The 49ers entered week two of the 2018 regular season with hopes of bouncing back from their week one loss to the Minnesota Vikings on the road. The visiting Detroit Lions, coming off a horrific defeat in week one, aimed at sneaking out a victory on the road. Even with the sloppy play in the second half, which almost cost them the game, the Niners managed to hold on and capture their first win of the year. After the results of the first two weeks, the 49ers have several question marks that will need to be addressed in order to have success this season. Let’s have a look…

 

The Good:

 

Matt Breida: The young running back exploded on the scene with a breakout performance and was a catalyst in the team’s victory. Matt “ The Cheetah” Breida was the lone offensive standout in the game for the 49ers, totaling 138 rushing yards on only 11 carries — including an electrifying 66-yard touchdown run. He also added three receptions for 21 yards, displaying reliable hands and proving the team would be smart to feature him more in the passing attack. In reality, Kyle Shanahan should be looking to find as many ways to get the ball to him in the open field as possible after Sunday’s performance. He is currently leading the NFL in rushing yards through two weeks with 184 yards (8.4 YPC). It will be interesting to see if the 49ers decide to shift from a running back by committee approach to Breida being the team’s featured back if he continues to shine brightly.

 

Richard Sherman: There were many questions marks going into the season in regards to the former All-Pro defensive back. Sherman has not only lived up to expectations but has exceeded them so far in this young season. Many critics were concerned that Uncle Sherm would be more of a coach for the young secondary than a contributor, and would be a shell of himself coming off multiple surgeries during the offseason. He essentially locked down one side of the field during the game and could end up being another free-agency steal for John Lynch & Co.

 

Robbie Gould: Touchdowns are the preferred scoring method, but kickers hold the key to victories too! Gould remained extremely clutch as he converted on field-goal attempts from 45, 42 and 36 yards. Gould set a new 49ers franchise record with 29 consecutive successful field goals made! As always, Gould is gold!

 

D.J. Reed: Reed took the opening kickoff of the second half 101 yards for a touchdown, but unfortunately it was called back for a facemask penalty. The rookie was credited for a 90-yard return, which would lead to a Garrett Celek touchdown reception. While he hasn’t made an impact in the secondary, Reed has established himself as the team’s primary kick-returner and will seek to contribute in setting up the offense with good field position consistently.

 

The Bad

 

 

Pass-Rush: There were moments in the game that the unit gave small amounts of pressure, but Matthew Stafford had ample time for the most part to dissect the field and convert for big gains on crucial third downs, almost leading to another fourth-quarter comeback. DeForest Buckner (2nd in the NFL in sacks with 3.5) continues to impress, but the team will need to look at additional players and schemes to consistently get to the quarterback. The 49ers would be wise to make a move by bringing in a veteran pass-rusher either via trade or free agency.

 

 

Wide Receivers: The receivers started the contest out looking decent, but the unit struggled to create consistent separation throughout the game. Garoppolo completed a nice 35-yard completion to rookie Dante Pettis to start the game, veteran Pierre Garcon hauled in four receptions for 57 yards and tight end Garrett Celek brought in a touchdown. The 49ers wide receiver group will need to improve tremendously in the upcoming weeks in order to have a productive and consistent passing attack. The good news is that speedster Marquise Goodwin will hopefully be back in the lineup soon.

 

 

Jimmy Garoppolo: He had his share of ups and downs in this game, he went 18/26 for 206 passing yards and two touchdowns with a 118.4 passer rating. While he had his impressive moments, he also struggled with some of his throws and timing with receivers. The lack of separation from the receivers, lead to Garoppolo holding onto the ball too long and him getting sacked six (!) times. He also seemed to lock on where he was going pre-snap and stared down some targets. Jimmy got extremely lucky at the end of the game when he threw an unadvised pass that was intercepted for a would-be touchdown, but was brought back due to a defensive holding call. The Niners franchise quarterback needs to make smarter to decisions and with the inconsistent offensive line play, he has get the ball out of his hands much quicker.

 

Play Calling: Head Coach Kyle Shanahan is regarded by his peers as one of the brightest offensive minds in the league and is usually spot on with his play-calling. Even with many beautiful play designs, there were some questionable decisions. For example, when the 49ers were up with a favorable lead and tried to get “cute” with a botched hand off to Dante Pettis which led to fumble at the exchange. Luckily Pettis got a favorable bounce and was able to recover the fumble. The other odd decision was he went away from the hot hand and more electrifying Matt Breida in favor of Alfred Morris who was far less effective.

 

 

The Ugly

 

 

Secondary:  Ahkello Witherspoon had his worst game as a pro and it didn’t help that Stafford was completely avoiding Richard Sherman’s side. Witherspoon was routinely attacked as the Lions attempted to come back in the game. He gave up two touchdowns, committed a few frustrating penalties and was even removed out of the game for multiple plays. Witherspoon will look to quickly bounce back next week in a tough matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers lucked out that Matthew Stafford repeatedly missed on a few deep throws to wide open targets in Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, which could’ve drastically changed the outcome of this game. The combination of an inconsistent pass-rush and secondary could lead to more trouble down the road. Hopefully some adjustments will be made from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and his staff going forward as the team will not being able to win many games with this kind of performance.

Redzone: Another week and another handful of failed attempts by the 49ers’ offensive unit to score touchdowns in the redzone, which could’ve put this game out of reach. Garoppolo was able to connect with Kendrick Bourne for a walk-in touchdown on a well designed play, and also Garrett Celek muscled his way in for another one. However, the bottom line is that the 49ers stalled on three drives after getting inside the redzone, the Lions sacked Garoppolo three times inside the 20-yard line which is simply unacceptable. They still need to work on efficiency while in the redzone, and would benefit severely from having other players step up in-order for tight end George Kittle to be a less predictable target.

 

Match Report

 

 

Offensive

 

Passing:

 

  • Jimmy Garoppolo: 18/26, 206 Yards, 2 TDs

 

Rushing:

 

  • Matt Breida: 11 Carries, 138 Yards, 1 TD
  • Alfred Morris: 14 Carries, 48 Yards

 

Receiving:

 

  • Pierre Garcon: 4 Rec, 57 Yards
  • Dante Pettis: 1 Rec, 35 Yards
  • Alfred Morris: 2 Rec, 32 Yards
  • Garrett Celek: 2 Rec, 22 Yards, TD
  • George Kittle: 2 Rec, 22 Yards
  • Matt Breida: 3 Rec, 21 Yards
  • Kyle Juszczyk: 3 Rec, 13 Yards
  • Kendrick Bourne: 1 Rec, 4 Yards, TD

 

Defensive

 

  • Elijah Lee: 12 Total Tackles, FF
  • Fred Warner: 5 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Fumble Rec
  • Deforest Buckner: 5 Tackles, 1 Sack
  • Arik Armstead: 3 Tackles
  • Jaquiski Tartt: 5 Total Tackles
  • Adrian Colbert: 3 Tackles
  • Cassius Marsh: Fumble Recovery

 

*Stats per NFL.com*

 

 

 

 

As Always,

Stay Faithful