The San Francisco 49ers were expected to author their first win streak of the season Monday with their second consecutive prime time win. Instead, Kyle Shanahan’s squad returned to familiar territory, finding a way to fall to the New York Giants at Levi’s Stadium. The 2-8 49ers now benefit from a bye week in which they expect to see the healthy return of everyone on the 53-man roster for the first time in 2018.
Here’s our stock report after the 49ers’ disappointing 27-23 loss on Monday night:
Stock up: RB Matt Breida
Breida clearly benefited from the 49ers’ 11-day stretch between their Week 9 matchup with the Oakland Raiders and Monday’s loss to the Giants. With his nagging ankle injury far less troublesome, Breida racked up a season-high 17 carries for 101 yards and one touchdown. He also caught three passes for 31 yards and a score. The 49ers’ leading back looked the best he has all season, and now he has another opportunity to recover the team’s Week 11 bye.
Stock down: CB Ahkello Witherspoon
After a strong rookie campaign, the 49ers’ second-year cornerback has endured an up-and-down year in 2018. Witherspoon had a rough outing Monday against the Giants, victimized by star Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., most notably for a touchdown and another for a critical pass interference call late in the game. Witherspoon’s biggest black mark on the evening was his reaction after giving up a 20-yard touchdown reception to Beckham, seemingly blaming his teammates for the score. It drew criticism from both Shanahan and veteran Richard Sherman.
Stock up: LB Fred Warner
Warner was the 49ers’ best defender on Monday. The third-round pick totaled four tackles and two pass breakups on the stat sheet, making several plays that got the defense off the field for the 49ers. Warner stopped Giants running back Saquon Barkley short of the end zone on third-and-goal, forcing a Giants field goal. In the third quarter, he tipped a would-be touchdown pass from Manning to Beckham, again forcing a field goal. He also added two drive-killing pass breakups while covering Beckham Jr. over the middle of the field.
Stock down: WR Dante Pettis
Pettis hasn’t made an impact in the 49ers’ passing game since his Week 8 return from a knee injury, despite veteran Pierre Garçon missing two of the last three games. He earned an ear-full from Shanahan and receivers coach Mike LaFluer against the Giants when twice he was thrown the ball on third-down, and twice he elected to elude defenders rather than charge vertically upfield. He failed to convert either play.
Stock up: Draft position
The only consolation prize for the 49ers’ disappointing loss to the Giants on Monday was draft position. San Francisco now holds the second-overall pick in the 2018 draft behind the Raiders, the Giants moving from first-overall to No. 3 after their win over the 49ers. The 49ers’ roster holds some glaring needs, most notably at pass rusher. A top-three pick would do wonders for securing an immediate-impact player, or at the very least, garner offers from teams looking to trade up in a year where the 49ers only hold five draft picks in seven rounds.
Stock down: Coordinator Robert Saleh
After holding the Raiders to just three points in Week 9, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s stock took a significant hit after the 49ers’ collapse against the Giants. With a 20-10 lead and 8:15 remaining in the third quarter, Saleh’s defense went on to allow 17 points, culminating in a nine-play, 75-yard fourth-quarter drive capped off by a Manning touchdown pass to receiver Sterling Shepard with 53 second remaining. It was a familiar collapse for a defensive effort again marred by missed assignments and ill-timed penalties. It’s fair to wonder if Saleh’s future with the 49ers is in jeopardy.