5 Burning Questions For The 49ers in Week 4 Answered

Sep 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM


On Sunday afternoon the 49ers found their identity. They rode a dominant defensive performance and the legs of Frank Gore to a 26-21 come from behind victory to reach the quarter pole of the 2014 season with a record of 2-2.

Let's get to the answers for the 5 burning questions that I asked on Friday.

1) Can the 49ers avoid penalties? - No. They were still penalized 10 times for 80 yards. The big difference is that for the first time this season the defense did not allow a first down as the result of a penalty. This played an important role in the defense being able to consistently get off the field for the first time all season.

2) Will the defense start to trust the man next to them? - Absolutely Yes. The 49ers defense played great football against the Eagles. Not only did they shut out an offense that came into the game scoring at least 30 points in the first three games this season, they didn't allow the Eagles to cross midfield until only 5 minutes remained in the game.

3) Will the 49ers look to establish the run game? - No and Yes. It was a tale of two halves offensively for the 49ers. In the first half they came out and called 24 passes on 38 snaps, and one of those plays was at the end of the half when they took a kneel down.

In the second half the 49ers called 24 runs on 37 snaps. As a result the offense looked much more in sync and they scored their first touchdown in the second half of the game all season.

When the 49ers get Frank Gore involved in the game good things happen.

4) Can the defense put pressure on Nick Foles? - Yes. The 49ers took advantage of a banged up Eagles offensive line and pressured Foles throughout the game. Foles dropped back to throw 45 times on Sunday and faced pressure on 14 of those plays, or 31% of his attempts. That's nearly a ten percent increase over their average from the first three weeks.

One change that we saw yesterday was Aaron Lynch replacing Corey Lemonier as the rush end on passing downs. Lynch rewarded the coaches by registering 2 quarterback hurries, and 2 quarterback hits on the day. In addition, Lynch showed off his athleticism when he ran down Darren Sproles for a 4 yard loss on a pass play late in the game.

5) Will the 49ers finally play a full 4 quarters? - Yes and No. The 49ers offense and defense did, but their special teams looked like they missed their wake up call. For the first time since 1965 the 49ers gave up three touchdowns without one being allowed by the defense. A special teams unit that is usually among the best in the league has allowed two blocked kicks and a punt return for a touchdown over the last two weeks.

Notes:
* When the 49ers started their second drive of the second half from the Eagles 23 yard line after Perrish Cox recovered a Zach Ertz fumble, it marked the first time since the first half of the Bears game that the 49ers started a possession on the opponents side of the 50.

* The 49ers improved to 5-5 (including postseason) when Colin Kaepernick attempts at least 30 passes in a game. They are 18-5 when Kaepernick attempts less than 30 passes in a game.

* Frank Gore's 174 yards of total offense is the most he's had in a single game since he put up 182 total yards in a week 7 win over Seattle in 2012.

* The often maligned Jimmie Ward had a good game yesterday. The rookie slot corner gave up 3 catches for a total of 17 yards, with a long of 8 yards.

* The 49ers offensive line finished with a combined -4.4 grade from ProFootballFocus. The only 49ers offensive lineman with a positive pass protection grade through the first 4 weeks is Jonathan Martin.

* The Eagles targeted Jeremy Maclin ten times when he was lined up against Perrish Cox. He was limited to two receptions for 26 yards.

Prediction Time: 49ers 26 Eagles 24

Missed it by that much.
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.


5 Comments

  • eavalerio
    Much improved in a lot of areas, but that could have easily been a loss. Kap has to avoid all these mistakes, that delay of game really killed that drive. He has to, Has TO! learn how to throw receivers open. He waits too long to let go of the pass and he misses open guys all the time. He does make plays, big plays at that but he has to settle down and play with consistency, I cringe every time there is a third down I'm always on the edge of my seat. We have to be a run first team to set up the passing game it will keep the pressure off Kap, and make us more consistant on offense. As for our special teams just a bad game, we seem to have one of those games every year, hope they adjust to that, As for the defense that was an amazing performance, Cox needs to the starter with Brock, Bethea gave the Eagles nighmares, but our rookie Lynch was all over the place, he needs more playing time. What do you think still needs to happen to become a better team? Because once we start playing the big dogs on our schedule it will be a different story.
    Sep 30, 2014 at 2:56 PM
    0
  • Mike
    My "burning" question". Will Kaepernick develop the NFL smarts to be a franchise quarterback? His time management is poor. He is slow to read defenses. When he drifts out of the pocket it is rare a receiver catches his throw if he throws it at all . However I notice Russell Wilson doesn't have that problem as often. Does Seattle have better receivers or is Wilson better at "seeing" the flow of the field?
    Sep 29, 2014 at 8:32 PM
    0
    Response: Kaepernick has a tendency to wait until the guy is open before throwing instead of being able to anticipate it.
  • Monsterniner
    We found 2 things in this game: We can put pressure on the QB with Lynch playing on 3rd downs and we found that Cox has to be the starter. Now I canĀ“t wait to see Lynch and Aldon rushing the QB on 3rd downs.
    Sep 29, 2014 at 6:18 PM
    0
    Response: That could be good in the second half of the year.
  • 94509er
    just wondering when Trent Balke is gonna start catching some heat, its his roster, how do the Cowboys with their revamped Oline continue to run the ball down Team's throat's, while our Supposedly Strong O-Line doesnt bust a Grape, We lose Vernon and we have nobody who can blow the top off a defense, and Im not a Vernon Supporter, when is Balke gonna take responsibility for a roster that has holes, ( O-Line, Corners, No Speed at W.R) will the real GM please stand up ?
    Sep 29, 2014 at 11:56 AM
    0
    Response: The losses haven't been the result of having less talent. You aren't going to win very many games when you are giving up 6 or 7 first downs on defense because of a penalty or turning the ball over 4 times. They corrected both of those things yesterday and the result was a win. Football is a very simple game that some people try to make very complex.
  • Newhall Wheeler
    Well it wasn't pretty but the 9'ers kept it together, played well when they had to (goal line stand) and hopefully continue to improve and get healthy. A bright spot is the receiver corps, they looked great especially since VD was not a key part of the game. I thought ath if we didn't win, we'd miss the playoffs and we did and now we'll see how the players and coaches respond.
    Sep 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM
    0

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