The San Francisco 49ers escaped Levi’s Stadium with a near win against the Detroit Lions. So what led to that scare? Let’s review!
What a terrible ending it would’ve been for San Francisco had they lost a 30-10 lead at home in the home opener. Luckily, the defense was somehow able to force a turnover on downs late in the fourth to seal their first win of the season.
The offense did not look good at all, but it was barely enough to leave Levi’s with a win. Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdowns to Kendrick Bourne and Garrett Celek and had 206 passing yards on 18 completions and 26 attempts. The luckiest play for Garoppolo came when a late-interception by the Lions was negated by a holding penalty. If not for the penalty, the 49ers would have been looking at an 0-2 start. The offense will definitely need to improve if they want to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road next week.
In Jerick McKinnon‘s absence, Matt Breida completely shredded the Lions defense. On 11 carries, Breida ran for 138 yards and also had a 67-yard touchdown run. Breida averaged 12.5 yards per carry and had other runs of more than 20 yards. He’s going to be key next week versus the Chiefs run defense. Fellow running back Alfred Morris had 14 carries for 48 yards.
Middle Linebacker Play
With Brock Coyle going on injured reserve for the foreseeable future, Elijah Lee was called upon to step up this week with Reuben Foster serving the last week of his two-game suspension. Lee started off slow, but improved after. He would lead the 49ers defense in tackles with 12 (10 solo) and also had a strip-sack on Matthew Stafford which led to a Cassius Marsh recovery. Fred Warner made 10 tackles with eight of them being solo. Next week, Foster comes back into the mix and should be paired with Warner.
Patrick Mahomes has been lighting up the league with 10 touchdowns in two weeks. He had six against the Pittsburgh Steelers and now will face a 49er team that now has serious problems at corner. Richard Sherman did his job. He didn’t allow a catch and Stafford never bothered throwing in his direction. However, Ahkello Witherspoon brought out his inner Dontae Johnson and was giving up big penalties and plays. Jimmie Ward eventually came onto the field to replace him but didn’t do anything to impress, either. Next week is going to be tough for that side of the field.
The rookie corner who has been returning the kicks so far had a 90-yard kick return to open up the second half. It was originally a touchdown, but it was called back due to a facemask penalty on Reed himself. Garoppolo would eventually throw to Celek for the touchdown.
49ers travel to Kansas City for next week.