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Week 1 Silver Linings: We’ll Be Alright, Faithful

Michael Cataldo
Sep 13, 2020 at 8:45 PM


Almost everything went wrong for the 49ers today, but they only lost by four points. Four.

Give credit to the Cardinals, but you could argue that they played their best ball on the "road" and barely scratched out a win. If Jimmy Garoppolo hits Kendrick Bourne's hands rather than Patrick Peterson's helmet, I wouldn't be writing this right now. Let's pump the brakes on the criticism, take a step back, and look at the game objectively. I'm usually the pessimistic type, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic after this tough loss. Here are a few:

1. Kendrick Bourne


KB's stat line will not wow you (2 Rec, 34 yards), but the route he ran to free himself in the 4th quarter summarizes his growth perfectly. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk's playmaking ability and presence were deeply missed, but Kendrick has established himself as a reliable option for Garoppolo, especially in crucial moments. Kendrick's growth has earned the trust of the coaching staff and fans alike.

2. Saleh's Defense


Kyler's rushing killed the defense today, there's no doubt about it. Realistically though, Kyler's escapability will give any defense problems.

At the end of the day, Saleh's defense only surrendered 24 points, with 7 of them off a short field following the punt block. An offense with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenyan Drake, and Larry Fitzgerald will get theirs. Even with all of the miscues, dropped assignments and missed tackles, the 49ers defense did put the offense in multiple positions to win the game.

3. Reinforcements Coming


If the 49ers had one of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, or a non-hampered George Kittle, the 49ers likely win this game. This game reminded me of last year's Monday Night Football bout with Seattle when San Francisco barely lost in OT without Emmanuel Sanders (exited during the game) and George Kittle.

Obviously the 49ers offense would struggle without our primary WR weapons. It was Trent Taylor, Jerick McKinnon, and Jordan Reed's first game back!

Take away Kupp/Woods from Goff, Hopkins/Fitzgerald from Kyler, and Lockett/Metcalf from Wilson--I promise you they would struggle too.

4. Raheem Mostert/Jerick McKinnon and the Pass Game


It was encouraging to see Shanahan incorporate the RBs more into the pass game, albeit out of necessity.

Raheem Mostert only had 14 receptions for 180 last year, and he already has 4 for 95 after Week 1. The screen game is going to be huge this year once our wideouts return, and Jerick McKinnon adds a new element to the offense we did not have last year. This duo's increasing involvement in the passing game gives Jimmy Garoppolo a dynamic safety net when plays break down.

5. Wake Up Call


Just like the 49ers got their wake up call at home vs. Atlanta in Week 15, this year's comes in Week 1. It's unfortunate it had to occur in a divisional matchup, but sometimes you need the kick in the bottom to create urgency. As I said, all three SF units didn't play close to their potential, and still managed to keep the game close against a scrappy Cardinals team regardless. I trust Jimmy G to bounce back in a big way.

Keep calm and carry on to MetLife Stadium!
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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