The 49ers' 2021 NFL season has not gotten off to the start many fans hoped for, as San Francisco enters the Week 6 bye at 2-3 and occupies last place in the NFC West.
NBC Sports Bay Area's Takeo Spikes broke down three keys for the 49ers to turn things around once they get back on the field in Week 7.
"No. 1, this team is only converting on the offensive side on third down 35 percent of the time, let's go back two years ago when they went to the Super Bowl, they were converting at 45 percent. In order for this team to get ahead, they have to do better on third down," Spikes said.
Indeed, the 49ers rank 24th in the NFL with a 35.59 percent conversion rate on third down. Whether it has been Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance under center, the 49ers have not been able to keep drives alive the way they did just a few years ago.
Speaking of the quarterback situation, Spikes' second key revolves around nailing down the plan under center over the remainder of the season.
"Solidify a plan for the quarterback position, we all know Trey Lance has the higher ceiling but he lacks playing experience, so if you're going to go with Jimmy G moving ahead depending on if he's healthy, you have to be intentional about having Trey Lance to take reps to bridge the gap in the learning curve."
Lance started for Garoppolo in Week 5 while the veteran dealt with a calf issue. Lance hurt his knee in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and all indications are that Garoppolo will start Week 7 if he is healthy.
Finally, Spikes looks to the defensive side of the ball, and the 49ers' lackluster turnover margin through five games.
"In order for them to get to where they need to go, it is imperative they force more turnovers and take care of the ball on the offensive side, and that is how the 49ers will turn this season around," Spikes exclaimed.
The 49ers' playoff hopes haven't been dashed just yet, and the quest to flip the script on this season begins in Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts.