The San Francisco 49ers took the field Thursday against the Los Angeles Rams, and for the first time in a long time, the crowd at Levi’s Stadium was electric. There was at least 1 instance in which Head Coach Sean McVay had to call a time out while on offense because the crowd was hampering the calls from QB Jared Goff. That is something this team has been lacking ever since the move to Santa Clara, and a few people at the stadium mentioned that the crowd response coupled with the interior design work within the stadium made it feel like a step in the right direction towards replicating the vibe at Candlestick.
Needless to say, the game did not start out as electric.
The first play of the game resulted in an interception of a pass from QB Brian Hoyer, followed by a touchdown run by RB Todd Gurley.
Now, everyone and their entire family could’ve guessed that the first play of the game should be a run by RB Carlos Hyde, more so than the 1-yard run in the Super Bowl when QB Russell Wilson was intercepted in the end zone instead of handing off to RB Marshawn Lynch. The problem is that every other team the Niners play will expect that too. I understand the reasoning behind Head Coach Kyle Shanahan's decision to try and build up Hoyers confidence by establishing the passing game. I don’t feel like it was the right call, however. It’s easy to say that after the fact, but when your QB has had such horrible OL play and has taken double digit sacks within the first 2 games, your QB will be more skidd-ish and will be more prone to making bad decisions. Establishing the run and moving the ball not only builds the confidence of your QB but the offense as a whole.
Most teams would buckle and become demoralized under such a quick strike, and being the void that is Thursday Night Football, I truly expected that. This team persevered though, and if anything should make you confident about the future of this team, it should be that.
After the most acrobatic catch the Niners have seen in quite some time, the offense quickly scored not just their first touchdown, but kept themselves in the game. They didn’t quite go score-for-score with LAR, but the LAR are a team on the rise, and giving them a run is a good indication of where the roster is for the Niners.
The most important takeaway from this game for me is to continue to quell expectations. Yes, the team showed enough American Grit to make Johnathan Q. Cena happy. Yes, they went from having never scored a touchdown to putting up 39 points. This is still a rebuild though. The offense and defense are still figuring out their respective schemes. Inconsistency is a certainty. Thankfully, we can, at least for now, be comfortable knowing tge ship is being steered in the right direction.
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