The San Francisco 49ers had yet another heartbreaking loss top to Washington after what was almost a miracle comeback on back to back touchdowns. An Aldrick Robinson catch from C.J. Beathard and a touchdown run from Carlos Hyde singlehandedly woke up a fanbase that had seen the blowout story before.
Onto the nest game, though. The 49ers will face The Cowboys in what should be an interesting game. What kind of storylines are developing for the next game? Lets take a look.
5. Will Ezekiel Elliot Play?
There is no bigger storyline in the NFL right now than the saga of Zeke vs. the NFL. I am no lawyer (though I do enjoy Judge Judy) and this is neither the time nor the place to discuss whether or not Zeke is guilty, but whether Zeke is on the field for Sunday is a big topic of conversation.
If Zeke is out there, he will eat. The Niners' run defense has done well and his markedly better than last year, but it isn’t good enough to take on a player of his caliber.
If he doesn’t play, things get a little more interesting. In that instance, The 49ers have a little more of a chance to win. Not a huge chance, but a chance nonetheless. Darren McFadden isn’t bad, and the OL is still good enough to be able to make the holes he will need, but the odds are way better that they’ll be able to stop him rather than Elliott.
Will he play? Its anyones guess at this point, but the entire NFL is tuned in to see.
4. How will QB CJ Beathard do?
CJ Beathard had his long awaited start, coming I n midway through the 2nd against Washington and throwing for 245 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Now, a lot of his success came from Washington likely having not studied him. The thing is, though, is that HC Kyle Shanahan didn’t do anything different with him than he did in college. The fact that Shanahan didn’t go out of his way to dial up anything crazy that Washington hasn’t seen says a lot about Beathard.
This will be a huge game for Shanahan. Beat writers, national media and fans alike have called him a QB whisperer/Offensive genius, and if he manages to pull off a win with a QB that everyone thought he reached for in the draft, he would more than live up that moniker in my eyes.
3. Will San Francisco be able to establish a run game?
In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beathard has a better game than RB Carlos Hyde. The Cowboys defensive line has been better than most people expected (Demarcus Lawrence has looked better than he ever has), but their run defense has had some issues.
While this isn’t to say think the Cowboys defensive line will play that good against the run, I just don’t expect the Niners offensive line to be able to make holes for hum to run through. This may be a game where we see more short passes, either to Hyde or RB Matt Breida because of his speed, to try and cancel out either line.
2. Will the Dallas defense bait WR Pierre Garcon into another OPI call?
This week was WR Pierre Garcon. Before not was WR Trent Taylor. There seems to be a trend of defenses using potential pick plays to bait WRs into offensive pass interference plays. To make clear, not only did Pierre Garcon move out of the way of the Washington defender to prevent the play, the defender changed direction to run into him. Not only that, the player admitted to doing so with the sole intention off causing that OPI call.
This is a problem that the NFL needs to look into, but most importantly, its up to Shanahan to not call those plays so that they don’t happen in the first place.,
1. Will the 49ers defense be able to limit the Dak Attack?
The defensive line has slowly started to look like the defensive line we expected to. Solomon Thomas is slowly looking good. He’s whiffing on some plays but its taking time for him. Thankfully he’s improving at a somewhat faster rate than DeForest Buckner did in his first year. As discussed earlier, the Cowboys offensive line is still very good, and it will be a tough tasks for them. Especially now that DL Arik Armstead is officially on injured reserve with a broken hand. It may not affect the play of the DL too much, but it will affect the rotations. We’re going to see a lot more of Earl Mitchell and Elvis Dumervil, solely because they will need the rotations. It will be a tough task for them to try and limit what Das can do.
What questions do you have heading into the game against Dallas? Let us know on twitter and stay tuned to 49ersHUB for more great content!