The San Francisco 49ers begin 2019 undefeated. Kyle Shanahan’s squad didn’t earn any style points in the process, though, the 49ers trudging their way to a 31-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was an up-and-down performance with enough plays at key moments to earn San Francisco their first win of the season.
Here’s our stock report after the 49ers’ 1-0 start:
Stock up: Pass rush
The 49ers invested heavily in getting after the quarterback this offseason, trading a second-round pick for Dee Ford before signing him to a big contract. The team also drafted Nick Bosa with the draft’s No. 2 overall pick. Both players have already begun to return their investment. Together, Ford and Bosa accounted for three sacks and nine pressures, per Pro Football Focus. Their consistent disruption helped force multiple turnovers from Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, including the game-sealing pick-six from cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
Stock down: Discipline
The dirty laundry that stunk up the 49ers’ exhibition games has carried over into the regular season. The 49ers finished Sunday with 11 penalties for 87 yards, three of which erased would-be touchdowns. Tight end George Kittle had two negated by an offensive pass interference call on fullback Kyle Juszczyk and an illegal formation on tackle Mike McGlinchey. Veteran Richard Sherman also drew two penalties while covering Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans.
Stock up: Secondary
The secondary was the 49ers’ most significant question mark heading into 2019, only accounting for two interceptions all last season. As of Week 1, they’ve already surpassed that mark. Robert Saleh’s defense generated four turnovers on Sunday including three picks - two for touchdowns from Witherspoon and Richard Sherman. Free safety Tarvarius Moore, making his first start at the position for the 49ers, nearly intercepted Winston’s pass in the endzone on fourth down for what would’ve been a third pick-six. The secondary as a whole broke up six passes, as well.
Stock down: Wideouts
San Francisco’s receivers only accounted for 76 yards through the air on Sunday. It was an underwhelming performance for a group that started veteran Marquise Goodwin and rookie Deebo Samuel. Further impacting their outlook was the absence of second-year receiver Dante Pettis, who only caught one pass for seven yards. Shanahan said after the game that Pettis was recovering from a calf injury that prevented him from practicing fully throughout the week.
Stock up: Chemistry
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had an up-and-down return to regular-season action for the first time since tearing his ACL in Week 3 of 2018. Despite a pick-six in the second quarter, Garoppolo rebounded and showed off encouraging chemistry between him and Kittle. The 49ers quarterback and tight end accounted for ten targets - seven more than any other pass-catcher. The pair also connected for two touchdowns that were both negated by penalties. With the bulk of Kittle’s record-breaking success in 2018 coming from backups C.J. Beathard or Nick Mullens, Shanahan should be optimistic that the tight end’s success will continue with Garoppolo under center.
Stock down: Backfield
Before training camp, I asked Shanahan how it felt to enter into 2019 with four starting-caliber running backs in Jerick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. The 49ers coach was elated. Since then, McKinnon has been placed on season-ending injured reserve, and Coleman suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Buccaneers that will likely sideline him for a few weeks. What was once a position of excess has now dwindled to just Breida and Mostert. The group only averaged 3.1 yards per carrying against in Tampa Bay and accounted for just 98 yards. The 49ers are likely to promote practice squad running back Jeff Wilson Jr. to fill the void while Coleman recovers.