The San Francisco 49ers ran away from the Bengals Sunday in a 41-17 victory. In the spirit of overreacting, here are nine positive, but prisoner of the moment numbers after Sunday’s win.
38-The 49ers point differential after two weeks
The 49ers lead the NFC in point differential after two weeks. They’re third in the NFL, and the two teams ahead of the Niners have both played the Dolphins. Scoring over thirty points to start the year is an excellent sign for the offense. Think about how much we talked about Jimmy Garoppolo’s struggles Week 1, and the offense was still in a position to score. Yes, I know the defense scored two of those touchdowns. You’re ignoring the scores that were called back by a penalty.
4-The number of sacks by the defense
The 49ers defensive line played very well Week 1. They were even better Week 2. Not because they had one more sack against the Bengals. The pressure was constantly on Andy Dalton. The biggest difference was this time it wasn’t Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. The four sacks came from Ronald Blair, who had a few splash plays, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, and DeForest Buckner. We expect that from Buckner, and maybe we should start doing the same for Armstead. The defensive line has depth and versatility, and it’s proven to be too much for both opponents so far.
73-The percentage of NFL teams that have started 2-0 and have made the playoffs, historically.
That is per The Athletic’s David Lombardi. Nine of the NFL’s 32 teams are undefeated. Three of them are in the NFC West. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat, which is another good sign for the 49ers. Last week the defense picked the offense up. This week the offense made up for it. There is a long way to go, but this is the type of start the team had hoped for.
27.1-The 49ers’ projected cap space for 2020
Per Overthecap, the Niners have 27.1 million in cap space for 2020. With Joe Staley expected to miss six to eight weeks with a broken fibula, the natural reaction by many was to want a trade. Good luck trading for Trent Williams with the Shanahan’s history with Washington owner Dan Snyder. Keep in mind they still have to pay DeForest Buckner next offseason, and George Kittle is going to be a rich man very soon. Kittle’s contract is up after 2020.
6.2-The yards per rush for the offense
Speaking of the offensive line, hats off to them. They were second in ESPN’s “pass block win rate” stat, and the running backs had options on which hole they wanted to run through against the Bengals. Even on one of the final drives when it was 41-10, the offense had runs of 11, 14, six, and 10 yards. It was a dominant performance by the five upfront. That led to Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert getting 1-on-1 opportunities, and we saw how that turned out.
35-The number of snaps Dante Pettis played
The only reason Pettis was in the box score was that he threw a pass. Pettis was not targeted, even in a blowout victory. The wide receiver the team traded up for is being out-targeted by a seventh-round pick and an undrafted free agent. It’s mind-boggling. We’ll discuss this later.
11.9-Jimmy Garoppolo’s average yards per attempt
Garoppolo had a passer rating of 131.2, which was tied for first with Patrick Mahomes. Garoppolo averaged almost a full two yards more per attempt than Mahomes did on Sunday. The 49ers are a better team when they take shots. Garoppolo is a better quarterback. I thought he played very well Sunday, and the gameplan that involved stretching the field had a big part to do with it. He seemed to process a lot faster Week 2. He knew where his check-downs were, he got rid of the ball quickly, but he also used his legs when needed to buy more time. That was the Jimmy G from 2017.
3-The number of times Kwon Alexander got his hands on a pass
The most significant difference I see in this year’s defense to last year is the speed at the second level. Alexander doesn’t make every play, but he’s getting to plays the linebackers last year couldn’t come close to. Alexander’s coverage on the interception was great, but his range in zone coverage, and ability to get into throwing lanes and be disruptive is going to lead to even more turnovers for the defense this season.
2012-The last time the 49ers were 2-0
Winning is difficult in the NFL. Opening the season with a pair of road victories has to feel good. The 49ers haven’t been 2-0 since 2012. What a year that was. A divisional and conference championship. Colin Kaepernick ran wild against the Packers in the playoffs, and a big fourth-down stop by NaVorro Bowman against the Falcons to send the team to the Super Bowl. What a ride. Let’s do it again.