There were aspects of Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers that were actually great to see for San Francisco 49ers fans. The 49ers were ill-equipped to handle Ron Rivera's team, a team that finished 15-1 in the regular season a year ago and that made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
The 49ers should not have competed with the Panthers, and looking at the final score, they kind of didn't. But there was some time, particularly in the first half, where it looked like the 49ers had some coaching during the week. Chip Kelly, like him or not, had the 49ers looking like a competent NFL team for roughly a half of play and that's something Jim Tomsula absolutely could not do.
But a loss is still a loss. The 49ers are 1-1. They're probably not going to win a ton of games this season. But I'm going to be here breaking things down every week, and we'll start with the sacks, both the ones earned on defense and the ones allowed on offense.
Let's get to it.
14:17 in 4th Quarter: 3rd and 2 from CAR 34- Cam Newton sacked at CAR 33 for -1 yards (Gerald Hodges)
This play resulted in a fumble recovery by Eli Harold, but we only care about the sack so that's what we're going to look at. The 49ers don't actually get great pressure here despite rushing four. But the defensive backs cover well and Newton is forced to step out of the pocket. When he does, he realizes he's got Arik Armstead in his face so he cuts the other direction and runs.
Credit to Gerald Hodges for chasing Newton down and taking a good angle while doing so. Ray Ray Armstrong is getting more playing time largely in part because he has better range than Hodges, but you wouldn't know it from watching this play. Hodges makes what is technically a sack, Newton fumbles and that's that as far as San Francisco sacks are concerned.
13:24 in 4th Quarter: 3rd and 8 from CAR 15- Blaine Gabbert sacked at CAR 21 for -6 yards (Star Lotulelei)
Fortunately, the 49ers protected Gabbert well for much of the game ... and then Marcus Martin entered the lineup. Martin took part in just four plays on Sunday, but of course that was more than enough for him to let Gabbert get pummeled by a meaty defensive tackle.
There's really not much to break down here, is there? Twenty-two years ago, Marcus Martin was born, and now Gabbert has been sacked. That's the order of the world.
1:06 in 4th Quarter: 1st and 10 from SF 25- Blaine Gabbert sacked at SF 25 for -0 yards (Mario Addison)
This is just a bad decision by Gabbert to run for it with the defense in front of him. The offensive line separated and blocked well, though Andrew Tiller briefly lost his man to give up the initial pressure. What I really don't like is Joe Staley on the left side not hustling to get back into the play well after he has nobody to block, and we well before Gabbert takes off to run.
The play above is an example of what things look like when you don't have a top tier quarterback. Someone like Aaron Rodgers knows when to run the ball and he's incredible at it. Rodgers would have stepped up to avoid the pressure and then he would reset the pocket. That's the kind of thing neither Gabbert nor Colin Kaepernick can do effectively and it resulted in a sack.