The 49ers' offense got off to a rocky start in the home opener as it missed on several opportunities, going 2-for-11 on third-down conversions. While the defense remained solid for the majority of the game, it was the 16th-straight game the defense allowed more than 20 points.
On their first offensive drive, the 49ers missed an opportunity with quarterback Brian Hoyer on a near perfect throw that was dropped by speedy receiver Marquise Goodwin. The following offensive drive, Hoyer was stripped by Panthers defensive tackle Wes Horton on a allowed by guard Zane Beadles.
"It was probably as disappointing as it could have been," said Hoyer.
The turnover was followed up by the game's first touchdown with a 40-yard strike to Panthers receiver Russell Shepard off a missed tackle by free safety Jaquiski Tartt. Tartt got the starting nod with Jimmie Ward out and later made another mental mistake with a late hit penalty. However, Tartt would later redeem himself with a nice one-handed interception near the end zone.
The 49ers' top rookie linebacker, Reuben Foster, went down early in the first quarter with a lower-leg injury and was carted off the field. Foster later came out of the locker room walking on his own but remained sidelined for the rest of the game. X-rays on Foster's ankle came back negative.
"It's not that horrible. I'll be back very, very soon", said Foster. "It was pain but I knew that it was nothing serious."
The 49ers were aggressive early with two failed fourth-down conversions, which consequently led to two Panthers' field goals to end the first half.
The 49ers' offense started the second half with a Hoyer interception by Panthers' linebacker Luke Kuechly at the 49ers' 28-yard line. Five plays later, Cam Newton would find Jonathan Stewart for a 9-yard touchdown.
With another three-and-out for the 49ers offense, the Panthers went on an 11-play, 66-yard drive. Newton set his team up for a field goal off a 17-yard pass to Olsen. The 49ers would follow that up with a 10-play, 49-yard drive to finally get on the board with a 44-yard Robbie Gould field goal to end the third quarter.
49ers' cornerback Reshard Robinson gave the team a break in the fourth quarter with a recovery off a fumble by Panthers' rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. Down 23-3 at the time, the 49ers went for it on fourth-down and failed to score from the Panthers' three-yard line on an incomplete screen pass to Carlos Hyde. The play marked the team's fourth attempt at a fourth-down conversion during the game and the 49ers ended up 1-for-4 on fourth-down conversions.
The Panthers scored six points off those failed fourth-down conversions while also taking advantage of Hoyer by scoring 14 points off the quarterback's turnovers.
In Hoyer's debut as a 49er, he finished the day going 24-of-35 for 193 passing yards and one interception. The 49ers' offensive line struggled throughout the game, allowing four sacks against the Panthers' front seven. The 49ers' leading receiver, Pierre Garçon, had six catches for 81 yards while Hyde led the backfield with nine carries for 45 rushing yards while also hauling in six catches for 32 yards. As a team, the 49ers committed 10 penalties for 74 yards.
Despite the score, the 49ers' defense looked much improved from last season. It allowed 288 total yards while forcing two turnovers with the time of possession weighing heavily in the Panthers' favor, 34:21-25:39. McCaffrey was heavily used in his debut and tallied 86 total yards. Tartt led the defense with 7 tackles and one interception.
|5 (40)||Penalties (Yds)||10 (74)|
|3 (49)||Punts (Avg)||4 (39)|
|34:21||Time of Pos.||25:39|
|Panthers Player Stats|
|49ers Player Stats|