Three weeks of NFL player of the week against the 49ers: Coincidence or not?

Nov 2, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm

Joe Burrow was named the NFL's player of the week in the AFC after his strong performance against t...

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After five weeks of dominating the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers have fallen back down to earth.

Going 5-0 to start the 2023 season, the Red & Gold now sit at 5-3 after losing the last three weeks. What’s more interesting though is that those losses have come with individual accolades for the opposition. In fact, in each 49ers’ loss this season, the opposing team had a player named by the NFL as the Player of the Week.

The first was Cleveland Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins, earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance in Week 6. Hopkins finished the game with four made field goals, including the game-winning kick from 29 yards out. This is the kicker’s second time earning the honor, last doing so with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022.

Second was safety Camryn Bynum of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Bynum, 25, had a team-high nine tackles and two fourth-quarter interceptions on the 49ers. His second pick sealed the win for Minnesota, reaching up to pluck the ball out of the air with 46 seconds remaining in the game.

Lastly, quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Cincinnati Bengals gunslinger was on point in Week 8, putting up 283 passing yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers Week 8. He also had a 134.8 QB rating on 87.5% completion.

He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

While this may seem coincidental, all three franchises have had a player stand out in the league when they faced the Red & Gold.

This is a stark contrast from the first five weeks of the season when the 49ers had three weeks of NFL Player of the Week accolades. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk won Offensive Player of the Week in Week 1, running back Christian McCaffrey won the same award for his Week 4 play, and linebacker Fred Warner won Defensive Player of the Week for Week 5.

That seems like a distant memory now though, with San Francisco faltering on both sides of the football.

Offensively, the team has failed to score more than 17 points in almost a month. The defense has been the biggest issue, however, surrending 400 or more yards in two of the last three games.

Because of that, the 49ers made a move at the trade deadline, acquiring pass rusher Chase Young to load the defensive trenches moving forward.

“Those guys need to be not just good, they need to be really good and dominant and wreak havoc and all those things. And I feel like it’s on its’ way and we need to do that. And that takes everybody,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Wednesday.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1:05 PM PST
  • Thursday, November 23rd @ Seattle Seahawks – 5:20 PM PST
  • Sunday, December 3rd @ Philadelphia Eagles – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, December 10th vs. Seattle Seahawks – 1:05 PM PST

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Three weeks of NFL player of the week against the 49ers: Coincidence or not?