The 49ers handed the Philadelphia Eagles their first win of the season following a disappointing, 25-20 loss in Week 4. Here are seven takeaways from the matchup.
1. Slow Start
San Francisco looked sluggish overall in Sunday's loss. The offense struggled to continue drives and converted on 5-of-10 of their third down opportunities. A looming miss came on an overthrown pass from Nick Mullens to Kyle Juszczyk that appeared to be an easy six points to get the offense going.
San Francisco had multiple key opportunities to win Sunday's ballgame, but could not capitalize. The 49ers had three turnovers and allowed 14 points off of those giveaways. After three impressive showings, left tackle Trent Williams had a rough outing, allowing a sack and multiple quarterback pressures. San Francisco's O-line struggled against the Eagles, allowing five sacks on the night.
"I thought as a whole, the entire offense struggled a little bit right when we did get some things going," Kyle Shanahan said. "It was really one weak link on each play that just got us in some bad situations and cost us some drives. So, I expect him to do better and expect all of us to do better."
For the second-straight week, first-rounder Javon Kinlaw logged a deflected pass. The rookie got his 83 6/8 wingspan on a pass from Carson Wentz that landed in the hands of linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair. Al-Shaair stepped in for Dre Greenlaw last week, who missed his second-consecutive game with a quadricep injury.
Wentz has now thrown seven interceptions through four games.
3. Record Breaking
George Kittle made his return after missing the last two games with a knee injury and certainly didn't disappoint. The tight end was nearly perfect on the day, hauling in 15 of his 16 targets on Sunday for 183 yards and a touchdown. His lone drop came on the 49ers failed 2-point conversion as the ball slipped through the tight end's hands.
Kittle tied Christian McCaffrey (Week 16, 2019) for the most targets with a perfect catch rate in a single game in the history of recorded targets (since 2009).
Kittle now has 3,172 career receiving yards in his 47th NFL game. He ties Rob Gronkowski for third-fastest to reach 3,000 yards by a tight end in NFL history, behind only Mike Ditka and Kellen Winslow (45 games).
Additionally, the tight end topped 100 receiving yards for the ninth time in his career. Kittle is tied for the third-most 100-yard games by a tight end in their first 50 career games, since 1970. Gronkowski (12) and Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (14) are the only tight ends with more.
4. Air Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk had the play of the game following a highlight reel touchdown carry. Aiyuk took a lateral 38 yards and hurdled Eagles safety Marcus Epps en route to the end zone. The play quickly caught steam across social media. Aiyuk was targeted five times and caught two receptions for 18 yards to add to his career-long touchdown.
With a 38-yard rushing score on "Sunday Night Football," Aiyuk now has a rushing touchdown in consecutive games (19-yard rushing touchdown in Week 3). Aiyuk joins Tyreek Hill (Weeks 15-16 of 2016) and teammate Deebo Samuel (Weeks 16-17, 2019) as the only wide receivers with rushing touchdowns in consecutive games in the last five seasons, according to NFL Research.
5. Containment Issues
San Francisco's defense continued to struggle against quarterbacks outside of the pocket. In Week 3, Daniel Jones put up 49 yards on the ground. Kyler Murray registered a whopping 91 yards and a rushing touchdown in Week 1. This week, Wentz evaded multiple sacks and managed to challenge San Francisco's defense with his legs. The quarterback registered 37 yards on the ground and a score.
That has to be a point of emphasis as the 49ers await a rematch against Murray and two contests against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
D.J. Jones notched his second sack of the season and fourth of his career. Cornerback Jamar Taylor also registered a sack to force an Eagles punt. Taylor stepped in for K'Waun Williams, who left the game with a knee injury at the top of the fourth quarter and, on the following play, came up with the sack on a blitz.
The 49ers finished the game with three total sacks, including one that was split between Arik Armstead and Kerry Hyder Jr.in the fourth quarter to force an Eagles fourth down. Armstead had one of his better performances of the young season, notching multiple quarterback pressures and a run stop.
6. Personnel Change
After Mullens threw his second avoidable interception of the game, the backup was replaced by C.J. Beathard. Beathard made his first appearance in a game since Week 8 of the 2018 season. Beathard led the offense downfield on a 12-play, 75-yard drive culminating in a 1-yard rushing score by Jerick McKinnon.
Beathard finished his two drives completing 14-of-19 passes for 138 yards and a passer rating of 93.8.
"I know (Nick) had a tough challenge going against that front, but I know and Nick knows he can play better," Shanahan said. "Gave an opportunity for C.J. to come in, and C.J. did a good job with the reps he had."
As far as Jimmy Garoppolo, there are no updates on if the quarterback will be ready to go by the 49ers Week 5 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. Shanahan said he is "hopeful" the quarterback will be available for practice on Wednesday.
7. Another Blow to the D-line
Recently signed defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah, who pressured Wentz into an incompletion in the first quarter, left the game in the second quarter with an arm injury. The 49ers fear the pass rusher suffered a season-ending bicep tear. Ansah was signed by San Francisco following the Week 2 loss of Nick Bosa. He will undergo an MRI to confirm that diagnosis. Details to follow.