The San Francisco 49ers entered week three with only two wins in their last 18 contests, and both wins came against one team, Thursday Night Football opponent Los Angeles Rams. A 41-39 loss would see that streak come to an end (Click here for the Full GAME SUMMARY). With players such as quarterback Brian Hoyer needing more than a simple win to continue to feel secure in their jobs, as Niner’s Live brought you when we kicked off the week with a Pre-Game look at the matchups and storylines, we now go deep and break down the quarterback’s, running backs’ and offensive line’s performances from the game that would come to define and test the job security for some players.
The Faithful has been waiting for Brian Hoyer to show up and lead this offense. With this game being played on a Thursday night, some thought that a poor showing from Hoyer could give Head Coach, and Offensive Coordinator, Kyle Shanahan the time to see what rookie C.J. Beathard could do, since the team would have 10 days to prepare him for the first start of his career. Not only would the team need a win, but the offense would need to resemble what many have come to expect from a Shanahan led offense, that is why he was hired, right?
Quarterback Brian Hoyer took his first snap and proceeded to throw his first interception of the game. For the game, Hoyer was 23-37, 332 yards with two touchdowns and the aforementioned interception.
With his back now firmly against the wall, Hoyer used short passes and hand-offs to Matt Breida to march inside the Rams 10 yard line where, on third down, he scanned the field before running into the end zone for his, and this teams, first touchdown of the season. That scamper appeared to have a positive influence on his game.
On the ensuing drive, Hoyer came out dealing with a 30-yard strike to Pierre Garcon to show everyone he is not going down without a fight.
He would fight the team to a two-point loss, but one where he and the team seemed to grow up.
Carlos Hyde came into this game fresh off his first 100-yard game of the season, and he would start off hard with a 20 yard run behind Laken Tomlinson. But soon would find himself on the sidelines with a hip injury that left him questionable to return to the game. Hyde would finish the game, returning in the second quarter.
Hyde has to be the heart of this offense. Down eight with three minutes remaining on first and goal, Hyde loses his footing but gets up and battles turning a four-yard loss into a two-yard gain. He would use all his heart to power a way into the end zone on fourth down to step up the two-point try for the tie. His heart is contagious.
Hyde would finish his night with 84 yards on 24 attempts with 2 hard fought touchdowns.
Kyle Juszczyk was once again used as a lead blocker, but lining up as a flex player allowed him to also be used as a downfield weapon.
There was an “Offensive Weapon” sitting in the second quarter, Hoyer found Juszczyk down the middle of the field for a huge gain of 34 yards that would set up a field goal.
Matt Breida saw action early in this game, as he entered on the second drive of the game while the medical staff looked at Hyde. Running hard and catching short passes, he would carry the team inside the red zone, leading to Hoyer’s touchdown scamper. Three carries for 9 yards but would add three catches for 20 much-needed yards.
Raheem Mosert took on a bigger load with Hyde ailing, but may have fumbled away his opportunity on his third carry when he turned the ball over fighting for extra yards.
Late in the game, Mosert would redeem himself on special teams, recovering an on-side kick to give the team a chance for a game-winning field goal.
For the early part of the season Joe Staley has not been showing the push needed to establish a solid running game on the left side and has placed himself on the radar of Niners Live and hopefully, this front office for next off-season. Staley would continue his status quo during this game.
On the first drive, Shanahan dialed up the player that gave him a giant long run last week, Laken Tomlinson. Hyde would run behind Tomlinson for a strong 20 yard gain. Unfortunately, that would be both Hyde and Tomlinson’s only moment of glory in the first half.
The rest of the line would not fare better, but the entire line was solid from Tomlinson toward Trent Brown. That is, all but Staley, where decent gains can be credited.
While the running game quieted during the second half, when runs were called, the entire line battled and gave to the team.
Hoyer was under pressure throughout the first half. Mistakes from all the linemen left Hoyer sacked three times for 16 yards. Brown, Tomlinson and Daniel Kilgore each were beaten for sacks.
Hoyer’s interception could not be blamed on the line.
What to Expect against the Cardinals:
It is extremely rare for a team to battle back from down 0-3 to make the playoffs. So while it would be nice to think of this game as the one that propels the team on a 13 game winning streak, it’s not likely.
Progress. That’s what the Faithful should be looking forward to, beginning in this game and continuing through the season.
Arizona brings a veteran team and specifically a strong defense. Let’s see the steps begin towards building this offense.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Edward Erving Staff Writer @NinersLive.net and Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims