The atrociousness that was the Minnesota Vikings is now in the rearview mirror. The San Francisco 49ers are back to take on the Cincinnati Bengals, the team they won their first Super Bowl against in 1981. This will be another litmus test for the defense that was unable to much of anything against Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. A full rundown of the positions can be found by Ryan Bainbridge. This will be an afternoon game. Jim Nantz will be providing play-by-play and Tony Romo will be providing commentary.
The 49ers have been stumbling into a couple of losses in games many felt they should have won. Some questions have been placed towards both second year quarterback Brock Purdy and the defense led by Steve Wilks.
Purdy hasn’t played a good full four quarters of football in each of his two losses but managed to put the team in winning position in one of the aforementioned losses and played while concussed in the other (which explains two picks). The concussion leads to the third serious injury Purdy has suffered in what can be considered a full NFL season at this point. While he has managed to play through two of those injuries, durability—while not a question— is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile the 49ers defense, led by Steve Wilks began the season with a weekly bonehead play or two per game that led to an opponent touchdown. That only grew worse and the small drippy leaks in the plumbing festered to pipes exploding as his defense couldn’t close out a game in Cleveland (though still managed several stops and can’t be blamed for the loss entirely). Wilks and the defense need to figure out the issues, and fast. Not calling cover 0 with 16 seconds left in the first half would be a good start. The 49ers will be getting their bye week after this game so a win could definitely send them in a positive direction as they get healthy.
The Cincinnati Bengals started almost the opposite of the 49ers. They dropped their first two games to the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, respectively then won their next three out of four games. All three of those wins came against the NFC West (one of which against the Seattle Seahawks...thanks Cincy!).
The Bengals offense started out quite slow but once they met Arizona, Burrow went a game throwing for over 300 yards (first time this season) and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase broke the Bengals record for single-game receptions. While there is no panic button involved with the Bengals yet, the urgency factor is high.
The San Francisco 49ers will not be with wide receiver Deebo Samuel who is still nursing a shoulder fracture. He may return after the 49ers bye which comes concluding the Bengals game. Offensive Tackle Trent Williams has been listed as questionable and as of this writing looks to be a game-time decision. Quarterback Brock Purdy, who has been in the concussion protocol, has been cleared to play as of Saturday.
The Bengals running back depth will be tested. Chase Brown went on IR Saturday which means Joe Mixon may get some extended work Sunday with Trayveon Williams getting a bit more of a workload. Tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was listed as questionable through the week, but should play.
Date: Sunday, October 29th, 2023
Kickoff: 01:25 PM PST, 04:25 PM EST
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Play-by-Play: Jim Nantz
Color Analyst: Tony Romo