The San Francisco 49ers were a penalty flag away from being 0-2, but they got lucky and they held on to beat the Detroit Lions, 30-27, improving to 1-1.
In the final minutes of the game, Jimmy Garoppolo threw what would have been a pick-6, but the Lions committed a holding penalty before the pass was thrown, and the Niners escaped, literally, with the win.
“A win is a win but it feels like a loss,” said cornerback Richard Sherman after the game.
Missed tackles, sacks and coverage issues contributed to the 49ers’ squandering a 17-point lead. If they want to keep up with the red hot Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs next week, they’ve got work to do.
Sack That Quarterback
Garoppolo, who finished the day 18-0f-26 for 206 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, was sacked six times today, including three in the the red zone.
“I’ve got to get the ball out faster…Help [the offensive line] guys out, make it easy, get our offense in to more of a rhythm and just take what they’re giving me type of thing,” Garoppolo said. “I thought the offensive line played great today. Mike [Person] stepping up like he did. He didn’t practice all week and then he comes out and had a hell of a game for us. Those guys up front are battling and I’ve got to help them out.”
Garoppolo has been lauded for his ability to read a defense and get rid of the ball quickly, but after last week’s three-interception game, the QB seemed more hesitant than usual.
“It’s always in your mind you don’t want to throw interceptions, but there’s a happy medium,” said Garoppolo. “It’s like everything with being a quarterback. It’s about decision making and putting your team in the right spot to be successful. It’s a bunch of little things coming together. I think overall, the skill positions stepped up today and the O-Line played great. So, I’m real happy about that.”
Some of the sacks were a result of the receivers’ inability to get open, causing many to wonder whether or not the 49ers would consider Josh Gordon.
“I love our whole team and the guys that we have,” Shanahan said when asked. “I always feel, since camp ended and we got our 53, we can win with the people we have…But, my same answer for always, we will look into every situation to always try to upgrade our team no matter what the case is; but to answer your question, am I happy with what we have, of course I am.”
Tough Day in the Secondary
Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford avoided throwing in Richard Sherman’s direction basically the entire day. Instead, he picked on Ahkello Witherspoon and Witherspoon had a tough day.
He gave up two touchdowns and was called for pass interference in the 4th quarter, before being taken out of the game. Sherman had wise words for Witherspoon
“You have 24 hours,” Sherman said. “Win, lose or draw. Regardless of the outcome or how you play. You have 24 hours, you look at the tape, you correct your mistakes and you move on. That is what you do regardless. If he played and had five picks, I would tell him the same. It doesn’t matter how good you played or how bad you played one week. This is the NFL. The next week is a whole new beast. You are facing a whole new team, whole new scheme. If you caught five picks, they are going to test you again. If you got five balls caught on you they are going to test you again regardless. That is this league and I think that he is going to bounce back.”
Safety Jaqusiki Tartt played well but hurt his shoulder late in the game and did not return.
Matt Breida Had a Good Day
Today marked running back Breida’s first start and he made the most of it. The second year back’s biggest play was a 66-yard touchdown run, thanks partly to the blocking of wide receiver Pierre Garçon.
“He’s a monster,” Breida said of Garçon. “He’s fearless to go to the middle to catch balls and he’s not afraid to block. I feel like that is what’s going to one day make him a Hall of Famer. He’s been in this league for a long time and that’s the reason why. He can do it all.”
Breida finished the day with 11 carries for 138 yards on the ground (and the touchdown) and three receptions for 21 yards.
Before heading to Arrowhead Stadium, the 49ers are going to have to work on all those missed tackle and the pass rush is going to have to step it up.
“I think we have some stuff we need to work on,” defensive lineman DeForest Buckner said. “I feel like some guys were winning their one-on-ones, Stafford was just getting the ball out quick. Up front, we’ve got to do a little better job containing the quarterback and getting a hand in his face.”
Yes, they do. Mahomes threw for 326 yards and six touchdowns today. Good luck.
For his part, Buckner had another solid game, with five tackles, a sack, and two QB hits. LB Reuben Foster returns next week, which should help matters.
Anther positive from the game was the 49ers’ special teams play. Rookie D.J. Reed had four kickoff returns for 159 yards, including one for 90 yards.
Raheem Mostert had a number of key tackles, proving again and again why he’s so valuable to this team.
“Raheem is playing at such a high level,” Shanahan said. “…I think he was one of the better special teams players in the league last year and he has started off continuing that this year. The plays he made last week in Minnesota at gunner, even when he’s doubled, he still makes plays. Every time I looked up today he seemed to be making plays too. He does a hell of a job for us in special teams and there’s going to come a time this year, where we’re going to really need him on offense also.”
24 hours and it’s back to work.