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Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 Keys to Victory: 49ers vs. Broncos

Sep 24, 2022 at 10:50 AM--

The 49ers are in the Mile High City, ready to face the Denver Broncos. Last week, the 49ers defeated Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, improving their record to 1-1. However, one key piece missing from Seattle was former QB Russell Wilson. Wilson is 17-4 (including the playoffs) against San Francisco. His last loss to the 49ers was on December 29, 2019. Wilson has the Broncos sitting at 1-1, but he doesn't look like the same quarterback from the past.

If the 49ers want to improve to 2-1, here are a few KEYS to VICTORY.

The 49ers MUST CONTAIN Russell Wilson

The good news is Russell Wilson isn't used in the run game like most mobile quarterbacks. He has one attempt for five yards this season, and his run was from a scramble play for four yards. Wilson has faced two of the worst defenses in the league in his first two games, the 29th-ranked Texans and the 23rd-ranked Seahawks, and those defenses made sure to do one thing—contain Russell Wilson.

I expect the 49ers defense to do the same. Whether it comes down to designed runs or scrambles, the 49ers have not allowed quarterbacks such as Justin Fields of the Bears, and Geno Smith of the Seahawks, to make plays using their legs. The bad news is that over the years, Wilson has defeated the 49ers because of his ability to escape the pocket and keep drives alive using his legs. The 49ers shouldn't overlook this skill set, and let's hope they pay attention to detail and keep Wilson in the pocket.

ELIMINATE the Extended Plays

The 49ers' defense is number one in yards allowed, only giving up an average of 210 yards per game on this young season. Wilson will be pressured, so look for the great escape artist badge to light up. When Wilson gets outside the pocket, he is looking to extend the play.

If the 49ers over-commit or fall asleep on the backend, look for Wilson to make a "big play." San Francisco has given up at least one big play in both games they've played this season. The one that comes to the forefront of mind is Bears wideout Dante Pettis' touchdown in Chicago. Being on the road, that play breathed life into both the Bears team and fans, and Chicago went on to defeat the 49ers in Week 1.

Expect San Francisco to handle the run and the pass on defense, but Wilson is the KING of extended plays. DO NOT allow Wilson to give his team life.

EXPLOIT George Kittle

If we take a trip down memory lane, we can't overlook the game in 2018 when 49ers tight end George Kittle had 210 yards and one touchdown with Nick Mullens as the starting quarterback. Sunday will be Kittle's first game of the 2022 season, and he will be looking to get involved in the passing game. With Justin Simmons on IR, expect Jimmy Garoppolo to exploit the tight-end matchup vs. the Broncos' backup safety. Kittle's involvement in the rushing attack will be a bonus. If the 49ers get Kittle involved early, this could be the KEY to victory.


The Denver Broncos are ranked fifth in passing yards (531) allowed and fifth in rushing yards allowed (156). Their defense is pretty stingy, but they only have one turnover. The 49ers can keep the turnover ratio in their favor if they focus on efficient pass plays. One of Garoppolo's best attributes is quickly getting the ball out of his hands. One of the 49ers' best attributes is getting the ball in space with the short passing game and creating yards after the catch (YAC).

San Francisco has three players they can use on screen plays—Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle. Expect the Denver Broncos to stack eight players in the box to eliminate the run game and force Garoppolo to throw. If the 49ers dial up a few screens, this could force the Broncos defense to push back a bit and allow Garoppolo to take his shots down the field. We haven't seen many screens called for the 49ers, but this could be the KEY to victory.


Though it's only Week 3 of the NFL season, the 49ers need to improve to 2-1 by any means necessary. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is known for having players with a "dog mentality." The 49ers are a team full of dogs, and if they want to win this game, it's time for each coach to take off their leashes and let the dogs out.

This game will not be a cakewalk. The 49ers had that in Week 1, and how did that turn out? San Francisco can win this game by playing smart and executing, which is expected. If the 49ers focus on these five keys, they will defeat the Broncos, improving their record to 2-1 on Sunday Night Football.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for 49erscap.com. His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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