After every game, I chat with our Rob Lowder, and it feels like we say the same thing. Who is going to challenge the San Francisco 49ers? Each week it seems like there is a team that will present a challenge, and each week, the Niners destroy their opponent. After a 51-13 win over the Panthers, we had the same discussion.
Here are the winners and losers from Sunday’s game.
This was the version of Coleman many fans had hoped for. I thought Coleman’s usage against Carolina was perfect. Let him use his speed to get to the edge and force the defense to over pursue. When a crease opens up, Coleman can cut it back, find a crease, and take off. That’s what we saw on Sunday. Coleman finished with 105 yards on 11 carries. He scored once through the air and three times on the ground. There were many significant gains from Coleman. It was nice to see him have a big afternoon.
Bosa had three sacks by halftime. On the interception, Bosa fought off a cut block and had the reaction time and athleticism to get his hands up and catch a pass and come close to taking it to the house. There was a play in the second quarter where Bosa chased down Christian McCaffrey on a long screen pass. That tells you he’s not playing for himself. Bosa is selling out on every down, and he’s an absolute wrecking ball. Richard Sherman said Bosa deserves to be in contention for Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s not wrong.
I usually try not to reward players when they only make one play, but Moseley’s interception was a long time coming. Moseley has played like an above-average starter in each of his three starts before Carolina, and it was only a matter of time before he was rewarded. On the play, Moseley sat on Curtis Samuel’s curl route and jumped in front of him Samuel to finish the play. Moseley will likely lose is spot once Ahkello Witherspoon returns from injury, but the 49ers have found a diamond in the rough.
I appreciate this teams’ pettiness. Heading into this week, all we heard was how Allen took care of the ball. Ignoring the handful of times, the opposing defense should have intercepted Allen or his fumbles. Taking it a step further, there were plenty of people that get paid to talk about football that suggested Allen should start over Cam Newton.
The 49ers burst the fantasy land that Allen and the Panthers faithful have been living in. Allen looked in over his head.
One thing we talked about when the 49ers had the ball was how the Panthers were going to be over-aggressive, and the 49ers could take advantage of that. Boy did Kyle Shanahan ever. Carolina fell for every misdirection San Francisco thew at them, and it led to receivers and running backs running free down the field. After the game, Rivera said he wouldn’t second-guess the defense being aggressive, and that’s how he coaches them. Carolina had a bye week before they played the 49ers.
Don’t let Bosa balling out of control distract you from Armstead having a sensational season. Armstead had two more sacks on Sunday and is making himself a lot of money. With Armstead, it seems like his sacks always come when the 49ers need to make a play. His first sack where he bench pressed the guard and was athletic enough to go basically 90 degrees in one step to sack Allen was an unbelievable play. That’s how Armstead has been all season: Unbelievable.
Once again, Kittle led the team in receiving with six catches and 86 yards. Kittle was the beneficiary of the Panthers’ recklessness on defense. On the long 29-yarder down the hashmark, Kittle held on after a helmet-to-helmet hit. That’s a ball I don’t think he catches a season ago. Kittle threw Luke Kuechly to the ground on a block and sprung a few of the 49ers runs like always. Just another ho-hum performance for the best tight end in the league.
Sanders didn’t have the eye-popping stats that we hoped for. He finished with four receptions on five targets for 25 yards. He scored a touchdown on a “stick” route combination that was the exact play and location that Dante Pettis scored against the Steelers. Sanders makes the list because he showed great awareness underneath, and the 49ers will need that when the games are close. We saw him hang on after being hit, which is a big deal if you’re going to be working over the middle. What I liked was Sanders finding open spots in the Panthers zone defense and making himself available and a possible security blanket for Jimmy Garoppolo in the future.