Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The San Francisco 49ers improved to 8-2 on the season with a 37-8 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. You all know how this works by now so let’s just jump right into the stock watch.
Stock Up: Dominant Defense Bottles Up Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is often put into the elite category of quarterbacks but his performance on Sunday night was far from elite. The 49ers’ defense limited him to just 104 yards passing and prevented him from completing any passes further than nine yards down field. Rodgers’s 3.2 yards per attempt were the lowest of his entire career as Saleh’s scheme kept him uncomfortable at every turn.
Stock Down: Justin Skule’s Rookie Lumps
Before Sunday, rookie offensive tackle Justin Skule had done an admirable job filling in for injured LT Joe Staley. Unfortunately for Skule, Packers’ defensive end Za’darius Smith beat him like a drum for a quarter and a half. Skule surrendered a pair of sacks and had a holding penalty before head coach Kyle Shanahan pulled him in favor of Daniel Brunskill. The way Brunskill stepped in and played, it’s hard to envision Skule getting his job back and he may be relegated to backup duty.
Stock Up: George Kittle is Back with a Vengeance
Tight end George Kittle broke a bone in his ankle against the Arizona Cardinals on Halloween night and had missed the previous two games while recovering. Once back in the starting lineup, it didn’t look like he had missed a beat. Kittle hauled in six catches for 129 yards including a 61-yard touchdown that put the Packers away for good. Along with his impact in the passing game, Kittle left his mark all over the rushing attack with his ferocious blocking. It is very clear that Shanahan’s offense runs through the All-Pro tight end.
Stock Up: The Deebo Samuel Show, Pt. 2
Rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel entered Sunday’s game having caught eight passes for over 100 yards in each of the two previous games. While he was only able to snag two catches, he took the second 42 yards for a touchdown. Samuel showed next level speed on his way to the end zone as he was untouched after catching the pass. His emergence has come at the right time to get the offense rolling as the 49ers steam roll their way to the playoffs.
Stock Down: Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis
Nothing witty in this one. WR Marquise Goodwin was a healthy scratch and WR Dante Pettis was limited to 7 snaps, most of which came in garbage time. Both are still firmly planted in Shanahan’s dog house.
Stock Up: D.J. Jones is a Wrecking Ball
The 49ers’ run defense had been a subject of ire for many an analyst going into Sunday’s matchup with the Packers. Nose tackle D.J. Jones had missed time in the previous games with a groin injury but returned Sunday and made his presence known right away. He led the defensive line in stifling the previously potent Packers rushing attack. RB Aaron Jones was held to 38 yards on 13 attempts and the run game never got going for Green Bay until the game was well out of hand. D.J. Jones will be called upon again this week to keep the Ravens’ run game in check.
Stock Up: Fred Warner’s Pro Bowl Résumé
Linebacker Fred Warner continues to play at an elite level, even with the absence of LB Kwon Alexander. He led the 49ers with 11 tackles on the night and set the tone when he punched the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’s hands on the opening drive. Creating a turnover so early in the game put the Packers behind the 8-ball and they were never able to recover. Warner was the ying to D.J. Jones’s yang when it came to containing the run and he was excellent in pass coverage over the middle. His play so far this year should easily earn him a Pro Bowl nod at the end of the season.
Stock Up: Jimmie Ward’s Career Night
To say that safety Jimmie Ward has had a contentious career with 49ers Faithful would be a drastic understatement. He has always had the talent but could never stay on the field and healthy. After years of being moved from position to position and ending each season on the IR, Ward has finally put it all together. This culminated in the best game of his career. Ward was a tone setter as a tackler and had two key pass breakups on third downs that led to Packers punts. He laid out parallel to the ground to bat a pass away from Packers WR Davante Adams and was able to wrestle the ball away from TE Jimmy Graham on a deep pass. Plays like these are why Shanahan and general manager John Lynch brought him back for another season.
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