There is so much to love about this team, and yet I still find myself wanting more. I know we won our first game at home. I know Jimmy Garoppolo put up a clean sheet with 200 yards, 2TD/0INT, and a 118 passer rating. I should be happy… right? I don’t know about you, but there is a tiny part of me that just thinks this team isn’t anywhere near it needs to be. When this offense is humming, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Jimmy G has the unique ability to absolutely pick apart any secondary when are the pieces are falling into place, but it seemed that once this team found it’s lead last week being up 30-13 early in the fourth quarter, they took their foot off the gas and allowed this Detroit Lions team (which is decidedly not good) to get right back in the game. And if it weren’t for a questionable defensive holding call on the opposite side of the field, the interception Garoppolo threw would have counted, and the 49ers would most likely be rolling into this week 0-2. This team feels like one of those teams that is going to play to it’s competition, which is a dangerous habit to develop. That being said, we’re on to Kansas City, and there’s a lot to be excited about.
Barring the last half of the 4th quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo pitched a great game, spreading the ball around to 8 different receivers and amassing a modest yet effective 206 yards. And when your team in total collects 190 yards on the ground on only 28 carries, it makes playing the quarterback position that much easier. Speaking of the ground game, Matt Breida made a strong case for being the horse for this team, running for 138 yards on 11 carries, highlighted by a key 66 yard touchdown. Alfred Morris also made key contributions, rushing for 48 yards and receiving for 32, making him an interesting flex option in deeper fantasy leagues, especially this week against the porous Kansas City defense. Pierre Garcon continues to be consistent with his 57 yards, and if Goodwin can be back this week, he should help free up some room over the middle for Garcon.
Injuries have seemed to take a beating on this team early on. Good news is Richard Sherman has been taken off the DL list suring up the cornerback position. Bad News? As stated before, Goodwin and safety Jaquisky Tartt are still listed as questionable. The secondary got lit up last week, towards the end of the game especially, so Tartt being out could prove to be a fatal blow against the high octane Chiefs offense. Guard Joshua Garnett has also been listed as out, which hurts considering Garoppolo was sacked 6 times (he needs to get rid of the ball if there’s nothing there).
However, HUGE news this week is that not only will Reuben Foster be back from his 2-game suspension, but also former Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith will be making his 49ers debut. These two along with the help from Fred Warner and Cassius Marsh could prove to be huge in containing the volatile Mahomes experience.
On the flip side, the Andy Reid led Chiefs are coming into this game absolutely red hot, and no one seems to have an answer for this offense. Mahomes has thrown for 582 yards and a laughable 10 TDs, and Kareem Hunt has rushed for a respectable 124 yards. Tyreek Hill is also making it look like a video game on the field with almost 260 yards receiving over 2 games. An interesting note however is that over 2 games, only 3 players on have more than 3 receptions on the season, yet 7 players have caught TDs. They like to get the big bomb with Hill and Sammy Watkins, but inside the redzone, look for Mahomes to target unlikely characters to hit paydirt. Defensively, this team has for the most part has been horrific. They are last in the league in yards allowed with over 1000, 29th in points allowed, and are tied for second to last in the league in sacks with 2.
The key to this game for the 49ers is going to be controlling the ball and time of possession. If this game turns into a track-meet, we simply don’t have the horses to keep up. Making this game one dimensional is also a major key. Eliminate the ground game and hope that the young QB can make some mistakes. This game can get out of hand very quickly, so it’s imperative to get Jimmy going early dunking and diming. The weather is going to be gorgeous in KC, so it’s going to be on the 49ers to drag the Chiefs into the mud and make this an ugly contest.
Faithful Then, Faithful Now.