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Back-to-back wins have the San Francisco 49ers rolling into the heart of their schedule. Kyle Shanahan and Co. went into Foxborough and buried the New England Patriots by a final score of 33-6. Lots of good from this week, so let’s get cooking.
Stock Up: Jimmy Garoppolo “Revenge” Game
Sunday’s 27-point beatdown was the worst home loss of the Bill Belichick era for the Pats and no one was happier to deliver that than quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Of course, Garoppolo spent the first three-plus seasons of his career backing up Tom Brady and there are still people who believe Belichick would have rather traded Brady than Jimmy. The Patriots got a first-hand look at what might have been as Garoppolo was incredibly efficient throughout the game. He finished 20-for-25 for 277 yards and, outside of a pair of interceptions, one of which was before halftime, he was nearly perfect. This is the second straight game where Garoppolo has trended in the right direction and Shanahan will be banking on his continued improvement with Seattle, Green Bay and New Orleans on the horizon.
Stock Up: Brandon Aiyuk Has Arrived
When the 49ers selected wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the first round, many pundits were left scratching their heads. San Francisco had a crack at any WR they wanted (except Henry Ruggs) and most were surprised to see them take the Arizona State product. Those doubters are now eating their words. Aiyuk posted six catches for 115 yards and joined WR Deebo Samuel as the second rookie to cross the 100-yard receiving mark in the last two years. Aiyuk is a dynamic playmaker who has a knack for finding soft spots in the zone and using his speed to make teams pay once he has the ball in his hands. His continued development is going to be crucial for the 49ers offense because…
Stock Down: Deebo and Wilson Carry the Offense, at a Cost
WR Deebo Samuel and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. combined for a 28 touches, 192 yards and three touchdown scampers (all from Wilson). They paid for their success with injuries that will cost them both game time. Samuel will miss at least two games with a hamstring pull and Wilson has been put on the short-term injured reserve with the dreaded high ankle sprain. These two are just the latest offensive weapons to go down and the timing of their injuries could be critical to the season. Kyle Shanahan’s offensive game planning will be put to the test.
Stock Up: Robert Saleh’s Head Coaching Prospects
Following the drubbing at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, many were calling for the head of defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Never mind that he was missing his top two pass rushers and a litany of cornerbacks, he just did not have the ability to helm this defense. All that talk has been completely thrown out the window now that his group dominated QB Cam Newton and the Patriots offense on the road. Saleh has this depleted group playing way above what anyone could have expected. They recorded four interceptions on Sunday and only allowed one drive to get into the red zone. Going into Boston and only surrendering a pair of field goals is the dream for any d-coordinator,and performances like this are sure to land Saleh on the short list for head coaches during the offseason.
Stock Up: Fred Warner’s All-Pro Hopes
Commentator Tony Romo was effusive in his praise for linebacker Fred Warner during the game. On multiple occasions he called him the best linebacker in football, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue that statement. Warner only recorded three solo tackles on Sunday but he also had one of the aforementioned interceptions and his mere presence prevented Newton from taking off to scramble like he normally would. Warner’s speed and instincts are unmatched across the NFL and reminds 49ers Faithful of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman in the primes of their careers. At this point, it would be irresponsible to not have Warner included in not just the All-Pro conversation but also for Defensive Player of the Year.
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