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All the elation that came with back-to-back wins from the San Francisco 49ers disappeared equally as quickly after they laid an egg against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. They did not just lose the game 37-27, they may have also lost two of the most important starters for the season. As the 49ers stand at 4-4, time for this week’s stock watch.
Stock Down: Another $30M+ Headed for Injured Reserve
It is no secret that the 49ers have suffered through an inordinate amount of injuries throughout the season. On Sunday, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo left after reaggravating his ankle injury and tight end George Kittle limped off with a foot injury. Word has since come out that Garoppolo may require surgery to fix the ankle and Kittle has a broken bone in his foot. Both injuries could cost the players the remainder of the 2020 season and puts another $33.3M of cap space on IR.
Stock Down: Wasted Opportunities
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson entered the game as the MVP favorite, but early in the contest, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defense had him on his heels. They forced a three and out, including a sack from cornerback K’Waun Williams, but the offense sputtered at the Seattle 40 after Garoppolo missed an open throw to Kittle and a questionable wildcat playcall on third down. Wishnowsky picked up the slack by pinning the Seattle offense at the 1-yard line with a magnificent punt and, once again, the Seahawks could not move the ball. On the offense’s second possession, the 49ers started to drive down the field before a red zone interception abruptly ended the drive. Failing to score after holding the Seahawks in check wrote the story of the game and after that, the two teams were not even playing the same sport.
Stock Up: Brandon Aiyuk Continues to Improve
Rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk posted his first 100-yard receiving game last week in New England and he followed that up with an 8-91-1 line in the Pacific Northwest. In what has been a season of more doom and gloom, Aiyuk has been a delightful bright spot for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. It is apparent that the 49ers had a plan for how to implement Aiyuk’s talents in the game plan early and often. The first few weeks of the season were about getting the ball in his hands and let him create and the most recent games have allowed him to shine as a receiver down the field. Fellow WR Deebo Samuel and him could form one of the more dynamic tandems in the NFL moving forward.
Stock Down: Pass Rush Invisible Again
With defensive ends Nick Bosa and Dee Ford sidelined with injury, it was clear that the 49ers’ pass rush was going to suffer. And suffer it has. Other than the aforementioned sack from Williams, the 49ers were unable to generate much pressure against a maligned Seattle offensive line. Russell Wilson had all day to pick apart the secondary and with a weapon like WR D.K. Metcalf, it was much easier than it should have been. At 4-4, the 49ers are not completely out of the playoff picture if they can overcome their injuries but efforts like this from the pass rush will not win many games.
Stock Up: Nick Mullens Pushes the Ball
When Garoppolo hobbled off the field in the third quarter, backup QB Nick Mullens prepared to make another appearance this season. Once he took the field, he hit the ground running by leading the offense to three consecutive touchdown drives. Seattle’s defense had called off the dogs and were not blitzing as much as earlier in the game but Mullens still managed to pick apart their secondary. He racked up 238 yards and a pair of touchdown passes while completing 72 percent of his passes and injecting some much-needed confidence into the offense. Mullens gets a short week to prepare for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football with more than just pride on the line; Mullens is playing for his future with the 49ers.
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