NFC West Power Rankings, Week Two

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3 – San Francisco 49ers (Last week – 2)

Sep 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernic (7) attempts to throw the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers dfensive end

Cameron Heyward

(97) defends during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two weeks for the 49ers. In week one against the Minnesota Vikings, they looked like their old selves, dominating the line of scrimmage and pounding the rock down their opponents’ throats. In week two against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they were outplayed in every facet of the game.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown were unstoppable together. Big Ben threw for 369 yards on only 27 attempts (21 completions), and hit his receivers for scores three times. Brown caught nine passes for 195 yards, almost 22 yards per catch, and scored once. Darrius Heyward-Bey even got in on the action, catching four balls for 77 yards and a touchdown. The secondary, which was a concern coming into the season, was completely exposed by the Pittsburgh air attack.

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On the offensive side of the ball, the 49ers’ front line, another big concern entering 2015, was a revolving door, and Colin Kaepernick didn’t stand a chance as Pittsburgh threw a party in the 49ers’ backfield, and invited all their friends. Kaepernick did his best to attempt to make something happen, but most of his 335 yards and both of his touchdown passes were too little, too late.

After a breakout performance in week one against the Vikings, in which he ran for 168 yards on 26 carries and two scores, Carlos Hyde could not get any momentum against a tough Steelers’ defense. On 13 carries, he gained on 43 yards, and left the game with a leg contusion, leaving his status for week three up in the air. He didn’t play in the second half, but coach Jim Tomsula said that was a coach’s decision, as the game was pretty much out of hand by then.

One bright spot was Torrey Smith, who showed off his best asset, his speed, on a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the game. That didn’t mean much in the game, but in the grand scheme of things, Kaepernick and Smith being on the same page does mean a lot. Smith also suffered a leg contusion, but it isn’t thought to be as serious as Hyde’s.

This was an ugly loss for the 49ers, and it doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks. With tough teams standing in front of them, the 49ers have to make a lot of adjustments, and do so quickly.

Next: Number Two