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5 takeaways from the 49ers dominant win over the Browns

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What we learned from San Francisco’s fourth win of the season.

Cleveland Browns v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The streak continues. The San Francisco 49ers remain undefeated after Monday night’s impressive win over the Cleveland Browns at Levi’s Stadium. The boys in red and gold owned the game in every facet, holding a Browns offense that put up 40 points in Week 4 to just a field goal. It was a performance worthy of primetime for Kyle Shanahan and Co., the 49ers going 4-0 for the first time since 1990.

Here are our five takeaways from the 49ers’ 31-3 victory over the Browns:

Dominance

The box score was as lopsided as it gets. The 49ers gained 446 yards to the Browns’ 180. Shanahan’s offense gained 22 first downs to Freddie Kitchens’ nine. San Francisco averaged 6.2 yards per play to Cleveland’s 3.6. The backfield accounted for 275 yards on the ground while the Browns only managed 102. The 49ers held on to the ball for 71 plays and 37:43, leaving only 46 snaps and 22:17 for Cleveland. The 49ers defense forced four turnovers while the Browns managed none. Sometimes the box score doesn’t reflect the game. This wasn’t one of those times.

Nick Bosa is for real

The 49ers’ No. 2 overall pick was the team’s best defender on Monday night. Bosa’s stat line included four total tackles, two sacks for 21 yards, two tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. The thing is, the stats don’t quite do Bosa’s performance justice. The rookie lived in the backfield, tormenting Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throughout the game. Bosa said afterward that he had plenty to say to his former college rival from across the ball, culminating in a flag-planting sack celebration that mocked what Mayfield did at Oklahoma following a 2017 road win at Ohio State. Bosa has established himself as a favorite for defensive rookie of the year.

Shift in takeaways

The 49ers turned the ball over five times against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 en route to a 24-20 win. Giving the ball away was the only reason that game was close. Shanahan seems to have righted the ship. The 49ers forced four turnovers against a much better Browns team on Monday while committing none. The relentless pass rush ruffled Mayfield into two interceptions and two fumbles. Robert Saleh’s defense has generated 11 takeaways through four games after only totaled seven all last season.

Steamrolling the opposition

The 49ers have fielded an elite rushing attack through the first five weeks of the season. Shanahan’s offense is averaging 200 yards on the ground per game, the best in the NFL. On the 49ers’ first play of offense of Monday, running back Matt Breida broke through the right side of the Browns’ defensive line for an 83-yard touchdown untouched. He totaled 11 carries for 114 yards against Cleveland. Tevin Coleman added 16 carries for 97 yards and a 19-yard touchdown. Even tight end George Kittle got in on the action with an 18-yard gain on a sweep in the first quarter. The 49ers rushing attack totaled 40 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

Moseley solid in debut

Starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon suffered a foot sprain against the Steelers, forcing the 49ers to field free-agent addition, Jason Verrett. After surrendering two big plays, the defense turned to Emmanuel Moseley. The former undrafted free agent got the start against the Browns, facing a steep assignment against wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. He aced the test. Moseley authored two defining plays on Monday night, the first a diving pass breakup in the endzone to force the Browns to settle for a field goal. Later, Beckham Jr. tested Moseley deep, who was in perfect position and forced the completion out of bounds. Witherspoon was playing at a Pro-Bowl level before his injury, but his absence may not be felt if Moseley can continue to shine.