while. Garoppolo has completed 69 percent of his passes with five touchdowns in there towards compiling his total of 1,268 yards within four starting games for the team.
The quarterback was instrumental in bringing about their game-winning drive in the fourth quarter of their hard-fought match-up last week and led his side to create an early distance in this week's victory. The most notable fact in all this becomes apparent when you take a closer look at the kind of talent they're accomplishing all this with on the receivers' end of the field - Trent Taylor, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne - a dream team these do not make.
It forces observers to wonder; what would this 49ers side be capable of accomplishing in the NFC should they get their hands on another free-agent boon, another year under the leadership of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch duo, and a draft class that would boast four picks within the first three rounds?
Apparently, Hyde isn't the only one who's seeing good things in the 49ers' near future. Tackle Joe Staley remarked upon the entirely transformed team outlook brought on by Garoppolo's presence, stating that he had a 'different aura' about that signaled something special to him. Kyle Juszczyk echoed the sentiment, narrating how the quarterback somehow managed to command respect from the team straight from the word go. George Kittle, the rookie tight-end went on further to compare Garoppolo's team leadership ability to that of the 11-year veteran, Staley.
The mythos surrounding Garoppolo continues to swell and swirl both within the locker rooms and throughout the outside world, and as it does so, San Francisco's reputation as a franchise worth the trip grows stronger. As the 49ers side limped to a 2-14 end last year, you would have at least got a few good laughs out of everybody were you to suggest the team was two years away from post-season and Super Bowl contention. They wouldn't be laughing now.