Raise your hand if you were at least a little worried.
It’s okay to be honest…I can’t blame you. I know for me there was definitely some panic when it came the San Francisco 49ers’ offense and what production (if any) they were going to get out of their starting unit. While I still have some concerns moving forward, there were a lot of positives to take out of the team’s 20-3 Week 1 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
We all knew the Niners were going to run the football, but it was shocking to see just how dominant they were in doing so, especially with so many questions on the offensive line. Overall they ran 39 times for 230 yards, which is an average of 5.9 yards per carry. That’s dominant.
RB Carlos Hyde looked like a star from the very first play of the game, and had a career night with 168 yards and two touchdowns. We all knew Hyde could run hard, but his explosiveness was what really stood out.
The best way to describe his running style is that he looks like someone shot him out of a cannon, and he’s exceptional at getting yards after initial contact. There’s no question that the entire offense will revolve around him this season, and he appears to be more than up to the task. While we all love and appreciate RB Frank Gore, there’s no way he could of had an impact on that game the way Hyde did at this point in his career.
A lot of credit for Hyde’s performance has to go to the o-line as well, which played surprisingly well after a sloppy start. That’s not to say they played poorly in the beginning of the game (they didn’t), they just took too many penalties, but did seem to settle in eventually. And how about that pass protection? QB Colin Kaepernick was only sacked once and had time to throw throughout the night. There’s still a long way to go, but it was a good start for the most maligned group on the team.
As far as the passing game, I thought Kaepernick played better. He missed a couple of third down throws that he has to be able to make consistently, and sometimes he still has a tendency to throw off his back foot, but I think overall he’s made strides. Kaepernick didn’t seem to have any of those plays where he drops back, freezes, and starts to run around. He moved well in the pocket and scanned the field better than he has in a really long time (maybe ever), and was decisive with his throws.
Kudos to OC Geep Cryst for moving his quarterback around and not just making him a pocket passer, which no doubt made Kaepernick more comfortable. Overall the numbers weren’t eye popping (17-of-26 for 165 yards), but it was an efficient and clean performance.
Obviously, with only 165 yards to go around through the air, no receivers really had a big game. Still, it was a pleasant sight to see TE Vernon Davis be involved again, as he actually led the team with 47 yards. Eventually, it would be good to see things open up a bit, and WR Anquan Boldin (4 catches for 36 yards) and WR Torrey Smith (1 catch for 11 yards) get more looks. Baby steps, I guess. For now, let’s just enjoy to good taste in our mouths.
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