The 49ers’ fell back to reality this weekend after their offensive explosion against Los Angeles, and it was not pretty. In a penalty ridden affair, the 49ers dropped their first matchup against the Cardinals 18-15 in overtime, and showed many of the same problems we saw in their first two games.
Last week’s game looks like a fluke after the 49ers’ offense returned to its pre-Thursday Night Football form. Mustering 305 yards of offense to go with zero touchdowns, it was a miracle that this game wasn’t over sooner. Combine those numbers with seven penalties, and you have the recipe for an automatic loss.
However, the defense was very strong in controlling the run game and pressuring Carson Palmer, allowing Robbie Gould to keep kicking field goals and keep the game close. Another strong showing from the run defense shows its growth over the last year, allowing only 51 yards on 22 attempts. Also, the 49ers totaled 6 sacks and even more pressures, showing the front-seven’s ability to get pressure on Palmer and force short throws, unfortunately those often went for decent yards.
The game was defined by the anemic offense and the large amount of penalties. The offense’s inability to move the ball was not aided in any way by the detrimental penalties that kept costing the team yardage. The defense and special teams also showed little discipline, committing 8 more penalties, highlighted by more sloppy play in the secondary. The 49ers cannot continue to shoot themselves in the foot with high amounts of penalties. The hope has to be that the penalty numbers will decrease as the 49ers roster (the tenth youngest in the NFL) continues to mature and gel together.
Robbie Gould was golden Sunday afternoon, going 5-5 on his field goal attempts. He was the only source of points for the 49ers, and was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise disappointing performance.
Ray-Ray Armstrong should also get recognition for his performance. Posting a team-leading 10 tackles to go with a sack and an interception, Armstrong’s solid performance set the tone for a strong performance from the 49ers’ front-seven. He also may have opened the door for more playing time, even when Reuben Foster returns from injury.
Brian Hoyer looked terrible. Not many other ways around it. He routinely missed his receivers and never really looked on the right page with any of them. Hoyer also tossed another interception, his fourth of the year, giving him one in every game this season and had two more dropped. His performance looked like a banner game for the “start CJ Beathard” crowd of 49ers fans to point to.
Play of the game
There wasn’t much to get excited about in Sunday’s game, but Solomon Thomas notching his first sack was a promising sign for the number 3 overall pick. His development along with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead should excite fans as the 49ers appear to be building a solid, young defensive line.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 1, 2017
It appears that the 49ers will miss the Andrew Luck return date for when they play the Colts next Sunday in Indianapolis. Which means that this looks like a very promising game for Kyle Shanahan to get his first win as head coach. That said, the 49ers have no reason to take the Colts lightly. Once Jacoby Brissett was inserted as the starting quarterback, the Colts put up a fight against the Cardinals, before losing in overtime, and defeated the Browns. The 49ers also hope to have Eric Reid and Reuben Foster return for this east coast matchup as they have both missed the last two and three games respectively.