Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The San Francisco 49ers dominated the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football to open the season 4-0 for the first time in 29 years. There’s no need to mince words. Right into the Stock Watch!
Stock Up: Kyle Shanahan’s 8D Chess Board
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has long been heralded as one of the best offensive minds in the whole league. While many were busy gushing over Rams’ HC Sean McVay and his offense in L.A., Shanahan has quietly been acquiring all the necessary pieces to make his offense hum. Specifically, the run game is nearly unstoppable as they racked up another 275 yards against the Browns. Running backs Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman look like they could form an elite duo with these types of play calls. Cleveland’s defensive coordinator Steve Wilkes is the latest in a long line of defensive coaches confounded by Shanahan’s scheme. The good news for Wilkes is that he will not be the last.
Stock Down: The League’s Second Highest Paid Kicker
For all the things that went right for the 49ers Monday night, kicking field goals was not one of them. The combination of kicker Robbie Gould, holder Mitch Wishnowsky and long snapper Garrison Sanborn was a disastrous one. Poor snaps, poor holds and poor kicks resulted in two misses and a blocked kick in four total attempts. In a 28-point blowout, missed field goals do not have much weight in the long run, but the 49ers are not likely to be blowing teams out each week. Field goals will ultimately be very important down the stretch and they need Gould to start earning his $4.75M contract.
Stock Up: Bosa’s Revenge
While rookie defensive end Nick Bosa was playing for Ohio State University, then-University of Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield planted the OU flag on the OSU football field after a decisive win over the Buckeyes. With both of them now in the NFL, Bosa got his revenge in a big way with a pair of sacks, two tackles for a loss, five QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery following a Deforest Buckner sack. After Bosa forced an intentional grounding call before the half, he mocked Mayfield’s flag-planting celebration. After the 49ers closed the door on a blowout win, Bosa planted a 49ers flag in the end zone to put a cap on his career night.
Stock Down: Wide Receivers Have the Dropsies
A recurring theme for the 49ers offense is having QB Jimmy Garoppolo place passes right on the wide receivers’ hands, only to have them not come down with the catch. On Monday, rookie Deebo Samuel dropped a sure first down on a slant pattern and Dante Pettis mishandled a pass that likely would have resulted in a touchdown. The whole receiving corps should be focusing on catching the ball before turning upfield to make something happen. Expect this to be a point of emphasis during this week’s practice leading up to the divisional game against the Rams.
Stock Up: Is the Secondary Actually Good?
Much has been and will be made about the lack of interceptions the 49ers were able to come down with in 2018. Now that they have logged seven interceptions in four games, the question becomes, “Is the secondary actually good or just a product of the pass rush?” The answer, as is wont to be, is somewhere in the middle. The pass rush is creating many opportunities for the secondary to make big splash plays, as when Bosa pressured Mayfield into a poor pass that was intercepted by cornerback Richard Sherman. However, the biggest difference between last year and this being CB K’Waun Williams’ interception on a tipped pass. In 2018, that pass would have dropped harmlessly to the ground but in 2019, the secondary is taking advantage when gifted chances.
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