49ers agree to multi-year contract extensions with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch →
placeholder image

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

49ers answered a lot of questions in Week 1 win over Steelers

Chris Beno
Sep 11, 2023 at 2:35 PM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
If you asked me a week ago how I felt about this San Francisco 49ers team going into the season, I would've told you how weird everything felt. Some analysts even predicted the 49ers to take a step backward. From the sudden trade of QB Trey Lance to the questionable delay in re-signing All-Pro DE Nick Bosa, the weirdness began to pile up as Week 1 was looming closer.

Everything changed when the 49ers finally came to terms with Bosa, re-signing him to a five-year $170 million deal. The vibes and morale among the 49ers Faithful skyrocketed. Top that off with a dominant 30-7 Week 1 victory over the always-tough Pittsburgh Steelers, and this team is primed for another stellar season.

That victory over the Steelers answered many of the burning questions fans and analysts had about this team heading into the season. Let's break some of those down.

49ers Defense

If the pre-season was any indication of what the 49ers defensive front would look like without Bosa in the lineup, then fans were in for a rough go this season. From teams gashing the defense up the middle with long runs, or Raiders QB Aiden O'Connell seemingly having all day in the pocket and picking apart the 49ers' secondary, this defensive unit felt out of whack all off-season.

Re-signing Nick Bosa changed all of that. For example, second-year DE Drake Jackson only had three sacks all of last season but had three on Sunday against the Steelers. The 49ers had five sacks on the day. While Bosa didn't get any sacks himself, he was a force to be reckoned with all game long. Bosa constantly moved the pocket and allowed his teammates to get after the QB.

That confidence carried over into the 49ers secondary, who had two interceptions on the day. In years past, the 49ers leaned heavily on the pass rush to overcome some of the shortcomings in the secondary. That wasn't the case on Sunday. I counted at least two sacks that were the result of tight coverage by the 49ers secondary.

Brock Purdy

The decision to go with Purdy as the starting QB to start the 2023 season wasn't that big of a shocker. It was a little more surprising that the team chose to move on from third-year QB Trey Lance and go with Sam Darnold as the backup QB for the year.

Purdy was making his comeback from a torn UCL injury that required surgery this off-season. Fans and analysts questioned his health and availability as the season was approaching. On Sunday, Purdy put all of that to rest, going 19 of 29 for 220 yards passing and 2 TD's.

The Steelers defense had three sacks on the day and seven QB hits. Purdy, however, remained unphased by it, becoming the first QB in NFL history to win his first six NFL starts while throwing two or more touchdown passes.

If that's the level of play that the 49ers can expect from Purdy in year two, then expect the 49ers to have a monster season.

Jake Moody

The 49ers made a surprise decision in the 2023 NFL draft to select kicker Jake Moody in the third round. Lofty expectations come with a pick that high in the draft. This pre-season, Moody struggled, going 3 of 5 on field goal attempts and 1 of 2 on extra points. Couple that with a quad injury leading up to game time in the first week of the regular season, and suddenly, the decision to use a third-round pick on a kicker seemed like a bad idea.

Moody did end up playing on Sunday, going 3 for 3 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points. Moody's confidence was evident in his kicks, which at no point appeared to be "no good." It'll be fun to watch Moody build on that confidence in the coming weeks, especially against difficult opponents like Dallas and Philadelphia.

Something to keep an eye on

With Purdy taking as many hits on Sunday as he did, let's keep an eye on adjustments to the offensive line and how the 49ers utilize their blockers. I feel like the 49ers go through this every year with the offensive line. The line struggles, TE George Kittle and FB Kyle Juszczyk become extensions of the line and aren't getting their targets; then, at some point, the line comes together, and everyone quits talking about their struggles early on. Let's hope that's the case.

In Week 5, the 49ers play the Dallas Cowboys, whose defense had seven sacks and 12 QB hits against the New York Giants in Week 1. The Dallas secondary also came away with two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six in their 40-0 blowout on Sunday Night Football.

If the 49ers want to get over the hump against defensive buzzsaws like the Cowboys, they need to ensure Purdy is kept upright. Perhaps all of that cap space they recently freed up with contract restructures will go towards offensive line help?

  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focus on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles that myself and other contributors put out there. The 49ers have without a doubt the best fanbase, and best content creators around.
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.
Nobody's perfect. Did you find a mistake in this article?
Report it.


  • No Comments


Facebook Comments

Do not use the comments to notify us of errors in the article. Editors may not see it. Instead, report errors here.

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

49ers mailbag: Is Colton McKivitz good enough? Will SF be able to extend Brandon Aiyuk? And more questions answered

By Marc Adams
Sep 13

The San Francisco 49ers came out of their week one win in Pittsburgh unscathed. Kyle Shanahan said on Monday that the team had no injuries to report. That is great news, and now they turn their attention to the Los Angeles Rams, who beat the Seahawks convincingly, in Seattle, on Sunday. We opened the 49ers Webzone mailbag to see what was on your mind. So let's get to it. Can the 49ers afford to sign him if BA keeps up this pace? - DoctorWDS I think they have to find a way to pay Brandon Aiyuk. And I think they will. He's the 49ers best wide receiver, and he's only going to get better. Granted, the Steelers may have been more focused on shutting down Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel, but Aiyuk did exactly what he was supposed to do. He caught

placeholder image

Three quick takeaways from 49ers' 30-23 win over Rams

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 17

The San Francisco 49ers are starting off 2-0 after a 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams on the road, where they pulled away in the second half to secure a victory. The two sides were engaged in a feisty battle throughout the first half, entering halftime with a 17-17 tie, but the 49ers delivered a strong second half performance to pull away for a comfortable win. Here are three quick takeaways from San Francisco's 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Kyle Shanahan cooking For the second consecutive game, I've been impressed with Kyle Shanahan's

placeholder image

3 quick takeaways from 49ers' 30-12 win over the Giants

By Rohan Chakravarthi
18 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football 30-12, improving to 3-0 with a victory in the home opener at Levi's Stadium. Following a slower-than-expected start due to some quarterback miscues and longer drives, the 49ers settled in, taking a 17-6 lead going into halftime, which improved to 30-12 by the end of the game. Here are three quick takeaways from the 49ers' 30-12 win over the New York Giants. 2nd half adjustments For the second consecutive half, it seemed like the 49ers made the proper second-half adjustments defensively, operating with heavier blitzes and more press-man coverage, which resulted in shorter passes from quarterback Daniel Jones, leading to four punts and an interception in the

placeholder image

Steelers end 49ers' historic streak that started last season

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 19

The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the league's most physically imposing teams since head coach Kyle Shanahan arrived in 2017, which has only furthered in recent years with the team consistently building around their core to fit the culture. That has led to sustained success for the 49ers, and not so much for their opponents, at least in a certain way back in 2022. Are the 49ers the best team in the NFL after Rams win? Last year, the 49ers held an impressive streak; opponents went 0-15 in games the following week after facing the 49ers, which was a


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone