San Francisco and Carolina have faced off in 19 regular season games and one NFC Championship game since the Panthers entered the league in 1995.
And so it begins...
The San Francisco 49ers open the 2017 regular season at Levi's® Stadium on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. It will be Kyle Shanahan's first official game as the 49ers head coach, and it will be against an opponent he's seen twice a year for the past two seasons.
All eyes will be on Pierre Garçon, Pierre Garçon and the rest of the 49ers offense as well as the debuts of first-rounders Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster. Follow along here all game long as the 49ers look to open their season with a win for the seventh straight year.
We have our first list of gameday inactives.
For the 49ers: Victor Bolden Jr., Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Pita Taumoepenu, Aaron Lynch, John Theus and Laken Tomlinson will not play.
And for Carolina: Harrison Butker, Brad Kaaya, Cole Luke, Cameron Artis-Payne, Jared Norris, Greg Van Roten and Vernon Butler are inactive.
The 49ers didn't annoucne whether Jaquiski Tartt or Lorenzo Jerome would start in place of Ward at free safety. Also of note, rookie wide reciver Kendrick Bourne is active and will make his NFL debut on Sunday. Bolden being inactive means that Raheem Mostert will handle kick return duties and Trent Taylor will serve as the 49ers punt returner.
George Kittle, who entered the game listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, is active and will also make his NFL debut.
The 49ers won the toss and deferred to the second half. San Francisco's defense opened the 2017 season. Tartt started at free safety. Carolina was limited to one first down before the 49ers got a stop. Earl Mitchell broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage on second down, and Cam Newton's threw the ball away on third down.
Taylor's 9-yard punt return set the 49ers up at their own 18-yard line. Brian Hoyer's first pass was a screen to Kyle Juszczyk that went for a 12-yard gain. Hyde's first carry went for eight yards, and Kittle followed with a 13-yard reception. Two procedural penalties hurt the 49ers. An 11-yard reception from Pierre Garçon set up 3rd-and-2 near midfield. Hoyer dropped a dime to Marquise Goodwin deep down the right sideline, but Goodwin dropped it. Bradley Pinion punted it away, and McCaffrey fair caught it at the Panthers 14-yard line.
Reuben Foster nearly had himself a pick-six on the next drive. He broke up a third-down pass, and forced a three-and-out instead. Newton didn't see Foster lurking in coverage underneath on a throw to Kelvin Benjamin.
Hyde gained 12 yards to begin the 49ers ensuing possession. Garçon followed with a 13-yard reception. Hoyer had Kittle open deep downfield but didn't have enough time to get the throw off. He was sacked, fumbled and the Panthers recovered.
Foster made a play in the backfield and dropped McCaffrey for a 3-yard loss, but then left the game due to injury on the next play. The linebacker stayed down for some time while being tended to before leaving on a cart.
On the next play, Newton hit Russell Shepard for a 40-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up, 7-0. (3:00)
A nightmare situation for the 49ers has turned into an early deficit. It was announced that Foster is questionable to return with a leg injury.
Another sack derailed the 49ers next possession, and San Francisco punted it back to Carolina.
San Francisco's defense forced a three-and-out to open the second quarter.
Goodwin looked to get held on a go route down the left sideline, but didn't get the call as Hoyer's pass fell out of his reach. A holding penalty and another sack had the 49ers going backwards.
A stupid personal foul on Jaquiski Tartt gave Carolina a free 15 yards. Solomon Thomas was called for offsides shortly after. Tartt atoned for his mistakes with a ridiculous one-handed interception. Newton took a shot for the end zone to Benjamin, and Tartt lept at the goal line to make the play. He returned the pick all the way to the 49ers own 38-yard line.
Goodwin's first catch with the 49ers gained six on third down and moved the chains. Shanahan opted to roll the dice on 4th-and-4 from the Panthers 44-yard line. Hoyer was sacked for the fourth time of the half and gave the ball back to Carolina.
On 3rd-and-11, Newton hit McCaffrey for a 12-yard gain. Newton then missed a wide open Ed Dickson in the end zone. It would have been an easy touchdown. His third down pass fell incomplete as well.
Graham Gano made a 39-yard field-goal attempt to make it 10-0, Carolina. (3:23)
The 49ers defense caught a huge break there. Newton has been very irratic in his return from last year's shoulder injury.
Garçon got the 49ers going with a 21-yard reception. The veteran wideout caught a short pass on a stopping route, shed one defender and turned upfield. Shanahan rolled the dice on fourth down again. Facing 4th-and-2 from the Panthers 45-yard line, Juszczyk got stuffed at the line of scrimmage for another turnover on downs.
On 3rd-and-15, a swing pass to McCaffrey gained 16 yards. Newton followed with a 25-yard missile to Benjamin to set up a field-goal attempt.
Gano drilled a 36-yard field goal to make it 13-0, Panthers as the half expired. (0:00)
Hoyer began the half 14-yard pass to Goodwin but was then intercepted by Luke Kuechly.
The Panthers began at the 49ers 28-yard line. Newton gained five yards on a scramble to move the chains on 3rd-and-4.
Newton completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Stewart to put Carolina up, 20-0. (11:24)
Newton now has two passing scores on the day.
The 49ers went three-and-out again with Hoyer taking another huge hit on third down.
Carolina marched down the field again with chunk plays to Shepard and Greg Olsen. On 3rd-and-goal from the 49ers 2-yard line, the 49ers stopped Stewart short of the goal line.
Gano made his third field goal of the day, a 20-yarder to make it 23-0, Panthers. (3:11)
The 49ers are desparate for offense with just 133 total yards in the game.
On 4th-and-3, Hoyer connected with Garçon for a 22-yard gain into Panthers territory. The ensuing third-down pass fell incomplete as Garçon appeared to get held but didn't get the call. San Francisco was set to go for it again on 4th-and-inches before being called for delay of game.
Robbie Gould made a 44-yard field goal to put the 49es on the board, 23-3. (0:08)
Shanahan was heated at the officials as he thought he called timeout before the play clock hit zero.
Rashard Robinson gave the 49ers some life with a forced fumble of McCaffrey. He recovered the loose ball himself to give San Francisco great field position at the Panthers 31-yard line.
A defensive holding penalty negated a third-down sack. Hoyer followed with a 10-yard pass to Hyde to the Panthers 3-yard line. A miscommunication on a running play resulted in a 5-yard loss. On 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the Panthers stopped Hyde short of the goal line for another turnover on downs.
The Panthers went on to bleed the clock down to the two-minute warning. McCaffrey gained 8-yards to move the chains. Carolina took three knees from there.
The 49ers are now 0-1 on the regular season, and things won't get any easier in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks from CenturyLink Field. It's important to remind yourself that it's only one game, but Sunday certainly wasn't a positive start to the 49ers 2017 campaign.