Week 1 didn’t exactly go to plan for the San Francisco 49ers.
After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, the 49ers were unable to contain Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and the San Francisco offense sputtered, leading to a tight but tough-to-take loss.
While the game certainly had its positives for the 49ers, a lack of the clutch-factor from QB Jimmy Garoppolo and overall consistency from the squad shows that the team is still attempting to recover from an unusual offseason, and that they certainly miss their top two receivers, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
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Jimmy G Has a Tough Finish
At first, Garoppolo looked like he was coming out with a point to prove. Busted coverage allowed running back Raheem Mostert’s long TD catch, but for the most part, Jimmy G was clinical early.
However, there were several moments where the quarterback missed an open receiver with a pass, or just didn’t see an open man, culminating in his late throw to receiver Kendrick Bourne late on 4th-and-5 that sealed the deal.
There’s no reason to panic from the 49ers perspective, but considering the context of Jimmy G’s finish in the Super Bowl, it’s not something that San Francisco wanted to see to open the season.
Rushing Game Looks Solid
While Garoppolo’s missed throws will be in the minds of fans all week, the 49ers can at least hang their hat on a pretty solid overall rushing performance.
123 yards and 4.9 yards per carry, the stable of backs all did fairly well, with Mostert leading the way and making the most of his broken pass coverage with the early touchdown.
One stat of note is that backup RB Jerick McKinnon averaged over 7 yards per touch on Sunday, including the late touchdown to get on the board for the first time in over two years.
It will be interesting to see exactly how much the 49ers use him going forward.
49ers Get Home, But Not Through Bosa
San Francisco did put up two sacks, but through the unusual suspects of defensive tackle D.J. Jones and defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr.
Arizona deserves some credit. They consistently schemed well against a very potent pass rush, as well as the fact that Murray is so elusive and is constantly looking to make something happen.
While it’s definitely not a bad thing to see depth defenders earn sacks and make plays, the 49ers will be looking for their 1-2 combo of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford to get home in the upcoming games.
Like with Garoppolo, it’s not something to panic about. Sometimes it happens, but the 49ers will need to learn from the loss and struggle, primarily the fact that Murray looks even better this year, and San Francisco will need to prioritize containing him and forcing him to make tough throws rather than getting after him when the two sides meet again.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.