49ers should be concerned by hot starts from Russ, Kyler


The 49ers left their Week 2 win over the New York Jets nursing all sorts of wounds, but a star-studded injury list isn't the only thing Kyle Shanahan's team has to worry about as they head to Week 3.

While the 49ers' main concern should be the rash of injuries that saw Nick Bosa, Jimmy Garoppolo, Solomon Thomas and Raheem Mostert leave Sunday's win over the Jets, joining George Kittle, Richard Sherman and Deebo Samuel on the injury list. The 49ers expect Bosa tore his ACL and will be done for the year, while Garoppolo is expected to miss multiple weeks with a high ankle sprain.

That's all concerning, yes. But what makes it more concerning is the fact that the NFC West is 7-1 through two weeks, with the lone division loss coming when the Arizona Cardinals beat the 49ers in Week 1.

The strength of the division leaves the 49ers little room for error, and the margin is shrinking as rival quarterbacks keep lighting it up in the early going.

Through two weeks, Russell Wilson has looked like the MVP front-runner while leading the Seattle Seahawks to wins over the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. Granted, those two teams are a combined 1-3 to start the season, but Wilson's stats are no less impressive.

Consider Wilson's stats through two weeks: He's complete 82.5 percent of his passes, thrown for nine touchdowns and accumulated a passer rating of 140. All those numbers lead the NFL.


Wilson's talent has been obvious for years, but the Seahawks' archaic and conservative view of offense kept him handcuffed, destined to play low-scoring grind it out affairs. That appears to have been thrown out the window this year, as calls to "Let Russ Cook" by fans and media alike have been answered. Wilson through five touchdowns Sunday in a 35-30 win over the Patriots. On the season, he has nine touchdowns and only 11 incompletions.

The "Sunday Night Football" broadcast made it known that Wilson never has received a single MVP vote in his career. As he continues to cook up opposing defenses, that likely will be changing this season as he looks to put the award away early.

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While Wilson dazzles in the Pacific Northwest, Kyler Murray has been putting on a show in the desert.

The 49ers got an up-close look at the young phenom in Week 1, when Murray totaled 321 yards in a 24-20 win at Levi's Stadium. The second-year signal-caller followed that up with 353 total yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Washington Football Team. Murray and the Cardinals were many pundit's pick to be the surprise team of the year, and through two games they've done nothing to dispel that notion.

Through two weeks, Murray has more rushing yards than Christian McCaffrey, more rushing touchdowns than Ezekiel Elliott and more passing yards than Patrick Mahomes.

He's been the best player on the field for the first two weeks, but also has a ton of room for improvement. The Cardinals face the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets over the next three weeks, giving them a good shot at being 5-0 when they face the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.

The 49ers are 1-1 after stomping the lowly Jets on Sunday. They now retreat to The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia to lick their wounds and prepare for a Week 3 tilt against the 0-2 New York Giants.

The good news for the 49ers is that their next three games come against the Giants (0-2), Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) and Miami Dolphins (0-2). They have the depth and healthy talent to beat all three of those teams and get to 4-1 ahead of their Week 6 matchup with the 2-0 Los Angeles Rams.

The bad news is that all the injuries have made the defending NFC champions extremely vulnerable, and Wilson, Murray, and Jared Goff for that matter, have opened the season red-hot, leaving the battered and bruised 49ers little room for error in the rough and tumble NFC West.