The San Francisco 49ers honeymoon period for the new front office and roster is over and the harsh realities of a top-down rebuild quickly set in on another uncomfortably hot Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. All the excitement and anticipation about a new era of 49ers football and the team possibly winning their home opener for the 3rd straight year fell flat about as quickly as the 49ers offense did on Sunday. Despite the fact that Cam Newton and the Panthers did not look like world beaters, the 49ers pretty much handed the Panthers the win through penalties, key turnovers and uninspired offensive execution. By the end of the 49ers 23-3 loss, the team was once again staring into the specter of another potentially lost season.
Though they did not record a sack, the 49ers defense kept the team in the game and it would have been even closer without Hoyer’s two turnovers that were converted to fairly easy touchdowns. Since the defense was the far better side, even after Reuben Foster left the game with a leg injury, we will have to go with Jaquiski Tartt as the MVP for his team high 7 solo tackles and 1 pass defensed. He may have had a bad unnecessary roughness penalty but made up for it a few plays later with an Odell Beckham-like highlight interception.
The 49ers offensive line was atrocious and that, in turn, corresponded to poor play and decision making from Brian Hoyer. Hoyer was sacked 4 times and finished 24/35 with 193 yards passing, no TDs, an interception that led to a Panthers touchdown and a fumble lost that led to a Panthers touchdown. Hoyer appeared out-of-sorts and was noted to make mental errors throughout the game:
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) September 11, 2017
The least valuable player from the 49ers offensive line was Zane Beadles, who was noted by Pro Football Focus to have the lowest grade of any guard in Week 1:
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) September 11, 2017
Play of the game
In a game without much inspiring play from the 49ers, the defense played better and this was their single highlight:
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2017
San Francisco will next travel to Century Link field where they have not won since December 24th 2011. They will be facing a Seattle team with a ferocious defense that lost a showdown of NFC powerhouses in Green Bay in week 1. 49ers are currently 13 point underdogs. While it’s true that this was just the first week, the 49ers appear to be facing another long season and it will likely get worse before it gets better starting in week 2.