Ignorance is bliss and if you want to bask in the glory of the victory of Week 1 it’s totally understandable. The San Francisco 49ers traveled to Carolina after a short week and the Panthers took advantage of the situation, racking up 529 total yards of offense which included 10 plays that were 16 yards or longer.
We learned that the 49ers are not entirely who showed up on MNF and they are not the team who appeared in Carolina either. They realistically fall somewhere in between. Here are a few more things we learned:
The running game is inconsistent
After a three rushing touchdown game against the Rams and 150 yards on the ground, the 49ers could only muster 65 yards in Week 2 with one rushing touchdown. One unfortunate consistency? Fumbles. One in each week. This obviously falls on the offense as a whole. The offensive line has to create space and the passing game needs to be respected by the defense enough to allow the run game to flourish.
Blaine Gabbert is inconsistent
There was a point in the game when I checked Gabbert’s statistics and his passer rating was at 124. Shortly after, that number had dwindled down into the 80s. He would throw a pass that was right on the money and then another one into the turf. He later placed the blame squarely on himself for the two interceptions late in the game when he was trying to force the ball into positions that led to picks.
Big plays are an issue
The 49ers allowed ten plays of 16 yards more, seven of which were 20 yards or more. The defense did stop the Panthers on three drives, and held them to a field goal on four other occasions. Unfortunately, those 10 big chunk plays made up 301 yards of the offensive production. It’s a little scary when you break it down:
301 out of 529 yards = 56.8 percent of the total yards
10 of 78 total plays = 12.8 percent of total plays
56.8 percent of the yards gained were in 12.8 percent of the plays
Penalties became a problem
A more challenging opponent and less disciplined play is not a good combination. The 49ers had two penalties for 10 yards in Week 1 and 6 penalties for 50 yards in Carolina. The most dubious element to those six penalties is that they kept drives alive for the Panthers. Two penalties kept the defense on the field for an eleven play drive in the humidity and heat and a third penalty lengthened a drive that led to 7 points for the Panthers.
There’s still hope
It’s only Week 2 and all is not lost. The 49ers forced four turnovers on a very good team who had a several more days to prepare and rest prior to the game. Mistakes on the offense like drops and inaccurate passes and fumbles are things that can be fixed, but it doesn’t get easier anytime soon as the team travels up to Seattle to face their division rivals next Sunday.