Well Faithful, here we are – week six, and still winless. San Francisco will travel to the East Coast to face Washington, and boy it has a real shot of getting ugly quickly.The 49ers scored their first touchdown on the road last week against the Colts, and they aren’t necessarily the powerhouse of the AFC. HC Kyle Shanahan meets his former pupil in Kirk Cousins, but this time from the other side of the field. Then again, who knows, maybe next year they’ll be back together on the same sideline. All we can do is speculate until the time comes.
Without further ado, let’s get into the offensive match-ups for the 49ers when they take the field in Washington D.C. Sunday.
*All grades are courtesy of Pro Football Focus and will be next to the opposing players in parenthesis*
Where do I begin? Aside from Pierre Garçon, the passing game has largely been a disappointment this season so far. QB Brian Hoyer looks incapable of even the simplest throws when it matters most, and sadly, that’s putting it nicely. While the final game stats from Indianapolis look solid on the surface (29/46, 63% completion, 353 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions), anyone who watched the game can tell you – Hoyer looked bad for the most part, and most importantly, when it mattered most – fourth quarter and overtime. This season in total, when the 49ers are within 7 points of the lead, Hoyer has fourth quarter stats of 14/31, 45%, 115 yards, average of 3.7 yards per throw, 1 TD, and a rating of 65.9. In overtime, Hoyer has a statsheet of 6/12, 50%, 44 yards, average of 3.7 yards per throw, 0 TDs, and a rating of 59.0.
Unfortunately, I honestly don’t think the game will be withing seven points when it enters the fourth quarter. Let’s look at the match-ups when the offense takes the field Sunday.
The 49ers wide receiving corps will line up opposite of CB Bashuad Breeland (44.7), CB Kendall Fuller (84.6), FS DJ Swearinger (50.3), SS Deshazor Everett (44.8). I acually think the 49ers will win some, if not most of the man-to-man match-ups, if Hoyer is able to survive long enough under center for them to get open. Garçon had a hell of a homecoming last week against his first team, the Colts. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go off again this week, as he’s facing his former team for the second straight week.
Rookie TE George Kittle had a huge breakout game last week in Indianapolis. I would look for that to continue again this week against Washington, especially when lined up against a linebacker. Washington’s arsenal of starting Mike linebackers includes the likes of Zach Brown (76.9) and Mason Foster (73.5). If Brian Hoyer is able to make the throws that will be there, the 49ers have somewhat of a chance to have success through the air Sunday.
The 49ers announced they promoted TE Cole Hikutini Saturday to the active roster to fill the spot left by Bowman’s release. It is unknown if Hikutini will be active Sunday, but I highly doubt it.
Running & Offensive-Line
The 49ers offensive-line and starting running back Carlos Hyde will have their hands full Sunday facing a treacherous Washington defensive-line coached by former-49ers Head Coach Jim Tomsula (who I believe is now mustache-less, sadly). They will be lining up opposite of DE Jonathan Allen (80.6), DE Stacy McGee (52.7), NT Ziggy Hood (44.7), SLB Preston Smith (73.0), and WLB Ryan Kerrigan (82.0).
Last week against the Colts, Hyde seemed to just flat out disappear, as evident by by rookie RB Matt Breida finishing the game leading the team in rushing with 49 yards on 10 carries. In total, the 49ers only ran the ball 22 times (!) with an average of 3 yards per run. I’m not sure why they got away from Hyde so quicky, as the game wasn’t too far out of reach for the most part. (Perhaps worried about not finding a trade partner if he’s injured?)
However, if this game against Washington gets out of hand quickly (which isn’t too crazy to assume), I can see Kyle Shanahan going away from not only Hyde, but the running game entirely.