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Golden Nuggets: Joe Staley believes the 49ers were “smart” not to play Trey Lance

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Monday, September 20, 2021

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San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Did we learn anything about the 49ers Sunday that we already didn’t know? I think these next three games will tell us more about the team than the past two.

Jimmy Garoppolo shows off his ground game and 49ers enjoy ‘grimy, dirty’ win

The defense, however, kept the Eagles off the scoreboard, the 49ers took over at the 3-yard line, then drove 97 yards in 12 plays and went into the locker room up 7-3.

“When I saw that bomb I was ready to run off of the field — I thought he was gone,” defensive end Nick Bosa said of Watkins. “I think Jaquiski ran him down. And we jogged our way down there and just hung tough. It was the biggest sequence of the game, for sure.”

Bosa doesn’t realize he’s being held, focused on QB pursuit

“I’m just trying to get to the quarterback and that’s my main focus so I can’t even tell unless it’s a situation where they’re pulling on me when I won the rush already. I’m just focused. I rarely sell anything to the ref because I’m not thinking about it.”

Even coach Kyle Shanahan admits it is tough to see Bosa not get the calls he should, but if it’s any consolation, the focus of his defensive end is impressive. It’s more important for Bosa to get to the quarterback than to sell how the opposition is taking advantage of breaking the rules.

It is also a sign of confidence by Bosa knowing that he will win more times than he will lose in a battle with an opposing player.

“Yeah, it’s always frustrating,” Shanahan said. “It’s tough. Sometimes it happens worse than others. I didn’t really get a chance to see it all today, how bad it was, but I’ll see when I’m on the plane.”

Short-handed San Francisco 49ers lose RBs Elijah Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty, Trey Sermon to injury in win

Mitchell is slated to have further tests done when the team returns to the Bay Area.

“He said he was good enough to come back in, so that’s when you think it’s a stinger, but until you have time to go and get an MRI and stuff like that, you never know,” Shanahan said. “But we’re hoping it was just a stinger. You usually feel good about it the way he was talking and the way he was able to come back in the game.”

The Niners finished with 117 yards on 38 carries, an average of just 3.1 yards per attempt on a day in which every yard was difficult to come by.

After rushing for 104 yards in his NFL debut last week, Mitchell started in Mostert’s place but struggled to get much going on the ground, as the Niners’ offense didn’t get on track until late in the first half. Mitchell finished with 17 carries for 42 yards and had two catches for 11 yards.

49ers’ Trey Lance not playing vs. Eagles ‘smart’ to Joe Staley

“It was a game where there really wasn’t an opportunity for him to come in,” Staley said on 49ers Postgame Live. ”Once they operated and started moving the chains, Jimmy was operating very effectively in the offense. It’s a completely different dynamic, especially playing on the road in a hostile environment to bring Trey in and have the mesh points.

“It’s a completely different offensive system, and I think it was a smart decision because Jimmy was playing so well today to keep Trey on the bench.”

Takeaways after 49ers’ grueling win over Eagles

A game of (roughly) four drives

This was effectively a game of three drives; the Eagles’ failure to score after their 91-yard pass, the 49ers’ subsequent touchdown, and the 49ers’ more than eight-minute, 92-yard touchdown drive stretching from the third quarter through the fourth.

Going into the final drive of the first half, the 49ers were being out-gained by a 204-64 margin. But the Eagles failed to convert, which was largely a product of Fred Warner, the safeties, and one outrageous play from Javon Kinlaw.

Kinlaw double-hand swatted the second of the Eagles’ two field goal attempts, and then the 49ers stonewalled the Eagles in the red zone following a 91-yard pass play — something they had to do so twice thanks to one of Josh Norman’s two defensive pass interference calls giving the Eagles another first down.