The 49ers finally ripped the monkey off their backs and defeated the Seattle Seahawks 27-7 for their first win of the season. Here’s what we learned about the now 1-1 Niners after their victory.
49ers Revenge Tour Part Three Is Upon Us
After a catastrophic injury to starting quarterback Trey Lance, the 49ers will start Jimmy Garoppolo, who entered the game on Sunday in relief, for the remainder of the season. It almost doesn’t feel real after a dramatic off-season regarding the trade rumors and division amongst the fanbase when it came to the QB position. Garoppolo even said his farewell to the fans during a press conference back in February. Yet, it feels as if he is inevitable.
Not many teams can say they have a chance to contend with their backup quarterback starting for practically the entire season, but the Niners are in a very unique situation. Last season, the 49ers finished 10-7 and advanced to the NFC Conference Championship Game where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion, Los Angeles Rams. This is essentially the same team aside from a few changes.
The offensive line looks different with Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel and Spencer Burford on the interior, but they’ve looked steady so far this season. While you could argue this was a downgrade, the Niners upgraded in many areas.
The Niners last year didn’t have a true number one corner all season long. Now with Charvarius Ward added into the mix along with the emergence of safety Talanoa Hufanga, this defense that carried the team in the playoffs looks even scarier.
Yes, the 49ers have their backup QB starting, that being said Garoppolo is a high-end backup who is truly a serviceable starter in the league with an outstanding roster around him once again. Make no mistake about it, the Niners are very much Super Bowl contenders this year. Not the way we thought they might’ve been entering the season, but in familiar fashion nonetheless.
The 49ers Defense Has Shown “Ball-Hawk” Tendencies
One area many wanted to see the 49ers improve was the secondary. While the defense was great last season, they weren’t exactly known for intercepting passes. Talanoa Hufanga intercepted a pass in Week One against the Bears and this week he tipped a pass over the middle of the field that was then intercepted by fellow safety Tashaun Gipson. Later in the game, newcomer cornerback Charvarius Ward got his first interception of the season in the endzone.
If this continues throughout the season, it’ll make life even easier on Garoppolo and the offense as the 49ers will be set up for even more scoring opportunities in good field position. Currently, the Niners rank top three in multiple defensive categories and we are still waiting for the return of starting free safety Jimmie Ward and former starting corner Jason Verrett.
The stakes should raise a bit this Sunday night as they face Russell Wilson who always seems to have San Francisco’s number. We will see if the defense can continue this trend or if the performances thus far are truly due to weather conditions and facing two dramatically inferior rosters.
The 49ers Have A Thin Running Back Room
With Elijah Mitchell already out for a couple of months with an MCL sprain, the Niners also lost rookie running back Tyrion Davis-Price to a high ankle sprain that he suffered during the game against Seattle. The running back room will consist of Jeff Wilson Jr, Jordan Mason, Marlon Mack, and potentially Tevin Coleman who was signed to the practice squad.
We are familiar with Jeff Wilson Jr, but we have yet to see Jordan Mason get a single carry this season after a stunning preseason. Will he finally get carries this Sunday? Deebo Samuel will also be used out of the backfield, but how much of a workload are they willing to give him as a running back this early in the season? Either way, the back-field will be running thin for a while and they cannot afford any more injuries at this point in the season.