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4 overreactions from Week 2: Brock Purdy’s overthrows will eventually cost the 49ers

We’ll talk about the quarterback, cornerback, the Rams, and the Niners offense as a whole

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Last week, we said the passing offense should run through Brandon Aiyuk after our Week 1 overreactions. Aiyuk was banged up with a shoulder injury, so he didn’t have the same production in Week 2.

Let’s get into our overreactions from the 49ers win over the Rams.

Brock Purdy’s overthrows will cost the offense ... eventually

For a team that scored 30 points for the second week in a row, you would have thought the quarterback played horrific. During his postgame press conference, the first couple of questions to Brock Purdy were something along the lines of “are you kicking yourself for leaving yards on the field?”

To his credit, Purdy owned his misses. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was a little more forgiving. Shanahan said the overthrow to Brandon Aiyuk was the toughest miss, but the throw to Deebo Samuel was Brock’s third read and the other one to Jauan Jennings Purdy was just trying to make a play.

I’d rather have a quarterback willing to pull the trigger on these throws down the field. It tells us that he’s seeing the field, and when there’s an opportunity deep, he’s going to take it. Keeping the defense honest forces them to defend the entire field throughout the game.

Are these perceived misses frustrating? Without a doubt. But Purdy’s giving his players an opportunity. The offense completed Shanahan’s patented “leak” concept for what felt like the first time in multiple years. Jennings was covered, but Purdy still threw it and completed the pass for 31 yards.

I’d be more agitated at the 3rd & 2 miss on a slant to Deebo than a low percentage throw down the field.

The 49ers need to use their cap space on a cornerback

You can’t go to the cornerback store in September and buy a Patrick Surtain or Sauce Gardner. The 49ers cornerback play was shaky for 2.5 quarters on Sunday. Then, we saw some aggressiveness.

You can thank defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for that. Isaiah Oliver was playing passive early in the game, while Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir played what felt like 15 yards off as the Rams receivers caught first down after first down.

Puka Nacua literally set records against the Niners secondary, catching 15 passes for 147 yards on a whopping 20 targets.

But Wilks started to blitz Oliver. To me, that changed his mindset and helped flip a switch. While Oliver’s interception isn’t sustainable — you can’t rely on a pass going through the intended receiver’s hands moving forward — his tackle for loss and short of the sticks on third downs are. And that started with Wilks getting Oliver going forward instead of waiting back.

Lenoir’s interception was a thing of beauty. Each of the three cornerbacks began to sit on routes and rightfully jump on any intermediate crossing route. You can count on one hand how many times Matthew Stafford threw the ball beyond 20 yards down the field. When you blitz, the quarterback doesn’t have time to look deep as it is, but Wilks deserves credit for going down swinging in the second half. It worked.

Now, does that absolve the coverage or missed tackles? It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. The 49ers get a bit of a breather these next two weeks, but after that, they’ll see these receivers: CeeDee Lamb
Amari Cooper
Justin Jefferson/Jordan Addison
JaMarr’Chase/Tee Higgins
Calvin Ridley
Mike Evans/Chris Godwin
DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett
DeVonta Smith/A.J. Brown

That’s two months of top-10 receivers on a weekly basis. We’ve seen the team start Lenoir in the slot two weeks in a row. Perhaps, Sunday’s second half will be a sign of what’s to come for Oliver. Shanahan called Oliver a “stud” for his performance against the Rams. He also said that Lenoir was one of their best players.

Moving forward, they’ll need to be. If not, the 49ers should strongly consider adding a cornerback ahead of the trade deadline.

The 49ers have the best offense in the NFL

Depending on how you view the Rams, San Francisco has dropped 30 points two weeks in a row on two high-end defenses. The ceiling of this offense is unknown. Last week, they took their foot off the gas. This week, there were five trips inside of the red zone, with three ending in touchdowns. Neither of those are counting Brock’s deep misses.

You can make a strong argument that the offense could’ve scored 45 points in each game. The 49ers competition, at least in the NFC, are the Eagles and the Cowboys. Both of those teams scored 30 or more this week, too.

The offense kept the team in the game Sunday during the first half while the defense was chasing its tail trying to get a stop.

The Niners averaged more yards per play than that did in Week 1, but also scuffled on third downs, going 2-for-9. Still, when you score on 60 percent of your drives, you’re going to be difficult to beat.

I asked Samuel after the game what makes this unit so hard to stop, and he stated the obvious: “Look at the players we have on the field.” Last week, it was Aiyuk. This week, it was Deebo. Every week, it’ll be Christian McCaffrey. And when you have George Kittle in your back pocket, you get 30 points a game.

Statistically, the 49ers are fifth in the NFL in dropback EPA per play (Dallas is third, Philly is 22nd) and fourth in rushing EPA per play (Philly ranks seventh, the Cowboys are 16th).

They’re living off the big play. Success rate gives us a better indication of how you do on a down-to-down basis. San Francisco ranks seventh in dropback success rate and 21st in rushing success rate.

Best offense in the league? You can easily see that happening, but penalties, mistakes, and consistency down-to-down are keeping them off the podium for now.

The Rams are a playoff team

We just watched a pair of playoff teams go head-to-head. It’s ignorant to say that Stafford played poorly by citing that he threw two interceptions. One went right through the receiver's hands, and the second was a fabulous play by Deommodore Lenoir at a point in the game where Stafford had to press the issue.

But the 49ers only got pressure when they blitzed, which tells you how improved the Rams offensive line is. Plus, Nacua and Tutu Atwell looked more like Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Once Los Angeles gets Cooper Kupp back, there aren’t going to run into many teams who can outscore them the way that the 49ers did.

It’s only been two weeks, but it looks like the Rams are back to being the Rams.i