The 49ers got the monkey off their back by beating the division rival Seattle Seahawks for the first time in two years. San Francisco won surehandedly through several momentum swings. Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced the team would finish the season without Trey Lance. We look at three things we learned and how they affect the Niners in the future.
The weight is back on Jimmy Garoppolo’s Shoulders
Lance’s season-ending ankle injury is devastating, and he misses another year of development. In addition, he will have to regain his mental confidence during the physical rehab.
Now, the weight is back on Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulders. Garoppolo stepped in and delivered in an extreme time of need. I have clamored for Brandon Aiyuk to get more targets, and Garoppolo looked his way often. Garoppolo laid a pass in Aiyuk’s breadbasket on 3rd and 9 midways through the second quarter, and Aiyuk could not reel it in. A deep sideline throw is uncharacteristic of Garoppolo and should be caught by Aiyuk when he has superstar-like potential. I will not dwell on Garoppolo’s near interception on the next throw.
Garoppolo’s pocket presence could have been his best attribute Sunday. The nine-year veteran kept his feet active in the to evade sacks and deliver throws. Then, he took off when the pocket collapsed and looked spry overall.
Rushing attack developing well
The 49ers outgained last week’s 176-yard rushing total, and Jeff Wilson Jr carried most of the load with 84 yards on 18 carries. Niners offensive line coach Chris Foerster will feel better getting in the win column. The offensive line cleaned up the penalties, got to the second level on blocks, and fanned off pass rushers long enough for Garoppolo to deliver passes. Everything feels good when Shanahan’s rushing attack is going.
Running the ball down the opponent’s throat not only takes the air out of the game, but it gets to the bully ball San Francisco has established in the last six seasons.
DeMeco Ryans masterclass
Taking DK Metcalf out of the game plan was a major win for the 49er defense. Metcalf tends to get the best of San Francisco’s defensive backs, but Emmanuel Moseley and Charvarius Ward mirrored him to a T. Ward’s pick on the failed double pass trick play shows how disciplined this defense was after having three crucial moments of extended drives against the Bears last week.
Seven total pressures — four hurries, two sacks, and a quarterback hit — highlighted the dominance of edge-rushing phenom Nick Bosa. Samson Ebukam and Javon Kinlaw continue to grow into developed pass rushers. Both constantly got pressure on Seattle quarterback Geno Smith.
Talanoa Hufanga continues to be a breath of fresh air on the defense, and I will give him flowers every week after doubting him. Clearly, I was wrong again by saying the safeties would face the most pressure this season. Tashaun Gipson Sr. has filled in well for Jimmie Ward.
Something told me the Niners would win big, and it should have been by a larger margin. However, the Niners had to fight through adversity all game. They rallied around Lance in a time of sorrow and know the season should be dedicated to him.
The kick-six was nerve-racking and it felt like the Seahawks were about to seep right back into the game. I thought San Francisco was sloppy in the second half, but the 13-play, 63-yard touchdown drive ate up seven minutes at the end of the fourth. Those are my favorite Shanahan drives. They show the damage the 49ers can do with this loaded roster.