As the San Francisco 49ers kicked off their first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, it was a game in which both teams got off to a fast start. Two teams whose offense extended drives early on, it was second-round pick (No. 57) RB Carlos Hyde who was the engine that made the offense go.
In the first-quarter alone, Hyde rushed five times for 39 yards while running with the first-team. If you’re doing the math that’s a 7.8 yards per carry average. Whether running between the tackles or bouncing to the outside, Hyde showed his toughness, aggressiveness, and power to will his way to extra yards. And while Hyde had a nice first-half it was rookie fourth-round pick WR Bruce Ellington (No. 106) who displayed his skill-set in the return game.
Watch out for #49ers WR Bruce Ellington. The kid is absolutely electrifying with the vision, IQ, and quickness to find soft spots in zone.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) August 5, 2014
A team that is desperate for a viable return-man as third-year RB LaMichael James recovers from a dislocated elbow, Ellington shined as he had two kick-returns for 62 yards. Talk about production, that’s a 31.0 return average. A shifty receiver who can make tacklers miss, Ellington proved his return ability in his first live action in the NFL. While the offense shined, it was the defense that continues to be the backbone of the team’s success.
After giving up 10 points, the 49ers went on to hold the Ravens scoreless from the 10:49 mark on. And while several 49ers backups made standout plays, no one made a bigger impact than second-year DE Tank Carradine. A player that I predicted to have a breakout season in essentially his rookie season, Carradine proved his worth in the first-half. I even sent out a tweet before today’s game as I thought Carradine would just man-handle offensive lineman as I said:
Not to be outdone is another sophomore player fighting for playing time in NT Quinton Dial. The behemoth defensive lineman that can play both the zero and five-technique, it was Dial who displayed his strength as he stripped the ball loose from Ravens RB Justin Forsett. A player that has burst onto the scene, Dial was all over the field in the first-half as he finished it with six tackles. That’s unheard of for a defensive lineman let alone a 3-4 lineman where tackles are scarce.
With the 49ers getting ready for the second-half it will be interesting to see how the players fare as they trail 13-3.