The San Francisco 49ers may have beat the New York Jets in Week 2, but it didn’t feel like it.
I’ve been watching the beautiful sport of football since the ripe age of seven and I cannot remember a time where I wanted the game to hurry up and end (especially during a blowout victory). However, that’s exactly what transpired on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers visited the New York Jets.
Well, what an eventful weekend of professional football and it wasn’t because of the games played or the final outcome.
This Sunday was dominated by the injury bug as multiple high-profile stars across the league went down with devastating injuries that’ll keep them sidelined for a significant portion of the season.
While teams try to adjust to life without their top players, no team has suffered more impactful losses than the 49ers. Coming into the game, the 49ers were already handicapped due to a plethora of injuries on both sides of the ball.
Normally when a team loses a multitude of talented players, it spells disaster for the rest of the season and possibly beyond. However, this may not be the case for John Lynch and the 49ers because of how well the organization has positioned itself.
Having the experience of going through a season decimated by injuries, will probably be this team’s saving grace. As long as the role players do what they’re expected to do, I see no reason to lose hope on the season.
49ers game notes
Now that we got past all of that depressing stuff, let’s try to delve into the actual game and break down a few surprise performances. When talking about running back Raheem Mostert from now on, I’m going to have to borrow a catchphrase from the incomparable NBA analyst Mark Jackson.
“Mama, there goes that man again!”
For the second consecutive week, Mostert kick-started the offense with another explosive play. After receiving the opening kick to begin the game, their first offensive play from scrimmage was an 80-yard touchdown run by Mostert.
Aside from giving the team an early emotional boost, the run and score also landed him in prestigious company. With his 80-yard run this week and his 76-yard receiving touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals a week prior, Mostert became only the second player in history to accomplish this feat.
The only other player to do this? Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.
Mostert was averaging 11.5 yards per carry before exiting with a knee injury and finished the game with eight carries, 92 yards, and one touchdown. Although he didn’t finish the game due to a knee injury, the 49ers are hopeful he won’t have to miss a ton of playing time.
Overall assessment of the 49ers
After dropping their season opener against the Cardinals, San Francisco needed a bounce-back victory in the worst way.
Some may say it’s a little too early in the season to be in a must-win situation, but when you’re the defending champs of your conference who plays in one of the toughest divisions in football, there’s no way you can afford an 0-2 start.
More importantly than getting the win, Kyle Shanahan and his staff wanted to see improvements from their first game. Out of the top three most concerning areas for the 49ers, the statistical jump from game one to game two was very encouraging to see.
Their third-down efficiency was much better, they were flawless during red-zone opportunities, and missed tackles are still a thing, but the overall defense has shown growth.
Losing various studs on defense is never a great situation to be in, but if Robert Saleh wants to make his case for a future head coaching candidacy, then what better time to showcase your talents as a coach?
Already missing his top two defensive ends, a rotational first-round defensive tackle/end, plus a future Hall of Fame veteran cornerback, if Saleh’s able to effectively produce with this unit, no doubt his phone will be ringing off the hook in the coming months.
However, first thing’s first, the 49ers will have to adjust to life without second-year standout Nick Bosa, and that process begins when they face the New York Giants.
The 49ers will have to return to the same field that just claimed a number of impactful players and many of the guys have already voiced their displeasure in doing so.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, the NFL and NFLPA conducted a field examination on Wednesday and determined the conditions are playable.
The games must go on and the 49ers just need to survive 60 more minutes at MetDeath — I mean MetLife Stadium.