The San Francisco 49ers got a win on Sunday that they desperately needed. Going into back-to-back road games in Weeks 3 and 4 at 0-2 would have been a dangerous situation to be in. After holding on against the Detroit Lions, the 49ers will travel to play the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday.
Players have Tuesday off and will continue their preparations on Wednesday. Until then, let’s take a look at some fan questions in this week’s mailbag.
There’s no denying that the 49ers face a tall task in Week 3 against the Chiefs. San Francisco has the misfortune of its first two road games against teams making their home opener. Arrowhead Stadium is going to be deafening on Sunday, but hopefully the 49ers can draw from their experience in Week 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Offensively, the 49ers will need to do a better job on third down. The group was just 3-of-11 on third down against the Lions. The best way to keep Patrick Mahomes and Co. from scoring is to keep them on the sideline. Kansas City’s high-powered offense is going to get theirs. Grabbing a key late-game takeaway might be San Francisco’s best bet at getting a win on the road against a very good team. The 49ers had those opportunities against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, but failed to capitalize. It will be crucial that those chances don’t go unfulfilled on Sunday.
You can’t overstate the loss of Marquise Goodwin. Losing arguably the team’s top receiver after already losing Jerick McKinnon has been a huge blow to the offense. The rest of the group is looking to improve against man coverage. The Lions were physical off the line of scrimmage and dared the refs to make calls. Officials allowed a lot of contact, and the 49ers weren't able to separate quick enough on a number of occasions.
Kyle Shanahan noted that it’s on everyone. It’s on Jimmy Garoppolo to make quicker decisions. It’s on wide receivers to do a better job of creating separation and it’s on Shanahan to put his players in the best possible position to be successful.
Kansas City’s pass defense ranks worst in the league through two weeks so it will be interesting to see if San Francisco can get into a rhythm in Week 3.
I think this one is a little bit of a misconception. Kittle’s four targets were tied for the most on the team in Week 2. He also had two targets erased due to defensive penalties against him. So Kittle’s relatively quiet performance had more to do with the offense’s inability to sustain drives. Numbers across the offense, bar Matt Breida, were down against the Lions, not just Kittle’s.
I’ll take the under because I anticipate that Shanahan will still utilize Matt Breida and Alfred Morris as a 1-2 punch. The one way where Breida could reach that threshold is if he’s utilized more as a check down option. So far the second-year running back has just four catches through two games. I think there’s room for growth there.
I think this is another misconception. It’s hard to truly judge the o-line in Week 1 because you had guys playing out of position. The offensive line was really impressive in Week 2. That group blew the Lions off the ball in the run game and allowed ample protection in the passing game. The six sacks allowed, as Shanahan noted, were more of a product of guys not getting open or Garoppolo not getting rid of the ball quick enough. They’ll be tested again on Sunday with the noise at Arrowhead, but I don’t see any reason for panic over how the offensive line has played so far.
Here’s the thing about Tarvarius Moore. He’s active on gameday already and contributes on special teams. But if he’s going to get reps on defense, it’s unlikely that we’ll know about it until the moment he enters the game. Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh aren’t likely to tip their hand that they’re looking to get Moore gameday reps at corner, and practices aren’t open during team drills to see if Moore is moving up the depth chart. We will just have to wait and see if the rookie is continuing to progress.
The 49ers hope to get Marquise Goodwin (quad) back this week which would be a huge boost to the offense. Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) might end up being a game-time decision. If he can’t go, Antone Exum would likely step in at strong safety. Jimmie Ward could potentially be another option. Also, as long as Mike Person (foot) didn’t suffer a setback in Week 2, he should continue to be good to go moving forward.
This was a fun question to ponder. Although I grew up a Seahawks fan, I was never a diehard fan of any player in particular. For me, I was obsessed with Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper. I remember winning my first ever fantasy league with those two on my team. They were an unstoppable connection, and it seemed like every game they were putting up monster numbers. I also loved Eddie George, but that was mostly because I thought the Titans logo was cool.