The Niners got their first win of the season in their home opener against the Detroit Lions. They played and looked fabulous for 3 quarters as they built a 30-13 lead. Then the wheels came off as the Lions came roaring back, cut the lead to 30-27, and very well could have won the game. While trying to run the clock out, the 49ers (Shanahan) made a curious call on a 3rd down play with less than 2 minutes left in the game. He spread the offense with no running back so the Lions knew that Garoppolo would be throwing a short pass. That signal blew up their face as the Lions cornerback anticipated a sideline throw and intercepted it and ran down the sidelines to the Niners 6 yard line for a go-ahead score. Fortunately, for the Niners, a defensive holding penalty against the Lions nullified the interception and the Niners got new life. They were still unable to get the game ending first down so the Lions got another chance to win the game but were unable to convert on a 4th down pass… Niners won but they showed that they have yet to develop a killer instinct.
The weak link in the game was the Niners defensive secondary. Mathew Stafford threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns on 34/53 passes. Stafford never looked in Richard Sherman’s direction and picked apart Ahkello Witherspoon as he was playing with a sprained ankle. There were also too many missed tackles leading to the Lions getting a new set of downs.
The Niner offense showed brilliance through 3 quarters as they scored 30 points. The running game exploded with Matt Breida running for 138 yards on only 11 carries. Breida deserves the game ball as he had a break-out game. His 66 yard touchdown run was the highlight of the day. He ran right, then cut into the middle, found Pierre Garcon blocking on the left sideline, and followed Garcon’s block for 30 yards for the TD. Garcon also had a great game. In addition to the 30 yard block which is unheard of and truly remarkable, he had 4 catches on 4 targets for 48 important yards. Alfred Morris got the tough yards carrying 14 times for 48 yards. The fact that the running game came together showed that the offensive line had a very solid day. Garoppolo was sacked 6 times but those sacks were on him and not on the offensive line. He held the ball much too long waiting for a receiver to get open. Jimmy G must learn to throw the ball away instead of taking those drive killing sacks. Garoppolo did have a good game otherwise as he threw for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18/26. My belief is that Shanahan’s poor play calling in the 4th quarter allowed the Lions to stay in the game. He along with the rest of the team have a lot of improvements to make.
Around the League:
- The Cleveland Browns are a much improved team but they are still the Browns. They played a very good Saints team and actually should have beaten them. But, their field goal kicker, Zane Gonzalez, missed 2 extra points and 2 field goals in a 21-18 loss. Ouch…
- The Packers vs Vikings game was a thriller with controversy involved. Aaron Rodgers continued to amaze as he went 30 for 42 on pass plays for 281 yards and a touchdown with an injured leg. The controversy involved Clay Matthews who hit Kirk Cousins as he was releasing his pass and was called for roughing the passer. Matthews, didn’t hit him in the head nor knees and hit him in the chest leading with his shoulder and not with his helmet. The play resulted in a Packer interception with them leading 29-21 with 1:45 left in the game. They would have iced the game. Instead, the Vikings got new life and scored and converted a 2 point extra point to tie the game and send it into overtime. The referee said that Matthews lifted Cousins up and slammed him into the ground. Replays clearing show that he merely tackled him in text-book fashion. In addition to that controversial play, the Vikings missed a field goal from the 17 yard line with 2 seconds left in overtime, so the game ended in a kiss-your-sister tie.
- The Buffalo Bills corner back, Vontae Davis, abruptly “retired” at halftime vs the LA Chargers. He said that reality hit him and he told himself that he shouldn’t be out there any longer. I certainly don’t have any issues with any player retiring from the NFL as it is a brutal game. But, at halftime when his teammates are counting on him??? C’Mon Man !!!