Image Credit: Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco 49ers traveled across the country to play in their second East Coast mud bowl. They dropped a heartbreaker to the Baltimore Ravens on a game-winning field goal as time expired. Despite the loss, there is plenty of positives to take away from this game. Let’s jump into the Stock Watch.
Stock Up: Fred Warner, LB1 in the NFL
I have not been shy about my effusive praise for second-year linebacker Fred Warner. The Ravens entered Sunday with the highest scoring offense in the entire league and the 49ers defense, led by Warner, were able to hold them to just 20 points. Warner finished the game with 11 tackles and a pair of huge pass deflections, the latter of which was while in man coverage on a wide receiver. He was clearly the best player on the field for a 49ers defense that is loaded with talent. I firmly believe he has climbed the ranks as the best middle linebacker currently playing the game.
Stock Down: Kicking Miscue Costs Yet Another Game
10 wins, 2 losses. Both losses have come by just a field goal. And both losses have included missed kicks that would have won or tied the game. On Sunday, kicker Robbie Gould returned to action after missing the previous three with a leg injury. Just before halftime, Gould had a 51-yard field goal attempt blocked by Ravens’ cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Having a kick blocked is rarely entirely on the kicker, especially from 51 yards, however, this whole unit has played poorly all season long. Without their mistakes, there is a real possibility the 49ers are 12-0.
Stock Up: The Unexpected Workhorse
The last time the 49ers played in a torrential downpour, against the Washington Redskins, running back Tevin Coleman shouldered the load with 20 carries. This time around against Baltimore, RB Raheem Mostert stepped up with the best game of his career. His 19 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown were exactly what head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense needed to keep the ball moving up and down the soggy field. Mostert has impressed week-in and week-out with not only his special-teams play but also his ability to fill in for Coleman and Matt Breida while they miss action with injuries. Mostert’s breakaway speed and quick, one-cut running style mesh perfectly behind the zone blocking scheme. He should see an increased workload, even when all the running backs are healthy.
Stock Down: Kyle Shanahan in Close Games
Kyle Shanahan is still searching for a signature win to put on his résumé. Statement wins against the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers are nice but they don’t hold the same amount of water because of how large the margin of victory was. Shanahan has had two shots to close out games against the top seeds in the NFL and in both times the victories have slipped through his fingers. Many have criticized his play-calling during crucial situations, and the decision to pass the ball on fourth-and-1 when the run game was working so well will be questioned until one of those plays succeeds.
Stock Up: Offensive Tackles Get Back on Track
During the drubbing of the Green Bay Packers, one of the few aspects of the game that wasn’t dominant was the play from the offensive tackles. Starting left tackle Justin Skule was benched in favor of Daniel Brunskill early in the game and right tackle Mike McGlinchey looked like still wasn’t comfortable after returning from injury. Against the Ravens, both McGlinchey and Brunskill were the best offensive linemen on the field. With the Saints’ pass rush on deck, they will need to continue their strong play to get the team back on the winning side of things.
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