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The San Francisco 49ers came out flat. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals, they were outscored 24-10 over the rest of the game. Neither the offense nor defense could find their rhythms and the lack of a preseason meant there was plenty of rust to knock off. Enough chit chat, though. Time to see whose stock is rising and whose is falling after Week 1.
Stock Down: Jimmy Garoppolo’s Confidence
On paper, it would appear that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo actually had a decent game against the Cardinals’defense, however, this is an occasion where stats lie. His 259 yards and two touchdowns without an interception do not convey how jumpy Garoppolo was in the pocket. Once the Cardinals began to pressure him up the middle, he would get happy feet and it led to inaccurate passes all game long. Garoppolo never looked comfortable and was reluctant to push the ball down the field, even when presented with the opportunities. The 49ers are only going to go as far as Garoppolo will lead them and this outing was particularly rough.
Stock Up: Raheem Mostert Goes Surfing
One of the hits on running back Raheem Mostert was that he is not an ideal fit for the passing game. After torching Cardinals’ first-round pick Isaiah Simmons on an angle route for a 76-yard touchdown reception, that can be put to rest. Mostert’s speed is undeniable and absolutely destroys even the best of angles from defenders. He was able to rack up 151 yards on 19 touches and was one of the only players to consistently move the ball for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Mostert is the lead back in Santa Clara and Sunday’s performance solidified that.
Stock Down: Wide Receiver Woes
With wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk both sidelined with injuries, the 49ers’ WR corps was thinner than usual. Targeted on 11 of Garoppolo’s 33 passes, they only managed to pull down 4 catches for 41 yards. WRs Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor contributed a pair of catches each but never seemed to be in sync with Garoppolo. WR Dante Pettis’ lone target saw him give up on a catchable deep ball and showed that he is still not willing to play through contact on the field. If this is the best effort Shanahan is going to get from his receivers, this offense is in big trouble.
Stock Up: Kerry Hyder Shows Up More Expensive Players
Defensive linemen Dee Ford and Arik Armstead are two of the highest paid players on the 49ers defense. Both of them were borderline nonexistent against a mediocre Arizona offensive line. While Nick Bosa was doing Nick Bosa things, the only other player to stand out on the defensive line was journeyman Kerry Hyder Jr. Playing for his fourth team in the NFL, Hyder was a training camp standout and is looking to return to his 2016 form when he posted 8 sacks under current 49ers DL coach Chris Kocurek. Hyder brought QB Kyler Murray down for a sack and was living in the Arizona backfield. With more shaky OLs on the horizon, Hyder could make himself a key rotational player for Robert Saleh’s defense.
Stock Down: Nuk Hopkins Claims His First NFC West Victim
One of the biggest questions coming into this matchup was who is going to start at cornerback opposite of Richard Sherman? The answer was Emmanuel Moseley and maybe it should not have been. Newly acquired Arizona WR DeAndre Hopkins abused Moseley from start to finish as he posted 14 catches for 151 yards. Granted, not all the catches were against Moseley but more often than not, Murray and Hopkins were picking on him. When a cornerback has 15 tackles, that is generally not a good thing. Robert Saleh and this cornerback group will have to figure out what to do across from Sherman soon.
Stock Up: Red Jet Redemption
Moral victories do not exist in the NFL. At the end of the day, winning is the only thing that matters. With that said, watching running back Jerick McKinnon return to the field to play his first meaningful snaps in red and gold is quite the silver lining. Not only did he see action, McKinnon also hit paydirt on a pass from Garoppolo nearly three calendar years after his last score. He provides a nice wrinkle in Shanahan’s offense that 49ers Faithful have not yet seen and if he can continue to build on this progress, the offense may knock off the rust quickly.
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