How's that for doom and gloom, San Francisco 49ers fans? Nobody here can claim the Minnesota Vikings are "the" team to beat, but they were the team in front of the 49ers on Monday, and the 49ers sure did beat them. It was a slow, ugly game in the first half that slowly turned into something exciting and special in the second.
Colin Kaepernick had a solid game overall. I was very critical of his issues with his mechanics last season, but he went through his reads, he stayed in the pocket and there was even one play in which he had a first down on a run, but stayed calm and threw it for a much bigger gain. I thought there were a few accuracy issues which we'll look at later, but it was mostly a good game from him.
Carlos Hyde is obviously the big story of the game. Hyde had a fantastic game, and Fooch will have more on that tomorrow. He was at home in the zone-blocking scheme, and the 49ers' offensive line handled themselves well blocking for him. He looked fast, he was decisive, he spun a guy out of his shoes and I'm incredibly excited to see what else he can do going forward.
On defense, I really liked what I saw out of the defensive play-calling in general. Individually, I thought Ian Williams, Tramaine Brock and Aaron Lynch had strong games and I'm looking forward to breaking down why that was later this week.
Keep it going with the postgame stuff in this thread. Below, I'm just posting some of my unedited quick notes that I took as the game progressed. I do need to ask this question though: are there any things in particular you guys want broken down via GIFs at some point this week? I have a big list but I could do with some more suggestions.
- I was sick of Chris Berman like two minutes into the broadcast. I don't like anything about his commentary but thankfully, I have developed an ability to totally tune out broadcasters and didn't suffer too much over the course of the game.
- The 49ers started the game with a couple Carlos Hyde runs to the left side, behind Joe Staley and Alex Boone, and not behind the holograms on the right side of the line.
- On a more serious note, the offensive line actually played well at times. The run-blocking wasn't that great, which is one of the reasons Hyde's game was so impressive. And while the pass-blocking wasn't perfect, they didn't allow a bunch of sacks and the penalties were the big issue. Kaepernick actually looked comfortable at times!
- I was surprised to see Corey Lemonier inactive given his improvement as a run-stuffer in the preseason, but I figured (correctly) that any playing time he would have seen would have been rushing the passer anyway. Eli Harold is already better in that area.
- Holding on Marcus Martin on that first drive was agonizingly frustrating. These guys are raw, they're going to struggle this year -- that's not a guess, that's not a prediction, they're definitely going to struggle at times-- but adding in penalties is just the worst. That didn't stop that drive entirely, but that's where things started going poorly. He also had the false stat.
- Kenneth Acker starting at cornerback does nothing for me, one way or the other. All the guys after Brock are so inexperienced I can't claim one deserves the job over the other. I'll have to go back and watch before I can really evaluate what went on with the corners.
- Michael Wilhoite looked good against the run, that was nice. I thought he looked a little stiff in the preseason, but he looked on-point for most of the game.
- That pass Tramaine Brock broke up on Minnesota's first possession -- you know the one -- was absolutely awesome. Brock had a good game overall, though I did laugh on his interception return when he apparently forgot there were guys behind him as well.
- Why was Reggie Bush called on to run up the middle on a 3rd and 1? You're tipping your hand either way with the playcall, just put the right running back in there.
- Jaquiski Tartt being used on elegant blitz packages? I like it. I like it a lot! Do that more, Eric Mangini.
- Jarryd Hayne's first touch needs no further analysis.
- Bruce Miller put down a huge block in the second quarter, springing Hyde for a big gain. Like to see that, I still feel like he's underutilized as a whole.
- Of course, I talk about young players getting penalties on the offensive line, and then Boone gets called for a false start and Staley for a hold.
- Vernon Davis dropped a pass. So at least some things stay the same.
- L.J. McCray's ridiculous hit on that punt return was ... ridiculous. That's definitely one we'll take further looks at later in the week.
- On second thought, Trent Dilfer is just as bad. They showed a slow-motion replay of a 49ers player getting his helmet pushed off by a Vikings player and he said he didn't see anything. The heck?
- Carlos Hyde.