Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/4/13
Eight games are in the books and the San Francisco 49ers find themselves with a record of 6-2 and having won their last five games in a row.  They have done so in impressive fashion scoring at least 31 points in those games and overcoming a little bit of a lull early in the season as well as injuries to both the offense and defense. The 49ers have also relied heavily on the run these past five games.  With injuries to Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree the 49er wide receivers just weren’t talented enough to create separation and win one-on-one matchups which was very apparent in week two and week three against Seattle and Indianapolis.  San Francisco appeared to find it’s identity in a Thursday night game at St. Louis were they used their big offensive line and ran the ball well. Now coming of their bye, the Niners are about to go through their toughest five game stretch of the entire season beginning with Sunday’s game against the streaking Carolina Panthers.  The good news is that the 49ers have reinforcements coming in.  Guys like Crabtree, Aldon Smith, and Tank Carradine should be able to make contributions and help this Superbowl contender down the stretch. First Half MVP: Navarro Bowman Players like Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, and Aldon Smith have overshadowed this guy the past couple of seasons but this year with the injuries the defense have suffered Bowman has played as good as any linebacker in this league.  So far, Bowman has 69 tackles a couple of sacks and two forced fumbles.  Without his veteran leadership and playmaking ability their is no way that the defense could’ve stayed this consistent specially with the offense struggling in the early part of the season. Best performance:  Colin Kaepernick vs. Packers It seems like almost a lifetime ago but in week one against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick had himself a career game.  412 yards and three touchdowns was an impressive start to the season and although he hasn’t been able to duplicate this level of success, the 49ers will ultimately go as far as Kaep takes them. What’s Next? The next five games for the 49ers will likely determine whether or not they will be able to catch the Seahawks for the division lead.  The way the team has been playing and with some key players making it’s way back, there is no reason why this teams shouldn’t be 13-3 and in good position to make another Superbowl run.  
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