The San Francisco 49ers are one of two undefeated teams left in the NFL after the Miami Dolphins were handed their first loss of the year by the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. What sets the 49ers apart, and what's placed them at the top of the NFL weekly power rankings once again, is the dominant fashion in which they've won all four of their games in 2023. For the first time in franchise history, the 49ers have scored 30-or-more points in each of their first four games of the year, and defensively, the unit is holding opponents to an average of 14.5 points per game.
In Week 4, it was San Francisco's high powered offense leading the charge. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk racked up six receptions for a career-high 148 yards and running back Christian McCaffrey secured the TDs, finding pay dirt on four of the team's five red zone scores. The defense picked up steam in the second half with a two-point conversion stop by safety Talanoa Hufanga and a fourth quarter sack by defensive lineman Javon Hargrave.
Let's take a look at what national outlets had to say about the 49ers headed into Week 5:
Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm
"I touched on this right after Sunday's 35-16 win over Arizona, but I think it's worth repeating: Brandon Aiyuk has become such a dangerous element for this offense. Yes, yes, Christian McCaffrey scored four TDs -- he's amazing and all of that. But Aiyuk's speed spreads the defense wide and deep, and opponents still have to worry about CMC, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk came back from injury on Sunday and had catches of 16, 11, 42, 25, 34 and 20 yards -- the first five coming on first downs. So right when you're gearing up for a handoff, Kyle Shanahan will call a shot play to Aiyuk. That's just wicked. Kittle and Deebo combined for one catch, but the offense mostly hummed right along. And after things tightened up in the third quarter, San Francisco ultimately won comfortably."
NFL Writer Nick Wagoner
"By and large, the 49ers defense doesn't have many areas that stick out for improvement, but it could do a better job of slowing opponents down when they get inside the 20. Through four games, the Niners have allowed touchdowns on six of nine drives they've allowed to reach the red zone, a 66.7 percent rate that is tied for 23rd in the NFL. The Niners are still winning games comfortably, but holding opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns more frequently will matter as the schedule gets more difficult."
NFL Writer Pete Prisco
"There is no doubt who the best team in the league is right now. They do face a tough test Sunday night against the Cowboys."
NFL Writer Mike Florio
"The top seed in the NFC possibly hangs in the balance on Sunday night, when the Cowboys come to town."