Richard Sherman said it best. He said “It was a win but it felt like a loss. The defense played like crap in the second half.” He’s right. the 49ers had a 17 point lead with 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and had Detroit pinned back deep facing a 3rd and 17. Ahkello Witherspoon, who is the guy with the target on his back, as no one seems to want to throw to Sherman’s side, was torched for a 65 yard pass to set up Detroit’s first 4th quarter score. Witherspoon had a holding call, a PI (which could have been called a push-off), and gave up two TDs after missing most of practice with week with a bad ankle.
Jimmy G, who had a horrible game last week, had a much improved game. 18-26 206 yards, and a couple TD tosses, yet he nearly gave the game away with an absolutely horrible throw to Matt Brieda running an out route near the sideline. The easiest route for a corner to jump. Garoppolo did make the tackle to save the touchdown, but Detroit was called for a holding penalty on Greg Kittle and the play was overturned. As was a punt return for a TD earlier in the 4th quarter by Detroit.
Bright spots were Matt Brieda, who cranked out big runs of 20, 22, and 65 yards to get the 49ers to their 17 point lead. Kittle kept his game-with-a-drive-killing-drop streak intact as he dropped what would have been a first down. Celek made a nice catch and drag into the end zone on a nice call by Shanny to throw a quick slant to him on 2nd and goal. The 1st TD came on another nice call, having Kendrick Bourne lined up in the backfield and no one picked him up as Jimmy hit him for an easy score.
However, 2 red zone drives stalled early, the biggest one being the fumble forced by Elijah lee on Stafford that was recovered by Cassius March on the 18. Garoppolo, whose quick release wasn’t as apparent yesterday, was sacked 6 times for 50 yards in losses. He seemed averse to throwing into coverage even though he had plenty of time on most of the sacks he took. Mainly on our first drive to the red zone.
First and goal from the 9 turned into 4th and 27 after two needless sacks and a 0 gain run. As I said, Jimmy played better, but he still is learning the game. This was start #9, and he has to do a better job of feeling pressure and knowing where and how to either slide away from pressure, or simply get the ball out and not take the sack. The only sack that made sense was when we were trying to get the 3rd and 8 to run out the clock. Taking the sack allowed the clock to keep running. rather than an incomplete pass to stop the clock. That got rid of 45 seconds.
What does this mean for next week? Nothing. We are a young team finding our way. We played tough but sloppy against the Vikings, and played sloppy and inconsistent against Detroit.
Looking at KC next week, they of the Pat Mahomes Experience, one would think we will get slaughtered. It very well could come to pass, but they have given up 65 points in 2 games. it’s not like they are shutting anyone down. We just need to GET PRESSURE. 2 sacks on 53 pass attempts is not nearly enough. Detroit had 6 sacks on 26 Jimmy attempts. Buckner looks to be the most consistent guy on the line. But we seem to get shoved out of every rush easily. We run the same stunt over and over. There is NO pressure up the middle. Stafford is no Elway, and like I said, he had 53 passes.
The Niners were lucky Stafford missed so many deep passes. He could have easily thrown for 400+ yards as his team dropped 4-5 passes that would have set them up for the tie at least.
A win is a win, but we are still suffering rowing pains. I may have been a little premature in my assessment of this team, but then again, the season is young.