Podcast: 49ers Dominate Dolphins And Lose Jimmy G →
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Lions vs. 49ers: 3 points of emphasis for San Francisco in Week 2

Sep 16, 2018 at 10:13 AM


The San Francisco 49ers prepare for their 2018 home opener against the Detroit Lions, looking to pull off their first victory of the season. If it happens, these three factors will need to go the Niners' way.


On a positive note, the San Francisco 49ers could have won a game they, for all intents and purposes, shouldn't have. This, of course, was their Week 1 24-16 loss on the road versus the Minnesota Vikings -- a team many peg to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIII.

But the Niners lost, are now at 0-1 on the young season and are home to host the also-winless Detroit Lions in Week 2.

Both the 49ers and Lions had their share of mistake-riddled football last week. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tossed three interceptions in Minnesota, while Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw a whopping four picks before being relieved late in Detroit's home opener against the upstart New York Jets.

The Niners are currently listed as six-point favorites, according to Odds Shark. For that prediction to be met, the 49ers will have to meet these following points of emphasis.

Reestablish the Running Game


Going up against the Lions defense will be vastly different than that of the Vikings. Yet San Francisco struggled to get much of anything going, consistently, on the ground in Week 1. While the 49ers managed 90 yards in Minnesota, they averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and have a number skewed by a 14-yard long carry by running back Alfred Morris.

Morris also fumbled on the Vikings' 1-yard line, thwarting an excellent scoring chance.

On a positive note, the Lions didn't exactly do a great job stopping the Jets' rushing attack last week. New York running backs rushed for 102 yards on 10 carries.

Yes, that's 10.2 yards per carry. Simply put, the Lions edge contain didn't exist versus the Jets. And the 49ers should be able to take advantage.

Capitalize in the Red Zone


Well, the Niners weren't that good in the red zone last year either. In 2017, San Francisco finished 27th in red-zone touchdown efficiency, and that trend continued over into Week 1.

The 49ers were 1-of-4 in red-zone trips versus the Vikings. One of those was the Morris fumble, and the other two were field goals by kicker Robbie Gould. San Francisco's lone success within Minnesota's 25-yard line was wide receiver Dante Pettis' 22-yard touchdown reception from Garoppolo.

Detroit allowed a 1-of-4 red-zone mark to the Jets in Week 1 too, although one might easily argue the Vikings defense is a bit more potent than that of the Lions. Regardless, the 49ers will need to rely more on end-zone pay dirt instead of continued field-goal conversions.

Containing Lions Wide Receivers


Death, taxes and Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter calling a massively pass-happy offense -- three things guaranteed in this life.

Detroit attempted a mere 15 rushes in its Week 1 loss. And while some of those lowly ground-attack numbers can be attributed to the Lions falling behind early, San Francisco should expect Detroit to be awfully pass happy in Week 2.

This means adequately covering Lions wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. Golladay finished with 114 yards on seven receptions, while Tate nearly had 80 yards in Week 1 and added a touchdown as well.

The 49ers' trio of cornerbacks -- Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon and K'Waun Williams -- played mostly well against a strong bunch of Vikings wideouts in Week 1, although Witherspoon was beat by wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a touchdown.

San Francisco isn't faced with an easy task within its own secondary. But defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will be able to cheat back a bit, knowing his defenders won't have to handle the Lions running game that much in Week 1. And if that becomes a key factor playing to the Niners' advantage, along with the other focal points, we should see the 49ers 1-1 after two weeks of the 2018 season.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers Notebook: Shanahan happy with backup RBs in Mitchell's absence; 49ers overcome unusual week; Saints' impressive streak snapped

By Kirk Larrabee
Nov 27

It was a strange week for the San Francisco 49ers, who had to work through an unusual schedule that saw them arrive home from their Monday night game in Mexico City in the early morning hours on Tuesday, followed by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Still, they managed to work through it and prepare themselves to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and in the end they came out on top with a 13-0 win. How did the 49ers work through that schedule? We'll look at that in this version of 49ers Notebook, along with some postgame thoughts from head coach Kyle Shanahan on the running back situation, a look at an impressive streak the 49ers snapped on Sunday, and much more. Let's get it started... (See also:



Key stats from the 49ers' 13-0 Week 12 win vs. the Saints

By Site Staff
Nov 27

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 7-4 on the season after a 13-0 Week 12 win over the New Orleans Saints at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Below are several statistics and notes from Sunday's game, which were provided by the 49ers Communications staff. With the Win… The 49ers are now 50-27-2 all-time against the Saints, including a 24-12-2 record at home. San Francisco improves to 2-1 against the NFC South this season and 6-5 under head coach Kyle Shanahan. The Niners have won four-consecutive games for the first time since 2019. The 49ers are now 4-1 at Levi's Stadium in



What Kyle Shanahan said the day after 49ers' Week 12 win vs. Saints

By Site Staff
Nov 28

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters via a conference call on Monday, the day after the team's 13-0 win over the New Orleans Saints. Here is everything he had to say. Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff. Opening Comments: "Alright guys, injuries from the game. [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] has an MCL sprain. It wasn't the news we were looking for. He'll be out longer than that, most likely six-to-eight weeks. [RB Christian] McCaffrey has some knee irritation, we'll manage him



49ers practice and media schedule leading to Week 13 matchup vs. Dolphins

By Site Staff
Nov 29

The San Francisco 49ers will hold three full practices this week as the team prepares for its Week 13 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. Head coach Kyle Shanahan, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryan, offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are scheduled to speak with the media. The 49ers will make the press conferences available at 49ers.com, on the team's official mobile app, and YouTube page. Below is the schedule, which is subject to change, for the upcoming week. All times are


Featured

More by Peter Panacy

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone