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49ers vs. Bucs: Studs and Duds from Sunday’s win

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A lot of defensive players stood out for the 49ers

NFL: SEP 08 49ers at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier today, Rob went over the stock report on the San Francisco 49ers. That’s more team-oriented. In these studs and duds, we’ll focus on the players who made a name for themselves, as well as the players who need to step it up. Here are four studs and three duds from Sunday’s victory over Tampa Bay.

Stud-Nick Bosa

It was an impressive debut for the first-round pick out of Ohio State. Using ESPN’s pass-rush win rate metric, Bosa was second among all qualified rookies with a PRWR of 26%. Using PFF’s pass rush productivity data, Bosa led all qualifying edge rushers in Week 1. I’ll have an “advanced box score” at some point today. I chart “wins,” and anything over four is a great outing. Bosa finished the game with eight wins. In short, he’s good.

Dud-Marquise Goodwin

Goodwin finished with one catch on three targets for seven yards. He also had a drop on a play-action pass. Was the throw behind him? Yes. Should he have caught it? Yes. Both of these can be true. That’s not the reason Goodwin finds himself here, though. Goodwin missed five blocks that led to the Bucs defense making stops. The offense kept putting Goodwin in blocking situations where he was involved in the play, and he couldn’t handle his assignments. I’d guess we don’t see any more of that moving forward.

Stud-George Kittle

Kittle makes every aspect of the game look effortless. He was the only pass catcher that was on the same page as Jimmy Garoppolo throughout the afternoon. Kittle caught eight of his ten targets, the other two weren’t catchable, for 54 yards. Forty-seven of those came after the catch, and he forced two missed tackles on the same play. Oh, and half of those went for first downs. I’m sure it was frustrating for Kittle to have a pair of touchdowns called back. Kittle didn’t let those mistakes bother him. He was equally as impressive as a blocker, only missing one block all game, and paving the way on two runs with a pair of “plus blocks.” What a player.

Dud-Jimmy Garoppolo

Garoppolo would have been better off throwing to Kittle every play. Of his 17 attempts to the other pass catchers, eight of them were off target. Garoppolo did have two drops, and both came in critical situations, but his accuracy will need to improve moving forward. I’m not too worried about it, as it’s his first game back from injury. It’s something worth monitoring, though.

Stud-Arik Armstead

If not for Bosa, we’d be praising Armstead for his performance. Armstead had five “wins,” three stops, and a sack. That sack came at a vital time when Tampa Bay was in the red zone on third down. Armstead was active and productive inside. It was good to see him get after it.

Dud-Run blocking

The running backs didn’t have much room to run on Sunday. Goodwin missed his fair share of blocks, but Weston Richburg missed four, and everyone else on the offensive line missed three apiece. This was magnified as it usually happened in short-yardage situations when the offense needed to convert. I’ll chalk this one up to it being the first game.

Stud-Ahkello Witherspoon

Witherspoon was tremendous on Sunday. He was targeted seven times, and only allowed two catches. He also intercepted Jameis Winston and scored. Additionally, Witherspoon broke up two passes, showing the type of aggression that made him a coveted prospect in the NFL Draft. What was most impressive about Witherspoon’s performance was that he was consistently in position, even on the two first downs he gave up. In 45 coverage snaps, he was beaten once. He had the confidence to challenge Mike Evans. Witherspoon looked like a player that’s primed for a big season.