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Golden Nuggets: 49ers Earn First Victory of 2018

A daily compilation of 49ers news from around the net. Monday, September 17th, 2018 edition.

NFL: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, maybe the headline is a bit misleading. Obviously, the team did more than enough through three quarters to put themselves in a good position to earn their first victory of the season, but the final quarter felt like an entirely different game. It was a performance marred by mental mistakes, incomplete adjustments, exposed youngsters and some of the worst tackling I’ve ever seen. Luckily, the final scoreboard won’t have me unironically typing out the hackneyed “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”, but, in reality, the team backed into a referee bailout and a few overthrown balls to avoid a Matt Stafford-led 4th quarter comeback.

After securing a 14 point lead, the team seemingly let off the gas, and settled for a field goal deep in enemy territory to push the margin to 17. From there, the proverbial wheels fell off, and the 49ers offense was virtually incapable of moving the ball. The most complimentary thing I can say about the defensive performance to close out the game is that they had 11 men on the field. You know, except for that one time that they didn’t, and Kyle Shanahan was forced to burn a timeout.

The defense was fairly solid (until they weren’t) throughout much of the game, minimizing the effectiveness of the Lions’ ground game, and forcing opposing head coach Matt Patricia to rely on Stafford’s arm. The historically prolific quarterback and talented receiver corps found some success in the early-on, but it wasn’t until the pressure was on that they really found a rhythm. Two of their fourth quarter drives found paydirt, which doubled their point total from the previous three quarters, and drew them within a field goal of the 49ers. Those two drives combined to chew just 5 minutes of clock, during which time Stafford threw for roughly 160 yards (just shy of half of his total yardage for the game) and two of his three touchdowns. In fact, they had found such success in (frequently) working Ahkello Witherspoon over that he was eventually pulled for Jimmie Ward.

The offense, as a whole, had a pretty rocky game. They found success in the run game early and often, as well as capitalizing on Lions’ penalties and favorable field position. However, the passing game was largely boxed into a short-yardage attack, which shouldn’t be particularly surprising, considering the fact that Marquise Goodwin was unavailable to stretch the defense vertically. An extremely poor performance by an offensive line only compounded matters; there is some truth to several of the six sacks surrendered being the result of tight coverage, but that’s a marginal detail in terms of absolution.

However, it was a victory. An ugly one, for sure, but still a mark in the “W” column. Kyle Shanahan had been part of one of the worst chokejobs in Superbowl history, and was fortunate to not let the former Patriots defensive coordinator get the better of him this time. The 49ers have an extremely difficult opponent in the Chiefs coming up next Sunday, and I can only hope they’ll be able to utilize some of the coachable moments that’ll undoubtedly show up in the film sessions.


Week 2 review | Almquist, KNBR | Almquist (2), KNBR | Biderman, Sac Bee | Biderman (2), Sac Bee | Wagoner, ESPN | Associated Press via ESPN | Madson, Ninerswire

Week 2 analysis | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area | Biderman, Sac Bee | Madson, Ninerswire | Lowder, Ninerswire

Week 2 injuries | Madson, Ninerswire

Individual Accolades, Interviews

Ahkello Witherspoon’s bad day | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area

Jimmy Garoppolo watch: week 2 | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area | KNBR Staff

Kendrick Bourne found redemption from week 1 blunder | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area

Matt Breida’s big TD run a major key in win | Madson, Ninerswire

Pierre Garcon’s downfield block key to week 2 victory | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area

Richard Sherman displeased with narrow victory | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area


Josh Gordon rumors | Montero, KNBR | Montero (2), KNBR | Madson, Ninerswire | Branch, SF Gate