Photo Credit – Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group http://www.mercurynews.com
It wasn’t an ideal start for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers, coming up short against their division rival, Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. This game brought a lot of excitement and questions marks from both teams. Could the Super Bowl runner up continue to roll and get back to the big game? And is Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals for real this year? I believe the 49ers found out the answer to that second question.
The 49ers defense struggled to keep Kyler Murray in the pocket, allowing him to scramble for over 100 yards before finishing at 91 yards after a couple kneel downs to end the game. The talk all off-season regarding the Cardinals was about if Kyler was going to run more. It didn’t seem as if there was a plan in place to contain him and force him to use his arm. This defense returns most of the core from last year’s dominant run, including a stellar defensive line that did apply some pressure throughout the game, but only recorded 2 sacks. A bright spot for this defense was rookie Javon Kinlaw who appeared in 48 percent of the defensive snaps. He graded at an overall of 81.4 according to Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus. That ranks as the highest rookie interior defensive lineman and the 3rd ranked rookie overall in Week 1.
The offensive side of the ball provided much of the same. We knew the 49ers had a ton of options in the backfield coming into the season. How would they use Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Jerik McKinnon, and Matt Breida? They also have speedy Deebo Samuel who they used in a bunch of creative ways last year and first round pick WR Brandon Aiyuk as well. The game plan cleared up a little when they traded Breida to Miami a few weeks ago and placed Deebo on IR prior to the game. Mostert ended up leading the team in rushing and receiving, racking up 151 yards on 19 touches including a TD. McKinnon followed up nicely with 44 yards on 6 touches and a TD in his first game in over 900 days. Tevin Coleman tallied 24 yards on 5 touches. Overall, Mostert looks to lead this backfield in touches for the foreseeable future. He recorded the fastest running speed (22.73 MPH) in the past three seasons according to NextGen stats when he broke into the open field for his 76 yard TD reception. Talk this off-season from Mostert was that he was looking for 200+ carries. It will be interesting to see if he makes it there, but I would say it was a good start to the 2020 campaign for him.
We expect Jimmy Garoppolo and this offense to improve throughout the season when the team can start a healthy lineup of weapons which includes Deebo and Aiyuk who both missed this game due to injury. He didn’t look great in this one, but look for Jimmy G and this team to learn from Week 1 and continue to get better. Off-season acquisition, Trent Williams was another bright spot for the offense when he delivered the block of the year so far. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here.
O M G … Trent Williams at LT. 👀👀👀👀👀👀👀👀
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 13, 2020
The 49ers will look to bounce back out east when they take on Sam Darnold and the Jets this Sunday at 1:00pm.