After yesterday’s 12-9 loss in Seattle, the San Francisco 49ers fell to 0-2. While the 49ers played the Seahawks tough and had their chances, in the end all that matters is the scoreboard.
That being said, there were some things we learned from yesterday’s game:
1) This Defense is further ahead than what they will get credit for
The defense has a lot of young talent on the team and some cornerstones that could make it one of the NFL’s best for years to come. We’ve all heard that for awhile now, but after yesterday’s game, they showed it on the field.
DeForest Buckner earned Pro Football Focus’ Game Ball with nine pressures, two run stops and his ability to clog running lanes.
Aaron Lynch, Arik Armstead, and Tank Carradine each notched a sack and the front seven was able to force the Seahawks into third and long several times.
NaVorro Bowman still looks very good and once Reuben Foster returns, the 49ers will have one of the more stout units in the league.
2) Brian Hoyer is probably the Stop-Gap Quarterback that we all thought he was
Hoyer had a number of things working against him, but the passing game has to be better than what we saw on Sunday after a 99 yard passing performance. There were times it looked promising, but while quick releases should be the norm, especially against a team like the Seahawks, Hoyer waits too long and takes unnecessary sacks.
Marquise Goodwin had a big drop late in the game and Seattle is very good, but Hoyer’s performance in the last two games cannot be explained away. He had two nearly identical interceptions over those games, but not seeing Bobby Wagner early in the game just made things incredibly difficult for defense.
The question many of us have is, why didn’t they test Richard Sherman’s hamstring with the speedy Goodwin? They need to take a couple of shots each game and it didn’t happen this week.
It’s too early to rush him out of the lineup, but for now, it’s hard to find good things in his game.
3) The 49ers are not winning on Second Down
If the offense cannot avoid sacks, penalties, or no-gains on second down, they will punt a lot this year.
This is the second week in a row where the Niners have faced second and long on a regular basis and it has to stop.
4) Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida provide stability in the Ground Game
Hyde (124 yards on 15 carries) and Breida (35 yards on 4 carries) were very effective against one of the NFL’s top units and that has to be encouraging.
We’ll see if that continues, but if the Niners are ever going to get the passing game going, it starts with the offensive line and a ground game to take the pressure off.
Hyde looks very good and became only the 4th running back to rush for over 100 yards in Seattle over the last several years and that’s nothing to scoff at. If Hyde stays healthy, the offense has a chance to get a lot better over the coming weeks.
5) The Secondary is still a Work-In-Progress
While there is talent back there, the corners don’t look the best right now, especially on third downs. The safeties can lay the wood on receivers, but until would-be turnovers are made and they’re able to help the defense to get off the field more on third down, the secondary will not be feared.
Most of the missed tackles have come in the secondary thus far and the coverage hasn’t been great, but work-in-progress is just that. Rashard Robinson, Jimmie Ward, Dontae Johnson and Jaquiski Tartt will be asked to grow up in a hurry as the season progresses.
– Eric Reid will have an MRI today to determine the condition of his knee
– Robbie Gould is still a reliable kicker in the elements as he made all three of his attempts
– Victor Bolden Jr made his debut and the return game looks solid with him and Trent Taylor
– Laken Tomlinson was better than Zane Beadles at guard, which is very encouraging going forward
– The 49ers went 2 for 12 on third down
– Per Eric Branch from the San Francisco Chronicle, in their first two games, the offense has more yards (465) than under Jim Harbaugh back in 2011 (415). It’s a rebuild, but there is potential
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