Much like the rest of you, I stand torn between celebrating a much-needed victory, for the sanity and confidence of our guys, and the eventual repercussions it will have upon the 49ers’ 2018 draft position. After some soul searching, I’ve begun to lean towards enjoying this victory without the self-inflicted guilt of making this an “instant gratification vs. the importance of putting your money in a savings account or whatever” issue, and neither should you.
Sure, this glorious 1-point victory over another bottom feeder has currently dropped us out of the 2nd pick (NY Giants have a lower Strength of Schedule, the first tie-breaker), but our remaining 4 games feature at least 3 guaranteed losses, so the chances of us dropping out of the top 5 (well, you know, bottom 5) are virtually nonexistent. We’ve got a quarterback to build around now - worrying about draft positioning will do nothing but give us all ulcers.
While Jimmy Garoppolo put together fairly impressive numbers (70% completion rate on 37 passes, almost 300 passing yards), he passed the eye test much more readily. He was lining players up before the snap, showed enormous poise in the pocket, and moved the ball very well, completing numerous 15+ yard passes. His first career interception, the lone blemish on his day, was a glorified strip that occurred on a would-be first down throw to Louis Murphy.
Speaking of, he was responsible for 16 first downs through the air, 10 of which were successful 3rd down conversions (the most for the 49ers in a single game since 2007, by the way). Although he didn’t engineer any touchdown drives, he was able to keep the offense on the field and sustain drives long enough to get into field goal range consistently. Once he has a firm grasp of Kyle Shanahan’s offense, it’ll be incredible to see the heights to which he’ll be able to bring us.
One major take away from this game that was readily apparent to many was the ineffectiveness of Carlos Hyde. For much of this season, he’s been the engine and virtually sole focus of this offense. Today, however, the offense succeeded largely despite Hyde - although he had his opportunities, he didn’t seem to make much of them. Perhaps opponents have gameplanned specifically to stop Hyde, but his contributions on the ground have been quite pedestrian this year - he’s scored touchdowns in only two of twelve games, has eclipsed the 4.0 YPC mark in only five games, and has gone over 100 yards only once. However, his contributions in the passing game have risen dramatically, as he has hauled in 49 passes so far this year, and his receiving yards account for nearly a third of his yardage production. Hopefully the addition of a competent quarterback will open up some running lanes, and allow this offense to find some semblance of balance.
On the other hand, the increased focus on the passing game served as something as a renaissance for speedster Marquise Goodwin, and a statement game for rookie Trent Taylor. The pair combined for 14 receptions on 14 targets for a total of 191 yards. This kind of efficient production is huge for this team, and I can only hope this trend continues.
On to the good stuff-
Game 12 impressions & takeaways | Biderman, Ninerswire | Lowder, Ninerswire | Lowder (2), Ninerswire | Barrows, Sac Bee | Barrows (2), Sac Bee | Branch, SF Gate | Inman, Mercury | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area | Maiocco (2), NBC Sports Bay Area
Fawning over Garoppolo’s first start as a 49er | Wagoner, ESPN | Barrows, Sac Bee | Branch, SF Gate | Steward, Mercury [Trigger warning for Kaepernick fans] | Inman, Mercury | Ratto, NBC Sports Bay Area | Lynch, KNBR
Shanahan impressed by Garoppolo’s first start | Biderman, Ninerswire
Gould’s big day bittersweet | Saracevic, SF Gate